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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 May, 2004, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
'My nights in the Hangman's Cell'
By Jemima Laing
BBC News Online, Plymouth

Ian Addicoat
Ian Addicoat is the president of the Paranormal Research Organisation
There are many reasons to concentrate in French lessons, so you can book a hotel room in Paris, perhaps order a croissant in a boulangerie or - as paranormal investigator Ian Addicoat discovered this weekend - to help communicate with the spirits of dead Napoleonic soldiers.

Ian and six members of his group, the Cornwall-based Paranormal Research Organisation, have just completed a two-night investigation into paranormal activity at the Hangman's Cell at Plymouth's Devonport Naval base.

They were part of a larger team looking into ghostly sightings and reports of a strange atmosphere which are said to have spooked tough naval ratings and security men alike.

The team would love to do a return visit
Ian Addicoat
Ian is a seasoned paranormal investigator who has written many books on the subject.

The 32-year-old father of two from Cornwall describes himself as a sceptic.

"But only in the true definition of the word," he said. "Questioning all occurrences to an empirical level."

To that end he and his team utilised a wide range of equipment during their weekend vigil.

Scientific apparatus used included 0-lux night vision video cameras, digital stills cameras, electro-magnetic field meters, laser thermometers, digital voice recorders and motion detectors.

Ian said: "Obviously we will know more when the evidence has been looked at in more depth and reports from our team have been correlated, but it was a very interesting investigation."

For instance during a darkness vigil, orbs - which experts take to be energy given off by a spirit presence - were captured on the night vision machinery, appearing when the French national anthem was hummed.

The team also experienced many unexplained temperature drops.
Devonport Dockyard
Many of the prisoners executed there were French

The seven-strong group also deployed a panoply of non-scientific equipment such as dowsing rods, which are used to detect spirit presence and obtain information from that spirit through psychic dowsing.

And the team soon discovered that contact was more fruitful when Ian spoke in French, as many of the prisoners executed there were Napoleonic soldiers.

While less weight is give to these methods of investigation Ian describes the information elicited as "intriguing".

Ian, 32, said: "All in all it was a very interesting investigation and the team would love to do a return visit."

The team expects to submit its report to the Royal Navy in the next few weeks.

Ghostly magnetism explained
21 May 03 |  Science/Nature

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