|The Edinburgh Zoo Mansion|
Stepping through the depths of darkness while exotic animals howl, scuttle or silently stare with black eyes would be an uneasy experience for anyone but the living creatures will be the least of your worries this Halloween at Edinburgh Zoo.
While the activities of the nocturnal residents may be unnerving, they are harmless and abide securely in their enclosure homes. What is less predictable is what goes on inside the mansion sitting at the heart of the zoo after dusk.
For the first time the doors will be opened after hours for a ghost hunt of a building with a history that stretches back more than 200 years.
It once belonged to the MacMillan family who lend their name to one of the main function rooms in the house and often used for wedding celebrations.
While the Mansion House offers a home for happy occasions, it is also the source of unexplained sights, sounds and experiences.
A woman affectionately known as the Grey Lady appears from time to time on the grant staircase and was most recently spotted by a child last month. Others have heard the wails of a crying baby emitting from the walls while security guards have on occasion spotted figures inside the mansion and given chase and cornered the trespasser to discover there is no-one there.
For those brave enough to embrace the paranormal there is the opportunity to join experienced ghost hunter Jimmy Devlin and spiritualist medium Jackie Drummond as they search the mansion in a bid to find and communicate with spirits.
As a boy Jimmy’s interest in the paranormal was sparked by his father’s stories from days in the RAF. He said: “My dad would tell me ghost stories about haunted camps that he used to stay at and that fuelled it for me. I wanted to investigate things that cannot be explained.”
Jimmy aka the Ghost Finder General has a whole raft of technical equipment to help him capture sight or sound of the paranormal. While on an investigation he will carry a nightvision video camera, an audio recorder, a digital thermometer, a thermal imaging camera and meters that measure electric magnetic field.
He explained: “We emit EMF, the majority of this comes from appliances but it is thought that spikes in EMF also indicate paranormal activity. The meters used act as a modern day Weejie (Ouija) board, it can be a communication tool. We can ask the energy to respond on the count of three and we can see if there is a spike on three that they understand.”
Over the years Jimmy has been in a wide array of situations that would be sure to bring the height of fear to others such as footsteps, heavy breathing and banging of doors but still he is motivated to carry on investigating the unexplained.
He said: “It’s unexpected you just don’t know what’s going to happen. All I ask of people if they want to come is to have an open mind. I’m not going to force my opinions on anyone, I don’t know if its paranormal but there are experiences that cannot be explained and I investigate those.”
Jimmy is particularly excited about going round the Mansion House as he has never been there, he said: “It’s a blank canvas. I don’t know what we will find and I don’t know who will be coming. I hope it is a mixed bag of people as they will have different energies this will be more likely to attract paranormal energies.”
The event takes place from 8pm on Wednesday October 31, more information and booking details can be found online.