Many come to the Spa Pavilion; it seems not everybody leaves.

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A love-struck fan whose obsession with a dancer lives on long after his death. Little Annie, crushed beneath a horse’s hooves while chasing her puppy. It wasn’t just the winter weather giving us chills.

I was among 20 or so people joining sceptic believer Denise Mott, Most Haunted paranormal historian Richard Felix and Essex medium Jake Shaw on a ghost hunt prior to Psychic and Science’s visit to the theatre on July 19.

We were an excitable, sceptical and admittedly frightened bunch.

“Don’t tell anybody – I’ve screamed myself a few times,” laughs Denise. “Normally it’s sounds and noises; but we always try to look for the rational explanation first because we want our guests to be the paranormal investigators for the night.”

Armed with hi-tech gear including electromagnetic field readers and temperature gauges we got a frosty reception from the manager – well former manager John, as we began our investigation.

First the total darkness of the changing room was broken by the erratic, inexplicable flashing of the EMF readers sensing a disturbance in the area’s energy.

“We were mentioning he was probably not a very nice man when I felt a pressure behind me and heat in my legs,” said a visibly shaken Alex Rawlings, 28, of Ipswich. “Then someone pointed out he doesn’t like women.”

Trying to get more out of John, several people placed their hands on a fold-up table and asked him to tip it. Tipped it was.

Not bad considering we were warned no spirits might make contact.

“We could be here six hours and nothing may happen or lots of things could; we can’t guarantee any paranormal activity and won’t fake anything. I’ve been doing it for years and so has Richard; we’re still looking for more proof ourselves,” says Denise.

The psychics present then sensed the presence of a teenage ballerina on stage; the banging sound turned out to be the stage lights cooling rather than contact from the other side.

A whiff of old-fashioned cologne in the foyer remains a mystery, with nobody responding to our calling out.

Later there was the hint of something trying to reach out to us in the restaurant; unseen hands guiding the every day glass beneath our fingers across the table.

Our biggest success came after we split into groups.

Armed with a Ouija board and other devices, we joined Richard in another changing room where Annie recounted her tragic death and her adoptive mother Mary also spoke to us.

It certainly gave me lots to think about as I went to sleep that night... with the bedside lamp left on.

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