This year was lacking in ghost stories that took me into the field to investigate and I’m hoping that 2014 will remedy that with ghouls to chase and phantoms to fight. While I wait for that to happen I thought I’d cast my eye back at 2013 and list what I think were the 5 Worst Ghosts of 2013. I should point out that although they’re listed here these stories fulfilled that need for terrible paranormal news stories that make me shake my fist in a pantomime style and roar ‘Oh no it isn’t!’ when headlines proclaim ‘this is a ghost!’
These stories, in all reality, aren’t terrible and horrendous. Just bad. The really horrendous ghost stories are the ones we don’t hear of. They’re the stories where selfish ghost hunters act unethically in other peoples homes and businesses, scaring people silly by not thinking their actions through. The real ghost horror stories are the ones where people destroy property or break the law for a cheap ghost hunting thrill.
Without further ado, let’s look at the The 5 Worst Ghosts of 2013!
#5 The Exmouth Rugby Club Ghost
Footage captured on the CCTV system in the bar at the Exmouth Rugby Club showed the bell that is traditionally rung for ‘last orders’ ringing on its own, freaking out nearby staff members who ran to investigate. The papers jumped on this story pretty quickly, quoting staff members who claimed it could have been the ghost of an old landlord called Nigel haunting the premesis.
When interviewed by The Daily Mail, manager Frank Bright said: ‘A few people have mentioned Nigel’s name. He was great man, an all-round good guy – and certainly no threat to anyone. ‘The bell ringing on its own is pretty odd, I’ll give you that and one of the girls was quite freaked out. But I’m a bit more level-headed and I’m sure there’s some way to explain it; I just can’t put my finger on it at the moment. ‘There was one time I was here on my own and I heard a whistle. I turned round and shouted “hello, hello” but there was no-one here.’
I contacted the Rugby Club to see if they really thought it could be haunted but was told pretty quickly that they didn’t really think they were haunted at all.
‘Frank’s comment was was light hearted, think we’ve got better things to be doing as a rugby club than having Most Haunted turn up! It wasn’t a staged ghost video. we favour the idea that the ringer slipped down from where it’d been hung up during cleaning’.
#4 The Napanock Ghost Cat
The apparent apparition of a cat in a US hotel caused quite a stir in the paranormal research community, prompting much commentary about whether it was or was not a ghost, was or was not a cat and was or was not genuine footage.
The footage was taken from an IR DVR camera in The Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, New York but what we see is a low quality copy of the original that leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
When I first read the story and saw the video on the WhoForted.com site I commented that it might be the product of ghosting which can happen on some CCTV and Camcorder systems, but having watching it over it could just as easily be a piece of lint floating on a breeze or even an IR light being shone down the hallway from behind the camera.
Without further information and footage we will never know for sure. This ghost was not at all impressive.
#3 Amanda Byram’s Whitstable Ghost Photo
I thought twice about including this rubbish ghost in this list because when it first made the headlines we had no way of knowing that this hoax was part of a bigger stunt for a Channel 4 television program called The Happenings. However, even the bigger stunt was a bit rubbish so I felt that the ghost photo featuring TV presenter Amanda Byram deserved a place here.
Back in September I was sent a link to this news story featured in the Canterbury Times by the journalist who wrote it, asking for my opinion. The story is about a supposedly strange photo captured by TV presenter Amanda Byram. The photo is of Byram posing with two members of the public, and next to them is a translucent shadowy figure and was taken as she allegedly investigated the story that features later on in this list. It’s a fake made using a Smartphone.
#2 The Kelvedon Hatch Apparitions
In September, The Brentwood Gazette reported that Spooksavers (a Ghost events company) captured a spirit portal in action at an overnight event in the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch. The photos in question show people in the room surrounded by lots of wiggly and fuzzy lights.
A little investigation with the help of Bob Dezon showed that these photos were less than impressive. We found out that the rooms in the bunker are full of various reflective surfaces (see picture A), and we also know that it is possible that the photos may have been taken through a window (see picture B). Both of these, coupled with a slow shutter speed and slight movement of the camera could cause the effects seen. Not only that, but if you study the blur in the first photo above, you can see ghostly forms of the shoes of the people in the photo, which suggests to me that a slow shutter speed has indeed caused this effect.
It’s also worth pointing out that various cameras and similar devices were being used by numerous people present, as seen in the photo montage below taken from the event gallery. It’s impossible to rule out that a camera with its screen on, or perhaps a meter with an on-light illuminated in the hand of someone in the photo was moved around at the time of the photo being taken.
These apparitions were the product of wishful thinking and not a spirit portal. Doh.
#1 The Whistable Floating Tea Ghost
Those who follow my blog regularly probably knew this particular story would feature in the #1 spot of this list. This was part one of a bigger prank, with the Amanda Byram fake photo being part two for the television show called The Happenings. Read more about this here.
The Whistable floating tea ghost hit the news in July when a nutrition shop claimed that two boxes of teabags had been caught floating off of shelves in the store on the CCTV system, leading people to think there may be a ghost in the area. Initial speculation led people to believe the store were perpetrating a hoax for attention, but it seems that even they weren’t in the on the trick.
The Happenings is a television show for Channel 4 in which two magicians convince people that strange things are happening in their town. Episode one saw them trying to convince a town that the citizens were being tested for psychic ability, the second episode saw them trying to convince people in Whitstable that their town was being terrorised by a ghost, and the third will see them convince a town that they are in danger of a Vampire. The floating tea footage and Byram fake photo were stunts for the second show.
The shows have had mixed receptions and, although I can appreciate what they’re trying to do, I think they’ve often rubbed people up the wrong way – especially within the paranormal research community.
These are my Worst Ghosts of 2013. Let’s see what shocking spectres crawl out of the woodwork for 2014…
Why not check out previous years?