The Shared Diary of a Novice Paranormal Investigator, aged 52 and Three Quar

When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.

(Stevie Wonder)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.


Ri fol ri fol tol de riddle dee.


Orbs and Cheese Pie

Rifol is mid-way through telling us about the investigation night she booked on the internet:

 This night was a turning point in many ways.  At last, I got my hands on a machine that measured things, and I measured something.  I observed orbs a-plenty.  I had a go at everything.  As I might have expected, I eventually came away with more questions than answers.  That was how I felt at the end of the night.  I had better start from the beginning.

The evening began easily a full hour and a half after the starting time.  You do not have to be Einstein to work out that there has to be some payback for a  publican, hosting an event like this.  We had to buy dinner.  By happy chance, I was able to pass the time with a friendly bunch from a nearby town, also on their first investigation.

While we were waiting for dinner, we watched a large screen displaying web cam images from three of the upstairs rooms.  Straight away, we were in orb land.  There were globes of light floating all over the split screen.

Some specialists will have us believe that orbs are merely an irritating by-product of digital photography: the flash is very close to the lens, so dust and insects caught on camera appear as circles of light.  Others insist that orbs are connected to spirit activity.  There are any number of websites supporting each of these positions.  We each have to choose our own storyteller.  Opinion on our table was divided.  The publican scowled at us and sourly pointed out that she certainly had dusted her bedrooms.  Personally, I leaned towards the dust camp, but I was interested in what the organisers had to say.  

I believe it was Sensitive who explained to us that, while many of the light anomalies we could see were surely caused by dust, closer observation would show that there were different kinds of orbs, and that some of them moved purposefully, whereas dust always moves in the same pattern.  She told us that she had once seen a photo of an orb with a face inside, and it was the face of a person associated with that particular site. 

Reading around this subject later, I learned that, in a still photo, orbs caused by dust look as if they are close to the camera, and may contain a concentric ring pattern.  Some writers claimed that ‘real’ orbs connected to spirits emitted light, and they have posted examples of these for all to see.  That reminds me of my childhood and the way older people always whispered about supposedly haunted locations in terms of ‘strange lights’.

Watching for longer, I did realise that the screen showed a variety of light effects.  When one of the staff walked across to a camera, sparkly dust particles could clearly be seen whirling up around him, and they subsided when he left.  Other, larger ones, glided across empty rooms.  Some seemed to have tails, some were more like wisps of light.  These may have been insects.  When examining moving images, internet advice tells us to look out for orbs which appear to move through or behind objects, as these are less likely to be dust.  I expect it is possible to do that when you can slow down or replay scenes, but I could not possibly keep up with the speed and frequency of what was happening on screen in front of us. 

Frankly, I grew bored.  Pleasant as everyone was, I had not intended to spend the evening making small talk with strangers.  Orb-watching does not remain a novelty for long, especially if you are fairly certain you are watching moths enjoying an evening constitutional before retiring to lay eggs on the curtains. 

I was rescued by the arrival of dinner, which was delicious, but contained a solid week’s worth of carbohydrate and fat.  The waif-like young woman at our table ate less than half of hers.  I guessed she must usually peck at bits of lettuce, and I commented on how large the portions were.  She told me she had already been to MacDonalds before she came, just in case the food in the pub was not good. 

That is the real difference between the generations.

 People under twenty think they might find better food in MacDonalds than in a pub.  People over fifty would rather eat a beer mat than a Mac.  Fortunately, I did not have to.  I waded through most of my home made cheese pie and I enjoyed that rare delicacy – real, properly fried chips made from thick potato chunks.  No oven baked twigs here.  If it doesn’t clog the arteries, it is not worth the calories.

The enormous meal gave rise to a hazard I had not anticipated.  When we later had to sit in tense silence, one by one, the stomachs began to speak.

‘Is there anyone here with us?’
‘Is there any spirit person here?’
‘Oo, I am sorry.
‘Oops, excuse me!’

The main activity of the evening began with a small group meeting.  The A team invited us to follow them upstairs to the first guest bedroom, a large family room.  14 punters and six or seven organisers filed in and perched on beds and bits of furniture.  I took the only good chair.  Arthritis has to have some advantages. They held a small ritual intended for our protection.  It was very familiar to me as the kind of meditation often encountered in yoga classes.  Any female of my generation has usually been exposed to so much yoga that we have only to hear the words ‘breath in through your nose and out through your mouth’ in order to slip into a light hypnotic state.  Suitably cocooned in imagined white light, we were divided into two groups, one for each upstairs floor.

By this time, we all knew the two stories associated with this pub.  On the top floor, we expected to encounter a desolate female spirit called Sara, who had been killed in a fall when escaping from a violent, predatory male.  On the ground floor, the ladies’ toilets were visited by an unpleasant male spirit.   Suitably primed and protected, we were sent on our way.

Yes, there is still more to come...

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