Sunday, 7 March 2010

Being Pushed Around in a Haunted Attic

I've just come back from a really fascinating and interesting experience, attending my first organised paranormal investigation. The venue was The Chantry, Berkeley in Gloucestershire: a 300 year old building and former home of Dr Edward Jenner. But this site has more to do with history than just the good doctor. It has been in turn (possibly) a Roman villa, a nunnery, burial ground, scene of a Viking attack and Civil War battlefield. Quite a lot of potential there for meeting spirits and that ignores any possibility of meeting the Witch of Berkeley and the dreaded flesh eating Berkeley Toad.
We gathered at 9pm for a briefing and introduction to our medium and host for the night, Craig and Claire respectively. A number of the group had been on such investigations before and knew what to expect but there were a sprinkling of sceptics, those on the fence about supernatural activity, and the believers.
We started with meditation and a group exercise (I usually hate these) to demonstrate how we can feel natural energy around us and so identify when something supernatural maybe happening. Even this simple exercise of "sharing energy" with someone else was worth the trip alone, as we held hands over each other.s in turn and could feel the energy between our palms - even squashing and bouncing the energy. Very weird.
Then it was into The Chantry for a history lesson to set the scene for the group, Craig was left in the "base room" so he would not hear what was said, so we could check his facts later if he made contact with various spirits. As part of the tour was in the garden at nearly 10pm and it was rapidly dropping below zero and frost forming everywhere this was an event for hardy souls.........
We then went back to the base room for a warming coffee and Jaffa cake before heading back to The Chantry with Craig and this time all the lights off. Exploring a familiar building (as I have worked there for some time) in torch light instantly made it far more interesting, especially as Craig started picking up on things straightaway. I won't be able to remember everything that was said between then and 3am, and I don't want to spoil a visit you might make, but will try to summarise. We knew ourselves that there were recorded instances of "ghosts" but had not told Craig or Claire. Craig picked up on a spirit (a ghost is a simple apparition and can't be communicated with, a spirit one can communicate with) who was annoyed that we were in his house. This turned out to be one of Edward Jenner's descendants and he followed us around for the rest of the night. Later a spirit of a dog was discovered, even sitting on a couple of people's feet.
We went up to the Attic, the most atmospheric part of The Chantry, and here had some of our most interesting experiences, one of which influenced the title of this blog. Before we conducted a seance, we used dowsing rods, crystals and EMF electronic readers to see if we could find anything in the Attic. My EMF reader suddenly went haywire with lights and sounds whizzing off the scale - witnessed by Craig who once he'd checked I was using the meter correctly nodded and said "that's pretty cool!". After these experiments we gathered for a seance.
We made contact with a four year old child, with red hair, called Jonathan. He knew his mother, was slightly afraid of her, but didn't know who his father was: we don't have any record of such a child but he may be in a census somewhere of the servants. We all stood in a circle (well, a very squashed circle as there was no room!) holding hands and invited the spirits to make contact. We had a few small "taps" and something small was thrown behind me. I should mention here that I was standing in a doorway (with my back to it) and so you can imagine my "delight" when Craig and Claire both said that there was lots of movement behind me. My neck had been tingling for sometime but I was putting this down to autosuggestion until the spirit was invited to come into the circle. At this point I felt myself being gently pushed forward, it was very gentle, but insistent and it made me rock forward on my feet, I put it down to me simply swaying but when I tried to return to upright there was this pushing again. Claire, next to me said "Tim is trying to rationalise being pushed by a spirit!" as she was being pushed froward to. I can only describe it as if someone was holding a mattress against me, upright, then pushing slowly but with intent. I could feel the energy we'd been shown earlier in our group exercise.
I didn't find this frightening, just immensely curious and fascinating, then it stopped and someone on the opposite side of the room was pushed, and so it went on. We were told that it was Jonathan, the four year old, running around the Attic and pushing us for fun - those "sensitives" who could see/sense him said he was really enjoying it, chuckling and singing "Ring a Ring of Roses". I felt absurdly pleased that we were being the source of so much fun for a four year old spirit at just gone midnight in a deserted Attic. This went on for a few minutes until the spirits of Robert and Henry Jenner appeared in turn (at which point Jonathan ran off). They were far sterner and not so pleased at us invading the Attic and their home.
Next we went down to the old bedrooms, where children crying in a room identified as the nursery earlier, but the unpleasant fact here was the sensitives picked up on Jenner's family, wife and children, dying of TB. Very sobering. We spent some time siting in the dark and communicating with a spirit seemingly through the alarm sensor, he making it flash in the dark. We had to take each other's word that none of us were waving are arms around. However no one disputed the footsteps and tapping heard outside the shut door, on the landing. As I was closest to the door I was the one nominated to open it and look out - I have to admit this was the scariest part of the evening for me, opening a door onto the unknown, having listened to footsteps just outside in an empty house, what would I see? As it turned out not a thing......so was that good or a bad, what had made the noises?
After some more contact we returned to the base room for more coffee. It was now 2am and we only had an hour left, so we decoded to try the downstairs rooms with table and glass. I found this bit really fascinating, talking to the spirits through the movement of a glass, held by 4/5 people with their fingers on it. Having seen this on TV I'd always cynically assumed that it was being controlled by those touching it. But watching the glass move around the table and twisting at the same time it was obviously physically impossible for those "directing" it to twist it too. We asked some historical questions of the spirits, Robert and Henry Jenner, and they seemed to answer correctly - perhaps we could find out much more of the unknown history of The Chantry this way?
As we drew to the end of the evening, the spirits seemed to be increasingly more interested in us and even started picking favourites and poking fun at individuals. Finally at 3am when we had to go, they indicated they'd be pleased to see us again.......maybe.
At the end of the evening I have to say I'd enjoyed it very much. Do I think the existence of ghosts and spirits had been proved? I don't know. I know that the pushing force I had on me acted on my entire body quite unbidden, the tappings sounded genuine, not random creaks and information coming from the spirits was often confirmed through the knowledge of the museum staff. If Craig had "swotted up" on the Jenner family history he would have had to have spent weeks looking into great detail to come up with some of the answers he shared with us. On top of this I've had one or two unexplained things happen to me in the building before, when on my own.
I leave therefore with an open mind. When I''m up in the Attic next (hopefully in daylight....) I'll think about Jonathan and perhaps even sense his little mischievous presence, I'll watch out for the dog pushing past me on the stairs and the stern descendants of Jenner who are unsure about these invaders in "their house".
Would I recommend it - without doubt! It is a must try experience and I thoroughly endorse it as a fun and bizarre evening. I'd like to try The Chantry again and see what else comes up. But a word of caution, don't expect to get much done the following morning, I wasn't in bed until 4.30am!
My thanks to our excellent hosts Craig and Claire of Haunted Happenings who ran the event, I'm sure The Chantry will open its doors again one night soon for the spirits to make contact once again, if they are in the mood!
Keep looking at www.jennermuseum.com for information.

Posted via email from Copper Phoenix's posterous

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