I am beginning to realise that in the paranormal field strange things do happen! However, this time round it came in the shape of an invite to join Aaron Hardy at the Derby Royal Infirmary for a nights investigation with Phil Whyman’s Dead Haunted Nights. An opportunity I didn’t want to pass up, after all who wouldn’t want to spend the night in an abandoned hospital!
A quick google of Derby Royal returned some loose historical connections with Florence Nightingale. Which in turn were obviously backed up by sightings of cloaked figures and shadows. Something there happens to be a lot of in hospitals, shadows that is. Having a few kids I have spent some nights in a hospital before an found myself in some dark abandoned corridors. Even in a working hospital the places can be very atmospheric.
Currently I don’t hold high expectations for this investigation as I tend to think its activity reports are probably based on the psychology of a dark quiet hospital in the dead of night, increased by the fact that the place has been abandoned. Its something I personally call the ‘haunted house effect’, which basically means, because the place is old, abandoned and kind of scary looking many assume its haunted. On entering a location with this expectation people can often mistake things and jump to conclusions.
Well the journey up the M1 went well and even though I was prepared for some Friday night traffic, it wasn’t too bad at all and I got to Derby with plenty of time to spare. Then Sat Nav decided it would be funny to take me to what looked like a large M&S store and head me in the wrong direct. After a small bit of re-negotiating, shouting at the Sat Nav, turning it off and going on instincts, I decided to call Aaron to ensure I was heading in the right direction. Ten minutes later I walked up and met Aaron and friends for the first time.
It wasn’t long before we wondered in to Derby Royal Infirmary, up some stairs and into must have used to be the restaurant. We all settled in and grabbed a drink, whilst the Dead Haunted Nights (DHN) Team setup and prepared to brief us on the location.
It wasn’t long before the DHN Team were ready and Phil Whyman headed up the intro to the investigation and the location. He quickly informed us about the Infirmary and moved onto the investigation kit he had brought along for us to borrow. The kit was a good selection of scientific and spiritual, making sure there was something for everyone to try. Something that Phil added which is constantly left out, is the fact that non of the equipment is proven to find ghosts or the paranormal. In fact he explained most wasn’t even designed for the paranormal, just adopted to it. Phil also added that even if you get an odd reading, say on the EMF Meter you should search out all other possibilities first. After all there could be a good reason which is far from paranormal. Reasoning which I always like to hear.
We then had a brief tour, which was a little disappointing, although I don’t think that was any reflection on the DHN Team as I think it was supposed to be led by a more local team. This was made evident as Phil and his team members seemed to be as confused to the content of the tour as we were.
Phil informed us of our groups and the area we would be in for our first vigil and sent us on our way! I have to admit now I had seen the location and a little on the way in I was itching to get to it.
First up for us was the A&E department, which I have to admit after a brief wander through the corridors to find it, the first thing that screamed to me was classic zombie or horror film! That wasn’t the reason for our visit though, we were there looking for some paranormal activity. Trying to ignore the atmosphere of the A&E Department we took a look around, explored the area a little. I grabbed a couple of EMF readings, but apart from some areas where there were obvious cabling the area was flat. We placed a few trigger objects and decided to attempt calling out in the resus area. Nothing of note happened during this, apart from hearing some noises. However, I have to rule them out as being paranormal as members of our team were walking around the area. Simon did pick up a glitch on the K2 meter as we walked through the main area, but again it was literally a brief moment when the LED’s lit up to yellow. We couldn’t make it reoccur and my own EMF meter picked nothing up. Time was called on the vigil after around 45 minutes and we returned to the restaurant area for refreshments and our next location from Phil.
It was then we found out two members of another team saw a face through the glass of a locked door down near the children’s ward, one of them being Sara Woodward part of the DHN Team. She described her as being middle-aged and just stood there staring through at them from the other side of the locked door. We had heard some of the commotion regarding this over the radio in our previous vigil, but not known what to make of it. Our third vigil would see us in that location and something to look forward to.
Next up was Ward 16, although it might have been 18! After all it was a large place late at night. Some of the team had a go with a ouija board, whilst myself Simon and Aaron had a wonder round. We tried a little EVP, but again it was a little flat. Simon did see a flash of light up one of the corridors, to which he ran at great speed to investigate. Once again though we were fumbled by the ‘was it, wasn’t it’ situation! There was someone down a connecting corridor taking photo’s with a reasonably powerful flash, so we couldn’t be sure if the light had travelled to us. We attempted to recreate the scenario with Aaron’s camera and were left thinking it could have been the camera, so in my mind that was debunked. Once again our vigil drew to a close and we returned to the restaurant for refreshments and chatter!
