Ghostly visions, voices and paranormal activity experienced in Hartlepool homes
Ghostly visions and poltergeists may sound like something from a horror film or novel – but such paranormal activity could be more real and close to home than many people realise.
Hartlepool paranormal investigator Jo Banks has taken part in dozens of investigations of historic buildings and businesses in and around the town for more than 15 years.
And she is also regularly called upon to investigate unexplained behaviour in people’s homes.
Jo said: “People get in contact with a wide variety of activity, such as what are described as poltergeist activity when things like keys or bank cards seem to vanish from where they were left in plain sight, only to turn up in odd places, like the bathroom cabinet.
“I’m told of seeing shadows in the corner of the eye, flashes, ‘orbs’, the feeling of being touched or poked, strong smells (usually tobacco or flowers), hearing your name being called, sighs or crying.
“Thankfully, it’s very rare that people contact me if they feel they have been physically assaulted.”
Jo fell into the paranormal by accident in 2003 through her fascination with local history when she heard numerous stories of unexplained activity.
“The closer I looked, the more I found,” she said.
Jo says she goes into each case with logical approach and open mind.
She uses a range of special equipment, including night vision cameras, to detect unusual sounds, movement and changes in temperature, as well as the ouija board.
One case that sticks in Jo’s memory is a house in Hartlepool she was contacted about by a woman in Canada describing paranormal experiences when she lived there as a girl.
About a year later she received an email from another unconnected woman describing terrible experiences when she lived in the town in the 1950s in what turned out to be the same house.
Another stand out case was the experiences of an elderly lady living alone in a large home built on former farmland who found dried mud chicken claw marks on her kitchen floor each morning, along with a strong smell of manure.
Jo, who who runs North East Paranormal Investigations and does not charge for what she does, said: "I set up equipment overnight to try to catch this unusual activity and the next day there were more claw marks.”
She says the experiences she is contacted about can seriously affect people’s relationships and often make them want to move house.
She was recently contacted by three people in one day for help, but there can be months of no reports.
Jo said: “The occupants of five houses in one street asked for my help.
"It is a shame that someone can be affected so badly they want to move away from an often much loved home, before seeking advice.”
Jo can carry out cleansings to remove any unwanted spirits and always keeps in touch with the people after an investigation to confirm everything is peaceful.
“There is a great sense of satisfaction when we leave a house and see how much happier everyone is,” she said.
To find out more see North East Paranormal Investigations on Facebook or call Jo on 07956 727118.