If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood ... Who you gonna call?
The ghost hunters
YOU might think this is when the haunter becomes the hunted but Tricia J Robertson, author of Things To Do When You’re Dead, doesn’t like the word “haunting”. That’s not because she doesn’t believe the spirit world is real however.
Robertson, who for a decade worked alongside the late Professor Archie Roy, founder member of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research (known as Glasgow’s Ghostbuster), is fascinated by the idea that the human consciousness can appear in the physical world after death.
“Sometimes what you find is the residue of someone in a house, the essence of consciousness, which is not airy-fairy and nothing to do with religion but someone who has passed over but wants you to know they are okay,” she says. Robertson, who has also reported on a six-year-old Scottish boy claiming to remember a previous life, has visited dozens of families at home – investigating strange phenomena such as moving vases and music blaring out of nowhere – to offer explanation and reassurance at which point, she claims, the “hauntings” usually stop. “It’s not like the ghost shows on TV,” she says. “Those are just for entertainment. But there is a wealth of evidence that when you die you don’t simply disappear.” Older apparitions such as those found in castles are different, she claims. “It is just an image of something that has happened in the past,” she adds. “They are usually found somewhere with a negative emotion and it’s like an old memory that some people are more susceptible to. They are not really there – there is no interaction with them.” Alex Dorrens, an IT consultant by day and a ghost hunter by night, has a different view but is equally fascinated by questions of what happens to “energy” after death. Along with team members from Ghost Hunters Scotland, he spends weekends filming spooky places with infrared and ultraviolet cameras to try to capture unusual sightings on film. He also visits private houses for free, and the group puts on occasional public events. Often nothing happens but on one memorable trip to Castle Menzies near Aberfeldy he claims a camera in a sealed off area was knocked over. What should we believe?
Professor Archie Roy was known as Glasgow’s Ghostbuster Photograph: Jamie Simpson