Have you ever wondered what happens at a paranormal investigation? Sinead Houlihan from the paranormal investigation team GhostÉire tells us what goes on at these fascinating events.
On the furthest west coastal plains of Co Clare, stands a towering white building overlooking the choppy seas, and the rugged, bombarded cliff coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. With its limestone walls, and seventy odd steps, Loop Head Lighthouse has great historical value – a navigational aid to maritime pilots at sea. The original lighthouse beacon and cottage was built around the year 1670. During times gone by, the lighthouse keeper had a major role in maintaining the upkeep of the lighthouse, by changing the oil for the bright light on a constant basis, fixing the lamp, and adhering to a clockwork schedule of rigorous hours and days at a time.
Things began to change in 1871, when electricity superseded oil. The days of the lighthouse keeper had come to an end at Loop Head in 1991 when automation of the light was brought in. Although modernisation has taken over, the past is not forgotten, and in order to tune in to those lives gone by, or residual energies present, paranormal investigation team GhostÉire was invited to see what entities they could engage with.
The anticipation of our team was felt, as we drove up the alluring misty coastal road to the lighthouse. What was in store for us this time around? There were stories of shipwrecks, drownings, and the fact that ex-Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s grandfather used to work there as a lighthouse keeper. All this added to the excitement. As we arrived at the lighthouse, dusk was upon us. The light rotated from the lighthouse, welcoming us in, to investigate the presence of spirits from the other side. On arrival, our team pinpointed three different areas in which we were to conduct our experiments; the lighthouse itself, the modern day keeper’s cottage, and the reception cottage where the original lighthouse of the 1600s used to be. By using scientific methods, and old ancient ways of communication, it was now time to awaken the dead.
Lights were off, and it was time to begin. A protection prayer was carried out, to ensure that everyone was safe from harmful entities which may present themselves throughout the night. We kicked it all off with ‘the laser light’ experiment. This is a laser light, on a circular dial attached to a Ouija board. One of our team members held a night vision camera. Every second of our stay here would be recorded. We asked, “If there are any spirits present with us at the moment, use our energies and come forward to turn this dial.”
The dial gradually moved in a clockwise motion, ensuring us that contact has been made. “Could you give us the initial of your name please?”Again, the dial moves swiftly around and lands on the chosen letter, A. More energies are picked up and the initials W.G. kept appearing. Three distinctive knocks from inside the room are heard. We continue with the questions, encouraging whoever wants to come through on the board. “Step forward, use our energies, using the letters on the board, how many spirits are with us right now?”
The answer of 24 heightens the mood of the room. A spirit gives an answer of March of 1916. An envious spirit pops up on the board and announces that the year is 1919. A quarrel ensues. Who with? We decided to move to the lighthouse itself, and see what other answers could be attained.
Inside the lighthouse, we separated ourselves into two groups; we began our calling out vigils. Through the duration here, smells were sensed, footsteps and whispers were heard from above, along with a pronounced breath or exhale which was later picked up on camera. Could this be the lighthouse machinery playing tricks on our ears? Before we ventured in to the reception cottage, an EVP session was set up, by leaving a zoom mic on record while we exited the lighthouse. (Electronic voice phenomena – EVP – are electronically-generated noises that resemble speech.)
In the reception cottage, we held a ‘table tilting vigil’, allowing the spirits to move a table. It seemed to gravitate towards the notion of music and gatherings, as we sang out loud, the table took on an unpredictable spinning motion. It began to shake strongly, and continued to rock back and forth. Humming was heard in the background on numerous occasions. Could the spirits have been trying to join in?
Upstairs in the keeper’s cottage office room, we communicated by using the talking board and a planchette, a device popular during séances in the Victorian era. We asked, “Do you know of the headless body washed up here in 1940?” The planchette moved at a swift pace, directing itself to the surrounding letters. The name “Faz” and “spy” were two of many answers we tried to piece together.
As the dawn loomed upon us, we stopped digging for answers and wrapped it all up. What a night it had been. We obtained quite a lot of information, so now it was time for evaluation. It can definitely be said that the people that once worked at the Lighthouse and in the Second World War outposts around the building were indeed lifesavers. We later found out that the month of March and the year 1916, could be connected to an event slightly before the Easter Rising.
History records state an Eamonn Fennell of the 8th Battalion, Clare Brigade, received information in strict confidence from his brother John Fennel, a Lighthouse keeper of Loophead Lighthouse that a British warship was spotted off the Kerry coast. A possible increase of anxiety could have been felt within the walls at that time. After a couple of weeks, we found out that the initials “W.G.” which were adamant about making themselves known on the board, may well be the names of William Gordon or William Gardener, both of whom were lighthouse keepers between the year 1830-1860. It was beginning to make sense. When we awoke the next morning, the sun shone upon the lighthouse, with vast views of the horizons.
The communication from the night before had opened our minds to what Loop Head provides. We didn’t manage to get all of the names of the spirits present, but maybe if we had stayed longer, the trust could have been built up, and whatever entities which were present, would possibly have shared their darkest secrets.
Are you interested in paranormal investigations? Then have a look at the website of GhostEire. There are plenty of stories on the website to keep you suitably spooked.