Carol Winstanley is no stranger to the paranormal.
She has been pushed around by ghosts and has heard voices from the other side.
Whilst this may put the frighteners on most people, for Carol it is a hobby, as she is fascinated by the stories of spirits who are waiting to be heard.
The mother-of-one is part of ITS (Into The Shadows) – a paranormal investigation group, which visits ‘haunted’ venues across Lancashire and beyond.
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She says: “My husband, Neil, and I have been doing paranormal investigations for eight years now.
I could feel someone pushing me and forcing me out of the way. That was amazing and such experience.Carol Winstanley
“Initially we went to organised events by other established groups and we were asked to set up a franchise. However, we didn’t get to go where we wanted and we decided to go our own way.
“We got together with four other enthusiasts from across the North who we had met at other events and we set up ITS more than four years ago.
“We do all sorts. We set up Ouija boards and do old fashioned seances, pendulum work and do call outs. We use our senses to see, hear and feel the spirits. We carry out vigils and do video and voice recordings.
“Some people contact us, saying they have seen something, or something is going on and they want to investigate it.
“Other times we organise events for people to join at special venues. We can spend up to seven hours at a venue and we also organise sleep-overs at weekends. Sometimes a spirit has followed a participant and they have a message to pass on. Other times people can see outlines of apparitions or hear noises.”
The group travels around the country to different venues but they don’t have to go much further than Lancashire for some truly spooky findings.
Carol adds: “Some times you can go somewhere and there can be lots of activity and other times you can go back to the same place and there is nothing.
“We do go back to some places where there has been a lot going on and we also go to new places so we can experience as much as we can.
“We have had a good experience at the The British Commercial Vehicle Museum in Leyland.
“We saw some apparitions walk by and we had lots of activity with a Ouija board as we heard lots of voices. It is currently closed for refurbishment so we can’t go back for a while.
“Samlesbury Hall used to be really strong but now the antiques have been cleared not much happens.
“It has a lot of history, especially with the Pendle witches. There has been a lot of death at the hall, with various historic battles, so there is a lot of residual energy around.
“Lancaster Castle, Lancaster Theatre and Morecambe Winter Gardens have had a few interesting things happen. Regent Cinema in Blackpool was a friendly venue. We didn’t get a lot of activity, but what we did get was great.
“The strongest experience was one of the most haunted places – the Golden Fleece in York. The whole place is extremely haunted. I could feel someone pushing me and forcing me out of the way. That was amazing and such experience. Some people don’t like the physical side but it doesn’t happen often. I want to go back again.”
Carol, who lives in Orrell, near Wigan and works full time in Chorley during the week, feels that her work with ITS is one of her biggest passions.
She adds: “There is so much history included in it all. It is not just about ghosts. It is about real people, with real stories. It is about British history – things you don’t read about in the books.
“I enjoy connecting with people who have passed and want their story heard. They had not been able to communicate what they wanted to but now they are able to in a way of helping other people understand the history behind the place.
“It is about giving people peace.”
•Lancashire has been named 3rd most haunted region in the country.
SellHouseFast trawled the Paranormal Database, which documents every paranormal/cryptozoological account in all areas of England.
It revealed Lancashire had 548 counts of paranormal activity. Yorkshire, known for its Norman castles and medieval abbeys, is England’s most haunted region, with 685 entries.