Ghost Hunters: Echoes from Beyond the Grave

I don't know about all this. Chrissie makes ghosts sound like spiders (they're more afraid of you than you are of them). Her whole encounter could be in her imagination. Peter Bowers was pulled in for the Phantom Fisherman episode and I can't say as I was particularly impressed then. This time it wouldn't take much for Peter to assume the ghost was a biker, it's not like the pub wasn't famous for them and they do have a habit of dying young. Landlady Sue seems to me the most level-headed witness and she definitely experienced a phantom biker carrying his helmet, and I like her story a lot. She would have told the details to Chrissie though, one imagines. And thus Chrissie had something on which to pin her own tale. Also with Sue, I really liked the way she wanted to call out and ask poor Biker Ghost whether he truly wanted to be moved up the escalator during Peter's 'release process'. Quite right, why do all these psychics feel obliged to move everyone one? It seems quite egotistical. The process sounded very daft on the video, with Peter summoning the Biker Ghost over in a soppy little voice as though he were a dog. One wonders if the weird goings-on ceased.

(And as for Colin Wilson, philosopher my eye. 'Certainly Ancient Egyptian priests could see spirits wandering around'. And his stuff about people in Patagonia and the North Pole having similar beliefs... er no. They live in entirely different environments. It makes a difference you know. He's just Rent-A-Remark unfortunately.)

Chrissie: If you know anything about the other side, you have to imagine there’s like a glass wall. When they bump into you it’s just as scary for them to see somebody living as it is for us to see somebody from the other side. Or catch a glimpse of them.

Narrator: Cockington is a small village that lies between the southern slopes of Dartmoor and the sea in southern England. It’s surrounded by lush green pastures and it has an almost picture postcard beauty with its neat rows of whitewashed cottages with their clipped thatched roofs and its narrow winding streets. At its centre lies the village green and an ancient coaching inn. The Drum Inn has a long history but in more recent times had a reputation as a haunt for bikers. In the 60s and 70s motorcyclists gathered here from all over southern England.

Larry, Landlord: Going back about 15 years ago, the Drum Inn was well known in the area as being a bikers’ pub. It was a gradual thing that had occurred over a period of time. But in the mid 70s you couldn’t come anywhere near Cockington without seeing swarms of motorcycles. The problem then was a commercial thing, that it was putting off other types of visitors to the area and to the pub in particular. Families would drive up to the pub and see hoards of motorcycles parked outside.

Narrator: What is less well known,  in fact it’s known only to a small group of people, is that the inn also has a ghost. The ghost or apparition, it seems, of a motorcyclist dressed in full leather gear. He has been experienced at various times over the last 5 or 6 years, in particular by the three or four people who live and work here.

Chris, Barman: Er it was late one night. Normally I can run up and down to the cellar absolutely no problem whatsoever. We had just closed and I was doing all my normal cellar work that I had to do, and as I went down into the cellar, I carried on down, as I hit the actual cellar floor I came over with an immense sense of chill and cold. And I could hardly move. It was quite frightening at the time looking back on it, I mean it doesn’t affect me now. But it just happened this once where you know, this er, presence, made itself known.

Larry: Quite often when I’m working alone in the cellar I catch things out of the corner of my eye, I look round expecting people to be standing behind me, and er hearing things that I really can’t explain.

Sue, Landlady: Within the first year of us living here I noticed - there was always somebody behind me, or a movement out the corner of my eye. I could never quite understand what it was. And one winter’s evening I was working in the kitchens, and somebody came in through the door. And my dog, who’s a guard dog, would usually bark very loudly, or if it was a member of staff would wag her tail and be very excited. And this evening she just didn’t move, she didn’t stir. And this person walked down in leather biker gear, and with a helmet and everything like that, and I couldn’t work out who he was. And he was taking his gloves off and he turned to walk down where you hang your coats up. At this time of year all the back doors are locked, obviously, for security. And as I walked to meet him he totally vanished and disappeared. And I just couldn’t understand what it was. But I saw it so clearly. And even to this day I know exactly what I saw and how I saw it.

