The Strange Candle Light in the Museum

reasonable, constructive & respectful criticism

Sometimes when it comes to the paranormal we have to be honest and that does’t always make everyone happy. Over the years investigating the paranormal I have found myself in various situations where a fellow investigator has presented me with their evidence and I have had to be honest, pointing out that I just don’t see or hear what they do.

The problem is that this is often met with differing attitudes, as some people want you to simply agree with what they have found. The moment you do not agree, then often you are seen as a sceptic. Something which is often a strange concept for me as I tend to be neither a believer or a sceptic.

Over the years I have had quite a bit of my work criticised and certainly some of the few things I have captured too. Which is something I have always been completely fine with, as peer review is an important part of what we do.

However, reasonable, constructive and respectful criticism is not something that always occurs. Especially within the Ghost Hunters community, but also within the science community too. Over the years quite a bit of parapsychological research has received criticism that has not been well constructed or built on good evidence. Although the Ghost Hunter community, in my opinion, have taken this to the next level with their approach through social media. This is where we see a mixture of evidence posted that is far from robust, but in response it is often defended by ‘followers’ that do not like their favourite internet influencer receiving negative feedback.

Photo by Markus Winkler on

As someone whom works in the technology and communications area I find this massively interesting. The reason being is that the technology we all use, even those social media sites where these comments are posted, develop from feedback in order to meet the customers needs. So, the question becomes why then should the Ghost Hunter community fail to see the criticism as a positive helpful aspect, learn from it and seek better evidence? The answer is simple; often those claiming to be paranormal investigators are actually internet or media influencers, seeking follows, a fan base and to a degree a customer base – this above actual answers to those hard questions of the paranormal.

Now if you’re smart, and I know my readers are, then you may ask; ‘yes Ashley, but are you not exactly the same as a writer and blogger of paranormal type stuff?’ In all honesty, follows and likes are not my goal and never have been. Whilst it is nice to have people read my blogs, articles and books; and its even nicer to receive that positive feedback; personally I do this for me and to share what I do with all of you. I have never been great at marketing myself as a writer and have often been told that I could do better, capturing more readers.

Obviously, when you put a lot of work into something then it is acceptable to earn a little something out of it in return, I have never been against that. I just think its a little wrong when we are disregarding good criticism and ideas in exchange for dedicated fans blindly following an internet influencer that produces entertainment more than good research or anything of value to the community. I would like those that are being reasonable, constructive and respectful regarding their criticism to be heard. As such, I am not going to shoot you down for disagreeing with me, but I may ask you to provide a well constructed argument, as I would expect you to ask the same of me.

Right, I will get off my soap box and look at Sarah’s latest post now.

Sarah’s Voice from the Attic

I am going to jump right in and state that I struggled with this one massively. However, it also helped me to recognise a great number of things that I had seen from a different perspective in the past. I realised that I have been in Sarah’s position a great number of times with an Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) clip or photograph, convinced that I had captured something really interesting; only later to feel deflated and confused. The confusion was usually because of the simple fact the individuals I shared the clip with would not hear what I heard.

Obviously my previous clip in ‘The Rude Voice on the Stairs‘ is pretty much crystal clear and an exception to the rule, but explanations for that aligned with us being the source even though we could not remember that we were. So, it would seem that even the clearest of audio evidence, as many Ghost Hunters like to call it, fails to be true evidence.

One thing I did enjoy from Sarah’s ‘Voice from the Attic‘ was that she provided some really good context and back story pertaining to the event itself. This also included the back story of Tilly, who was said to have been raped and murdered back in the 1920’s.

Sarah provides a good clip that combines the audio clip as it was captured on several devices. Personally as I listened to this clip, over and over again, I only managed to hear the ‘get out’ whisper on one occasion. I was also listening really hard for this and felt it was not completely obvious to me.

Now, just because I don’t hear what Sarah heard, does not mean that it was not there or even that Sarah imagined the whole thing. After all there is clearly something on that audio recording that others have confirmed for Sarah. I know this to be most likely, as without a little confirmation, Sarah would never have released it. So, it is safe to say, in my opinion that there is something there on the recording, based on the fact that; a) I heard a faint something on the recording; and b) others have confirmed it; and c) the obvious personal experience that Sarah shares.

