The road to morcambe…
On Saturday 20th April 2019 I was lucky enough to be invited on a ghost hunt at one of my favourite locations, but also a location I haven’t been to for nearly eight years; Morcambe Winter Gardens Theatre.
As you often find when visiting various locations up and down the country on ghost hunts, they often begin with a road trip and a slight adventure. So, on this occasion I headed north-east to pick up fellow investigator Gemma Drury. After all it was because she knows Dave Harazny of Entering the Unknown that got me on the investigation in the first place. Thank you to Gemma and Dave for that, greatly appreciated.
Once I had collected Gemma from her home town in the north-east, we decided to head to the other side of the country via the scenic route. For those that know me, that doesn’t mean I got lost on the way. It simply means that rather than following the usual more direct motorway route, we decided to avoid possible traffic and head up towards Darlington and across country from there. Now it may be due to me getting a little older these days, but this scenic route didn’t disappoint at all. We drove through some beautiful English countryside with an abundance of rolling hills and quaint old villages and towns. Sometimes the journey really can be as good as the destination.
After a few hours’ drive through the country we arrived in Morcambe with plenty of time to spare, so grabbed a quick drink and discussed the Winter Gardens Theatre. Gemma took the opportunity to read my previous investigation report from eight years ago. This was good as it allowed us to discuss some of the potential activity we may encounter. The most memorable being the loud knocks we heard from the fire curtain whilst on stage, which had confirmation from our second team that there was no one on the other side making such noises. It’s possible that air flow from the large door at the back of the stage may have caused this knocking sound as it made contact with the fire curtain, but I am pretty sure we investigated that possibility. Also, oddly it appeared as if the knocks were originating from within the fire curtain rather than on either side of it. Something which has also been identified by poltergeist cases investigated by the likes of the SPR.
As we headed to the theatre to meet with Entering the Unknown we wondered if the stage area would be as active during this investigation.
Meeting the team…
Just after 8pm the small team from Entering the Unknown, joined by Gemma and I, gathered in the groups HQ for the night – the theatres tea room. We were also joined by two members of the theatre staff for most of the evening too. Once we were all in Dave quickly kicked things off by heading off for a brief walkaround with Medium Andy to gauge where to place various ghost hunting tech. Whilst this was happening, Rocky and Sean conducted a similar walkaround with their cameras to capture video and photos of the location. Gemma and I took a similar journey around the theatre settling in various spots to climatise (sort of) to the location. During this time we didn’t encounter any activity of note. However Medium Andy did identify the possible spirit of a young girl in the bath area in the basement. In order to attempt to capture this activity Dave setup a chair with a doll on it, which when touched activates an audible-visual alarm. On the same chair was placed a small ball that illuminates when moved. This was all covered by a camera and left alone. This will become more relevant later on, but for now the group returned to our HQ for a well-deserved coffee break.
Following our break we conducted a full walkaround with Dave and Andy conveying information to the camera – filmed by Rocky and Sean. As this was more a ‘piece to camera’ with Andy and Dave discussing what Andy was connecting to spiritually. Gemma and I decided to hang back out of shot for most of the time. However as we passed through what used to be the first floor bar area (I think) Andy began to pick up on one particular woman. Interestingly the description that Andy gave of this woman sounded a little familiar to me. This possible spirit was said to be a well to do woman that was dressed like a man and carried a cane. A cane which Andy believed she used to ‘whack people around the legs’ with at times. This all occurred around 22:30 and it was believed the woman’s spirit also interacted with another resident spirit called tommy.
At around 22:38 Andy picked up on two ladies singing and mentioned that the location was quite busy with multiple spirits currently in the theatre. With this the group moved on, but before we did some of the group believed they heard a slight knocking. Unfortunately we could not trace the source or have it repeated. So, we decided to take a break before heading to the stage to attempt some further spirit communication.
