A Devon team of paranormal investigators have been visiting Devon’s most haunted locations to uncover spooky, unusual activity across the region.
Devon Free Spirits Paranormal Investigations have been researching and investigating locations county- and countrywide for four years and say they aim to learn more about the paranormal a combination of mediums, historians, cameras, sensors and communication tools.
John and Kaz South, from Ilfracombe, have been investigating the paranormal for over a decade and started Devon Free Spirits Paranormal Investigations in January 2018. The team, which currently has nine members, use a combination of mediums, historians and tech-heads to investigate paranormal activity, with the aim of proving their existence with scientific evidence.
Kaz said they receive a range of reactions during their investigations but that even sceptics have something to gain from their investigations.
She said: “Every time we make a video, it’s like telling a story of that place – you get to tell its history. By the end of the investigation, new owners will know who has lived there, who might be hanging around there and how they feel about you living there.”
“You also get to validate people. If an owner says they are seeing something, you can investigate and debunk it as a dodgy pipe work or a weird reflection. We check every possibility before suggesting that it is paranormal.”
John added: “I always think if we don’t find anything on one of these nights, the history is worth learning if nothing else. Our history is a big part of us, and if you get to meet somebody from the past then that’s just the cherry on top.”
Before every investigation, the team’s historian Mark Langworthy and genealogist Helen gather information on the people lived at each location. One they arrive at the location, medium Ann Kenny and ‘sensitive’ Kaz scout the area to locate any places of interest. If a place is located, the team sets up a series of cameras, sensors and sound recording devices to gather evidence of paranormal activity.
John said the team occasionally use Ouija boards and ‘Glass work’, but added that this was only once they believed the investigated spirit was able to communicate.
John said: “It’s alright to go to a location and say there’s a spirit called Fred or whatever, but you need to make sure they are people who were actually there and not people you have made up. It’s the job of the history and genealogist to look up the backgrounds of everyone in that house you can find.
“This information is kept from the mediums – they won’t hear a word of it. If the name a medium comes up with corroborates with what the historian found, that is when we push a little further.”
“A lot of way we try to measure activity, using REM pods, EMF meters etc. is theory so while it might be said that these methods work, you have to see them for yourself. If you have a lot of equipment, you may not get it on one device, but you can have it on the other. If it sets off everything at one, you’ve really nailed it.
“I think too many people doing investigations think that every bump and jolt is a ghost without any proof that it is. In the paranormal community, here’s a big argument around orbs – you need to make sure that the orb is real and equipment is properly set up before saying every speck of dust on your camera is paranormal.”
With Devon boasting a large number of old and mysterious buildings, the team said the county has a good number of locations they would like to investigate. Investigations carried out by the team include many from North Devon and Torridge, including The Devil’s Stone Inn, Shebbear, Bicclescombe Mill and the George and Dragon, Ilfracombe.
One of the group’s most recent investigations was carried out at the Devil’s Stone Inn, Shebbear. The Torridge pub, best known for hosting the turning of the Devil’s Stone every November 5, was rich in paranormal activity, according to John.
He said: “The first time we went, we had one of the most aggressive glass sessions you had ever seen where it culminated in the glass leaving the table and flying at somebody. It really didn’t like the person at the table – I haven’t seen anything else like it.
“When we went back, it still works but there was none of the aggression anymore. Whatever was there has calmed down a bit, which might be because the owners are showing the building love at the moment.”
The team also believes there is a strange phenomenon under the Second Stage pub in Ilfracombe.
John said: “There’s something seriously weird going on at the Second Stage and we’re still yet to get to the bottom of it. There seems to be residential spirits but also some that have nothing to do with the place. We’re starting to wonder if there is a portal in there as we’re getting massive EMF readings from one area.”
Since founding the group, many investigators have come and gone, with Kaz and John finding members through a series of recruitment stages and trial periods. Kaz said recruitment is one of the most vital aspects of maintaining the spirit of the team. She said: “We’re a little bit picky because we don’t just let anyone join. We put them through their paces for about three months to make sure they really gel into the team.”
“We’ve become a group of friends, really. We’ve all got different beliefs – some are religious some are not; some are sceptics; some are not sceptics. That’s really important because it’s only when we question each other that was know when we’ve actually found something.”