Narrator: Until a couple of years ago, that was as far as it went. Then a pop group from Plymouth was invited to play at the inn. The lead singer was a young woman called Chrissie. She had a rather unusual background – she’d been brought up as a gypsy and she would describe herself as a ‘sensitive’. At one point in the evening the entire group was invited down into the cellar.

Chrissie, Singer: I think we were just sitting around being sociable, and something was said to the landlady about the history behind the pub, and I think that initiated something along the lines of A Mysterious Happening , or something had been felt, a presence of some sort. I think she was quite interested to see whether I could actually bring, pick anything up. I think in the heat of the excitement everybody trundled down to the cellar, to sort of see if they could feel or see something. I don’t know what their expectations were, whether they were expected to see this floating sheet above them going ‘whooo!’ But um, they seemed – it very quickly calmed down. The minute they got down there they realised that something wasn’t going to materialise, it wasn’t something quite as clear cut as people imagine. And at that point I said ‘Would you mind leaving me on my own?’ – so they did.

Narrator: Within a few minutes of the others leaving Chrissie began an encounter with a spirit or n entity, call it what you will, which if you accept it at face value takes us into a different world. It seems to give a most extraordinary view of what is often called The Other Side.

Chrissie: Right in the corner of that cellar is a, like a, it looks like a huge cupboard. And the minute the air cleared, he just walked out and said hello. And we just immediately got into conversation with each other. I didn’t ask him the, the sort of questions that people would automatically think of asking, like how did you die, how long have you been dead. It was like, it’s like talking to somebody else who’s living, but acknowledging that there are some personal questions that you don’t ask. He was about five, about five nine or ten, medium build, quite long legs. And completely dressed in leather with large boots. And he held his helmet the whole time, his crash helmet under his arm. It never moved from his body, it was almost like it was attached to him. Obviously everything was black. I don’t actually remember much about his facial features because I couldn’t really see him that well in the light. He spoke with a sort of local accent. But again it’s hard to actually remember exactly what his dialect was.

Narrator: Chrissie claims that she had what amounts to a conversation with the young motorcyclist, in which described his ongoing life or existence or being - it’s difficult to know what word to use. Almost as if there had been no interruption, no discontinuity. She claims for example, that he described how he still spends hours polishing and cleaning his bike, even chatting to his mates.

Chrissie: It was his private place, he liked to be there. Er, he spent time with his friends. It was good happy times, peaceful times. Er, cleaning his bike, sitting talking. Just having time out I think, from the everyday burdens that all of us face whether it’s work or other commitments. And yet he wanted to make sure that I knew it was his private domain. He didn’t want that interrupted at all. And that he was quite shy, and very apologetic at the hint of upsetting anybody or causing any anxiety. I think what was so noticeable about him was that as a biker he was really quite shy and reserved. So it seems obvious to me that it was a great effort for him to come out and speak to me. I think he must have heard everybody trundle down to the cellar.

Narrator: In her quite extraordinary account Chrissie creates a picture that has echoes  of ancient civilisations in Egypt and China, for example, where people were buried with their possessions, and their musical instruments and so on, to continue their life on the other side. She claims for example, to have talked with the ghostly biker even about the music he still listened to.

Chrissie: The music he referred to was very much the music of the 70s – the Born To Be Wild stuff. And anything that was to do with the masculinity of riding a bike. Because he was a shy type he didn’t seem that keen on the really aggressive rock. I think he just enjoyed the 70s stuff really. I think with bikers their own language is through their clothes and the machine they ride, and the language of music, so that’s quite significant. I felt that the time he gave me was very precious anyway and I didn’t feel it was right to keep him.

Narrator: The extraordinary encounter in the basement of the village inn between the musician and the biker’s ghost contains such extraordinary detail that we decided to call in an internationally known psychic medium to see if he could make contact, and if so would the accounts match up. We gave him no information other than the fact there had been a number of sightings. When he arrived at the inn, Peter the medium spent some time exploring the house. Then he sat down in a particular corner – a corner as it happened where several strange experiences had taken place. Then almost immediately he began to hold what can only be described as a conversation with someone or something unseen. But the similarities to Chrissie’s description were quite remarkable.

