This Halloween passed relatively quiet for me, with a few knocks at the door from the local kids and my own children excitably running to offer our selection of sweets to them. However as someone with a keen interest in the paranormal, Halloween also means that I have a sudden desire to get out and look for ghosts and such in some old location. Luckily for me thats exactly what happened on the Friday night when I was invited along to RSVP UKs Halloween Investigation of Priory House in Dunstable. An offer that few investigators can turn down!
I’ve known the guys at RSVP UK for a little while now and even had them assist on a Farsight PRS Investigation, but also know they are more of a research society than an events company. However as many teams out there have found, sometimes a good way to drum up some extra funds to help those expensive running costs is simply to run a ghost hunt event.
Before I head into the nitty gritty here I think its fair to mention that there are some pretty important differences between a team investigation and a public ghost hunt event. The most obvious is probably numbers, an event will have a great deal more people than you would on an investigation. Ideally you would keep your numbers low when investigating a location that way you avoid audio contamination. Still an event is more about entertainment and introducing people to the world of paranormal investigation rather than having them spend hours in the dark! It’s still important to understand the fundamental differences between the event and the investigation in order to deliver a good experience to the public. In my mind the guys at RSVP UK showed this from the outset.
I arrived good and early in order to grab a chance to chat with the team and also see how they managed their public guests as I personally believe its important to recognise that they are customers and should be treated as such. RSVP UK had it all in hand though, they had setup their HQ for the night perfectly in order to communicate effectively with the public and also had gone all out with introductions and presentation too. I’ve seen a few groups run paranormal events, but only a few have so far managed to tick the box on introductions; Phil Whyman’s a Dead Haunted and Paranormal Tours. However RSVP UK took it a step further with a full audio visual presentation which I found quite impressive to be honest. It delivered good content, interesting points and smartly outlined the history, the activity, the equipment and the plan for the night. Top job guys. My only criticism of this is to perhaps work on the delivery in order to stream line it, yet keeping it clear and concise. The last thing you want to do is have your guests waiting too long before they can start hunting ghosts, after all thats why they are there. This isn’t a negative though. One thing which I did find interesting was how the guys showed some evidence they had captured and then engaged the guests in assessing it in a way. Nice touch!
RSVP UK then split the guests into to teams of twenty and the team I was in headed up to the attic room in order to begin our vigil. Again this part of the night can be very difficult as it can sometimes be hard to keep things interesting, after all as most investigators know generally vigils can be relatively quiet! Still our hosts kept things interesting. With a mixture of suggested investigation methods and some explanations the team were very informative. As the vigil progressed one team member offered to take a few of us to the back stairs and the small attic room. I decided to head along with some of the guys on this one.
I had previously investigated Priory House and had some good results on the back stair case and was keen to return there. RSVP UK gave us the opportunity to attempt a lone vigil and then as a group which was good, yielding some reasonable results. Although I don’t think we managed any conclusive evidence!
With the Vigil ending we headed down stairs to the tea rooms where the RSVP UK team sorted teas and coffees out for us which was nice. Some groups don’t provide this level of service, but the team excelled themselves on this occasion providing a perfect chance for everyone to chill out before the next vigil.
The second vigil had the team I was in investigate the ground floor along with the medium too. This was an interesting touch from a team that prefers science and repetitive result, but it really worked well. The medium for this particular event was not too over powering and certainly seemed to communicate with everyone at a good level. He attempted to fit within the team, but still put himself in a position to display his own abilities. Personally I would have liked to see more of the mediums abilities from within the vigil, but his level of involvement was good for the night.
However the very last part of the night saw both teams reunite to witness the medium attempt some transfiguration which went well. The concept bring that the medium allows a spirit to interact with him so that you can possibly see their appearance. I personally saw some of the mediums face change, but can’t be sure how much of this can be used as evidence! This could be because it was quite dark and that was altering our perception in low light! I’ve seen this occur during trance mediumship, so my own belief in the concept is well supported. Others in better positions did report the facial changes of which I have no problem accepted. A brief questioning of the guests resulted in a mix bag of those who believed what they saw and those that saw no change, which is also expected.
The final part of the evening involved the guests and the medium attempting some table tipping which was interesting, but I decided to join one host member and a handful of guests as they returned to investigate the back stairs. We headed back to the History Office and then in small groups of about four headed up to the small attic room to attempt a little investigation. This was a good example of some excellent investigation techniques with one host leading in a little EVP work. This ran to the end of the night when everyone headed back to our HQ.
At this point I believe that RSVP UK were hoping to conduct a kind of de-brief with their guests, but alas time got the better of them and the decision was made to end things there and say good night! However RSVP UK also offered one additional extra post investigation; a CD with a collection of the evidence captured was made available to the guests to purchase. Now this is a good idea as it gives the guests something to remember their night by, but also the chance to review the evidence like all of us investigators do!
As quickly as they had arrived the guests were gone! I decided to hang around and help the guys out with breaking down their equipment, which included a four camera CCTV system which had been running all night. Unlike me the team would be doing this all again the next night. Still I think it had gone relatively smoothly from m opinion.
So that is the run down of the night of which there is considerable more detail to be had of course, but I’m that will be remembered by the guests and documented by RSVP UK.
I think its important to stress that as far as developing an experience which falls between that of an actual paranormal investigation and a paranormal event, then I think RSVP UK have come close here. Although they still treated their guests as such, they also genuinely appeared to give them a status of an extension of their own team. A nice approach I think and something that was quantified by their interaction with their guests. They also managed to select a good number of guests so that the location wasn’t too overloaded. Often on paranormal event I’ve found that there can be far too many people at the location which can simple disrupt the nights investigation. RSVP UK didn’t allow this to happen and seemed to do their upmost to keep the night organised and controlled where they could. My only criticism is probably one that often comes up and does depend on the approach, but personally I would have liked to see a few more things attempted during the vigils. This is only because as guests of the team they would probably expect a little more going on during the vigils which could be given a go! However all that said and done, its also good to give the guests a general taste of what a normal investigator would try. Unfortunately this isn’t often as exciting as some more spiritual approaches and an EVP session may not always give results as it is conducted.
All in all a good effort from the RSVP UK Team and I would be happy to recommend them as a team to join for a public event if you’re looking for a general experience of paranormal investigation. A few of the guests I spoke to certainly seemed inspired from their experience with RSVP UK to get more involved and continue to investigate the paranormal following their first time out with the guys. That in itself is an endorsement if ever I have heard one!
Good work guys and hats off to Graham, Matt, Carl, Harriet and Mary for putting a top night together.
Please take some time to check the RSVP UK website out and show your appreciation by following them on Facebook and Twitter, cheers.