One thing I have to mention here is that Sarah’s clip has the title ‘Get Ouuuut’ I believe and she also provides her account explaining that is what she heard; whilst this could be considered to be leading the witness by telling them what they should listen for before hearing, its probably reasonable to assume that as Sarah has mentioned this experience previously and the clip has been out there on the internet for a while, there is no point hiding these points. Although this approach is often seen when Ghost Hunters present evidence of an audio nature and to a degree video footage too. They advise those listening or watching, what to listen for or watch for and when. This sets the expectation and can often lead to audio or visual pareidolia. Granted a good audio capture can be exciting, but we all need to take a breath and ensure that we do not lead others when they review our potential evidence, that way we can remove some bias at least.

Something which I found brilliant about Sarah’s account was the fact that she considered the possibility that the location may have perpetrated fraud to deceive here and maintain the ghostly reputation of the location. Whilst we all want to capture that evidence, fraud should always be on our mind and a consideration as an explanation. As I am known to say; ‘if something appears to be too good to be true, then it probably is not true at all.’ We have to keep open minded enough to consider all possibilities from fraud, through survival to supernormal.

As I do not personally feel that Sarah’s recording itself provides good evidence (sorry Sarah), I place more of my attention around the experience itself. Sarah’s reaction to me and explanation of that, allows us to see that something strange occurred. Now we could consider that something simply spooked her, but I am going to say that would be unlikely as Sarah has been at this investigating lark for a while now. So, if there was no actual audio in the physical environment, then the next possibility was a telepathic interaction that appeared as if it was audio. This sudden occurrence made Sarah react as she did.

Whilst I know this could be considered as out there as an actual ghostly voice, it is another possibility we should consider within the paranormal.

This would work under a method where, given Sarah’s locality and understanding of that area, her subconscious would kind of ‘google’ the ether. This could allow her to pick up with a source, like the security guard that had knowledge of the story, and as such receive information whilst there. That would provide her with sense data that she would believe to be occurring in realtime in that location. Providing the assumption of a spirit being there telling her to ‘get out.’

Equally, her subconscious could have been recalling the knowledge of Tilly and that presented itself within her conscious mind randomly, which in turn did spook her. It happens to us all sometimes.

Personally, I think it is a great account of an experience that we need to document more of as we move forwards. The ghost hunter community is transfixed on evidence in a form of media clip, which often lacks background content. The academics are focussed on gathering plenty of data and understanding of these weird events through various experimentation. Whilst the SPR’s Spontaneous Cases Committee still do document and store records of these experiences, many in the field have forgotten how important they are. They provide an understanding of an event that allows us to capture various strands of data to gain a better understanding of the experience itself when it occurs.

The Strange Candle Light in the museum

Before I find myself writing War and Peace in this post, I had better get to my experience this time around. This one was actually one that was experienced by myself and one other person at the same time. Whilst the main event so to speak was in the form of a light heading the central staircase of a museum, there was a little more to this one.

The location where this occurred is Peterborough Museum, a location that I have now investigated on a number of occasions and as far as I can recall, most visits, if not all have provided something.

The main story associated to this location is that of the lonely ANZAC Soldier, who is incidentally remembered by the city of Peterborough. Thomas Hunter, who died in the Peterborough Museum back in July 1916 when it was a Hospital, is said to haunt the location. As such, it was Hunter that was my motivation to investigate Peterborough Museum back in 2010, I believe.

In order to connect with Hunter, I took the decision to attempt something which is often branded as the Singapore Theory within the paranormal. Basically, this means using something related to the time frame of the individuals you are attempting to connect with in order to use familiarisation to drive communication. This time around I used several pieces of music that we played loudly throughout the building for about an hour. As they played and echoed around the building, they sounded completely eerie and it was very much like being in some kind of horror film. Something which always left me with additional questions.

About half an hour or so after we decided to turn off the music, personally I quite liked it and would have liked to see what the long term effect was, a member of the team and I headed to the bottom of the main staircase. The odd thing was that as we began to approach the bottom step of the stair something caught our attention. In fact it was so prominent that it stopped us in our tracks and we decided to investigate the area further. One of my better decisions.

