Where have I been?
Transcript Where have I been?
My Life in Ghost “hunting”
By Dr.Paul Lee
WHO AM I?
• 33 years old, born on Hallowe’en
• BSc in Physics from Southampton
• PhD in Nuclear Physics from York
• Currently works as a software
engineer for a large
Worldwide Systems Company
• Life-long interest in ghosts, Forteana and the paranormal
• Was a believer in psychic ability, now very sceptical!
Where have I been?
•Nearly 30 cases since
the mid 1990s
•Cases range from the
Edinburgh Vaults to
•I would like to go on
more cases but the
“Most Haunted” effect
is making it difficult!
Basic Principle of Vigils
• Sit in the dark, waiting for things to happen
• Make a note of events (sounds etc.) heard by different teams to
eliminate non-paranormal events afterward.
• Obvious drawbacks- very boring and very fruitless
• Some researchers have little or nothing to show for decades
worth of patience
• Humans are very poor observers and data gatherers- many teams
use video cameras etc.
• Some “Most Haunted wannabee” groups are medium-led, for
instance “The UK Ghost Investigators”
Run by Heidi Graham and Alan Smallwood, after Heidi’s previous
partner had been ousted.
Orb obsessed, medium-centric group
Very much a “I’m Psychic, and you’re not so you I’m
right and you’re wrong so you
will do what I say” foot-stamping group: don’t
really investigate ghosts; just rely on the uncorroborated
rantings of the psychics.
A disgruntled member writes…..
“A few years ago [the UKGI] a vigil at Bowden house so I joined their website "family"
& put my name on the list to attend, David from *** also put his name on the list to go
as did another member who put her name down (‘S’) but by that time all the places
As the date approached my girlfriend at the time came down to visit me from
Worcester so I pulled out of the vigil & let ‘S’ take my place instead.
‘S’ is a girl who suffered from a stroke when she was 19 which affected her badly
(When we first met her she was on 2 crutches, which then went to 1 & now she's ok),
she is also a medium. ‘S’ had told the UKGI members that she had had a stroke.
All was going well with their vigil until Heidi turned around to ‘S’ & told her that there
was an evil presence following her around & that it was her grandfather (Who had
passed over) that had caused her to have her stroke as a sign that there was an
This freaked Sammy out to the point she was crying, David found her stood in the
kitchen area upset so enquired what was wrong so she told him, that p*ssed him off.
The following Monday they relayed this to the rest of the group so I went onto their
website to tell them what went on & how twisted Heidi was, my message was deleted &
Heidi phoned me up at my house & told me she didn't appreciate what I'd written &
then tried denying all that went on with ‘S’ & spent 5 minutes telling me how she loved
‘S’ to bits!”
“Psychic jealousy? Worried about stealing the limelight?”
Beaulieu Abbey, Hampshire, March 2003
Alan Smallwood excitedly proclaiming “That’s an apparition!” while
watching strange shadows on a night-shot time lapse digital video camera
I was watching the same scene through my simple hand-held night vision
I saw no such shadows. Therefore, this must have been a camera artefact.
UKGI ignored this in favour of phantom monks.
Farnham Castle, June 2003
•My third and last “investigation”
•More rubbish from a trio of
psychics feeding off
- and trying to out-do each other
•No regard for scientific – or
Common sense ideas: e.g camera
Flashes going off constantly to
Catch “orbs” destroy night
When I brought my feelings to the UKGI’s attention,
I was banned from their group!
Clerkenwell House of Detention, May 1999
• Organised by the Ghost Club.
• The investigation organiser’s
idea of “equipment” were just
thermometers - not a good start!
• The proceedings were dominated
by a very unconvincing “psychic”
who liked to be the centre of
attention….a trick she pulled in
October at Charlton House when
she tried to convince us that
fireworks were “spirit raps” – this
was 8 days before November 5th!
• I was eventually to leave the Ghost Club due to unfair pricing
policies practised by the club.
Many groups seem to be a device for feeding the ego of the
For instance, one group that touts its “scientific research”
has, it is said, provided free trips to the US for mediums.
ie. Not people with a scientific background, or with
internationally recognised qualified research credentials.
Talking of mediums and psychics….