We headed off to the Children’s Ward, Barnum I think and for those of you that were there the code on the door please? Suffice to say we gained access with the four digit code, which I wont mention on here, just in case. Ah hell, its 1357! We settled in the main area of the ward to begin calling out, our concentration calmed following a brief Only Fools and Horses piece of entertainment thanks to a member of the team, focussing on contacting children. We even tried using trigger objects from the room to encourage contact, but nothing came through at the time. In the last ten or so minutes of the vigil I checked out the door where the woman had been seen. There didn’t seem to be anything there that could create the appearance of someone stood behind the door, no light or shadowing to that effect anyways. Which leaves the possibility of reflection, but this too is ruled out as I think Sara was close enough to recognise herself or someone directly behind her. Also, the apparition was witnessed by two people, just a shame it didn’t hang about to get its picture taken. I am beginning to think spirits don’t like their picture taken, but who does when they are not exactly looking their best. Myself and Aaron looked around a little more, whilst the others investigated the Gym area opposite the Children’s Ward, then we all headed back.
After some refreshments Phil joined us for out forth vigil in X-Ray 2. He kicked it off with some ouija board for some of the team and then left another DHN Team member to continue whilst he wondered around the area a little with us. After a little exploring and the others rejoining us we ended up towards the end of a corridor (one of many) near a large X-Ray room, which was still fitted with its equipment. As we split from Phil and he headed in the large X-Ray room, something appeared to have been thrown into the dark. A quick search with a torch revealed a plastic chair end on the floor which hadn’t been there before. We questioned Phil and co just to ensure that it wasn’t anything to do with them, to which he denied. In fact he was immediately serious and interested. So, I apologise if I seemed like I was implying anything, its just I am naturally sceptic of everyone and everything, to ensure something was paranormal. In fact he remained with us for a little while whilst we investigated further. We tried a little recreation to better discover what may have happened and we also tried throwing the piece of plastic into the dark asking for its return. I didn’t hear or see the phenomena reoccur though. With this vigil complete we returned for some well deserved coffee.
Finally was what DHN called freetime, which basically gave us all the opportunity to have a little free roam in the final 45 minutes and investigate or just explore the location. So our little group returned to the previous spot near the large X-Ray room to see if anything else could be found. Other than me scaring Simon half out of his skin by conducting a little experiment of my which involved throwing that piece of plastic, sorry Simon schoolboy error, there was nothing to report. However, something interesting did happen which was not paranormal, but proves simply how such a location in darkness and with reports of activity can easily fuel misconception or even create simple misunderstandings. If you visit a possibly haunted location you should with the mind set to investigate and chase those shadows that may confuse you. As we waited for freetime to end myself and Aaron walked around a little near to that previously mentioned X-Ray room, at one point we crossed a doorway and headed back to the rest of our little group. Anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes later some other guests of DHN came down with one of the DHN Team asking if we had just been up by the door, we responded ‘not just’, but offered the information that we had been up there around five minutes ago. One of the guests stated it was seconds ago and quickly ruled us out as a possibility for what they had seen. She left us believing she had seen some kind of apparition. The course of events also changed slightly as headed away from us. Shortly after freetime ended and we headed back to find out more about what the night had held for others.
Phil ran quickly through the evenings events and what had been witnessed or experienced by the other teams. Most of which seemed to be personal experiences similar to our own. The woman also mentioned the apparition she had seen, but now added a white shirt or doctors coat. Its funny how these things develop, but I am convinced she saw us and has now come to the conclusion she saw something more paranormal. The key here would have been to chase down what she saw, investigate and rule out the explainable before jumping to other conclusions. That’s what I would have done! However, not everyone wants to run down a dark corridor, especially if they are not too sure what it is they are chasing. In the woman’s defence, she said they did call out, but this shows simply how misunderstandings of even misconceptions of the paranormal can begin.
Derby Royal Infirmary was a really interesting location and from an investigators point of view I would love to take my team in there to investigate, but I fear a few things would stump me. The size of the place and ensuring we could focus on some actual hotspots, even just running a walk around investigation would be good. After all the location is fantastic. However, their rule that doesn’t allow you to take pictures or film, would mean that we couldn’t share any evidence or even just the investigation in the usual Farsight PRS manner. That’s something that puts me off. I am not sure if the rule is from the NHS or somewhere else, I know its not a DHN rule, but must put a slight downer on the location from a paranormal investigation point of view. All in all though an excellent location worth further investigation I think.
Many thanks to Phil and the Dead Haunted Nights Team for an excellent and enjoyable night. If your looking for a Ghost Hunt I would encourage you to check them out.
Finally, thank you Aaron for the invite and for presenting me with an investigation I couldn’t turn down. With and additional thanks to your group of friends for the hospitality too, no pun intended!