Our regular Ghost Hunter Colin Sykes takes another spooky expedition into the unknown. Only the bravest of the brave could tread in this man’s gargantuan footsteps.
In the interests of furthering my already impressive credentials as a paranormal investigator I recently attended a series of lectures at the International Science Festival in Edinburgh, entitled ‘Hauntings: The Science of Ghosts’. As well as tips on hunting ghosts, we discussed the related psychology - in particular, something called the ‘expectation bias’. This is when prior knowledge creates an expectation that affects the results of an experiment.
Therefore, for my most recent investigation I resolved to deliberately learn as little as possible in advance of my visit. And so I was ready to take on whatever a little haunted bed and breakfast near Abroath had in store for me - completely untainted by prior knowledge.
But as with many of the best laid plans, it wasn’t to be. My significant other put paid to that. She is a descendant of a circus of psychic gypsies (seriously) and has occasional bouts of telepathic ability, or ‘the fluence’ as she calls it. Given my own lack of clairvoyant capabilities, I had asked her to accompany me to the B&B. Initially excited, I returned from work one day to be greeted instead by a pale and babbling girlfriend. ‘Demons!’ she cried. ‘There are demons! And a portal, and the ghost of a little boy and a man and a maid and there was witchcraft and sacrifices there.’
‘Shhh! Quiet! Don’t tell me!’ I implored. But the internet had already done its terrible work. My girlfriend now refused to go anywhere near the ‘demonic’ guesthouse, and thus the bias of expectation was unwittingly set for me.
So when myself and my replacement companion Sebastian, a foppish but nevertheless dependable friend, arrive at Lunan Lodge, I confess that my mind is filled with ideas of witchcraft, sacrifice and spectres. Nervously ringing the doorbell, we meet a wonderfully friendly lady named Samantha, who owns the Lodge with her husband Jules. After a cup of tea, we are given a tour of the house.
Over 200 years old, the Lodge looks out over Lunan bay and was built in the 1700s by a local minister as a manse - despite being over a mile away from the church. His choice of location is perhaps due to the presence of ‘ley lines’: underground paths of mystical or psychic energy that not only run through the centre of the house, but intersect just outside. Such areas are considered to possess great occult or supernatural powers, and perhaps explain why the lodge plays host to such frequent and varied paranormal occurrences.
We purposely ask not to be told anything specific, but the vague details are enough that by the time we begin our vigil in an upstairs bedroom, I am questioning the wisdom of wearing pale-coloured trousers. I am admittedly pretty spooked.
After 15 minutes of sitting in semi-darkness, we notice the temperature; I’m too hot but Sebastian is too cold. Swapping places I immediately feel a freezing, bone-chilling cold. Then the cold weirdly vanishes. Throughout the next half hour, the temperature rapidly fluctuates and gives the impression that a patch of cold is moving around the room.
I sit quietly with my hands in my lap, considering the reasons for the weird temperature changes, when all of a sudden I feel someone stroking the back of my hand.
Sebastian is on the other side of the room. I hear him say ‘I think something just touched my cheek’. Suddenly a bedside table shakes and there’s a rattling of bottles.
We decide it’s time to vacate the room and recount our experience to the owners, who tell us of other guests’ strange tales. There have been repeated sightings - by completely unaware and unconnected people - of phantom horses, lone children, druids and angry past owners to name but a few.
If ghosts do indeed exist, they definitely exist here. But the place itself is not sinister. Lunan Lodge is an unusual and powerful place, but at no point did I feel threatened; in fact I left feeling energised, calm and happy. It is the most haunted place I think I’ve ever been, but weirdly, the friendliest. Until next time dear reader …
For more information about Lunan Lodge and to enquire about bookings, call 01241 830 679 or visit www.lunanlodge.co.uk