In a break from tradition of us performing an investigation, reviewing the evidence, producing a video and then posting our findings we thought that, seeing as we had such a great time at the event, it would be a nice idea to write a diary style post for the website detailing the events of the YHA/FPI Paranormal Weekend at St.Briavels Castle in the Forest Of Dean.
The event ran from 7pm on Friday 15th until around 11am on Sunday 17th March and involved investigations on both nights as well as presentations, activities and a medieval banquet on the Saturday.
The weekend was organised by the YHA, the owners of the castle, and was hosted by FPI (Forest Paranormal Investigations) who you may have seen on Living TVs Great British Ghosts.
We had investigated with FPI on two previous occasions and the two teams seem to have "hit it off" so when they asked us to be the VIP guest team at the St.Briavels weekend we didn't hesitate to accept.
We will of course be reviewing all of the footage from the investigations, across the two nights, so keep checking the website to see the evidence but, for the time being, please check out the rest of the article for an insight in to some of the weekends highlights.
THE HOSTS: FPI (FOREST PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONS)
We have now investigated with FPI on 3 occasions, including the paranormal weekend event we are discussing here, and I think it is safe to say that each time the bond between them and us becomes stronger? FPI comprises Tim, Adam, Vicki, Paula and Mark and all of them bring something to the team and their own individual personalities. As a team they always remain grounded, objectional and look for a reasonable explanation for activity instead of jumping to conclusions – very much like us. This is a team of genuinely nice people and there are no pretenses with them. Everything they are doing is with the goal of progressing the field of paranormal research and to try and unite everyone in the paranormal community to assist that progress.
We look forward to working with them again in the future and we have already discussed some interesting collaboration ideas which we hope will come to fruition and allow both teams to investigate some more scientific areas of study.
If anyone from FPI is reading this, and of course they will be (!), we just want to say we value and respect what FPI are doing for paranormal research and the paranormal community as a whole. Keep doing what you're doing guys – you're all awesome!
THE ORGANISERS: YHA
As we mentioned at the top of the article the paranormal weekend at St.Briavels Castle was an official event, planned and organised by the YHA themselves.
Stuart, the Activity Manager for the YHA, was on site for the whole weekend and even took part in the night time investigations. He was extremely professional but remained approachable and helpful in relation to the whole weekend and was also extremely knowledgeable about the castle and its history.
Over the course of the weekend Stuart and all of the staff at the castle showed their professionalism and ensured the weekend ran without a hitch from serving breakfasts, packed lunches and a medieval banquet right up to making sure all of the necessary equipment and access was availble for the presentations and investigations.
We look forward to working together with Stuart, and the staff at the YHA, again and we already have some plans in the pipeline that we hope will make this a reality.
FRIDAY 15TH MARCH
The weekend kicked off at 7pm on Friday 15th March 2013 with all of the guests being registered and then taken around the castle by Stuart for a guided/historical tour. After the tour everyone reconvened in King Johns Hall where FPI gave a presentation about their group, methodologies etc and Rick from Real Or Otherside gave a small introduction about our group.
Once the formalities were completed all of the guests were broken down in to smaller groups. Each group was rotated around the investigators from FPI, with Real Or Otherside also taking a group, as well as the investigators being rotated around the rooms – trust us it works and does make sense! This method of investigating ensured that all guests got to investigate all of the majorly haunted rooms/areas of the castle and that they also experienced different investigation styles/techniques from both FPI and Real Or Otherside.
After the investigations were completed the guests were allowed to either remain in their groups, or form new groups, and have free time around the castle to perform their own investigations.
At around 5am we decided to call it a night after some successful investigations, and activity, so everyone could get some shut eye and be wide awake and refreshed for the following days activities.
SATURDAY 16TH MARCH
After spending the night in one of the most haunted rooms at the castle, the Oubliette Room, we woke to a hearty breakfast served up by the staff at the YHA.
As there was some time before the presentations began at 13:30pm guests were allowed time to either relax, wander round the castle or head out to some of the neighbouring sites to take a look around before congregating back in the Chapel.
Once everyone had arrived back at the castle the presentations began and first up was Colin Graham who was giving a talk on crop formations. Now, I am sure we all have our own opinions on crop circles, as we all do with the paranormal, but Colin really brought the subject to life and you could clearly see his passion for what he is doing. That enthusiasm, and fascinating pictures of some of the crop formations he has photographed from the air, made it a thoroughly enjoyable hour. We were lucky enough to be able to talk to Colin after his presentation and he is a really nice guy.
The second presentation was from Donald Macer-Wright about Littledean Hall in the Forest Of Dean. Donald lived in the hall for many years and has written a book, titled the Hauntings Of Littledean Hall, which documents both his and others paranormal experiences within the building. Again, this was a fascinating presentation which really brought the building and its history to life. Real Or Otherside were intrigued by the accounts of the paranormal at Littledean Hall and would love to be able to investigate there some day.
The third presentation was given by us, Real Or Otherside, where we covered such topics as who we are, how we came to be, how we review and present evidence and how we also try to debunk activity. The feedback we received about the presentation was extremely positive and we would just like to thank everyone for taking the time to listen to us, for taking part in the interactive elements and for asking questions.
After a short break in proceedings, for those that wanted to watch the England v Wales rugby match, we moved in to the evenings festivities – the medieval banquet!
This was a great chance for everyone to meet up before the evenings investigations and enjoy a fantastic 3 course dinner prepared by the YHA staff. It was a great meal with much merriment to be had and everyone getting involved which really set us up for the investigations to follow.
The second night of investigations was much more "free roaming" with groups heading off and performing their own vigils in organised rooms. Both FPI and Real Or Otherside spent time giving people advice on equipment, both ours and theirs, as well as moving around the building and getting involved in vigils with other groups. This was a great experience for us and we hoped the teams we joined also managed to get some value out of it?
With everyone begin to flag around 3am we decided to hold one last vigil in the Old Kitchen to see what activity might occur then all retreated to bed for a, relatively, early night.
SUNDAY 17TH MARCH
As you would expect everyone was feeling a little jaded after 2 full nights of investigation so, after another hearty breakfast and discussions, the building was closed to the spirits we had been trying to communicate with and everyone packed up their belongings. We all then said our goodbyes and headed home for some well earned rest!
I know from the feedback we received personally and from the forms people filled in that the event was a great success. There are always elements that will need to be tweaked but credit must go to everyone at the YHA and FPI for all of the hard work they put in to organise the event and ensure it ran so smoothly.
We would just like to say thank you to everyone who was involved with the weekend including:
- Stuart from the YHA and all of the staff from the castle for making the event so easy and their excellent organisation. The service and food were excellent.
- Adam, Tim, Paula, Vicki and Mark from FPI. We have said it time and again but you are an awesome group and we can't wait to work with you all again.
- Colin Graham and Donald Macer-Wright for giving great presentations and getting people interested in both crop formations and Littledean Hall respectively
- All of the groups and guests that attended including, but not limited to, Vortex Paranormal, Kent Ghost Seekers, Northwich Paranormal and Katrina – who has been on every single one of our "open" investigations … impressive!
Until we all meet again then happy hunting everyone … is it Real Or Otherside?