A ghost hunter from Blackburn has been nominated for an award which celebrates her ‘unconventional’ paranormal hobby.
Laura Brown, 40, is one of 10 semi-finalists in Eventbrite’s Hobby Hero competition which aims to find Britain’s greatest hobbyist.
Laura said her interest in the paranormal started when she grew up in a haunted house and she now tries to seek out spirits at least once a week.
Laura, who works in a dementia unit in a Blackburn care home, began ghost hunting as a hobby over five years ago.
She has always been interested in paranormal activity, often hunting for them in East Lancashire, and her passion for ghost hunting led her to work part-time on the popular TV series Most Haunted.
She said: “Over the years I have had hundreds of encounters with ghosts. You can interact with them, and they respond.
“I’ve seen a full body apparition before sitting in one of the cells of the former Accrington Police Station.
“The ghost was fully dressed in his police uniform and he walked right through the wall in front of me!”
If Laura wins the competition, she will receive a £5,000 prize – £2,500 in cash and £2,500 worth of support from Eventbrite’s experts to help share her passion with others.
Laura said: “I’ve always been interested in the paranormal. I grew up living in a house that had strange things happen all the time.
“I remember we had a big picture hanging at the top of our landing and it flew down the stairs one night. We had rattling doors, and objects that moved without explanation.
“It never scared me, but I was always questioning why and how these strange things happened.
“I try to go ghost hunting at least once per week. I have four children under 10 years old, and they enjoy my hobby too. They run around the houses with my torches searching for ghosts. They’re not scared by them, either.
“If I won the competition I would invest in some new equipment. We use K2 meters, which are handheld devices which detect energy in the atmosphere.
“They have red and green lights on them so as well as alerting you to a ghost’s presence, you can use the lights to communicate with them too.
“ I’d also use the competition prize money to get more people into ghost hunting. It’s great fun, and not scary at all.”
The Hobby Hero initiative is supported by one of the world leading experts on wellbeing, Professor Cary Cooper, who advocates using hobbies to boost our mental health.
Professor Cooper said: “Hobbies can boost your wellbeing because whether you’re knitting, running, hula hooping, abseiling or baking, they offer a great way to take your mind from the stresses of the world and work, take you away from the screen and let you do something positive, creative and fulfilling.
“Enjoying a hobby with someone else or in groups is even more beneficial because it provides motivation and social connection. After two years of social isolation, it’s a joy to see people connecting through hobbies that bring them pleasure and, depending on what you do, improve physical fitness, memory or mood. I recommend taking up a new hobby to many people.”
In-person and online activities on Eventbrite such as beekeeping, pottery and yoga helped attendees stay occupied throughout the pandemic.
During several lockdowns, Eventbrite saw thousands either continue to pursue their interests or take up new hobbies by joining online workshops and classes.
Eventbrite’s Sebastian Boppert says: “The entries we received range from the more traditional to the weird and wonderful, and Laura’s stood out as an unusual hobby that required bravery, patience and probably a bit of imagination!
“I wish her all the best as one of our semi-finalists.
“Our Hobby Hero winner will be someone with enthusiasm and dedication, who wants to share it with others – and maybe even earn some money with it. A strong entry like Laura’s certainly fits the bill.”