IN June, the Forfar Dispatch welcomed members of The Ghost Club UK to our Castle Street base for an investigation into some paranormal activity.
Since then members of the public have got in touch to tell us their own experiences both in the building itself and in Castle Street.
Reader Diane Shaw shared the following story with us: “I too have had many experiences of spooky goings on whilst I lived in Castle Street.
“It wouldn’t be fair to say where, as there are people living there, but my encounters happened forty years ago and are still as fresh in my mind as when they happened.
“It was a very old house and my boys were asleep in the downstairs bedroom. I was working on a large oil painting in a room close by as I could hear their muffles and turning in bed. I used to work late as my husband was working abroad and it filled the empty hours. The occasional traffic on the street was the only noise.
“I decided to have a break and make a cup of tea. The kitchen was down a short passage and faced the ‘painting room’.
“After I had switched the kettle on, and I don’t know to this day why, I turned to look back at the room. As I did, the figure of an elderly woman took shape. She was wearing a stiff bonnet similar to those worn by the Salvation Army ladies, had wispy grey hair which looked straggly. She wore a greyish-navy rough woollen dress with a woollen shawl, She was holding a wicker shopping basket and was not, I noticed standing on the floor but about a foot above it.
“Fortunately she was not looking at me but towards the window. I was transfixed and became aware that the room I was in was engulfed in steam as the kettle continued to boil. We didn’t have an automatic one then. I turned to switch it off and when I turned back she had gone.”
Diane has not been the only person to get in touch. Lisa Brooks knew our building when it was the Jehova Witness Kingdom Hall - long before it became your local newspaper office. Lisa said: “I was just a child at the time, about 10 years old or so, when I encountered something in one of the rooms [in our archive area where most of the activity has taken place].
“The Witnesses were putting on a meal in the hall, which they hadn’t done before,. I don’t remember this but apparently I started screaming my head off.
“I told my mum, and others there at the time, that I’d seen a big, ugly, deformed head in the corner. This is definitely not something I would have made up.”
Lisa also recalled something about the cupboard where The Ghost Club members found a great deal of activity. She said: “There was a giant safe at the back of the room and I always felt there was a strange atmosphere there. It never bothered my brother but I was terrified of it.”
Upon hearing Lisa’s story staff members were particularly interested to hear that as a female she never felt welcome in that area of the building - something many of our female staff members, and Ghost Club investigators, have also picked up on.
Since hearing from the public we have receieved the official investigation report from Derek Green, investigations officer of The Ghost Club.
In his summary of the investigation, Derek Green, said: “The investigation was a very interesting one indeed as it had auditory phenomena, physical phenomena, possible sightings and good clairvoyance from our mediums.
“There are quite a number of points which I would like to mention.
“In Room 42, on vigil three, there was an EMF reading of 0-0mG - I was informed that on this floor there was basically very little electricity if any, as no lights worked.
“The second floor had Room 39 at one end and Room 42 at the other with a landing and stair in the middle. It was in the bottom end room that the meter went off the scale registering 10mG and the noise from it could only be described as sounding like a siren. I have never experienced this before and to be honest the reading was constant but moving around the room.
“I have no idea what caused this but the meter reading died as mysteriously as it started.
“I also have to mention the experiences of team members being touched. Stephanie and Dave both felt different areas of their bodies being touched to the extent that Dave felt his legs near the knee being grabbed.
“I would also like to mention that when I myself was stopped from entering the double door cupboard I very clearly felt that it was a hand on my chest stopping me.
“I also find the possible sightings of interest as well. At different times through the night there does appear to have been sightings of what we will call ‘shadow people’.”
He added: “I would like to conclude this report by saying that I do believe that there is something in the building and I know that the staff have experienced the following: feelings of breathlessness, feelings of being touched on the back of the neck, sightings of shadow people, a door at the foot of the stairs being slammed shut, door handles being moved, camera equipment not working and music from a child’s toy being heard.”
Almost all of these phenomena were experienced by the investigation team.
Derek concluded: “I would like to return to the Forfar Dispatch building to conduct further research into the alleged haunting.
“In truth, paranormal investigators will always remain fairly sceptical regarding alleged hauntings and we always want to see more and more and more before we will agree to the subject of the existence of ghosts.
“I will bite the bullet though and say I am fairly convinced that there is something at 117-119 Castle Street, Forfar, home of the offices of the Forfar Dispatch and worth further investigation.”