Most of their information is either confirmed by historical
accounts….or can’t be corroborated at all! So why use
mediums? What good is the information they provide?
Some thoughts about recent ghost hunts
There is a very high level of credulous buffoonery
Lack of technical knowledge and ignorance leads to embarrassing and
easily debunked theories e.g. “Orbs”
“Most Haunted” has launched dozens of clones:
these are either wannabees, who copy the format, or
groups who are trying to make money out of ghosthunting (such as Ghosts-UK).
Venues that either charged little or nothing for access now
charge a fortune (e.g. The Ram Inn near Bristol was once free:
now it is £40 per person).
Most groups are thrill seekers with no intention of furthering
the field of study: such groups dilute ghost cases and force out
genuine researchers, like ASSAP, the SPR etc.
• Orbs are commonly thought of as only appearing on digital
cameras (ie since the mid 1990s)
• They have been appearing on film well before that though!
• So, why so many orbs photos in the last few years?
• Digital cameras enable you to take dozens of pictures – and
instantly view and delete the ones you don’t want. I have seen
this happen! Non-orb pictures tend to get deleted…
• Camera manufacturers (Canon et al) have stated that orbs are
minute particles close to the lens; dust, water vapour, hair etc.
- they even provide information on how to get rid of orbs from photos
• But…..most paranormal “experts” dismiss this, but then again, they
aren’t necessarily experts in photography.
• If paranormal enthusiasts don’t agree with the dust orb theory,
then it is up to them to provide an alternative.
• …. On the proviso that such theories can be tested.
• It is simply not good enough to come up with bald statements,
such as “orbs are the first stage of a spirit manifestation.”
• How do they know this? Has anyone seen this happen? And
why has no-one seen the second stage of a spirit manifestation
from an orb?
What about the claim that orbs obey instructions etc.?
Does anyone remember Jaytee the dog, shown on Paul McKenna’s
“World of the Paranormal” TV series in the 1990s?
This was a dog that was alleged to have psychic abilities and knew
when her master was returning home by running to the window.
“The dog is psychic” proclaimed McKenna at the end.
But only by selective use of footage! When all the footage is viewed,
the dog’s reactions can be determined to be random.
The same situation exists with orbs – by only dealing with a few
selected examples, any theory can be proven. But suppressing the
evidence that you don’t like is tantamount to fraud – and serves to
• Ghost hunts are a useless way of gathering paranormal data:
the amateur groups lack funding, expertise or experience
(especially in technical matters).
• I view ghost hunts as good social occasions these days.
• I have not encountered one single definite unexplainable event
since becoming an active investigator – just loads of bafflegab
• However, when things do happen, it almost always happens when the
observers are in a relaxed, or distracted frame of mind
The maxim practised by a lot of paranormal enthusiasts is:
“Why settle for a rational, mundane explanation when a
paranormal one will suffice?”
Two important Rules of Thumb I Always Remember
“Never attempt to explain one mystery by invoking another”
-”Bord’s Law” (after Janet
And Colin Bord, Forteana
“If something seems mundane or rational….then it probably is”
- “Lee’s Law” (coined by me)
“There is a huge difference between open
minded and being credulous”
So, why isn’t gathering subjective, random,
one-off data considering scientific?
What does happen:
What should happen:
2.Design and perform
3.Does Theory Match
NB: some groups do repeat sessions at
the same venue for “repeatable” results, e.g
Dr.Braithewaite at Muncaster Castle
Given “evidence”, how does one work backwards
to a theory?
NB: Results should be repeatable!
Some observational sciences (eg Astronomy) follow this loop: observe – theorise - compare
So, what about the future……..?
• I am not aware of any Universities or REPUTABLE institutions
performing research into spontaneous cases.
• For the foreseeable future, all “research” will be performed by
amateur groups – with their own agendas (e.g. suspicions regarding
the use of technology etc.)
• I find the reliance on human senses to be unconvincing
• I have been advocating a completely computer driven data
gathering system for years, to remove fallible human senses
“from the loop”.
• No luck as yet though!
Contact me via my website ( http://www.paullee.com )
- more of my ghost writings can be found there.
Read about your favourite psychics cheating, and more
fraud in the paranormal world at http://www.badpsychics.co.uk