The UK Paranormal Society

Paranormal phenomena (meaning those that can’t be explained by science) tend to be associated with old buildings. What self-respecting historical house lacks a story of somebody whose death in sudden and often tragic circumstances has left a restless spirit wandering its rooms and hallways?

People who are fascinated by such phenomena are prepared to pay good money to spend the night investigating spiritual manifestations. For example, the work of conserving Woodchester Mansion, near Nympsfield in Gloucestershire, is greatly aided by the income from groups who visit in the hope of recording paranormal activity, using high-tech equipment designed to detect unusual temperatures, magnetic fields, and radiation. And there are plenty of businesses eager to part customers from their money by organising such tours.

This is where the UK Paranormal Society intends to make its mark. Officially launched on 10 October 2022 and recently welcomed as a member of the Heritage Alliance, the society exists to be an honest broker between heritage site managers and the paranormal sector, promoting research and good ethical standards while ‘preserving our history and heritage’.

The society does not say so in as many words, but by stressing the need for ‘better ethics and standards in the paranormal’ and the need for ‘credible information and guidance’, not to mention its emphasis on integrity, objectivity, and competency, it does give the impression that this is a field into which one needs to tread carefully.

Hence, the society provides advice on obtaining the services of a paranormal investigator, psychic, medium, or spiritual healer, and on how to stay safe when attending ghost-hunting events; they give guidance for paranormal practitioners on staying safe, legal, and ethical; and they explain how the owners and managers of heritage locations can ‘preserve the history and reputation of the site’ as well as ‘protect the venue from harm caused by misinformation, malpractice, and exploitation’. They cite, as an example, paranormal groups who claim to be making a television show in order to get preferential treatment, exclusive access, or discounted/free hire when they simply self-film their own amateur show for YouTube or for another online streaming platform.

The society offers genuine and helpful insights into interacting with this new variety of customer. And, of course, the ethics cut both ways: kitting out your historic house with clanking chains, projected lights, and moaning wind would not go down well with its members.

Three of the most haunted historical sites in the UK. The Woodchester Mansion website has pictures of orbs of light and  a ghostly figure, as well as reports of a singing girl, 1940s music, and the smell of recently extinguished candles. Image: Matthew Lister (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Luke Nicolaides At Hampton Court, the anguished spirit of Catherine Howard, the beheaded wife of Henry VIII, is regularly sighted in the Haunted Gallery, screaming for mercy. Image: Luke Nicolaides (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Tower of London has the many ghosts of those who were executed within  its walls as well as the ‘nameless thing’ that follows the guards as they walk their rounds. Image: Frerk Meyer (CC BY-SA) 

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