Activity under the stage…
Whilst Gemma, Sean and Julie attempted a Ouija board session on the front of the stage; Dave started a Facebook live. Unfortunately the board was unresponsive, but after about five minutes Andy joined the group. However this still had no effect on the board, but after around another five minutes some of the group heard an alarm sound in the distance. Initially Andy thought this was the IR beam barrier alarm on the stairs, but when we investigated this wasn’t the case. This immediately highlighted to me that the alarm was possibly the locked off doll that Dave had setup in the bath area of the basement. So, as the adrenalin kicked in I headed under the stage at speed and off into the darkness.
When I located the doll the alarm was inactive, so I took a little time to simply observe in the dark. After a while of observation and no change with the doll I tested it with my phone in close proximity, which didn’t set it off. I then left the area briefly before returning with Gemma. We quickly established that once pressed the doll would illuminate and alarm a few times before settling down again. This lead us to attempt some standard spirit communication hoping the doll would react, providing a positive response. Surprisingly the doll did react or at least appear so several times. However rather than simply accepting the reaction as probable communication, Gemma and I questioned the validity of the scenario and tested it a little farther. Initially this was by referring from asking questions and sure enough the doll still went off. This highlighted the fact that the responses were more likely to be random than related to our questions. We found this interesting at the time and began to talk about other possible reasons such as the doll being faulty or the batteries running low. In regards to the batteries Dave assured us they were new, but we never established if they were high quality or cheap batteries, which often run out fast.
As both Gemma and I sat in the cold of the basement observing the doll on the chair, we began to discuss various possibilities that could explain the scenario we were observing. The doll appeared to react to something on several occasions as we observed, but we certainly concluded that this wasn’t directly related to our attempted communication with a probable spirit. Granted that you could argue that the additional reactions of the doll were possibly a spirit we started talking to earlier on in the session. The spirit could then have continued to attempt communication through the doll when we had decided to stop. Personally I see this as unlikely though as it equally suggests that for this to be so it would mean that the presence of a spirit was fully established, which it wasn’t at all.
Just as we were beginning to conclude that there was a logical explanation for this activity, the ball situated on the chair illuminated due to possible movement. However for this instance we thought that as the doll gives off an audible alarm and had now gone off several times, it would be logical to suggest that the vibration created by the audio would slightly move the doll and likely the ball too. If in doubt, throw it out right?
Taking different approaches…
It’s odd as these kind of scenario’s do seem to generate paradoxical reasoning during Ghost Hunts. Now usually I would prefer to review the data from a datalogger measuring environmental specifics. The reason it’s so paradoxical is simply because depending on the Ghost Hunters belief and probable approach, your conclusions could be influenced. As Gemma and I approach from quite a technical logical way did we talk ourselves out of spirit contact?
The good news is that Dave is going to provide me with the footage from the lock-off camera, that way I can re-evaluate the situation without being in the situation. Something that may provide a new perspective to this interesting part of our night.
Gemma and I left the interesting baths area of the basement and headed for a coffee break and to relay our experiences to Dave and the rest of his team.
Spiritual connections in the gods…
At around 12:30am we all headed to the Gods seating area for what would be our final vigil of the night. Although Andy picked up on a man, probably in his Sunday best and a flat cap; a gent called Frankie, who was angry about our presence there. However, for me this vigil was quiet and uneventful. Dave attempted a ghost box session too without success, in my opinion.
As we approached about half one in the morning the ghost hunt was drawing to a close. Gemma and I thanked Dave and his team for inviting us along and headed out into the night. As ever Morcambe Winter Gardens Theatre was an amazing location to investigate and certainly gave us something to think about in regards to its haunting. It’s kind of sparked an interest for me to re-investigate the location again myself.
The search for food…
Feeling a little hungry, Gemma and I decided to search for the next McDonalds, which ended up being on the other side of the country. The odd lengths you may go to when you find yourself a little hungry after an investigation. However it was really good to get out on a Ghost Hunt again after a long time, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them to be fair. Thanks to both Gemma and Dave for the invite.