ok, this was one time when I was asking for trouble...
I work for a PR and Marketing department, and my job was to promote a product coming up that had connections to ghosts and spirits, and part of that was to stage a press event to launch it to journalists.
Normally, this would involve a presentation and some alcohol in a nice warm hotel, but I decided to do something different.
I hired a castle near Scotland for the night, and also a team of Ghost Hunters to help run the evening. we invited journos from across Europe, and met them at the airport to take them to the location - they had no real idea what was in store for them.
The journey from the airport was rowdy and full of excited energy, until we got to a little rustic looking village in the middle of nowhere, and we stopped to pick up some bottles of wine.
"where are you guys all headed off to" the lady in the shop asked, and when we told her, she went pale, and stopped talking to us. Made me think a little bit of the pub in American Werewolf in London :)
Anyway, this quietened everyone down a little bit, and in fact the bus was silent by the time we drove through 40 miles of dense woodland, not seeing anyone, and then pulled up in the courtyard of this huge Gothic castle - it was very creepy, and its funny to see a group of 14 lads on a bus, not wanting to be first to get off :)
We were all shown around this place, room by room, and each one that had a ghost in, was described in great detail to us. At the end of each little talk, we were told who from the group was staying in each room. (it was like being picked for the school team, only you WANTED to be last).
My room was in a tower (typically), at the top of 6 stories of spiral staircase. Of course the light switch was at the bottom, so to turn it off, you had to climb back up in darkness. (no streetlights or anything outside of the castle) and they told me that at 5am, two invisible children will jump on the bed and wake you up, and if you don't stir they will drag the duvet off. Thanks for that info guys :/
we were then all told to meet for dinner at 7pm in the great hall after settling into our rooms. We were all some distance from each other, and I have never felt so alone! Funnily enough, most people congregated together in one room with a tv, and tried to get drunk as quickly as possible...
I met with the lead hunter guy, to introduce a 'journo' that was actually an actor, that we had paid to wind the others up if they were not scared. We were told "oh you won't need to make stuff up, if you are ever going to see anything, it will be here tonight". eek!
At 7pm, we all met in the hall, and it was very cool, no electric lights, only HUGE candles, and a long feasting table, flanked by medievel suits of armour. (stupidly, I wouldnt sit by one unless it came to life - thats how paranoid we started to get). This place even had a full sized stuffed elephant in there...in armour!
We were introduced to the hunter team, and also their resident psychic, who briefed everyone on ghost theory. The main part that stuck in my mind was "there is a theory that ghosts feed off nervous energy, and so will attempt to frighten you in order to take as much as possible. They can take ambient energy from the surroundings, hence lights dimming and rooms going cold, to try to manifest. So the more scared you are, the more likely they are to try to appear to you" they then asked if anyone needed to go to the bathroom (in another building) before the dinner presentation. Strangely no one went...
Over lunch the medium told us that the spirits were all at the windows right now, looking in, as they are curious as to why people are here (the castle is normally vacant), and then we were shown various hunting equipment.
I will never forget the evil looks i got from the journos when they were told that they will be split into groups, given a radio and set up in various places in the castle to start a hunt.
My group were given a underground tunnel leading to the dungeon to stake out, and we sat there in complete darkness for about 10 mins before things started to happen. We had what they called a 'laser thermometer' which allowed you to point a beam across an area and measure the temperature of what ever you pointed it at - was very cool, but soon lost its desirability when it started registering a pocket of extreme coldness about 18 meters from where we were. Nervous laughter shrugged it off, but then this other device started going off, it had a series of LEDs on it, 3 green, 3 yellow and 3 red - (perhaps it was an EMF reader or something?) Anyway, it went from green to full yellow, slowly, led by led and then stopped. We all just stared at it (i did at least - it was very dark) and willed it not to go any further :) but after a minute or so the first red one came on, and made us all gasp. I turned the damn thing around to point behind us and all the LEDs went out immediately. We all laughed again nervously. I then turned it back to where it was, and it was suddenly lit up right to the top - all lights were on and the bloody thing started a high pitch beeping.
I have never run so fast in my life.
We heard similar panics over the radio, and we all eventually met up again in the great hall, all pretending that nothing really had happened - but the hunter guys just laughed. He sealed the experience for one guy, pointing out that 'he has brought a friend along with him' and proved it by taking a picture with a digital camera, which when viewed on the screen on the back, had a wispy orb in it... (Orbs may be considered dull, but that had a big impact at 11:30pm in an old castle. Especially when we were warned about it in advance.)
Makes you wonder.
There was on old graveyard in the grounds that we went to stake out, but due to pack instinct, one person heard a noice and panicked, and so we all ran back to the castle like a speeded up version of the blair witch project.
pretty much everyone stayed awake in one room all night.
The following morning, we all met for breakfast, and everyone had a story to tell - and even the real sceptic guy, who had made fun of the whole situation over dinner (even though he tried to get out of the stake outs and drunk much more than anyone else) apologised to the experts, and admitted that he wasn't sure what to believe now.
As for me, well at 5:15 am, I woke up with a huge start, as if the whole bed had jumped a foot in the air, and spent the next few hours with the pillow over my head.