You may or may not be a believer in the Paranormal and you may never have experienced a paranormal event first hand, but the chances are you know a local legend or two.
Ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, apparitions, voices from beyond the grave...Interested? So were we when last week, Greenwich Theatre called in the city's Ghost Busters, The London Paranormal Society (LPS), to help them set up a seance right in their theatre (click here). Sightings of The Grey Lady and other incidences had prompted the vigile and all had one question in mind, "Could Greenwich Theatre be haunted?"
According to Ian Shillitto, Director of the London Paranormal Society and a paranormal investigator, who states on his website that "over the past few years 80% of the population now believe in a possible afterlife. Spirituality and psychic awareness has become main stream in many areas of our lives. With the arrival of Mind, Body and Spirit, the word has been spread very liberally throughout society. It's just as commonplace to pay a visit to a psychic, as it is to visit any of the other alternative therapies".
The Greenwich Gazette called up Ian who is not only a celebrity in his own right and has made several TV appearances but is a genuinely pleasant man who passionately loves what he does. Although extremely busy (between workshops, ghostly encounters and dashing from one investigation to the other), he found the time to answer a few of our questions.
GG: Did the seance uncover paranormal activity at the Greenwich Theatre? Ghosts maybe?
Ian Shillitto: The séance is only a part of the 7 hour investigation, we held one large séance on stage and several smaller ones throughout the night. The greatest discovery was a character called John who was witness to a massive fire in the building. Amazingly this information was independently picked up in three groups at the same time. It was later confirmed by the theatre manager, that a large fire did take place after a bomb explosion in WWII. However, John could not be accounted for – many of the theatre's archives were lost in the fire. John was also said to be responsible of the activity in the Wardrobe dept. We all experienced a table vibrate, shake and then move across the room. Much to peoples' excitement. We also tuned into medieval Greenwich and made links to monks, dissolution of the monasteries, religious conflict and marshland – most of which was later validated in Greenwich’s history.
GG: Did you make contact with the Grey Lady and does she exist at all? What's her story?
Ian: The Grey Lady has been seen in the auditorium, and interestingly most of the phenomena we experienced also happened here. No names as to the lady apart from [that] she worked in the building, possibly as a singer and was not of English descent. She died of a broken heart. We had several EMF fluctuations around the area and heard various auditory phenomena.
GG: What was the attendance like? and did you encounter any troubles on the night?
Ian: The attendance was great and we all splintered off into three groups led by our team leaders and investigators.The guests get the chance to be pro-active in our vigils and use our gadgets for recording base line tests and monitoring activity throughout the night.
GG: What is your personal assessment of the situation as a professional? And how would you advise people to deal with the findings?
Ian: I would say, to the future client - "Come along to one of our vigils and discover the paranormal ghost hunt yourself.” We are holding one event per month and several around Halloween. Our next big London event is at The Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell. This location was one of the largest courthouses in England and is said to be a hot bed of poltergeist activity and apparitions have been seen. All bookings or information is on our site.
GG: Any plans to revisit Greenwich Theatre for another seance?
Ian: We have been asked back to the theatre, and I will probably add it to our 2008 schedule.
So what do we make of it all, and how do we go about the findings from a personal perspective? I think that Ian sums it up perfectly when he states on his site, "The best way to react is to keep an open mind. Accept what you are given and if you don't agree, let it go. It doesn't matter."