It’s fair to say that when I started TIP 15 years ago, along with my two friends, I was a sceptic. I listened and read with an open mind but questioned everything, always looking for a rational explanation, and to a certain extent I still do. But over the years I gradually realised that maybe there really was something that couldn’t be so easily explained behind all the experiences that people were bringing to our meetings on a weekly basis. They weren’t all mad or making it up surely?
As well as experiencers we also had a number of mediums/ sensitives visiting us, all offering their insight into what we were investigating. To start with it became the norm to dismiss them, partly out of frustration that they could ‘see’ things that we couldn’t,… why couldn’t I? Finally, as we started to build up a group of sensitives who individually seemed to be agreeing with each others findings in certain locations, I made a conscious decision to go with the flow, so to speak, and so I became more of a believer that still questioned everything. The idea being we were looking for the evidence to back up what we all were believing in, and with 15 years experience behind me, there was much to draw on to help shape my theories and back up my new way of approaching the subject.
However this wasn’t an overnight change of tack, it was a gradual shift brought about by several significant experiences and over the next few months I will share some of them with you here.
My first major brush with a possible ghost came several years before TIP was set up. I was returning from a days walking and letterboxing with my friend. It was mid Summer, around 11pm and we had just passed The Dart Bridge Inn on our left with the river Dart itself on our right , when we noticed a column of mist seemingly crossing the road in front of us. There was no other mist along this stretch of road at that time, and we have experienced such conditions both before and since at that spot, so this did rather stand out. As we approached, the mist seemed to take on the form of a woman walking a dog heading towards the fence along the edge of the river, an odd spot as there was no footpath evident there. As we passed, we both commented “did you just see that?” It appeared we had just witnessed the same thing. Nowadays if that had happened we would have stopped the car jumped out and started taking pictures! As it happened we just drove on…
If it was anything paranormal, it was more than likely a recording of a past event where possibly a woman had been knocked down and killed at that spot whilst out walking her dog and we had been in the right place at the right time to experience a playback. Several years later whilst following up reports of another ghostly sighting in the same area I was informed that several local taxi drivers had experienced a similar sighting of a woman walking a dog crossing the road in front of them at that spot.
People that display psychic ability show an affinity with certain forms of phenomena, and have a tendency to see or hear the same sort of things. In my case, although I don’t profess to be a medium or psychic, my main opinion changing experience once again involves a dog.
This “shaggy dog story” took place at the old children’s adventure centre, Sorley Tunnel, that closed several years ago. We investigated it on a number of occasions prior to that and spent several evenings standing in total darkness at the centre of its half mile long railway tunnel known as Spooky World, and it certainly is. We got wind of a very interesting story attached to the tunnel and got invited to investigate, setting up a series of Meet the Ghostbusters sessions to get the public involved…but that’s for another article. The incident I wish to relate happened after the centre was shut down. On a whim I visited the place to see if I could arrange a further investigation for a new batch of group members that had recently joined. As luck would have it it was still in the hands of the original owners who were still in the process of trying to move abroad to start a new venture and they were more than happy to give us another crack at it. So a date was fixed for a few weeks later and I spread the word amongst TIP.
On the agreed night I arrived early and was invited in to the owner’s house to await other members to arrive. Whilst we were standing in the entrance hall I had a clear view into their sitting room and my eyes became drawn to a bundle lying on the floor behind the sofa. First of all I took it to be a discarded woolly jumper, black and white in colour, but as I watched a little head raised up with long floppy ears and I could see it was a dog. Just then a cat came running in jumped over the dog and settled down on the back of the sofa. Family pets I surmised. The owners then ushered us in to take a seat whilst we waited. In front of the fire there was a large black Labrador stretched out just begging to be fussed over which everyone duly did. After a while I started to wonder what had happened to the other dog and why it hadn’t come over to get a bit of the attention, so I asked the owners where their other dog had gone…They looked at each other rather sadly and said they did have another dog but she had died 10 days ago and they had only just buried her in the garden. This both shocked and puzzled me, so I had to ask what was behind their sofa? We all checked and there was nothing there. I asked if it could of been a jumper lying there but they were adamant that the place was spotless due to the fact they were still in the process of trying to sell and having viewings. When I described what I had seen they showed me a portrait of her and,apart from the colouring, that was the dog I had seen behind the sofa and they said that had always been her favourite place to lie.
That was a special moment for all of us, the owners had proof that their pet was still with them, she was the mother of the lab in front of the fire, and I had had my first psychic moment, being able to share with the owners the fact that she had been there for just me to see, and possibly the cat who wasn’t fazed by her at all, probably used to seeing her there and not aware she was jumping over her spirit. As for the colour difference, it was like I had seen a negative, white with black bits whereas in life she was black with white bits.
To date that has been the one experience that has proved to me that something survives death, something that can at times be seen or felt by the living, the proof I needed to help me with my new found belief and which I am eager to share with anyone who will listen. Hopefully there is plenty more where that came from!