Hit the road with paranormal investigators
Monday April 25 will be the first official meeting of the TIP to be held on Dartmoor. The event will take place at the newly reopened East Dart Hotel in Postbridge, starting at 8pm, and everyone is welcome!
Admission is free, food and drink will be available for purchase. The new owners are revamping the property, right down to its name. Going forward it will be known as the East Dart Inn once the new signs are erected, for now you can use it to follow their progress on Facebook.
The owner, Ben, shares my interest in all things paranormal and assures me that he is already aware of certain activities. With its known haunted history… I refer you to my article a few weeks ago on the drunken dog… it makes it an ideal place for my meetings, and for investigating.
This will be the start of a new era for my gatherings, which began in 1995 when TIP was formed by myself and some good friends. Traditionally they have always been on a Monday, as that was the night the three of us got together to play pool and darts, drink a few pints and chat about our favorite subject… weird stuff.
The first place we visited was the Parkers Arms in Paignton, then after the last orders we walked up the road to the Blagdon Inn as they had a midnight license, part of a holiday camp. They also had their own resident ghost, John Henry, who became one of our first research subjects. A lot of work went into this project, which gave me a taste for the task and led me to build my own library.
One of our next stops was the Inn on the Quay, Goodrington. It was used as a hospital during the Napoleonic War, the leafy exterior being its cemetery. Today, only one tombstone remains, acting as a memorial to what it once was. Our reason for holding meetings there was his sightings of known ghosts, those of a Napoleonic era nurse. She was often seen standing in prayer near the last lonely marker stone. Once she was spotted at one of our meetings, causing a stir throughout the pub. Unfortunately, she was gone before we could come out to investigate.
Eventually we found our way to Churston Court, and as soon as we let it be known what we were interested in, the staff started sharing their experiences and stories with us. We quickly became enthralled with the stories of robed monks and phantom gamekeepers, so much so that it became our regular Monday night ‘hangout’. No more pool and darts for us, just pure paranormal chatter, inspired by the many magazines, books and newspapers I would buy and take with me.
Then in 1999 we went public and Churston truly became our home! Until then, it was just the three of us guys, joined by various friends and family members, but I wanted to see if anyone else shared our interest and swapped stories with us. Perhaps we could find other places to investigate?
After a well-placed announcement over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, we had our answer, and I’ve never looked back. That weekend I received many phone calls from people wanting to join us, tell me about their experiences and even invite us to their own meetings, held in Exeter.
On this holiday Monday evening, we were joined by a room full of people, eager to share and listen. Many came once, happy to get rid of an experience they may have never shared before, for fear of ridicule, but felt safe enough to do so with us. Others became regulars, even friends, sharing in the group’s many adventures, many of which I am still in touch with today.
That’s how it’s worked so far, even throwing TIP parties in Exeter, without too much fanfare, bringing the curious together. A brief attempt to organize meetings in pubs owned by friends, rather worked, although it was only the faithful who joined me.
More recently, thanks to Covid, things have stalled a bit, with members reluctant to walk away from Zoom screens, and our favorite haunts having issues with opening hours and available facilities…
That’s why I decided to shake things up a bit, taking my meetings on the road to new places, and new audiences. The format remains the same, a chance to share and listen to paranormal experiences, I certainly have more to say these days to kick things off, more new premises to explore.
These first appointments are free, which allows me to inspire myself for future articles, here and on the radio, while enriching my repertoire of tales to tell during my Moors Tours. My ultimate goal is to have a circuit of places to hold meetings, while offering paranormal weekends, where people can stay in the area, experience my travels during the day, and investigate haunted places at night. .
Don’t worry Torbay! I still have plans for you, we won’t lose touch with our roots anytime soon!