… BUT ARE THE BASEMENTS HAUNTED?
Famous for the many cinemas located around it's perimeter and it's star-studded film premières, hence its' nickname of "Theatre Land," Leicester Square in London also hides many secrets below street level. If you venture through one of the almost hidden doorways on one of the busiest tourist sections you find yourself in her hidden basements and, although there is very little history known about them, they are able to leave even the most hardened of paranormal investigators ill-at-ease and questioning what they have experienced.
Bangs, knocking, groans and the sound of footsteps when no-one is around have all been reported and, as detailed in one of our earlier posts, a fascinating image has been captured of a ghostly figure seemingly bending down in one of the main areas. With all of this reported activity Real Or Otherside Paranormal Research hopped on to the underground and made the relatively short journey, for a change, to these shadowy basements to see whether we could capture, debunk or recreate any of these reports!
In a break from the norm this was to be an afternoon investigation and commenced around Midday on Saturday 7th April in a busy central London. With the entrance to the basements slightly off the beaten track and being underground this would not make a difference as the location was secluded enough to have minimum contamination (the occasional noise being heard from the store 3 floors above as well as the underground) and dark enough that torches and night-vision were still required.
Again we were joined by some close friends of Real Or Otherside including Paul Stevens (The Pinstripe Medium), Debbie (Trainee Investigator), Sam (Trainee Investigator), James, Max, Katrina, Karen and Gillian.
We would also like to extend a thank you to Ron for bringing the location to our attention and for arranging for us to be able to investigate.
With complete access to all 3 floors of the basement, and possession of the keys, we entered a state of "lock-down" to ensure no-one could gain access in to, our out of, the premises and contaminate any potential evidence. Spending around 6 hours on location in total we captured x hours of video and audio. After the initial review process we'd recorded a total of 38 potential 'hits’ which, after some intense scrutinisation and secondary analysis/enhancement, we were only able to reduce to 20 ’hits’ which we believe to be of interest and are presenting here.
We have graded each hit against our R.O.O. SCALE which aims to provide a guide as to how ‘unusual’ we believe them to be. Ultimately though only you can decide … is it Real Or Otherside? More details on how we analyze, review and present evidence can be found in our Techniques section.
EVIDENCE SUMMARY VIDEO
Rather than you, the reader, having to sit through the hours of footage we capture on location we produce a video containing the evidence highlights from the investigation.
It is important to point out, however, that whilst the footage is condensed into a ‘digestible’ format what you see and hear is as it happened on location. The only modifications made during the editing process are volume increases for some of the low-level audio hits along with minor cuts to provide a compressed version of events should the event take place over several minutes.
Now sit back, relax and decide for yourself … is it Real Or Otherside?
PREVIOUS ACTIVITY DEBUNKING?
One of the phenomena we managed to debunk during our time in the basements was the loud banging noises that are heard by people and that have been described as being either the wooden planks that lie on the floor or the sound of sheet metal being dropped on the floor.
As we made our way around the basements the members of the team that had done the initial walk round a few weeks earlier heard this noise again and was the same as had been experienced on their first visit. With further replication we managed to trace the source back to a metal plate just inside the main door. It would appear that when someone walks on this metal plate in a certain way it vibrates and this travels through the pipes making the noise. We have some footage of us debunking this phenomena and will also be posting this shortly.
As a side note the basement entrance/exit stairwell is used as a fire escape for the nightclub above and while no-one is meant to be in that building during the day we cannot rule out that, when our investigators were on their first visit, someone may have come out of the fire escape. Perhaps they got to the top of the stairs and realised they couldn't get out, setting off the metal plate in the process, and then went back in to the club? On the other hand though if no-one was in the club who walked over the metal plate by the front door when the doors were locked and no-one could gain access in to or out of the location?
We always hope to capture any hits during an investigation on our equipment which can then be presented as part of our video evidence. Sometimes though we have experiences that are not, or cannot be, captured. We refer to these as Personal Experiences and present these to you now – along with our thoughts on the location itself:
I didn't have the privilege of visiting the basements before we booked them for an investigation but, after Rick and Sam stories from their visit, I was sold and eagerly waited for the investigation to come around. Everything started off quiet and I decided to perform a lone vigil at the top of the stairs leading to an enclosed crawl space. After having no communication via the torch I began to think this might be another quiet location but, still sat there on my own, I heard both a groan and a bang that sounded like it was in the area just in front of me – the rest of the group confirming it wasn't them and that they didn't even hear the bang! What is interesting is that the groans are a reported phenomenon and are the reason some work men refuse to go back in to the basements!
