A group of ghost busters crept into one of Blackpool’s most iconic old buildings in pursuit of mysterious spirits.
The 20 supernatural fanatics – dubbed Ghost Followers by the group’s founder Gemma Findlow, 25 – spent five hours in the abandoned cinema on the upper floor of The Regent antique centre on Church Street on Saturday night.
Their conclusion: a dark, malevolent spirit and the spectre of a young girl and her mother haunt the popular tourist attraction.
Gemma, who travelled from Oldham in hope of catching a glimpse of a ghost, said: “Some of our members live in Blackpool and they suggested the event to us. People usually don’t get to go up into the theatre part of The Regent. It’s not your usual mental hospital or abandoned old house.”
The group set up electromagnetic field meters in the building, which first opened as The Regent Picture House in 1921 before being converted into an antiques and crafts hall. Ordinarily used to identify problems with electrical wiring, ghost hunters swear by the machines to help them locate powerful spirits.
Gemma said: “We put them up not near anyone and apparently if a spirit goes over them they light up green, yellow or red. If you have got a strong spirit it will go to red, but if you have got a weaker spirit it will go to green.
“We found a very dark spirit. We had some very sensitive guests with us - mediums and psychics - and they complained about feeling sick and trapped. It’s just a gut feeling really.”
As well as using the EMF meter, the group took part in ‘traditional’ forms of ghost hunting such as asking questions using a ouija board, table tipping, where the group asks nearby spirits to make a table fall over, and the human pendulum, where ghosts are encouraged to communicate by touching or pushing people.
Amanda Calligan, from Preston, said: “We went into the attic room and we were doing a ouija board experiment and we picked up a young girl called Charlottle who said that she was six-years-old and that she was there with her mother, whose name began with a D.”
Richard Taylor, owner of The Regent, added: “We get ghost hunters in quite regularly and every time there’s normally something new that crops up, but the young girl has come up a few times now.”
One guest even managed to snap a photograph of the so-called dark spectre. The original image is very dark but a digitally brightened copy of the picture showed a man wearing a long, black coat peering over his shoulder – despite Gemma insisting that there was nobody there at the time it was taken.
She said: “There was absolutely nobody there. We checked with the guests and there was nobody wearing a long, black coat. We’ve never had a boring investigation but this is the first time we have ever caught something on camera.
“We are definitely coming back and we have already got another ghost hunt planned for September.”