After 19 months of “officially” being a paranormal investigator with Real Or Otherside, I have been having constant nagging thoughts in my head about writing a post for the website about where we have been, what we have done, what we have seen etc.

The intention was there but I could never decide how to write or approach the subject or content matter. So I decided to open up Word (other word processing packages are available), start typing and see what came out … so here it goes!

When Rick and I started on this journey it was because we had both had paranormal/unexplained experiences when we were younger and were regularly tuned to the current batch of “paranormal” TV shows. We decided we wanted to go out there and prove to ourselves that ghosts, spirits, entities, or whatever you want to call them, really exist. As a child I had always had an interest in the paranormal/unexplained and this, I thought, would be a natural continuation.

Had anyone other than Rick approached me about starting up an investigation group then I am not sure I would have accepted. For me I had to be able to trust, 100%, the person I would be doing this with and, as I have known Rick for over 13 years, I knew if anything happened on location it wouldn’t be him faking things!

I won’t recount Rick’s experiences here, as that is for him to do if he ever wants to, but for me I had three “interesting” events growing up.

  1. Seeing multiple figures of light coming out of the bathroom, following the lines of the wall and then heading, out of sight, down the stairs!

  2. Hearing breathing in my bedroom even though I was the only one in there at the time. I remember even holding my breath to make sure it wasn’t me!

  3. Recurring dreams with the same ghost appearing in 2 variations. The first was that I would be sat in my brothers’ room talking to him and the ghost would appear at the other end of the stairs landing outside of the bathroom. The second was that I would be sat in our lounge, at the bottom of the stairs, and the ghost would appear at the top of the stairs. I would be unable to move or speak as the apparition just stood there looking at me.

Even now, all these years later, writing about those dreams still gives me goose bumps! I also had other dreams about ghosts but these 2 always seemed to be recurring. I still dream about ghosts now, which you would perhaps expect considering what I do, but since I moved out of my childhood home I have never had those dreams again!

As a child these were all very frightening but with an experienced head on my shoulders I can look back now and think:

  • Perhaps the lights were my eyes playing tricks as I had not long woken up?

  • The breathing in my bedroom could have been vibration/sound travelling from someone else in the house?

As for the ghost on the landing/stairs then I don’t really have an explanation. When did these dreams start? Was it before or after I saw the lights on the stairs so was it something sub-conscious about that experience? Who knows!

Interestingly though, and I didn’t know this until after I moved out of the house, was that my brother, on more than one occasion, told my mum he had seen someone stood at the bottom of his bed – coincidence?

With these experiences in mind Rick and I started out as Real Or Otherside, or ROOPR in the very early days, as “open minded sceptics.” This is how we approach all of our investigations and this, coupled with our love for anything gadget related, has a significant bearing on the methods we use. We like to be able to record hard proof, which is how we present our evidence, but it doesn’t mean we are so closed minded to not try, or appreciate other methods.

What took me by surprise though was how quickly you become, as an investigator, so blasé about the things that happen on investigations. The first time the torch turns on or you hear a knock/moan from the corner of the room – if you could bottle that feeling you would be a millionaire. For me though, and I am not saying this is the same for all paranormal investigators, I found myself becoming more cynical about the things we were capturing and the reasoning behind them. It became almost too easy to pass them off as a faulty camcorder, someone else in the room or a torch expanding and contracting.

Those that investigate on a regular basis will know the time where you actually have potential paranormal activity occurring can be very limited over the course of an investigation. You could potentially be on location for 7/8 hours and have nothing happen at all! When you get in to a run of locations where this is constantly happening then sometimes the “shine” can be taken off what you are doing and you forget the reason why you are doing it.

Then the self-doubt kicks in. Are you doing something wrong? Are you calling out in the wrong way? Should we be using other pieces of equipment? Perhaps we are using the wrong equipment in the wrong room? Why have other groups/investigators had loads of activity here and we have had none – do the spirits not like us!

This may seem a rather obvious statement but a person’s own beliefs have an immediate effect on what they are willing to comprehend/believe is paranormal – let me explain.

At this moment in time I do not believe there is a God and that, if ghosts/spirits do exist, they are not necessarily people who have passed over coming back to talk to us. I think there might be a more scientific explanation!

So, surely I will take more convincing that something is a ghost, spirit or paranormal than somebody who believes that god exists, there is an afterlife or believes they have the ability to talk to spirits or channel a spirits thoughts/actions?

Billions (estimated figure) of people have died since the beginning of time. With all of the groups that are out there investigating across the world why has no-one found, or captured, definitive proof of the existence of ghosts?

I know people who have spiritual friends or relatives that believed in the existence of ghosts and/or an afterlife when they were alive so surely these would be the type of people that would make a point, when they passed over, of coming back to say “Yes there is a life after death and here I am … look at me … take a photo or catch me on film?”

Why wouldn’t they make a point of coming back and, knowing everyone on this side of existence wants to know the answer, make a point of letting you know they are there or record them?

I know some people will be reading this now and saying to themselves “Well, perhaps you aren’t allowed to talk/interfere with the living when you have passed over” or “They have no concept of time on the other side so they may never get back in your lifetime.” Whatever you may be thinking in your own mind is valid but, as I outlined above, these surely hinge on your own belief system? How can you come up with these rational when you have no first-hand experience of them?

I suppose what I am trying to say is that a believer needs no proof but a sceptic can never have enough proof. If Rick and I were to see a ghost in front of us, talk to it, capture it on video, upload it to YouTube and say we have captured a ghost who would believe us? Would a believer be more inclined to say “There is proof” but a non-believer/sceptic say “It’s faked?”

Of course Rick and I would know and it would 100% make us believe but would anyone else irrespective of what we captured?

As an open minded sceptic this can, of course, work in reverse.

I don’t think I would be speaking out of turn when I say that Rick and I do not class orbs or faces in pictures as paranormal. There are too many factors, especially with digital cameras, that can affect what is produced in a photograph and, depending on how well you know your camera, factors such as flash, exposure, lighting can cause an anomaly to appear. I also think Pareidolia, my favourite word, is massively underestimated when looking at captured images and, even in some instances, video.

But are we also too quick to dismiss this kind of evidence because of our own belief system?

As I continue down the paranormal road, and look back at where we have been, I think I am no further forward than when we started. I don’t think I have answered any of the questions I originally came in to this with and, if anything, I have more than when I started!

My explanation for the paranormal is still the same as it was when we started but is not something I want to put down in writing here – perhaps that will be for my next post!

I have had experiences in locations around the UK that I have not been able to explain. They have the potential to have been paranormal, and we have used logic to try and debunk them without success, but they also have the potential to have been caused by environmental or personal feelings. One of the locations we have since been back to and I didn’t feel anything, although other activity did occur in the same spot – were those experiences just me?

I truly hope to be proved wrong one day and, if that happens, I will be a believer. For now though I will continue to investigate as many “haunted” locations as I can as Real Or Otherside and show everyone, via our evidence videos, what we cannot explain.

I may not have seen a ghost yet but it certainly won’t stop me searching for them! J


  • https://sites.google.com/site/bspriblog/Downhome Mark (BSPRI)

    Mike, It’s funny how we start out as wanting to believe and become more and more sceptical with time. It doesn’t stop us enjoying the experience when something unusual happens though. We also get to see some amazing places!