Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Old Operating Theatre, London Bridge
It has been just over a month since my last ghost investigation at the Old Operating Theatre and I haven't written it up. Although I took notes on the day, these were handed in to the organiser and so now I have to rely on memory - not something to be recommended, but better than nothing. (Incidentally my planned live tweets on Twitter appeared to post at the time, but were nowhere to been seen after the event…)
The date – the day before Halloween: perfect season for ghost hunting. I enjoyed the vigils a lot more as they took place in a smaller venue and I knew more of the people attending so I could relax. However In the bar before the event, I did meet one new lady, a medium who told me she had been forbidden to go in trance during the investigation. Of course I was disappointed but then I subsequently found out that during such a trance, the lady had no awareness of what was happening. This lack of awareness had once led to an attempt to strangle her daughter, although she claimed to have no memory of the attack. I then understood the reason for the ban!
Ghost hunters tend to align themselves into three broad groups the ‘psychic as a brick’ but still interested; the scientists (NB it helps if you have a van to carry all that equipment) and the psychics - people who seem to get names and dates, see ghosts and generally liven up the proceedings. I fall into the mildly psychic category although annoyingly this seems to have decreased rather than increased over the years. This investigation had a good mix of all three groups and was more enjoyable for it.
The operating theatre itself was smaller than I expected. The viewing area held about 100 standing on raised platforms tiered in a semi circle, so students could look down upon the operating table on the floor in the centre. The table itself was a rather short, simple design. It was made of wood and had some unappealing stains on it although apparently these had appeared only recently after it had been loaned for a historical drama. For more information on the museum visit www.thegarret.org.uk/
As you can imagine of the three areas available, the operating theatre was the one area we all wanted to investigate. The apothecary room was too crowded with cabinets and models and the staircase to the theatre was - well just a staircase. At the bottom of the stairs it was difficult to concentrate due to noise and light pollution (with Halloween celebrations going on outside it was probably fair to say we heard more noisy spirits outside than in). In contrast, the theatre was satisfyingly silent and as the lights went out we wondered if anyone would make contact. All seemed quiet until we tried a planchette experiment on the operating theatre table using the board, a pencil and a white piece of paper. Very soon after the session began something strange began to happen. The planchette board tipped right up on its end and appeared to move around without any of the five participants (including myself) appearing to consciously move it. It appeared to be guided by the spirit of a Victorian teenage girl who had been a patient and who had died as a result of her operation. Her story emerged both through the testimony of the psychics present and the movement of the planchette. Unfortunately the girl appeared to be illiterate so gave only Yes or No responses to questions by moving the board. However when prompted she ‘drew’ circles, squares and triangles. After 45 minutes our vigil time was up – was it a spirit or the investigators causing these effects? Certainly something interesting was occurring.
Whether or not subsequent research will show a girl died in the hospital who matches our findings remains to be seen. But certainly the evening restored my slightly lapsed faith in investigations and I look forward to reading the write up in the Ghost Club Journal to find what everyone else thought of it.
My plan now is to find some more venues in London and to sort out some new cases for the Ghost Club.