We were unable to replicate the "ghost" photo we posted on the site before our investigation by any normal/physical means so this also remains unexplained. If this is truly a ghost that has been captured I think it is one of the best examples of its' kind?
One fascinating experience, which I am still unable to explain, occurred in the same area as the "ghost" picture was taken. All members of the group were in the same room and while Paul (The Pinstripe Medium) was picking up on a male spirit there was a bright flash as if someone had taken a photo. After asking around no-one had taken a photo. Everyone in the group saw it though and what is even more interesting is that none of the 4 camcorders that were rolling (including a locked off) picked up the flash itself or any hint of shadows being cast by the flash going off!?!?
The most interesting activity though came from our new MEL-METER and I am sure is something Sam will never forget? I wasn't with Rick and Sam when it happened but having seen the footage something strange definitely occurred to set off both the vibration and temperature alarms. After further testing, both at the time and since, we are pretty sure something was at the top of the stairs and could be the closest we have come to experiencing something paranormal with physical proof!!!
Rick and I have already discussed returning to the basements alone to minimise any contamination and to see if we can get the groans, bangs and MEL-METER to repeat themselves. I am sure with just the 2 of us the basements will take on a different feeling entirely but how amazing would it be to capture this evidence again and only 2 of us be in there? You know what I say … bring it on!!!
Blimey, where to start! First I should thank our good friend Ron Teskowski for facilitating the location. Then I need to thank Sam, Debbie, Paul, James, Max, Katrina, Karen and Gillian for being great ‘Guest Investigators’ and Meek’s 'better-half' for the Tube transformer info. My final thanks goes out to the great Gary Galka (inventor of the Mel-Meter), for making two great new bits of kit for Real Or Otherside… with one of those being a ‘one-of-a-kind’ Prototype device. We're truly honoured, thanks Gary.
Now onto my personal experiences. Conscious of space (and low boredom thresholds – lol), I’m going to look at previous reports, and then concentrate on what I believe to be one of the best pieces of Paranormal Evidence we’ve caught to date. The location is dark, dank and unnerving. As we’ve previously detailed we’d already experienced some strange events during our reccie of the location. So for the full investigation, we wanted to concentrate on three main reports:
1. The Metallic clanging we (and others) have heard on location: We traced this back to a metal plate on the top level, just as you walk through the door. By walking over the plate (as opposed to standing/jumping on it) you can create the exact noise we heard on the lower floors.
We did note that the location has a shared entry to the night-club next door. Why night-club staff would be walking through the area during the day, remains a mystery. However because they could, we have to debunk this as being more ‘Real’ than ‘Otherside’.
2. The apparent apparition caught on camera by an earlier investigation team, as previously detailed: We spent a considerable amount of time in the location where the picture was taken, trying to debunk the image. The area is bathed in very high EMF which is likely caused by what we believe to be a transformer (for the adjacent Tube track) encased in the stone block you see on the left of picture. This would also explain the clicking noise we captured (and show in the video) emanating from the same area.
That said, try as we might, using the same device used to take the pictures (iphone), we were unable to replicate the photo in any scenario or under any lighting condition. It’s also prudent to point out that all of the unusual light anomalies we captured at this location, appeared in the area. These were caught across three separate camcorders, and are unusual in either their ‘flight pattern’ (insects constantly change direction a lot to avoid predators and dust has a ‘floating’ nature to it and doesn’t tend to go straight up), ‘lighting properties’ (dust and insects are generally a muted colour in IR, not reflective – unless you hit its wings) and ‘speed’ (we calculated that one light ‘streak’ was travelling in access of 30MPH past our camera).
Whilst the high EMF could explain the general feelings of unease in that area, and some of the ‘physical’ experiences of (for example) being touched; it does not explain the image caught on camera. There is a theory that spirits can use/manipulate high EMF to help them manifest/interact… so perhaps an explanation lays here? For now, this image remains a mystery.
3. Footsteps heard at the top of the stairwell: Again, this was something that we ourselves experienced during our reccie of the location, that previous groups have experienced, and that a chap I just so happened to bump into last weekend experienced himself last week. Whilst we didn’t hear the footsteps again during our full investigation, it’s in this same area where we caught what I believe to be our most compelling evidence of the paranormal to date.
