Thackray Museum of Medicine, 16th September 2023


Thackray Museum of Medicine—Leeds. Saturday 16th September 2023 – Kit Brewer.

My first ever investigation with Visage as a guest was at Thackray Museum of Medicine on their first birthday celebration event some years ago. It looked a little different then, as it has since been done up, but I was very much looking forward to another return visit.

We had just under 30 guests this time, a couple of whom where absolute newbies to this type of event so we were hopeful that with their infectious energy that they would have a great evening.

We began our group vigil in the lecture theatre area, after a little technical difficulty with the lights and audio. Within a few moments though, Nicola became aware of a male spirit with a bad smell being close to her. Something that also happened on our last visit. I felt as if someone was sat beside me to my right side, in-between myself and an another guest, who also felt chilled to their left side.

Lisa made us aware that a tall male spirit was stood observing us all. We heard some faint tappings and shadows but could not ascertain a name. Lisa got the sense that this man had an interest in sex workers and liked to dissect their bodies to look at their organs.

We then divided into our two groups and Group A (my group) stayed downstairs while Group B (Brett’s group) went upstairs. We led our group to the Victorian Street area first. We had the music box go off but could not rule out anyone standing too close to it. A couple of guests said they were getting a headache. But we did note that this area has aromas there as part of the display so we could not rule out that being a factor.

Some guests wanted to try out the Ouija board and very quickly they were getting responses. The following names were spelled out: – Vera, Wilf, Kevin, Lottie, Glenys. Some guests said that Vera and Glenys were the names of their grandmothers. One asked for the nickname of their grandma to be spelled out, which is was! I did explain though that these boards are not accurate and often ideomotor effect* can cause these results (*the subject unconsciously causing the motion). Sometimes we are not aware that it is actually us causing the
glass to spell out names or words we are familiar with.

Guests were asking if there were spirit present who ‘knew’ the people around the board, To which there was an emphatic movement to YES. I asked if there were
spirit present who knew me. Again an emphatic YES (I was not on the board, just observing). The name then spelled out was ‘Jack’. I do not know anyone called Jack either alive or in spirit.

When the board seemed to be full of several relatives of the guests present, I asked if they could step back and allow spirits connected to the building to come forward. The glass then kept heading to NO and several times spelled out an impolite word. Taking control of the situation, I insisted that should such language appear again I would shut the board down and put it away for the night, as this was unacceptable! This word was not spelled out again after that.

Some guests had got bored at this stage of everyone’s grandparents popping up, so Linda took them off to another part of the museum to do their own vigil. But by now the atmosphere had gone quite flat. So we moved back to the lecture theatre area and some guests did a Human Pendulum experiment. They got the name ‘Dr Harris’ who apparently passed in 1837 and did not like being in the building but was not alone.

Seemingly also children were present. I felt that a child was hiding beneath the desk at the back of the room, watching us with curiosity. We then went for a tea break (and of course some crisps). I did notice at one point that we were being
watched from the entrance to the lecture theatre corridor by a female child spirit.

Perhaps the second half of our investigation would be more active? Who knows.
Group B reported on their results and Lisa and Jason said that they were aware of 6 child spirits and one of a​ Junior Doctor who had died as result of a head injury sustained during a robbery. His killer was known but had never been arrested. They had flashes on the K2 and heard some clicking sounds. Jason picked up on the name Polly Anna, hearing her laugh, and that she stayed at the building for the children.

For the second half of the night we took Group A upstairs and began our vigil in the fascinating room full of apothecary jars. Nothing seemed to be happening in there and it was very flat so we moved on up the corridor where the other group had experienced shadows and sounds. Again it was pretty dead (pun intended) and despite our best efforts to start an old school ‘sit and call out and listen vigil’, there was a lot of wandering about! Understandable really in such a fascinating museum with so many exhibits to look at.

The guests did try the Ouija board again and got some mixed results. Linda did feel as if she had been poked in the shoulder while doing the experiment with the rubber hand, but other than that there was not much else to report in the way of activity that we could describe as , i.e. ‘not normal’. Such is the way of these events. We cannot guarantee ghost sightings and will not fake them or tolerate it from anyone else. Some nights are quieter than others.

Before we knew it, it was time to wrap things up and send our guests on their way home with their goodie bags and hopefully good memories and keen to return to another of our events.

Next one is Ripon Workhouse on November 18th . Get involved people and I’ll see you there.