I've always had a fascination with the unknown but growing up even the idea of ghosts and spirits freaked me out, I couldn't watch a horror film and actually to this day I couldn't watch one on my own but over the past year my love for the paranormal world flourished especially with my recent trips to Loftus Hall.
On my last visit there, which you can read about here the investigation was lead by Tina Barcoe and her team, The Paranormal Researchers Ireland and I couldn't believe how normal the team, especially Tina was, I felt so at ease and everything was done so respectfully that I couldn't help but admire the PRI team and it left me with millions of questions and who better to ask than one of the top paranormal researchers in Ireland Tina Barcoe.
I know this post won't be everyone's cup of tea but whether you believe in ghosts or not it's completely up to you, I'm not here to change your mind, either is Tina but there are some things that you just can't explain. I spent my morning chatting to Tina and I can truthfully say I had one of the most interesting conversations of my life and I hope you enjoy this little piece of Tina Barcoe.
''I was always interested in the paranormal from my teens up but it wasn't until my late twenties/ early thirties that my interest grew and I really got into it''
The PRI (Paranormal Researchers Ireland) is an Irish 'ghost busting' team that cover public and private investigations was actually set up by Tina herself and has literally gone from strength to strength.
''I was on a team for a few years but I was more into gathering evidence than the fame side of it so I decided why not make my own team. I met these people through friends of mine and doing investigations and I put the team together'
I've never doubted that there was spirits, growing up watching Most Haunted with my parents it was just something I've never doubted similar to Tina but as she began her investigations she actually switched roles and began seeing things through a skeptic's eyes,
''It's actually really strange but before I was on a team or got into the paranormal I was a huge believer but when I did get into it I became a skeptic. I became more skeptical because I started to doubt things like the way your eyes can play tricks on you, it's really made me re-think my beliefs. That being said we have caught things that can't be explained but I am quite skeptic''
As much as you're into ghosts and spirits the paranormal can be quite scary and even if you're are an investigator like Tina
'' I've had two occasions where I had sheer terror, one of them was in Loftus Hall and it had me questioning whether or not I was actually safe''
One thing that I've always been told to stay away from is the dreaded Ouija boards and this is something Tina and her team stay away from also, growing up it was the one thing I always had such a desire to do but seeing as though I did make a promise to my mother years ago I've never touched them and never will but why?
'' If somebody has weak mental health and they decide to play the Ouija board well the suggestion alone that they could conjure up something demonic the suggestion won't help their mental health. I've been to so many houses for private investigations and people are falling apart becuase they've used an Ouija board. Everything starts going wrong when they play the Ouija boards''
When I was in Loftus Hall one thing I spoke about in my previous blog was when we placed a finger on the glass it moved itself which can be similar to an Ouija board and this amazed me but is it what it seems?
'' Scientifically that can be explained, we have muscles in our arms that are tensing all the time and we don't even know about them so that could be an answer but I've also seen people hovering over the glass and it moved so that's something that can't really be explained''
I don't know why but for me I always associated the paranormal investigations as very serious and dark but in Loftus Hall we all started laughing at one stage and suddenly we saw the glass move as Tina explained laughter actually creates positive, light energy
''When you laugh you give off positive vibes and when you're inviting somebody in the room with you you want them to be positive, a lot of our energy has been raised when we're having a laugh, having a joke and then you hear a big bang and you're like 'what was that' but positive energy is what you want to attract''
''We do private investigations almost weekly, myself and one of the other member Shane, meet with the person no matter where they are in Ireland, we bring a notebook and pen and document everything. We also get them to keep a diary of activity for a month and then after that month we'll go in and do the investigation. Our private events would be very scientific, very gadget orientated. When we get evidence we then have to go on and see what kind of a haunting it is and how we're going to deal with it from there.''
Now and then I think everyone gets the 'OMG there's something in my house' well I know I definitely do but what should someone do if they suspect there is a presence in their home?
''If someone thinks that there is something in their home I would say go and meet with a team, but there are people out there who are playing with fire. They would have went to one paranormal event and decided this is brilliant and have gone looking for ghosts but if you are scared go and ask for help becuase it's not a nice feeling''
Everyone in the PRI team does have a day job, Tina herself is a hairdresser so for these guys it's purely the passion they have and the desire to help people and find evidence that drives them on.
''We actually all live off our day to day jobs and we're self funded, there's eight of us on the team and we put money into the kitty and that keeps us going''
When I tell people I'm into this sort of stuff the reaction is always sort of mixed, I have friends who think it's deadly, they want no involvement but think it's cool but I've others who throw dirty looks and that's the same for anyone interested in something off the norm:
''Everybody has a different opinion and if they don't think ghosts exist then that's okay. My parents are very against it I can't even mention it in front of them'' When I started getting into the spiritual realm my mother was so against it too but with good reason because what so many people don't know is it can be very dangerous.
I'm not sure if this is true but what they say is, you can bring a spirit home if you're not protected and it can then attach itself to the vulnerable, so say if you had a child or a teenager it can attach itself to them and don't forget time is of the essence in the paranormal world it doesn't exist, one day to them can be 50 years so you need to be careful.''
If there's ever a time when you do feel scared or feel a presence you can just quickly protect yourself by imagining a white light coming straight through you from the feet out the top of the head and bursting around you and even having this is a lovely thought that you can be protected at any time.
''You can ground yourself at home, if you're home alone and feel something weird call upon your spirit guides and angels and they will protect you. Whether you believe or not there's no harm in doing the grounding.''
And finally what message would Tina pass on to anyone interested in the paranormal
''Before you dabble try and find out what you're doing, there's too many people watching it on TV or going to lockdowns and coming out ghost hunters. What I'd say is hold back, do your research try get in touch with a team in your area and try go with them on a couple of investigations. It can be dangerous so be safe and try figure out what you're doing before you jump in''
And on that note my little interview with the lovely Tina ends, I have to say it was without a doubt one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had and Tina is such a lovely, kind woman.
A huge thanks to Tina for putting up with me this morning, it was a pleasure.
You can follow the team on their facebook page - Paranormal Researchers Ireland
Images - Facebook, PRI, The Irish Sun, Loftus Hall Blog