We stood in the hallway looking up the stairwell and at the connecting doors. The thing that had captured our attention was not something that is often mentioned in relation to ghost hunts. Rather than something audio or visual, as many of us may expect, on this occasion it was a very odd change to the local environment that had caught us. Initially the atmosphere in that spot felt thicker and heavier on us both. It was certainly more of a feeling than anything else, as we didn’t have anything to confirm the change. It provided us both with an anticipation of something was about to happen and we should not miss it.

This feeling progressed further to a point where it also felt as if the immediate area was having its light sucked out of it. The space we were in appeared to be getting darker and light from any source seemed to be slowly being extinguished somehow.

Actually, as I write this, I have a feeling that the heavy feeling and light change, may have been experienced by me and a different person in the team that witnessed the light anomaly. See, I told you that you should not trust your mind so much.

Following these changes to the local environment I was joined by another member of the team and we decided to sit ourselves on the bottom of the stairs to observe the oddities that were unfolding in front of us.

As we sat there looking up the stairwell we both caught sight of an odd light that appeared to act strangely. After we established that we were both looking at the same thing and it was real, which we done without really revealing exactly what it was that we were each looking at on the stairs. Oddly that turned out to be really hard. We both realised that it was potentially a flickering light, that we could relate only to that of candle light as it had that dancing random change that a candle flame produces in a darkened room. What was equally strange, was that the light was seemingly climbing the staircase in line with the stairs as if it was being carried up the stairs.

Once the experience ended and our weird light had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, we advised the curator from the museum and he seemed as excited as we were. In fact, he grabbed a candle lit lantern and attempted to recreate the experience. The light from the lantern, whilst similar was not exactly the same, but it certainly highlighted the possibility of a flickering candle flame as the source of our light anomaly.

This was one of those experiences that broke all the rules for me. Not only was it a shared experience, but it was one that appeared to change our feeling of the environment prior to it taking place. Perhaps the changes at the bottom of the stairs were the beginning that progressed up the staircase, becoming the light anomaly we would see.

In this case we have an extra dynamic that we need to include in our thinking of explaining this experience . Which is that this was a shared experience. Is it possible that the music we played, the location we stood in and the knowledge of the ANZAC soldier led us to share an hallucination? If so, then this could mean that either we were both tapped into the same source to obtain that information or sense data, that would later present itself as the flickering candle. I suppose that source could have been me, with my knowledge of the location and understanding of why I played the 1916 musical tracks. The aim being to connect with Thomas Hunter.

However, there is another potential source that may have been over looked and this comes with two possibilities too. We could have been experiencing sense data from the museum curator, whom also ran ghost walks at the museum. I believe these would have been conducted using the very candle light lantern he used to help us prove it was candle light. So, this could have essentially been a retrocognitive or precognitive event of exactly that.

However, there is another potential source that may have been over looked and this comes with two possibilities too. We could have been experiencing sense data from the museum curator, whom also ran ghost walks at the museum. I believe these would have been conducted using the very candle light lantern he used to help us prove it was candle light. So, this could have essentially been a retrocognitive or precognitive event of exactly that.

Another weird possibility is that the event was completely precognitive of what was about to happen. Effectively we saw the curator testing the candle light theory using he’s lantern on the stairs. Which really tests the boggle threshold, as that would mean that we saw an event in the future, which only happened because we saw an event in the future. How mad would that be? Sounds strange I know, but no more strange than the possibility that the light climbing the stairs was potentially the spirit of Hunter, Peterborough’s ANZAC Soldier.

I am looking forward to Sarah’s take on this one. Once again we have an experience that has occurred near or on a staircase. Equally, this one relates loosely back to an ANZAC Soldier, providing a link to my Australian co-writer.

Please comment and let me know what you think? Don’t forget to drop me or Sarah an email through our websites if you would like to share your own experiences with us, and have us provide our usual Supernatural Synchronicity thoughts on them.

After all, capturing these experiences helps us all to understand the paranormal more. Please feel free to provide criticism on any of my work, as long as it is constructive, relevant and respectful – I welcome it.

2 thoughts on “The Strange Candle Light in the Museum

  1. Your experience on the staircase brings to mind the idea of retrocausality. It is curious though that such an event would only be illustrated by the light of a candle and not by any type of other appearance. On the flip side I would submit that if such an event outside the laws of thermodynamics were to occur, it would seem most likely that “light” would be involved than a physical manifestation itself, but again, there is no source of containment for the use and conversion of heat energy to light energy. Yours was a very curious experience indeed!


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