Peter Bowers, Psychic Medium:  I’ve got a young man, he’s in his early 20s, perhaps heading up to 25 – 23, 25, something like that. He feels as though he’s slim quite slim, and a bit taller than me, so that makes him what – six foot one, something like that. He’s got a motorbike helmet which he’s taken off, and his hair, his hair comes down to about here on his neck, it’s darker hair much darker than mine, towards the black. He had an accident about three or four miles away from here. But the reason that he is in here is because this is the local place where he used to come to. This is where his friends were. He feels at home here. And he’s made me sit in his seat , because this is where he prefers to be. The message that I’m getting is that he in fact, just before he died there seems to have been some sort of emotional upset with a young lady, which caused him a great deal of grief and anxiety. And led to him, not directly but indirectly, to him actually having the accident that killed him. It was an accident that killed him, it wasn’t a deliberate thing. There’s a great deal of sorrow building up around him. A great deal of sadness inside him. And the feeling is he’s been wandering about here for a long long time. He’s trying to go over, but he’s just wanting to say he’s sorry. Now he’s talking about people because he’s frightened quite a few people. By his sudden appearances. And what he’s saying is that every so often the emotion, the feeling and the emotion around him gets so strong that he just materialises to other people. He’s not materialising to me in that sense at the moment, but no doubt other people will have seen him in a solid form. And this is when he’s either attracted to somebody because of the sympathy they would send out to him, or else the pain that he’s suffering at that precise point is too much. Now he doesn’t do this very often – he’s talking about six appearances he’s made to various people over the last 4 or 5 years especially, especially over the last four or five years. So he’s gradually been building up to a stage where he’s asking to be released. And to get away from it all.

Narrator: Peter felt compelled to take some action, to respond to the appeal he claimed to have received. We followed him down to the cellar, to a spot close in fact to where Chrissie claimed to have had her encounter. He began to go through what he described as a release process.

Peter: I would ask those who are with me just to be still for a moment and think of him as a person who’s been lost for many years between these worlds, and who’s now taking a big step in his life. Because he’s going to be free for the first time in a long time. So what we do is we create an energy into which he can move. [He swirls the air with his hand] Come on sunshine, where are you. Ok. It’s all right. Come on. Towards me. You’re ok. Ok come on, you’re all right. There’s nothing to bother about. You can do it. Just walk into the light. Ok. He’s moving forward now towards me. He’s actually standing in front of me now. Ok it’s all right. Just bring yourself forward. That’s it. Just step into the light. That’s it. Ok, you’re in. We ask the Divine Living Father, that this your servant be received into the light, Amen. Ok. Thank you.

Narrator: Peter took with him down to the cellar a number of people whom he said were needed to absorb some of the emotional energy of the parting. When we spoke to them immediately afterwards they clearly had experienced a powerful emotional connection.

Sue: Just before Peter was releasing him, I felt I wanted to shout to him, to call him, to make sure this is the right thing that we were doing, that this was really what he wanted. I had to really hold myself back from calling his name, not that I really know it, but I just felt I needed to shout, to yell at him, to say is this right, is this what you want? Then once Peter had said that was it, he had gone – and it all happened so very quickly – which surprised me, I thought it was something that would take a while – I felt I wanted him to say, to show us something that he was fine and he was safe. I still feel a little bit like that. I felt calmer. While it was going on I felt very tingly, my arms were aching, I felt very strange. I can’t explain. Like having a very mild electrical sensation up my arms. That’s still there slightly, but it’s gone. But I feel, it’s like a sad, - it’s not sad. I can’t explain, I just feel very strange.

Narrator: One has to ask, how much of this is pure theatre, pure hokum. Most scientists would say just about all of it. But is that the whole picture, if there’s nothing here of what science is best at – nothing to measure, nothing to weigh, nothing to run controlled tests on. We’re into a different world. A world that has a high emotional or spiritual dimension. Certainly a world where science has never been very comfortable. And the same is undoubtedly true of Peter’s explanation of what was going on.

