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Galway’s own paranormal investigators ain’t afraid of no ghosts

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If there’s something strange in the neighbourhood, Galway has its very own ghost hunters to investigate the situation – and they certainly ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

They may not drive a pimped-out hearse like the ladies in the most recent Ghostbusters movie remake, and they certainly don’t return home covered in green goo – with a vacuum box of ghosts in hand – but Galway-based Paranormal Supernatural Investigations (PSI) certainly aren’t short of equipment when they go out on their ghost-hunting adventures.

“When we come across paranormal activity, we use digital voice recorders to record Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs), and EMF meters, cameras, an infrared video camera and full spectrum videos,” explained PSI founder James Moore.

Electronic Voice Phenomena or EVP is a term that is regularly used among ghost hunters and describes the sounds found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices. EMF meters are also used by ghost hunters to measure fluctuations in electromagnetic fields.

There are many paranormal theories that suggest spirits have the ability to manipulate electromagnetic fields, and the team at Paranormal Supernatural Investigations certainly do their part to prove these theories.

“If there is activity, the lights on the K-2 meters start flashing,” said an investigator on the team, Colm Lydon, and many of the videos these ghost hunters have uploaded to the internet would support this.

And while there are plenty of sceptics when it comes to ghosts and ghouls, Mr Lydon maintains that supernatural activity is quite common and “if they’re sceptics, they’re shocked with the evidence we get”.

In fact, each member of the team has had an experience with supernatural activity. The whole reason PSI was set up goes back to an experience James Moore had while living in Birmingham.

“I saw a spirit in my house, walking around on the upstairs landing. I thought I was seeing things, but then I saw it again two more times. It was about six feet tall and static grey in colour and male.

“I was in bed and then I suddenly woke up at three in the morning. The bedroom door was open and that’s when I saw a figure crawling along the landing. Then it stood up and walked away. Three weeks later, the same thing happened again at three in the morning.

“The third and last time it appeared again at three o’clock in the morning, but this time I spoke to it. I sat up in the bed and said ‘Can I help you?’ It stood up and it seemed to look down at me for about a minute. I asked it the same question again. It turned and walked towards my brother’s bedroom and walked through my brother’s bedroom door.

“After that, it never came back. At first I was a little freaked out. I didn’t know what to think at the time. But it didn’t bother me the last two times. Since then, I’ve been interested in the Paranormal, so I decided to set up PSI.”

Many spirits are on a cycle, he said, which is why this spirit chose the same time in the morning to walk the same path: “They are called residual spirits. They replay the same thing over and over again – like a recording, some believe.”

So far the team at Paranormal Supernatural Investigations consists of eleven investigators: Founder and Lead Investigator James Moore; Lead Investigator Ronan O’Grady; and Investigators Colm Lydon, Noelle Maher, Katie Welby, Ann Crowe, Philip Costello, John Francis Gibbon, Martin Ward, Gabriel Creaven and Lorna Howard.

Each member of the team has his or her own reasons for joining PSI and their own inspirations for hunting down paranormal activity in Galway and further afield.

“When I was younger, I had an entity come to my room and it was choking me. I wouldn’t sleep in my room for months after,” Colm Lydon explains, and various studies and documentaries would prove that he’s not the first to experience something like this.

In fact, many people across the world have had visits from the ‘night hag’, an evil entity who sits on the chest of a man or woman lying on their back at night. This causes paralysis, and sometimes the night hag will even choke or smother the victim, while they lie powerless beneath her.

The ‘Sleep Paralysis’ phenomenon is one that has been around for a long time and continues to be a paranormal experience that plagues numerous people. Many have put what has become known as ‘Old Hag Syndrome’ down to hallucinations or nightmares, but the vision of the night hag has been a common enough report to suggest it might be more than that.

According to the team, much of the paranormal activity they come across is from the ghosts of those who have passed away, and in many cases, they come across these spirits while on one of their late night graveyard investigations.

When there is a spirit nearby, it often appears in photographs as an orb of light, a shadow blocking the camera, or a wispy, smoky vision over a headstone. These images coupled with the loud beeping and flashing lights of the meters are, quite possibly, enough to change any sceptic’s mind.

Many people are reluctant to believe in the existence of ghosts and spirits, but none can say for sure what really happens when we die. James Moore is convinced that the spirits of the dead are here for a reason: “to watch over us, maybe…”

And with Halloween approaching – a night historically known as the ‘night of the dead’, where the souls of the deceased would walk the earth – the people of Galway should be on the look-out for any unusual or paranormal activity in their neighbourhood.

