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“And then the Ghost nashed off”: a Paranormal Investigation at the Royalty Theatre, Sunderland

We’re standing in a circle, a bunch of strangers holding hands in a pitch black room, at the back of Sunderland’s old community theatre, The Royalty.

Is there a spirit that wants to connect with us? Make your way to the group and find a way to communicate with us. We mean you no harm.

Silence.

Can you make a sound? Anything?

I peer into the void in front of me, shapes swirl in the air, greyness comes and goes. Is it my eyes? Is there something there? All I know for certain is that the guy to my left has very hot hands and keeps rocking back and forth on his heels (which is really disconcerting) and the woman next to me has absolutely freezing hands.

tik, tik, tik

Something has fallen to the floor. It sounded like a small plastic object. But we are all holding hands, so what was it?

Pitch Black Investigations

I was on a ghost hunt organised by Pitch Black Investigations. They run events primarily in the north east of England but also venture further afield (Leeds, Pontefract).

I’ve always kinda wanted to do a paranormal investigation, but if I’m honest, a bit of me was scared. I mean something could happen, right?

Fate intervened a few weeks ago when a previously sold out vigil of theirs, a mere 10 minutes from my house, had a ticket available. I couldn’t say no.

So this is why I found myself at 9pm (until 1am) wandering around a freezing cold building with only the promise of a cup of coffee and a Yorkie to keep me sane.

The Royalty Theatre

Sunderland’s Royalty Theatre is built on the site of a church (1800s) and two adjoining buildings. They were later used as a military hospital during the First World War. It only became a theatre in 1945 – with the auditorium overlaying the original church dimensions.

With a history like this how can it not be haunted?

The ghost hunt

Back to the investigation…

Pitch Black are a great team. They provided everything you could possibly need for a ghost hunt, we had EMF readers, temperature gauges, spirit boxes, sound amplifying equipment and kinects boxes (I’ve probably got some terminology wrong…). There were Ouija boards set in various rooms and we were encouraged to get involved.

Some of my group did the lone vigils. For me though, standing in a room full of mirrors, in the dark, alone, having just watched an episode of Ghost Whisperer where the protagonist had summoned Bloody Mary, did not hold much appeal.

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts

So, did we see or hear anything?

I don’t believe so. There was one instance with the Kinect box (which picks up on human shapes and maps them into a computerised stick figure on a screen) that showed someone sitting on a seat where I don’t think there was anyone. The door to the room was opened by another person and as one of the Pitch Black leaders so eloquently put it:

the ghost nashed off*

I’m trying to remember exactly if there was anyone there but I can’t. I’ll pay more attention next time.

Next time? Yes, I suspect there’ll be a next time. The vigil was such fun. We made the Ouija board work, which was fascinating. I’d love to take photos of the rooms. I want to have a go with more of the equipment.

Tik, tik, tik

I’d love to tell you that a foreign object was thrown into our investigation circle.

The reality was much more terrifying… Lady with super cold hands pipes up:

I think me button might have fallen off me cardigan.

***SCREAMS***

Seriously, give Pitch Black Investigations a go, you won’t be disappointed. And that’s from a total sceptic.

*Nashed off is used in Sunderland to mean run away.

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