In the beginning… April Fools’ and beyond

Originally posted: 03/04/2006

I was going to start this on April 1, it seemed appropriate, but I was away from the computer for the weekend – doing paranormal things I am glad to report.

I think a lot of people wonder how committed I am to doing investigations, the festival, etc as I seem to vanish for weeks if not months at a time, so this is my chance to show people that I am still in the land of the living (mostly), and I can keep people updated without cluttering up their inbox.

Now I’m out of hibernation, the month is off to a flying start. I started Saturday, April 1 90 feet up in the gallery/Gods of Newcastle Theatre Royal, and ended it in Newcastle Keep, via Marsden Grotto. Sunday started at the Keep, and ended back home, building the new York Ghost Festival website and overhauling the PSI-Chicks one.

I won’t comment much on the investigation at the theatre, as I was there as a guest of the Visionaires from Vision magazine, so if you want the full report you’ll have to buy the mag. Lots of orbs on photos – very high percent of them in my opinion are dust, but there are a few that I need to know more about:

  • a photo of more orbs than I could be bothered to count, in itself gut instinct says dust, taken in sequence it is weird. Orb free photo, two seconds later orb shower, two seconds later orb free;
  • strange glowing green shapes in front of one of the boxes, I am almost certain it is just the light picking up a molding on the front of a box in an odd way;
  • green orbs;
  • an orb that lights things up – my favourite, as I cannot find a logical excuse for this one, but if anybody reading this knows why it happened… photos will follow on here, once I know which, if any, Vision want to use. Their event, their call, I am not stealing thunder when I am an invited guest.

A rare treat after the investigation – comfy beds and nobody disturbing us as we caught up on sleep, we even had a bathroom with a hot shower. I went out for a drive with Vision editor Diana Jarvis Saturday afternoon, and not for the first time we had one of those journeys with fate.

We originally planned to go to Tynemouth, but feeling that we may not have enough time, we headed for the coast at South Shields (as we were already south of the river Tyne) as I knew there was a haunted pub there in the cliff, which was one of the first ghost stories I heard and logged in my succession of notebooks.

As we passed the sign for Marsden, Diana mentioned that she had heard of a haunted place there called Marsden Grotto… yes, we were both talking about the same place. We didn’t see a sign for the grotto but fate led us to the car park above it, we parked within sight of the entrance on the cliff top, and so we stumbled upon it.

One drink later and we have talked to the incoming manager about his ghosts, taken a number of photographs including one with an orb on, and were blowing away any remaining cobwebs by wandering up and down, in the bracing wind, along the rocky shoreline as Diana looked for witch stones and I tried not to fall in while skimming stones and counting waves.

Sometimes we need that break to do something simple…

Fate hadn’t lost that quirky sense of humour: we returned to where we were staying, with Michael Hallowell, to find out he is the local expert on Marsden Grotto! Michael, incidentally, is a lovely bloke, first time I had met him other than in passing at the launch of Vision magazine.

We meet so many genuinely nice people pursuing the paranormal, this blog will at least give me a chance to thank such people: Michael and his wife made us very welcome over the weekend, supplied us with coffee (one of life’s essentials!) and good conversation.

Saturday night and its back over the river to Newcastle Keep for a charity fund-raising investigation, this time Diana, Michael and myself were guests of North East Ghost In-Spectres, along with Mark Webb from Haunted Homes. Its not often we get to work with other groups, so there was – naturally – some trepidation about fitting in to somebody else’s style of investigation.

It was thankfully completely unnecessary to worry, Darren Ritson and his team were fantastic: very welcoming, great senses of humour, they have a professional approach to how the evening was run which was better than anything I had managed with large groups! Sorry AGAIN to Molly for me being a klutz, it was a rather loud bang when I tripped over the wooden plinth with my clumsy great steel toe caps, and it was a very impressive distance you jumped!

Photos will follow from me once I have shared what I have with Darren, again it was North East Ghost In-Spectres’ night, and so I want them to see what I have first. There are the usual orbs, but not many, which gives me more hope of them being worth talking about, especially the bright white one taken with seconds of an audible bang from the same direction, and the sequential photos of two orbs appearing, growing and going their separate ways.

Nothing though compared to their black shape captured coming up a staircase, its on the web with the usual detractors’ comments but so far they’re clutching at straws – “its someone on the stairs” etc I know to be untrue seeing as I was there when it was taken! The original news story is this blog’s featured link.

After another decent amount of sleep Diana and myself headed back south to York, amazingly we have found somewhere to eat on the road that was rather good – an OK Diner. Helpful tip for other groups/people on the road, they are one of the better services we have tried.

A good weekend gave me the mad idea that I had the energy to keep going all night while I worked on the websites, more to follow when I have finished at least one of them.

Remember: keep your equipment dry, and your coffee strong.
Rachel Lacy
Ghost Finder General

NOTE: I have, after this was originally posted, worked out the coloured orbs in theatre thing: green velvet seats, green orbs. Someone asked me about a photo they had from a London theatre with red orbs on, and the seats there were red velvet. I see a pattern forming…

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