; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Fallen Soldiers Fight On At Culloden

NOTE: As I sit here struggling with a kidney stone, I decided to post a previous article from November 2007...Lon

Scottish Paranormal say they have unearthed unexplained phenomena at the site where staff say visitors have reported hearing battle cries and marching, some 261 years after the bloody battle where Government forces defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army.

And now the team, whose poltergeist probes are in greater demand at Hallowe'en, is already planning follow-up visits to the scene of the bloody battle because "spirits are not performing seals" and they want to build up more evidence of any ghostly goings-on.

It would lend weight to the numbers of people, both local and visitors, who have told of strange noises or apparitions at creepy Culloden moor.

Culloden Battlefield visitor centre manager Deirdre Smyth said residents have reported seeing a large ghostly bird that apparently inhabits the area and was first sighted on the eve of the battle on April 15, 1746, by Lord George Murray who was the Jacobite commander. Described as a huge black bird, it is called the Great Scree of Culloden Moor and legend has it that anyone who sees the Great Scree will have bad luck.

Deirdre told the Highland News: "We have had stories of people seeing or hearing strange things. Whether they really have or not I don't know, but it is a very atmospheric place, especially when it's misty.

"Local people have also reported seeing a giant bird rising from the field – it's called the Great Scree of Culloden. Others have also said that when they were kids they wouldn't walk in the field at night."

Scottish Paranormal, which carries out its ghoul hunting on a voluntary basis, recently descended on Culloden to see if the ground of the final clash between the Jacobites and the Hanoverians in the 1745 Jacobite rising, left a supernatural presence in their wake.

Although it was just a preliminary visit, the team was satisfied that there was enough unexplained activity to warrant further investigations after the New Year.

Andrea Byrne, Scottish Paranormal's administration and PR manager, told the Highland News: "All of us are Scottish and we have a passion about being Scottish and have an interest in its history.

"So as well as monitoring private houses and other places such as Mary King's Close in Edinburgh, we like to carry out projects at historical sites, and that's why we went to Culloden.

"The majority of hauntings are classed as what's called residual energy. This is where a traumatic experience or battle happened in a particular area and that trauma or that experience is embedded on that area and like a record, it repeats itself again and again.

"In Culloden, there was a seriously traumatic event which saw a lot of deaths.

"While there, we spoke to the staff and they told us that sometimes visitors had heard the battle cries and the marching of the soldiers. It is as if the march and the battle is getting played over and over again. This happens more towards the anniversary of the battle which lends credence to it being residual energy."

The team, the majority of whom are based in Fife, measured activity at Culloden with a selection of monitoring equipment. This included digital voice recorders that look for any audible phenomena such as white noise or electronic voice phenomena; temperature data loggers looking for any unusual fluctuations in temperature; temperature probes to locate and confirm cold spots; electro-magentic field detectors used due to the belief that paranormal entities emit an electromagnetic field; and digital camcorders to record any incidents.

During the investigation, the team noticed signs they normally connect with a paranormal activity Andrea Byrne said: "One of the anomalies we found was the temperature and humidity. When we were walking along the main path to locations, we were getting a regular temperature, and the humidity was staying the same. But the moment we got to where the English or Scottish soldiers were buried the temperature changed dramatically, and was not consistent with the weather. It was fluctuating up and down.

"We could not come up with a logical explanation for a change in the temperature. So there could have possibly been paranormal reason behind it."

She went on to add they used dowsing rods to see if there were any "energy lines", also known as ley lines, which are of interest to paranormal investigators.

One was found to exist at a 56-degree angle at the Well of the Dead, which Andrea described as "extremely interesting" because if the line is drawn on a map and extended in a line at 56 degrees, it would meet the Cumberland's Stone 1.5 miles away. This stone was from where the Duke of Cumberland, nicknamed the Butcher of Culloden, commanded the battle.

However, Andrea said that the dowsing rods may have moved at this location because there may be water underneath the well.

The group then went on to nearby Clava Cairns to carry out more investigations, but they did not find much there of an untoward nature. They had also not heard any paranormal stories relating to the location. The investigation team is now due to return to Culloden Battlefield in the New Year.

She added: "We find a single visit to a location does not build up enough evidence to say there is paranormal activity going on or not. Spirits are not performing seals, they don't just appear when you want them to or when you happen to be there. We have go back to locations to build up the evidence."

As well as checking out historic sites, the investigators who include a medium and describe themselves as being "highly skilled" in the field, are called in to probe private homes whose residents believe are haunted.

And when they can't find a logical explanation for the ghoulish activity, they set out to prove it is the supernatural making things go bump in the night. They have even discovered a poltergeist or two in their time.

Andrea explained: "In general, we carry out these investigations because we have got a belief in life after death and in proving that or otherwise.

"Because we have got knowledge in the field, we go out to private houses and help the public to understand what's going on. We always look for the logical explanation first, and if we can't find one then we look for proof of anything paranormal."

She claims they recently stumbled upon a poltergeist in a private house in Craigmillar, Edinburgh.

"The majority of poltergeists we find are in private houses", she explained. So far, we have not carried out any investigations in private houses in the North. However, we hope that will change as we now have a new investigator based outside Elgin and she is contacting housing associations and other organisations in the area to let them know we are here if people are experiencing anything unusual in their homes."