On Friday 13th Loftus Hall held its first live webcast of a Paranormal Lockdown. The hot and sunny day took a spooky turn once the sun set and the spirits came out to play.
The Paranormal Lockdown team consisted of our leading paranormal investigators, Paranormal Researchers Ireland (PRI), independent investigators, psychics, skeptics and six members of the public who won their places in our Facebook competition held the week before the event.

Our ‘lucky’ winners were mostly excited yet one or two nervously eyed the eerie house as they waited for the lockdown to commence. “I’m a little scared”, admitted a nervous Aisling Power.
PRI on the other hand, held their composure as they entered the most haunted house in Ireland, it’s clear that these guys are well used to dealing with the supernatural. I asked Patrick, an independent paranormal investigator if he had any advice for dealing with nerves before a paranormal lockdown, he reassured me that it’s ok to be nervous and insisted that “You’d be mad not to be nervous when you’re dealing with the paranormal”.

As the hour creeped closer to 10pm PRI began to brief the lockdown team for the event, the topic weighed heavily on respect, in order to ensure ones’ safety it’s essential to respect the house and the spirits that reside there.

At 10pm the house doors opened for our lockdown team to enter, some looked back in horror before the doors were closed behind them leaving them in complete darkness. They could now only be seen through the infrared cameras and the world was now watching the fate of these individuals. Events like these are always a mystery, anything could happen and there is always a sense of anxiousness in a house such as Loftus Hall. Though run by proprietor, Aidan Quigley, Loftus Hall is owned by the spirits that never left.

Dealing with spirits is always a waiting game, our team breaks up into 6 groups, each in a different room, attempting communication by calling out to any beings that might be listening. Bangs, tapping, temperature drops and feelings of being touched intensified as midnight approached. Ann O’Regan, writer and paranormal enthusiast, admitted that “many of these things can be accounted for logically but sometimes things happen that you just can’t debunk”. Chris Rush of PRI and horror author informed me that his group had heard tapping on request, “when you get a response from a spirit it’s just thrilling”, he gushed, his excitement was infectious and as always I found myself in awe of Loftus Hall.

11pm came and one of our competition winners, Lindsay Gardner, had a frightening experience and had to be quickly removed from the Tapestry Room. After she had a quick breather I approached her to find out what happened. She told me how the group had tried to communicate with the spirit of the small infant who is believed to haunt the room. As they held hands in a circle and sung Ring-a-ring-a-Rosy Lindsay felt a dragging sensation in her stomach, a strong pressure upon her chest and a sudden sadness that she couldn’t express.
“I’ve been told that I’m sensitive to the supernatural”, she confessed, tears in her eyes as she cupped her tea in reception. “I’m going back in though”, she added with a determination that surprised me. Sometimes when people get a fright like this they avoid returning inside Loftus Hall. She finished her tea and walked bravely back into the darkness.

12am came and went and the morning hours were truly upon Loftus Hall. At one point a loud, harsh voice came through the walkie talkies; “ATTENTION!”, it demanded. I jumped behind reception, quickly grabbing the walkie talkie and confirming with the lockdown team that it didn’t come from them. A part of me already knew that it didn’t. The mysterious voice was unknown, a spirit trying desperately to communicate perhaps? When the team regrouped in reception they were buzzing with excitement. The skeptics didn’t seem so skeptical anymore and founder of PRI, Tina Barcoe, confirmed that the skeptics will be returning to the next lockdown. This is what they came here for – horror, mystery, excitement and above all a true sense of the supernatural. When you enter Loftus Hall, especially at night, it’s like entering into a paranormal dimension, only do if you dare…

R. Reddin