An Irish school just might have a ghost or two lurking among its student body!
Black and white surveillance cameras have captured some very creepy happenings down a deserted hallway in the wee morning hours. Just days before Halloween, video footage from the Deerpark CBS school in Cork, Ireland, emerged online, showing "probable poltergeist activity" — this is, according to Lane Smith, a parapsychologist investigating the case.
In the video, lockers vibrate and come open, papers float across the room, doors slam and a plastic sign on the floor flip-flops over without a person in sight.
"I've been investigating these phenomena for over 25 years," said Smith, an Oxford-trained physicist and paranormal researcher. "The evidence for hauntings and the postmortem survival of consciousness is actually quite good. Most people are surprised to learn there is a vast body of scientific literature on these subjects."
After viewing the footage with the janitorial staff, Deerpark Deputy Principal Aaron Wolfe sent a clip to his boss — Principal Kevin Barry — in utter disbelief.
"We couldn’t understand how this had occurred,'' Wolfe said, speaking to the TODAY Show via email. "If it's a prank, it’s very well done!"
Having been at Deerpark for almost a year, Wolfe had heard the the stories of strange happenings and unexplained occurrences.
"I thought all that was balderdash," said Wolfe. "I am trained in the Western traditions of science and empiricism. You are going to have to show me the money! Religion and superstition were kindling on the ash heap of discredited human ideas. But then, well, my stance has softened a tad bit."
When Wolfe accepted his deputy principal gig last year, he was quickly informed by his new secretary Jaylene Dinkins of "spooky things in the past," from hallways being unnaturally cold to muffled sounds of crying.
"I've been pushing paper and wrangling children at Deerpark since I left university," said Dinkins. "There is no doubt that our school is haunted. I've personally seen a ghost on two occasions. I don't even get excited about it now."
"And since our little video came out, many people have contacted us with stories about the school being haunted,'' added Wolfe. "A lot of them are former students."
And not surprisingly, the land the school is built on has something of an interesting history...
"First of all, there's a little backstory," said Deputy Principal Wolfe. "The school is built on a site known as the Green Gallows. In the 19th century, criminals were hanged here. The pub nearby is actually called the Gallows."
And this execution spot has a sordid history that goes back even further!
As far back at the 1500s, priests accused of heresy were "strung up in the gallows" for their religious beliefs. The Catholic Church actually hung and beheaded famed Bishop Terence Albert O’Brien here in 1651.
"And unlike many of his contemporaries, he wasn't executed for supposedly practicing the 'dark arts,'" said Wolfe.
"In those days, though, just singing a little too loudly in the church choir was enough to cast someone in league with the devil. No, O'Brien was a political prisoner. He had sided with the Irish Confederates during the wars," said Wolfe.
When the video first surfaced, there was a Halloween event at the school coming up called "Fearpark,'' and a lot of people online assumed the footage was a promotional stunt.
"People have suggested that we’ve used a green screen, or edited someone out,'' Wolfe said. "I wish our school had these types of resources. Others have suggested that fishing line was used. I don’t see how fishing line could open the locker because the doors don’t stay closed, unless the latch on it is turned.
"Also, the corridor is on the first floor and the window there behind the locker doesn’t open. It wasn't the wind," added Dinkins. "However, anything is possible, I guess."
But after reviewing the footage and investigating the school grounds, parapsychologist Lane Smith and her team have come to some startling conclusions...
Born into a family who were Plymouth Brethren, Lane Smith had her first paranormal experience at the age of nine, when she claims to have seen an apparition of her father, who had died earlier the same day, standing at the bottom of her bed.
"That really proved to me at a young age that these phenomena are real," she said. "After what I think was a pretty respectable career in theoretical physics, after gaining tenure, I began to pursue the paranormal in earnest."
Smith and her team utilize cutting edge scientific equipment to document ostensible cases of hauntings, telekinesis, mediumship, and psychic phenomena.
"Some of these phenomena are attended by changes in the electromagnetic field and ambient temperature," she explained. "Also, we record video and take acoustical readings at various frequencies. We practice science, not hocus pocus."
After being contacted by Wolfe, Smith conducted a thorough investigation and recorded several anomalies on her EVP equipment.
"Electronic voice phenomenon is a method whereby a recording device passes through different FM channels, quickly modulating the frequency. This produces what appears to be human language, phrases, and words. One explanation is that it allows disembodied spirts to communicate with us through the medium of the sound. Of course, it could be that these 'communications' are psychokinetic projections from the minds of the living."
And there are other explanations for the data as well.
But first, let's take a look at the original footage...
The footage shows a series of unexplained events from a set of lockers appearing to violently shake, to notebooks flying across the halls, and a wet floor sign being toppled by no one in sight.
According to reports, the spooky footage was conveniently captured on October 1st at 3 a.m. — what is oddly enough known as the "witching hour."
"Our janitor has worked in the school for over 30 years and he can recall many stories of ‘paranormal activity,'" Wolfe explained.
"On one occasion, the school was hosting an exotic bird show and the birds had arrived the day before. Because the organizers were worried that someone might break in and steal the birds, someone had to stay overnight."
That person left the school hours before dawn – they refused to stay any longer as they said that they heard "Last Call" being played on a trumpet in the darkness.
"Of course, this could have just been their imagination," added Wolfe.
But for most people, the hundreds of stories and certainly the video evidence all make for a convincing case. Just look at that wet floor sign go spinning around!
But Wolfe still didn't believe the school was haunted.
That is, until what he refers to as the "second incident" made him a true believer...
Like the original video, the “entity” on display seems to start at the far back of the shot and work its way forward, as if it’s traversing down the corridor.
There’s a lot more activity in this video, though! Six succinct events occur during the video's one minute and forty seconds, as opposed to the four that took place during the same space of time in the original.
At about the 38-second mark, something in the upper left-hand corner starts to move, accompanied by a rumbling noise — the sound of something being dragged across the floor.
Then, just a second or two later, it moves again, this time with greater force.
At the one-minute mark, a bag comes careening out of the storage cubbies atop the lockers. A poster flies off the wall at about 1:09.
And at 1:20, a chair in the foreground takes a full 12 seconds to travel from one side of the hallway to the other.
But seriously, was this just some carefully-executed prank? Well... Just keep reading...