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January 2007 Meeting Report

The first SVHS meeting of 2007 was on a paranormal theme and was given by Paul Brown of the Cambridge Paranormal Research Society. His intriguing topic was “Ghosts and Ghoulies in the Cambridgeshire area, and Angela Bloom gave a fascinating account of the paranormal investigation in Sawston Hall carried out in September 2004.

Paul’s group, the CPRS, are dedicated to research ONLY paranormal activity (ie beyond the scope of normal objective investigation or explanation) in any shape or form. These include spirit activities, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), orbs (strange disc objects on photos), Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, Alien Big Cats (or other unusually occurring animals), UFOs, afterlife experiences and poltergeists. Paul was careful to point out that they DO NOT do attempt to get rid or remove such manifestations. He also stressed that, contrary to what might have been shown in numerous horror films, paranormal manifestations are not able to cause anybody any physical harm.

To try to obtain evidence of these activities they require a variety of high tech tools, including infra–red detectors, sensitive thermometers, anemometers (for measuring draughts), negative ion detectors and electromagnetic force detectors. Also very useful was the use of Ouija boards, but Paul stressed that these could only be harmful if used in a malicious way. Spirits would often respond to simple yes/no questions, causing the planchette to move in the direction intended by the spirit.

Trigger objects, such as crucifixes were also used in a carefully controlled environment. These objects were placed on a sheet of paper and pencilled around. If, after a given time interval of, say, one hour, these had been seen to move perceptibly, then this could have been only moved by non-human intervention. Apparently, any measurable movement of these trigger objects is rare.

The requirements needed for the researchers was an open mind, patience, determination, curiosity, lots of free time, and access to coffee!

Amongst the places which the CPRS had investigated where the following:

1.Peterborough Museum
2.Cromwell house, Ely,
3.BBC radio Cambridge HQ in Hills Road
4.Haddenham Porch House
5.A Huntingdon manor
6.Derby Goal
7.Woodchester Mansion, nr Stroud
8.Belgrave Hall
9.And various private houses.

Angela Bloom then gave a brief description of the investigation at Sawston Hall during the night of September 17th, 2004 with another Cambridge based paranormal research group, in the presence of some SVHS members. While there were lots of noises which would be expected from an old house, a number of people present did have some strange experiences. In the Tapestry Room (where Mary Tudor is reputed to have slept) Angela had the impression of a military person called Rix, and somebody else had the impression of being strangled. In the Long Gallery there was an impression of some dancing at one end with a flute playing outside and a girl called Isobella.

Much of these investigations, plus lots of other information, can be found on the CPRS website at: www.cprs.org.uk. Visitors to the web site are very welcome to give their own accounts of paranormal experiences.

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