On Tuesday evening I was greeted from work by Henry, Myles and Matthew who are media students at Bath College, and their tutor Darren. They are some of the people behind the Bladud Magazine. They had a mini-bus in which we were to travel over to the beautiful Lydiard House in West Swindon to conduct some paranormal research. I had met the guys a month or so before at the college after they invited me to go and chat to them about the investigative work that I do. They wanted to do a project around paranormal investigation and after our initial chat I was happy to help them. I organised the investigation, we set a date, and then we waited.
We only had a couple of hours at Lydiard House in which to look around, but as this wasn’t really what I would consider a full investigation that didn’t really matter. My aim was to introduce them to the basics of paranormal research done properly, and their aim was to film the evening so that they can edit a documentary about it. I think we all succeeded.
As we set off for the Lydiard Park I handed each of them a report detailing past eye-witness accounts of spooky experiences in the house, and we spent some time discussing how certain things that have been reported cannot be investigated simply because there is hardly anything to go on. People reporting ‘feelings’ and similar aren’t experiences that you can really study without speculating. However there were a small number of things that were testable, and it was these that we decided we would investigate upon arrival.
One of these things was the photo below that was taken by a past visitor to Lydiard House, said to show a mysterious figure reflected in a mirror in the Morning Room. We spent a long time in the room testing ways in which you could accidentally photograph what appeared to be a figure in the reflection without realising what it was.
Darren pointed out that we were trying the recreation from the wrong angle, and we changed our position and found that we were able to recreate the oddity quite easily. It took a lot of time to get the angle right, and we did this by using visual clues in the original photo – for example, two bulbs of the nearby chandelier are reflected, the painting on the opposite wall was reflected at a certain angle, and the white wooden door nearby can be seen too. Once we were able to match these things up in the photo we could then work out where the ‘oddity’ was positioned, and then what the oddity could have been.
It’s just a logical path to follow, but it was great fun to be able to show this to the students. People often have this perception of skeptical investigation into paranormal reports being boring and uninteresting, but it isn’t. There’s much fun to be had in looking at a mystery, deconstructing the pieces, and putting them back together again, and to be able to demonstrate this in such a hands on matter was great not only for me, but for the Bladud Magazine team too.
I also got to demonstrate some of the weirder pieces of my ghost hunting gadget collection to them, and it turns out that if you point a ghost laser grid at an ancient chandelier it creates a time-lapse effect on the surrounding ceiling.
You’ll be able to learn more about our evening at Lydiard House from the team at Bladud Magaine some time in the future. You can follow them of Facebook here, and they’re on Twitter too. It was a great evening. Many thanks to all involved.