AS a small child, PJ O’Sullivan and a friend both saw a ghostly figure running through a room where they were sitting. They were the only two who saw it and, from that moment, PJ was hooked.
He, who works in County Limerick, and his inter-generational team of paranormal investigators will be spending two nights over the Halloween weekend in Redwood Castle, just outside Limerick, where they have previously experienced many ghostly goings-on.
The castle, built around 1210, is still owned by the same clan who took it over in 1350, the Mac Aodhagáin (or Egans). The family restored it from ruin in the early 70s.
“By day it’s a warm, lovely family home, but once night comes it’s a different story,” PJ told the Limerick Post.
On their intrepid adventures, PJ and his team have witnessed some chilling scenes. Cold breath vapour appearing in closed rooms with not a (living) soul in them. A ball, which was secured to the stairs, breaking loose and bouncing down without anyone touching it. Unmanned walkie-talkies turned themselves on, and voices, footsteps, and slamming doors all heard in uninhabited areas of the castle.
The Milk Market, popular with living and dead alike
The group met at least one saucy spook in Redwood, says PJ.
“On one occasion we were there, a lady guest felt something touch her and her dress lifted up and away from her legs. We caught it on camera and the clip went viral,” said PJ.
Puca Vogue Paranormal Investigations Ireland is made up of PJ, his son Leo, Leo’s partner, Eva Walsh, and friends Rory Murphy and Veronica. The group also has a guest photographer, Maria, who prefers to stay in the background.
The team have previously camped out in Limerick’s Milk Market, where PJ says there is “certainly a lot of activity”, with sightings allegedly having been reported by many people.
“We did that investigation as part of a John Creedon programme, but we would love to go back again with no publicity and just settle down with our own equipment to see what we can capture,” the ghost hunter says.
The investigations team work in lockdown with no one other than themselves and their invited guests allowed to take part. They have recorded clothes being pulled at, ghostly voices (including one of a child calling for help in Irish and another speaking in a foreign tongue recognised by the non-national owners of the house who appeared to know what the voice was talking about), light being blocked out although there was no corporal body blocking it, and various objects being moved, thrown down, or toppled over.
“I like to invite skeptics in,” said PJ. “I always check whether something that we heard or witnessed could have been caused in some normal way, like a draught. We have to rule that out before we can go any further.”
‘I’m a fat man, I don’t run’
PJ says he is “not a psychic. I’m an investigator and we all do this because we have a passion for it. We don’t make money from it and we pay for all our own equipment and transport, as well as any expenses involved.”
The supernatural investigator believes there are different kinds of spirits.
“Intelligent spirits will answer us by making a repetitive action or noise when asked; residual spirits, who are attached to a place and sometimes don’t know they have passed over; and spirits who are attached to people or families,” PJ explains.
But does he ever get the heebie-jeebies during an encounter?
“Yes. We all do sometimes. I remember one instance when I felt there was someone standing right in front of my face. I ran out of there, and I’m a fat man, I don’t run.”
The team can validate experiences people have had in their investigations, but they don’t make any attempt to banish resident ghosts.
“I tell people it’s the living that they need to worry about, not the dead,” PJ quipped.