My name is Mike. For the last few months I've been throwing myself into paranormal investigation in London and Essex, along with my friends Daniel and Ajay. We're doing this because we've always half-believed in ghosts and spirituality, but never made a proper study of them before. We're looking to see or hear something that proves, if only to ourselves, the existence of some paranormal phenomena. We're after something genuinely extreme and inexplicable. Daniel is our technology guru, Ajay is a talented psyhic and since I fancy myself as a writer, I handle the write-ups.
This is the story of our first properly organised trip, made on Friday 2nd December, 2011. Unfortunately we were a team-mate down, as Daniel was working late and couldn't get to us in time.
Our destination was The Eagle pub in Snaresbrook. According to Paranormal Database, the area around The Eagle has been the site of shadowy figures and phantom phone calls. Since Snaresbrook is vaguely local to us, it seemed an ideal location for a ghost hunt.
We left Ajay's place at 7.30pm, armed to the teeth with notebooks, cameras, a thermometer, an EMF reader and a Dictaphone for EVP purposes.
As soon as we wandered onto Snaresbrook Road, we knew that this was going to be a good hunt. Across the road ornate houses lay under soft street lights. The park was next to us, one of it's many lakes glinting in the moonlight. The street was quiet and the air was excruciatingly cold. We knew straight away that something was waiting for us. We walked up the street, neither of us needing to say anything. We knew that we were being drawn on by something. We stopped by the middle of the lake. Something, or someone, had been expecting us. I could feel it on the edge of my senses, a confident, strong intensity that wasn't my own. In myself, I felt excited and strangely welcome. It was like a long-delayed homecoming.
We checked our instruments. The temperature was a steady 8.4 degrees. The EMF reader levelled off at 50 and stayed there. This was actually remarkable, because it usually flies up and down like a yo-yo.
"There's someone here." Ajay said.
"I know. Getting anything?"
I didn't need to ask, it was clear from Ajay's face that he was 'getting' a great deal. Whatever comes over him when he's channelling something was happening right now. The guy wasn't pulling the bizarre 'possessed' faces beloved by TV mediums. He just had a look of intense, distant concentration.
"I can see, or sense a guy, with short, dark hair, wearing a grey top, I think Diadora, or Dunlop, or some kind of cheap brand sport wear," Ajay said. "Navy jogging bottoms, and Reebok classics. I think his name was Clive. He was walking home, from a job maybe, and I think he got hit by a car, collapsed... Had a heart problem, yeah"
As Ajay was describing the guy, it all seemed to fit with what I was thinking. A man in his forties, someone small but wiry and strong. For some reason I was thinking - '80s. We had an '80s man with us, someone from a time when the economy was a little stronger, jobs were a little more plentiful, and the whole world was a little more confident.
It was all a little unreal, as if we'd stepped away from the normal world. But it was a good feeling, a million miles away from the dread that had come over us in previous investigations. It seemed like we were doing something right. I clicked on the Dictaphone and started recording.
"I there's anyone here that would like to speak to us, especially a gentleman in a grey top by the name of Clive - "
"No," Ajay interjected.
"OK, not Clive," I continued, "If you'd like to speak, talk to us now, say whatever you have to say." I stopped talking, let the Dictaphone keep running.
The feeling of having someone with us kept gradually building, getting more and more intense. It might have just been Ajay's influence, but I was starting to think that I could almost see the man in the grey top myself.
"It's weird," Ajay continued, "He's still really worried about that kid... His son. He had a son, and his son's still alive," Ajay paused for a second, then abruptly changed tone. "I don't want to stay here man, I want to leave."
It's not like Ajay to get spooked. Normally he's the one who holds the team together. I decided some gentle encouragement was in order.
"Let's just give it a few more minutes, take some photos, see if anything happens."
We busied ourselves with our cameras for a few minutes. For the most part, the results were pretty uninspiring. Please see the attached photos of a grey car and someone's front gate as evidence of just how boring our camera-work can be. The third photo on the other hand, provoked a 'What the HELL was that?' moment. Once it was taken, it showed a tendril of white light that definitely hadn't been in the frame when it was taken.
That last picture was our cut-off point. We're still new at this game, and when strange lights start showing up in photos, it's time to go. As we made our way back, Ajay continued chatting with our new friend.
"Oh you did, did you? That's nice!"
I looked at him as if he'd gone bonkers - a serious case of stones and glass houses, under the circumstances. Ajay explained himself.
"He says he reminds us of the kind of guys he used to bully in school." Not at all encouraging, but Ajay didn't seem phased. "But it's okay, he grew out of that shiat in the end."
This was getting weirder and weirder - now our guy was a reformed school bully. As we walked towards the pub, I swear I felt a gentle pressure on the back of my head. I told Ajay.
"Yeah, I think he's messing with us a little. He doesn't mean any harm - he's just having a laugh." I suppose when you're a dead man trapped by a lake you have to get your jollies wherever you can.
At length we reached the T-junction where Snaresbrook Road met Hollybush Hill. The company of some kind of deceased wide-boy had been surprisingly pleasant, but the last thing we wanted was him following us.
"Okay, we have to go now," I announced to whatever might be listening. "It's been good talking to you, but you can't come with us. I hope you find peace, or whatever you're looking for."
It was a pathetic, half-arsed banishing. However, coming after a pathetic, half-arsed channelling, I think it was completely appropriate. As we crossed the road onto Hollybush Hill, I felt a very real resistance over my legs and chest - it was as if I was walking through water. Clearly, the man in grey was a little reluctant to let us go. But the feeling passed as quickly as it started, and suddenly the normal world reasserted itself with a bump. We were just two guys carrying a lot of ridiculous kit, starving hungry and conveniently standing right outside a pub. FOOOD!
Over pub grub, we played back the tape from Snaresbrook. Ajay was sure that he could hear a voice, deeper and gruffer than either of ours, muttering softly in the background. At the time, I thought I could hear it too, a kind of grumbling, "nah nah naah" voice. I've listened intently to that tape a dozen times since then, and never been able to hear anything out of the ordinary. Reluctantly, I'm forced to conclude that the EVP was just our imagination.
The Snaresbrook hunt was a fascinating adventure. Unfortunately, the only evidence we found of supernatural activity was that creepy photo. Let's face it, although it looks spectral, that weird light is far more likely to be a reflection of somebody's headlights than a being from the hereafter. The weirdness I felt that night seemed very real, to the extent of actual physical sensations. But the problem remains the same - I can't actually prove any of it, even to myself, and consequently I can't ignore the possibility that Ajay and I were simply imagining everything.
But even if we didn't find the proof we're looking for, we suitably freaked out, had a laugh, and even ended up in a pub. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is our idea of a successful investigation.