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24 September 2014

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Temple Back HQ
Built on the site of a temple?

Ghostly goings-on in Bristol

by Dave Wood, PSI
An exclusive report for BBC Bristol by Paranormal Site Investigators (PSI) on whether a fire station in Bristol is haunted.

On its website, PSI says it "...exists to research and investigate the alleged existence of ghosts": modern-day ghost busters, if you will!

"The headquarters for Avon Fire and Rescue at Temple Back was built in the 1970's, allegedly over the site of an ancient Knights Templar temple.

The Knights Templar were founded in 1112 AD as a monastic military order to protect pilgrims travelling from Europe to Jerusalem.

When the station first opened, several people witnessed various figures moving around the building: including a fire controller who saw the full figure of a knight descending the lobby stairs.

The team at work
The team at work

Since the 70's there have been various unusual sightings at the Fire HQ, so 11 members of PSI conducted an overnight investigation on 14 October to assess the claims that the building is haunted.

Investigators employed a range of equipment, including anemometers, ultrasonic sound detectors, electromagnetic frequency meters, negative ion detectors, non-contact and ambient environmental monitoring equipment and a wide array of photographic, video and audio equipment.

Hundreds of photographs and hours of videotape were analysed, but natural explanations accounted for nearly all of the unusual evidence.

Investigators did, however, report a large number of experiences over the course of the investigation. 

But three-quarters of the unusual experiences were only witnessed by one investigator at a time, so had to be ruled out. 

Most of the remaining sightings by more than one person were also ruled out, but an interesting few remained.

During a controlled 'Ganzfeld experiment' (which uses audio and visual sensory deprivation to test for extra-sensory perception), a participant saw the image of a man crawling along the corridor. 

A photo from PSI's investigation
A ghost? A reflection?

The man appeared to be drenched from a storm and covered with blood; the participant felt the man was fleeing from something and heard religious-style chanting all around them. 

Later on, a different investigator picked up on what seemed to be the same man in the same place, and elsewhere heard similar chanting. 

The station's underground car park saw by far and away the highest number of possible ghost-sightings throughout the night. 

At times, moving figures all around them overwhelmed one team of investigators. Two investigators saw a clear-as-day image of a man who disappeared after a few seconds – one of the witnesses claimed it was the first thing she'd ever seen to convince her that ghosts might exist.

Investigators were split for the night based on how strong their belief in the paranormal was: the 'believer' team reported four times the number of sightings than the 'sceptic' team. 

Does this mean that the 'believers' are more open to ghostly experiences, or does it just mean they thought they saw what they expected to see? 

The quest for answers about the truth of ghostly experiences continues."

last updated: 07/11/05
Have Your Say
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Dave Wood (PSI)
Good question. We actually conducted the investigation because of the a fair few accounts by firefighters of unusual happenings.

David S
What did the firemen think of all of this - did they believe anything before - and do they believe now - or do they think it is a load of tosh?

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