A few days ago I visited Fort Widley in Portsmouth with a couple of friends. We went there for a ghost hunt and being ‘curious’ we thought it a great idea for a birthday treat. The fort itself was built between 1860 and 1868 on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom. During World War I it was used for the movement of storage and in World War II, was modified to provide more housing. It was designed with the aim to protect Portsmouth from sea and land attack from behind. Only in September 2010, the site was used to host a search and rescue exercise based around a simulated earthquake. The exercise named Titled Exercise Orion, involved teams from seven countries dealing with 35 scenarios over 2 days. The building clearly possesses a long, recent and eventful history and in turn, has created an interesting sinister environment.
On arrival, my first thought was that it didn’t seem that humans had already been, worked and lived there. It felt abandoned, empty, and like it had always been that way. Going down to the tunnels, numerous smells had odd effects on me that are hard to explain. Walking down the main tunnel from the light, it got darker but apart from the basic human instinct of being a little more on edge, I felt nothing.
The first room presented a few surprising happenings including someone almost passing out, countless knocks and when we circled to switch places in the séance, my feeling of not wanting to stand in that new place of the room. As soon as I knew there was a male spirit in the room with us, I immediately thought soldier of some kind. Near the end of the night I found out that the same spirit was a sergeant who worked there. Even more oddly, when we took part in glass work, I had the uncontrollable urge to laugh. I literally could not stop it from escaping and felt embarrassed just in case the professionals thought I was taking the mick. Later on in the session, we found out a little boy called Tommy was talking to us. I could have been nervous or didn’t believe it, or it could have been the boy’s temperament shining through me. I just don’t know.
This trip has revealed to me that I am a sceptic and I still think there are rational explanations to these events. There is however, a little part of me that wants these to mean something paranormal so this may have made me think of the spiritual possibilities. I just don’t know whether these spiritual possibilities are true.
I think I remember seeing that Dark Encounters have been hosting ghost events for over 10 years. This forces us to accept that these events sell, whether for real or entertainment reasons. Through this, it shows the continued fascination and interest in this ancient belief. It’s even known that the belief in ghosts dates back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures, its geography being limitless to add to this. Therefore, the belief in the paranormal is a history in itself and a continuing one.