Using our new Prototype Mel-Meter, we headed to the top of the stairwell (where the footsteps had been heard) and set the Mel to monitor ambient temperature changes, along with movement/vibration. The device is designed to give a unique tone to indicate the type of interaction detected… a system that would later prove crucial in our analysis of the events that unfolded.
As you’ll see in the video, after the Mel had been in position at the ‘top’ of the stairwell for a few minutes, we baselined (reset) it to the ambient temperature (16°C). This detail is important in order to understand what happened next, as is the fact that the Mel will only register temperature fluctuations from baseline of +/-5C (and greater). As it’s not unusual to see a 1 or 2°C temperature change over time, this prevents false readings.
Additionally, we tested the movement/vibration function, by walking/jumping on each step of the stairwell as we descended – and can confirm that unless we were within two steps of the Mel, it was impossible to set off the alarm without physically jumping in the air and landing with all our weight… and even then, it would generally not register.
Once we had set the device and ran our sensitivity tests, we moved lower down the stairwell to the ‘mid-way’ landing. Here we sat calling out for spirit interaction for around 15 minutes, before a second group came to the ‘bottom’ of the stairwell. It was then that we captured the following chain of events:
Event 1: Tone indicates a 5°C reduction in temperature from the baseline (i.e. temperature rapidly drops from 16°C to 11°C)
Event 2: Tone indicates movement and/or vibration directly around the Mel. Note, we haven’t moved at this point and that everyone is on the floor below where the Mel is positioned
At this point, one of our investigators becomes a little anxious (!) and we stand and spin to focus on the Mel…
Event 3: Tone indicates a second (and longer duration) 5°C reduction in temperature from the baseline (i.e. temperature again rapidly drops from 16C to 11°C)
Event 4: Tone indicates movement and/or vibration directly around the Mel. Note, whilst we have now moved position, we are standing relatively still at this point in time – and are certainly not moving enough to trigger the Mel's vibration alarm (based on our earlier, and indeed later tests).
I find it very difficult to rationalise these events, certainly Events 1 to 3, as there is no way (as you’ll see in the video) that we could have triggered these Mel events. Indeed, I’m also confident that Event 4 could not be us (but I’ll leave that open to debate).
We tried for a long while after to debunk these events, but even the most hardened sceptics amongst our group were unable to offer a full rational explanation. Had the temperature gone up, it could be argued that Events 1 and 3 were caused by our body heat rising within the stairwell…. but the temperature had gone down and no draughts were present.
There is a theory that when ghosts/spirits attempt to manifest/interact with a physical object, they pull energy from the atmosphere creating what is commonly referred to as a ‘cold-spot’ (think of it as reverse fusion if you like). Could it be that a spirit did exactly this, creating a brief ‘cold-spot’ around the Mel in order to then touch/move/walk past it? Did our investigators fear then provide another burst of energy, enough for it to repeat the exercise, this time for a more sustained period?
I’ll end with an ancillary note to this evidence (also shown in the video), which is perhaps even more perplexing. This occurred about an hour after the above commotion, after all devices had been repositioned and reset, and we had descended to the stairwell en masse to see if we would experience more activity.
This time we were attempting torch communication, when I gave a direct request for any ‘entity’ present to switch the torch off, and do what it had done previously (interact with the Mel). Again worthy of note is that this was my first (and only) request for it to do so. At that point (and it should be noted that the torch failed to respond) the Mel triggered once again and we registered an even greater temperature drop.
After careful analysis, I can confirm that the Tones you hear indicate a 6°C reduction in temperature from the baseline, which then flits between a 6°C / 7°C reduction in temperature (i.e. temperature rapidly drops straight to 10°C and teeters between 10°C & 9°C a few times, before immediately jumping back up to ambient temperature).
If this was just natural air-cooling or a draught (of which there were none), why would it miss the 5°C deviation Tone and go straight to 6/7°C… and then why would it just as quickly go back up to 16°C (we checked shortly after)? Also, would a natural temperature change be so coincidental as to coincide precisely with my request? I’m a sceptic, but this has even me questioning if there really might be something in all this.
And so I end my mammoth Personal Experience. For anyone who has read this far, I thank you… you clearly have an interest in the detail behind the experience, rather than just a disposable ‘snap-shot’ of time (the video), which will only ever tell half the story. That said; our videos do rock huh!
Ultimately only you can decide …is it Real Or Otherside?
If you have any questions or comments on the above analysis, or the methodology employed, please feel free to post a comment below or contact us directly using our feedback form by clicking here.