The archive area of the Forfar Dispatch office in Castle Street has always had a spooky atmosphere but, with activity seemingly on the increase, members of staff began to look for help with the problem.
Local author Forbes Inglis, whose book Phantoms and Fairies deals with paranormal activity throughout Angus and Dundee, suggested a reputable ghost investigation group from the Ghost Club.
Forbes had dealt with the group before when they investigated the Montrose Air Base and the House of Dun a few years ago and he gave them a high recommendation for taking their role seriously while maintaining a healthy dose of scepticism.
The Ghost Club, which was founded in 1862, is the oldest organisation in the world associated with psychical research and aims to investigate paranormal phenomena.
Celebrating its 150th year The Ghost Club began its life in London with Charles Dickens among its early members. The group began as it meant to go on by undertaking investigations of the paranormal and discussing ghosts and other matters.
In the following years many more well known names came to be associated with the club such as W. B. Yeats and Frederick Bligh Bond.
However, it was not until the 1930s when Harry Price, a world famous psychic researcher, joined that the Ghost Club began to adopt the scientific methods it uses today.
The investigation group which joined us at the Dispatch office on the night of Saturday, June 9 is based in Scotland but members came from as far afield as Cumbria to witness the phenomena.
Arriving at around 5.30pm the group chose our editorial department as their base room and investigation team leader Derek Green took a quick tour of the building to have a look at the areas most in need of investigation.
While the back of the building including our meeting room and archives is where most people have experienced some form of paranormal activity the reception area has also experienced some phenomena.
Ten investigators made up the group and were joined by Forbes and Dispatch staff Trudy Lindsay and myself, Sarah McLean. It was decided by Derek that they would all stick together for the initial part of the evening.
The investigation began at 6.30pm in the meeting room where a number of base readings were taken including temperature and the electromagnetic field (EMF). After just a few minutes it was clear that this was going to be an eventful meeting.
While sitting quietly group member Stephanie felt the sensation of cobwebs covering her face and shoulders and she spent a good few minutes trying to get rid of the feeling.
This was not to be the end of her troubles as, just moments later, she felt the back of her T-shirt being pulled not once, not twice, but three times. On the third time staff member Trudy actually saw the fabric being tugged.
In this room group medium Lynn began to pick up on some shadows of the past. Without knowing anything about the history of the building previous to the visit Lynn began to accurately describe the kind of environment, machinery and uniform that may have been present in the early 1900s Post Office.
Lynn also picked up on a man who she described as an “absolute menace”. She said that he was present among the other workers even though he was no longer a part of the workforce and there was something manic in the way he was laughing.
It was at this time the first of the ghostly knocks of the evening were heard. Group member Joan asked for the spirits to give some form of indication they were there and, although her request went unheeded a number of times, there soon came some sort of response from directly above the meeting room in ‘Room 39’.
Derek then took this opportunity to suggest that the group make their way upstairs to ‘Room 39’ as this was where the noises seemed to be coming from.
Upon reaching the room some group members complained of a breathlessness in the area which has also been felt by some staff members.
Here Lynn picked up on the feeling that things were thrown around the floor in this room (see story on page 18) and it had been going on for some time. She also wondered if perhaps there had been a small fire in that area of the building at some point.
It was at this point that Derek, who was making observations of the entire second floor, rushed down to the first level. He said that he had heard a shuffling coming from directly below where he was standing. Derek was joined downstairs by team member Andy who said that he had tried to take a picture but his camera had failed to work near where the noise originated from. It was interesting to note that this has also happened to staff members attempting to take pictures in the same area.
Upon going back up stairs to the investigation staff member Trudy and I opted to stay in the corridor outside of ‘Room 42’ to wait for the investigators to finish. It was while we were waiting we both heard the noise of something being dragged across the floor on the level below. Not brave enough to venture downstairs ourselves we called out to Andy and Lynn who were quick to have a look.
Both investigators were drawn to the small room which was recently uncovered and it here Andy felt a forceful hand pushing him back. It was decided by Derek that they should try a ‘circle’ in the room and conduct a seance to see if any contact could be made. Unfortunately the seance had to be cut short at this point as Joan became overwhelmed by an unseen force. All agreed that it was time for a break.
By the time the investigation re-started darkness had started to fall and the archive was even creepier than usual. Derek took the opportunity to take some EVP recordings by asking a series of questions of the spirits. Although we don’t know if there were any replies yet it is hoped that something will come of this in Derek’s official report.
During the recordings the knocking and other unexplained noises continued to come from all around, mostly in the downstairs area and the small box rooms in the upstairs corridor.
At this point Derek and fellow investigator Marco took the opportunity to tell Trudy, Forbes and I what they had discovered from their second seance.
It seems that the entity that dominates the once hidden room on the first level is not a pleasant one. He doesn’t like people - especially women and children - which could go some way to explaining why it is women who feel so unwelcome in the archive area. Marco had also picked up that he felt the man had some sort of disfigurement which had caused children to laugh at him while he was alive. It should be noted at this point that some group members had heard a child’s laughter in the upstairs rooms.
They had also picked up on the fact that something had happened in the area even before the building was even there - something which had also been noted by Laurie, the medium who had visited last year.
The investigation was rounded off with a vigil at the front of the building, first in the reception and then on the staircase leading to the first floor. Although nothing of note happened in the reception area, spirit lights were noted by group member Bob inside a cupboard on the staircase.
The investigation confirmed many of the things which staff members have suspected for some time and it was fascinating to watch the team at work.
In fact Derek claims that our offices provided them with one of their most interesting investigations yet - and they have conducted over 50 in Scotland alone!
We are hoping to receive the offical report from Derek in the near future and we will be sure to let readers know the findings.
If you have any ghostly tales to share let us know via our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/forfar_dispatch