And if there is something strange, Paranormal Supernatural Investigations are on call to check it out – free of charge: “We do get asked [to investigate paranormal activity], not hired. We don’t get paid to do these investigations. And we are going to continue doing these investigations to help people.”

■ For more information on PSI, you can find them on Facebook under Paranormal Supernatural Investigations – Galway. Their Facebook page consists of a series of videos taken while out on their adventures, as well as photographs of activity they have come across.

Connacht Tribune

Community fights back on hospital ‘downgrade by stealth’

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Raw emotion, sadness and some anger filled the air at Clifden Town Hall on Sky Road last Sunday afternoon as a shaken community gave honest, personal accounts of the impact the closure by stealth of Clifden District Hospital would have on the people of North Connemara.

The public meeting was hastily organised after fears emerged on Friday that the HSE may transfer respite services from Clifden to Merlin Park Hospital, 50-plus miles away in Galway City.

Families were told their loved ones in Clifden Hospital may have to move home, or go to Merlin Park the following Monday, due to ‘issues with staffing’.

An axe has hung over Clifden Hospital for some years, but this latest move stirred the community to fight back to retain services locally.

Galway County Councillor Eileen Mannion (FG), who organised the public meeting with Senator Sean Kyne, said 625 people signed the attendance sheets and an estimated 650 people attended.

“The community effort spreading the word was unbelievable; the turnout was unbelievable,” she said.

“It wasn’t just anger; it was raw emotion in the room. Sadness. Family members spoke about the calls they got on Friday. The feeling that their elderly person was being rejected; that they weren’t being respected.

“One man stood up, three years waiting for respite care for a family member, and then to be told after a few days in there that she’d have to be taken home or to Merlin Park.

“We’re 50 miles from Galway. If there’s no traffic you might get to the outskirts in an hour but with the traffic in Galway, you could be another hour to get to Merlin Park. Not everyone has transport either and they’ve to rely on buses.

“A young woman stood up at the meeting and said her dad was dying in Galway. And she had to go to Saint Vincent de Paul to get money to pay for a B&B so that the family would be close to him when the end came. People gave their personal stories, and it was just heart-breaking.”

(Photo by Carmel Lyden: Teresa Conneely from Roundstone addresses people at the public meeting in Clifden Town Hall).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the Clifden Hospital story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Pilgrim took to his feet to realise dream!

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Clifden man Breandan O Scanaill, who is on a pilgrimage from his home town of Clifden to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, received a Mayoral welcome and a memorial crest when he arrived at the Asturian town of Navia last week.

Breandan, whose walk from his home outside Clifden to the reputed burial place of St James in Santiago, began in April, was walking through Navia in Spain when a local man came over to chat to him.

“He asked me about my journey and was interested in the fact that an Irish man had turned up in the town,” says Breandan, who had been admiring the Chapel of San Roque at the time.

The local man outlined the history of the building and the town to Breandan and they began chatting more generally about history and architecture – topics dear to the pilgrim’s heart.

Breandán’s new friend introduced himself as the Mayor of Navia, lgnacio Garcia Palacios, who invited the visitor from Clifden to visit the Town Hall.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Local Property Tax rate to stay unchanged despite Council chief’s plea

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Councillors have agreed to keep the Local Property Tax (LPT) rate unchanged – despite pleas from management that Galway County Council is predicted to spend at least €22 million more than it brings in for the next two years.

County Chief Executive Jim Cullen had recommended an increase of 15% on the LPT rate for 2023 and 2024 – amounting to €2.1m extra in the coffers annually – which would bolster its case when it came to pleading for a greater share of funding from central government.

In an estimation of income and expenditure for the Council, taking into account “unavoidable” expenditure and income changes set to hit, the Council would run a deficit of €9.04m in 2023 and 13.2m in 2024 – well over €22m unless there was a change in finances.

“I am hopeful of an uplift in baseline [funding] levels . . . we cannot continue to ignore the fact that other councils have raised LPT and their citizens enjoy a better standard of services that in Galway,” he stressed.

He told a meeting this week that €9m would be needed to maintain services next year at the same level as 2022. This was due to significant cost increases given that inflation is reaching 9.6% currently. Pensions, gratuities and payroll increases from the national pay agreement, increments and additional staff were all adding to bigger outgoings.

Without that extra funding, it will be necessary to reduce spending by that amount with a negative impact on service and staffing levels, he said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the story, including the councillors’ discussions, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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