It’s 9pm when we drive on the courtyard of an abandoned orphanage in Liverpool. Several torch lights directed at us, blind us when we get out of the car. We’re here to meet some ghost hunters, a group of people gathering in abandoned locations to look for paranormal activity. Compare it to modern type of ghostbusters if you will.
We had some mixed feelings beforehand. Paying a lot of money to spend the night in an empty building looking for ghosts. It seemed like some kind of tourist trap aiming on credulous folks to scare the sh*t out of them. But we were curious. Really curious. Fortunately we felt better when we saw we were the only non-English people at the courtyard, so no tourist trap here.
The group consists of ‘believers’ and skeptics (like us) and is led by a professional ghosthunter. He explains why he is passionate about ghosthunting and it becomes clear why there is a group involved. Not only are chances bigger to notice paranormal activity when there are lots of people investigating the many rooms of the building, but renting a huge building like the Newsham Park Hospital is expensive. Too expensive if he would need to pay it by himself.
Newsham Park Hospital
The Newsham Park Hospital, as it is called these days, has its origins as an orphonage, dating back to the 19th century. It was used to support the orphans of British fishermen. According to the tales, the conditions in the orphanage were tough and cruel. It has a ‘naughty boy corridor’, where children who misbehaved were locked up in small closets. Nowadays it’s one of the most active corridors in the building. Later it was converted into a hospital for mental health patients with wards, accommodation blocks and even a morgue. Reasons enough for ghosthunters to believe this is the ultimate ghost hunt location.
There seem better options to spend the night besides holding vigil in an abandoned building where ghosts are active, but we were excited to test out every bit of equipment ghosthunters use. EVP recorders, EMF meters, motion sensors and yes, even a ouija board. We held vigil from 9pm till 4am. When during the first hours people noticed ‘someone touching their shoulder’ and ‘heard cracking noises’, while we didn’t notice a single thing, our skepticism reached the highest level. It was only during our table tipping session our skepticism turned into doubts. There were only four people touching the table (including my girlfriend and I) when summoning the ghosts. After having called for them several times they made their presence clear by tipping the table multiple times. Heavily. The feeling something was moving the table confused since we clearly noticed no one around the table was moving it. Do we really believe it is paranormal activity? Do we say it’s fake? Neither. Our experience of ghosthunting made it clear that professional ghosthunters really do believe in paranormal activity. However if the activity witnessed indeed was caused by ghosts, you won’t hear coming out of our mouth. But attending a vigil clearly was an uhm… interesting experience.