Peter: Basically he’s some sort of energy form. He hasn’t got a body the same as you and I but he’s got an energy form. Now his energy form rightly shouldn’t be on the earth. And people ask me this question and I say well you’ve seen relatives die, and you can go and look at a body a few hours after death and you’ll say ‘there’s nothing there’ – whatever it is, that spark has gone. In the normal course of events people will move from one vibration, from one place to another. I mean religiously it might be called Heaven. But if you think of it in terms of energy instead of religion, the scientific method, they’ve moved one vibration to another and they’re away. Now if a person goes from this world unprepared, and not prepared to go, then they can, through no fault of their own really, find themselves in some sort of inbetween world of existence. The nearest that I could describe it is like walking through a foggy room. And that you are not where you feel you rightly belong, either here or on the earth, because you can’t communicate with anybody. Except occasionally in this case when this young man manifested to people on odd occasions. So he did have some form of communication with certain people. But neither was he with those who have also passed over, previously. So he’s in between the two. I mean the nearest is being stuck on an escalator between floors.

Narrator: That kind of an explanation is not unique. It’s one that’s been expressed by psychic mediums for over a hundred years, longer. And the fundamental problem of course is that we’re out at the very edge of the credible, well beyond the bounds of conventional scientific analysis. That’s very frustrating of course, particularly if you are of a scientific bent, and like nice neat equations. But, we have to ask, does that make it any less real?

Colin Wilson, Philosopher: Anthropologists were very much struck by the fact that the basic spiritual beliefs of people who could not have had any cultural contact, you know people living in Patagonia and people living at the north pole, did appear to have identical spiritual beliefs, and these spiritual beliefs always involved the notion that it is possible for spirits not to know that they’re dead, and for spirits to be able to get trapped into a kind of limbo from which they need to be released, if possible, by the actions of the living. So this seems to be a general belief of all people all over the world, and I would take it that it’s true.

Dr John Beloff, Psychologist: My own philosophy is rather dualistic, I think there are one set of laws for the mind and another set for matter, and er, and that what science knows to a very advanced degree are the laws that govern the behaviour of matter, and perhaps the laws that govern the behaviour even of the brain. But over and above all that I believe that mind is a power in the universe and that mind can achieve things that are simply not allowed for in the accepted scientific scheme, which is basically a physicalistic picture of reality.

Bernard Carr, Professor of Astrophysics: If you’re a physicist you tend to think of the real world as the three dimensions of space, one dimension of time. The four dimensional world of Einstein – that’s what we tend to think of as reality. So you say something is real because it exists in that four dimensional world. Four dimensional space-time. But my own view is that we cannot be completely sure that that’s what reality consists of exclusively. One has to bear in mind the possibility that there could be a higher level of reality, of which what we call the physical world is just a part. So that even if something isn’t real in that four dimensional spacetime of physics, conceivably there might be this higher world with respect to which it might have reality.

Colin Wilson: If we could get back to this state of mind that was probably absolutely taken for granted at the time in Ancient Egypt when they built the pyramids, say 2500bc, we would find this whole question of the paranormal self evidenced and obvious. There wouldn’t be any question about it. Because they didn’t see any distinction between this world and the next.  And I’m sure they were perfectly right, I’m sure they could actually see spirits wandering around. Certainly their priests could. Now we’ve deliberately supressed that faculty because it’s useless to us. It would distract us, and would certainly distract us from building the type of civilisation we’ve got. Therefore it’s extremely important that we don’t start getting it back!

Narrator: It has to be said that nothing about the events at the Drum Inn can be described as proven in the scientific sense. But then our minds are difficult to identify, yet we’re all quite sure we have one. There’s clearly much more to this world than is dreamt of in the purely scientific philosophy. The 64 thousand dollar question is clearly, how much more. It would seem that Chrissie’s encounter lies in that grey area. The conversation she claims to have had with a young man who died all those years ago would seem to raise the most profound questions about what happens after death.