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Want to hear something really stupid? Of course you do. Why else would you be reading a paranormal blog?

We’ll be the first to admit that Looking For Ghosts has featured some ridiculous stories on occasion. There’s been a ghost bus. Even a ghost chicken. But this next report is so laughably insane that it makes both of those stories seem like Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpieces of monumental integrity.

In an article which even Derek Acorah would probably describe as “utter bullshit”, a paranormal expert in Britain has claimed that ghosts are contacting the living through mobile phones, with the number of mystery calls attributed to them rising by 43 percent in the last four years.

Phil Hayes, a spectre investigator from Paranormal Research UK, claims that a third of all haunting are now through mobile phones.

“There is evidence to suggest that ghosts can use phones to communicate, with reports of people receiving phone calls from deceased relatives,” Hayes is quoted as saying. Although exactly what type of “evidence” he is referring to is unclear; presumably it’s not the kind of evidence that you can see. Or hear. Or exists.

He goes on to explain that the calls feature heavy static with a “faint and distant voice”, with the caller ID often showing as “withheld number” or “000000000000”.

Definitely sounds like ghosts to us. What else could it be? Apart from telemarketing companies, of course. Or a fault with the line. Or just about anything else.

In a study which was, bizarrely, conducted by Tesco Mobile, it has been revealed that there is a 70 percent rise in paranormal evidence in the last year due to people using their phones. Again, “evidence” in this context appears to be based entirely of listening to the stories their customers have made up. Worse still, they seem to be actively encouraging this absurdity.

“We’d recommend those brave enough to capture any spooky sightings should MMS or email their pics to the paranormal society for investigation,”  says Lance Batchelor, CEO of Tesco Mobile, common sense and logic seemingly having abandoned him completely.

“Keep your camera phone on the highest quality resolution setting and use the recorder to capture the noise of any spectral sounds,” he adds.

Perhaps it would be more responsible to advise their customers not to confuse basic technical glitches with paranormal activity, whilst also seeking to reassure them that the souls of the dead are not trying to get in touch. But, far from trying to distance themselves from this lunacy, Tesco appear to be keen to establish itself as the network of choice for spirits and ghouls.

And if you can’t trust the nation’s biggest supermarket chain to keep a level head, then what chance have the rest of us got? On the strength of this story, we are a nation in decline.

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Fancy living in a Haunted House? No, didn’t think so.

Nor, it seems, does anyone. Wymering Manor, reportedly the most haunted manor house in the UK, was recently up for auction for £375,000 but failed to sell. Perhaps buyers were put off by the fact that this Grade 2 listed building needs roughly £150,000 worth of restoration work to stop it from crumbling down around them. Or perhaps it’s because it’s located in Portsmouth, Britain’s answer to Chernobyl.

But mainly, we suspect, it’s because it’s chock-full of ghosts. Around 20-30 of the bastards according to “investigators of the paranormal” (or “peddlers of bullshit” as they are known to everyone else).

Wymering Manor: "Fairly spooky", supposedly.

As you’d expect with any house which is purportedly haunted, Wymering Manor comes complete with sudden drops in temperature, the sound of “children laughing and whispering” and  “a host of unseen hands which reach out to touch those passing by.” Cryptically, it also lists “a ghostly choir of nuns who scuttle across the hall” as one of its features. God only knows what that must look like.

The former monastery, featured in the 1086 Domesday Book , boasts two “priest holes” (unfortunately not nearly as rude as it sounds) where Catholics hid to escape persecution. In Portsmouth, this could have been as recently as 2003.

Hilariously, security guards who patrol the manor have also attested that there is something “fairly spooky” going on, which is about as conclusive as it’s possible to get without actually seeing anything paranormal happen. Which we never will.

Priest Hole: priest, sadly, not pictured.

Amazingly, this absolute gem of a property is still on the market. Chartered surveyor Jeremy Lamb remains upbeat: “It’s certainly a unique selling point…” he offers hopefully.

So if you’ve got half a million to spare and fancy living in a decaying wreck with a load of ghouls whilst you question your own worthless existence, why not make a bid?

Alternatively, why not make your own haunted house? Follow these easy steps:

  1. Remain in your current house
  2. Turn the heating down
  3. Make up some stuff

Congratulations! You now live in Britain’s most haunted house. Why not call in some paranormal “experts” to agree with your laughable stories, nodding their heads in admiration as you tell them that your bathroom was built on an ancient burial ground? No one can disprove anything, you’ll be fine. You might even make the national news!

This story was brought to our attention by the ever-ludicrous Daily Mail, by the way. Read it in full here.

Slightly underwhelmed by the famous South Bridge vaults, Looking For Ghosts decided to cheer ourselves up with a drink. After all, where better to look for ghosts than at the bottom of a bottle? With this in mind, we headed to Whistlebinkies Live Music Bar on the South Bridge to drown our sorrows.

However, to our utter delight, we discovered that Whistlebinkies is a frequent haunt (pun very much intended) of some rather unearthly guests.

Built into the South Bridge vaults, the bar is an underground venue with claustrophobic rooms and cellars which occupy a fair amount of these sinister caverns.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the pub is said to experience some strange activity from not one but TWO resident ghouls. We could hardly believe our luck; we only went in for a couple of white wine spritzers, we weren’t expecting paranormal nirvana!

The first ghost, The Imp, is an unseen but often mischievous entity who apparently likes to wind up the staff. Locking them in cellars, moving stuff around, stopping clocks – this ghost seems like a right laugh. Hilarious stuff! Not at all annoying, we imagine.

Possibly the best trick The Imp has performed is peeling a barmaid’s orange when her back was turned which, if true, is actually quite helpful rather than impish. He should probably be haunting the Del Monte factory, not a pub.

The second entity is menacingly called The Watcher. Less inclined to interact with people than The Imp, the Watcher simply…watches people. With long hair and 17th Century clothing, he’s often seen at Whistelbinkies by staff and customers but he’s also been spotted in other areas of the vaults too. He was even mistaken for a tour guide on one occasion, which was presumably a pretty confusing hour and a half for one group of tourists.

Despite our initial joy, it soon became apparent that neither of these two spectral figures were going to show themselves to us, probably on account of us being English and therefore on the wrong side of the border.

In fact, the scariest thing we encountered at Whistlebinkies was the jukebox, which seemed to alternate between melancholic indie pop one minute to aggressive, American metal the next. Making our excuses, we left with the disappointing impression that much of Edinburgh’s ghoulish past is embellished to dupe suggestible visitors.

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