Hunting Ghosts with Steve Parsons

 

I came across Steve Parsons in a news feed on Facebook. A ghost hunter in Pembrokeshire? I had to know more.

When we finally got to speak online, he told me that not only was he happy to be called a ghost hunter but was probably one of  the few full-time ghost hunters in the UK.

“There is a lot of interest  in the paranormal market these days,” said Steve. “It has been piqued by ghost hunting TV shows and social media.”

It wasn’t always the case. In the 1970s and 1980s people enjoyed ghost stories, he explained, but actually taking the phenomenon seriously was considered peculiar.

I am curious to know what his 40 years’ research has led him to believe. Are ghosts real or a figment of our imagination?

Steve is very clear that he comes from a scientific background and that he approaches each apparently paranormal experience with an open mind.

“I have no doubt that ghosts are real, as a human experience. Every human culture all over the world has stories that are similar. What we don’t have understanding of is what ghosts are and why some people see them.

“There is no accurate definition in the dictionary and we all have our own ideas based on Dickens or Hollywood. What science is looking for is the answer to the question: what are ghosts, and why do some people see them and some people don’t?”

Steve understands that some people are adamant that paranormal activity is all in the mind, that it is imagination and make believe. He agrees that there are elements of this.

“If we wandered around Carew Castle looking for bats, we would have a particular experience, but we wouldn’t be afraid. If we were looking for ghosts, we would be jumpy and anxious. A lot of what people report is their own experiences and those cannot be measured.”

Steve explained that when he is called to a house this is exactly what he encounters – the people’s experiences.

“When I go to investigate a phenomenon, I go with an open mind. There are many things in the environment that can play tricks on people. We are sensitive to sound, and infra sound: so low you aren’t aware it can be having an effect on the body – but your ears cannot hear it. People also have physiological experiences that they can’t explain with temperature. This might be nothing more than a flight-or fight mechanism.

“I cannot tell you what a ghost is but I can say that it is not anything in the normal environment. 

“Ghosts are incredibly rare,” he insisted. “I do spend a lot of time in supposedly haunted places and I have never seen a single ghost when hunting.”

So he has never actually seen a ghost ?

“Not while hunting, no, but I have when not hunting.”

Steve went on to tell me that, as a former registered nurse, he can safely say every nurse he has met has a ghost story to tell.

He told me about the time he was nurse in charge of a 60-bed facility: “I had been off for three days and came back to nights. Normally there would be a handover but the agency nurse had been in a hurry to leave so I said I would read the book later.

“My first job was always a walk around to see what was happening, have a cup of tea, and then sort out the drugs. I started on the third floor and had made it to the first, where an old couple, whom I will call Ernie and Elsie, occupied adjoining rooms. It was usual to wheel Ernie into Elsie for a cup of cocoa so they could  say goodnight, but as I came onto the floor I saw Ernie with his back to me in the corridor.

“I told him that if he would go  back into his room, we would  sort him out soon. He slightly turned and, over his shoulder, said he was going to stay goodbye to Elsie.

“At the nurses’ station I told one of the nurses  to go and put Ernie in with Elsie and was treated with incredulity. Apparently Ernie had died two days ago. I opened the book and that information was there, but of course, everyone thought I was pulling their leg, and a lot of  banter followed until some hours later there was a terrible commotion on the stairs. Some hours later a member of staff was terrified by also having seen Ernie wandering around and couldn’t get out of the place fast enough.”

 Steve said there had been nothing unusual in his encounter with Ernie, who looked as real as he always did,  except that instead of saying he was going to say goodnight to Elsie, he had said he was going to say goodbye.

Steve has many other stories, many of them where the phenomenon seems horribly spooky. Steve talked  about being called to visit a lady living in sheltered accommodation whose husband had died some while before.

She was distressed Steve explained: “The lady told me that her late husband had been peering at her through a peephole in her door. More recently he was now also appearing in an oil painting on her wall. The image of her late husband’s face each time she looked though her door viewer was distressing  her and she wanted it to stop.”

Steve looked in the  door viewer and jumped back in alarm. Sure enough he could see a face peering back at him.

“It was really unnerving I can tell you, but I am first and foremost a scientist. I steeled myself and had another longer look, realising  it was mould and the light in the hallway beyond  that made it look as though a face was appearing. Ten minutes with  a screwdriver and bleach got rid of hubby once and for all.”

But what about seeing him in the oil painting?

“It’s what people do. Following seeing him in the door viewer, she had started to see him everywhere. We humans are hard wired to see images of a human face, to make meaning out of what we see.  It’s called pareidolia.” 

Steve told me another story about a family who were distressed by odd things occurring in their home, including writing appearing on walls with the name of the little girl who lived there and the word “god”.

“When we spoke on the phone ,my first thought was that it might be the daughter, who was very young, but she had been questioned and denied any involvement. The  child’s aunt was adamant that she had never liked the house. She spoke of chills and noises. It didn’t help that they had called in a well-known psychic who had told them a powerful emotive story about a boy who had had died nearby and was coming to play with the child of the house. The medium had told them that she sensed an element of evil which needed to be removed. She had offered to get rid of the ‘ghost’ for a fee.”

Steve suggested that the mother  keep a diary for a few days as there is always a jumble of info to start with. “I said I would drop off an exercise book. I wasn’t intending to go in at this point, but they were keen to tell me the story and  invited me in for tea. As we sat around the table with the sister saying that this house was evil, I saw the little girl, of about four, coming in and out of the kitchen. Then I noticed her sitting behind her mum, writing on the wall. I pointed out that I thought we had found our ‘ghost’. When challenged the child got angry and flounced out of the room.”

So no ghost in either of those situations?

 “I have a great deal of curiosity,” Steve said. “I have to find the truth. Having said that, when I visit someone’s home I am very sensitive to the fact that this is someone’s home. Some people are comforted by the notion that they are visited by a loved one. I have no intention of going in mob-handed to prove to them that their ghost is simply the wind blowing. It would only distress them. It is essential to have an open, investigative mind, but in both of those cases, no, there was no ghost, and both parties were hugely relieved.

“Everything is possible unless, and until, you have absolutely positive proof, hard evidence, that something is of the mind or that it cannot be explained away.” 

Steve employs environmental measuring. He measures cold, and records sound and movement. “All the equipment I use is to replicate a person’s own experience. There is no piece of  equipment that can communicate with or detect the presence of a ghost or spirit, although you will find equipment online that pretends to do so.” Steve calls such paraphernalia energetic snake oil’.

So what does Steve think a ghost is?

“All I can say is that all over the world people have similar stories about ghosts. What do they represent? Are they within us or are they dead people? Both are possible. I will continue to bring an open mind to my research. It’s a fascinating subject but, as yet, we simply don’t know.”

Steve has written three books and numerous stories. He has been commissioned to write his  fourth which he is now working on.

He has agreed to share some of his stories on paranormal activity, so watch this space.

If you would like to contact Steve :

email: steve@theghosthunter.co.uk

or call: +44 (0)74 6869 0065.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for pembrokeshire.online, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says "Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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