Tag Archives: Scully

Ghostly goings on at work? Call the British Ghostbusters!

If your work place is more likely to be home to apparitions than apprentices then who you gonna call? Ghostbusters from the University of Essex and Bradford University!

Just like their filmic counterparts, Dr Kathleen Riach and Dr Simon Kelly are university academics, although they won’t be packing proton packs or ridding the world of giant Mr Stay Puft marshmallow men! However, like Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis in the original film, they are interested in investigating stories about things that go bump in the night or day in libraries and hotels, as in the film, and other places of work right across the country.

So, if you have a spooky story to tell this Halloween about your haunted office or mysterious phenomenon in your place of work, a researcher at Essex Business School (EBS) at the University of Essex wants to hear from you.

Turning Mulder and Scully in researching these spooky goings on are Dr Kathleen Riach, from EBS, who is turning ghost hunter with Dr Simon Kelly, a colleague from Bradford University School of Management, for a study expected to reveal how paranormal activity in the workplace can impact staff relationships and morale, and ultimately productivity and turnover.

“One chef refused to go to a specific part of his workplace due to phantom footsteps, and another accountant spoke of avoiding a cold part of their office where a murder had apparently taken place years ago,” Dr Riach explained. It was these and other anecdotes from managers and employees with whom Dr Riach was working on other projects that have inspired her latest study.

Dr Riach and Dr Kelly want to interview anyone who has had mysterious or unexplained experiences in their workplaces.

“Whilst this may seem like a curious topic for a research study, by exploring the supernatural at work we might better understand the wider implications for how people experience work. Using the supernatural as an extreme example of the emotional experience of work may help to uncover how employees behave or react when faced with something that falls outside formal organisational practices or does not fit with their expectations or assumptions,” Dr Riach explained.

“Of course, having a paranormal experience may also bring business benefits. Not only is paranormal tourism on the increase, but organisational cultures benefit from the stories and tales that people tell and retell within their companies when people join. It may be that exploring these storytelling cultures surrounding the uncanny reveals one way that people socialise and bond within the workplace.”

The research team are looking for interviewees willing to speak about unusual or unexplained occurrences such as strange noises, moving objects, disembodied voices or cold spots; stories and urban myths about company buildings or history; and ghost stories that are used to promote an ‘experience’ such as a haunted room in a hotel.

To tell your story, contact either Dr Kathleen Riach, e-mail:kriach@essex.ac.uk or telephone 01206 872373 or Dr Simon Kelly, e-mail: s.kelly5@bradford.ac.uk or telephone 01274 238919.

All data collected will be anonymised and treated as confidential.

I ain’t fraid of no ghosts

So mused Ray Parker Jr, ghosts may have not given him sleepless nights but Huey Lewis and the News did when they sued him for the Ghostbusters theme sounding uncannily like one of their tunes.

We’ve got our first ever Fright Nights ghost hunting experience lined up at Oxford Castle, this was penned prior to but posted after that experience, and like the Ghostbusters we, myself, Sarah, my brother, Gavin, and his partner, Shona, are taking on the paranormal as a foursome, albeit minus matching jump suits.

Of course we will have maglites aplenty, doffing of cap to Mulder and Scully, along with some trusty chocolate and caffeine fuelled soft drinks, Mountain Dew with their luminous green bottles, a subconscious nod to Slimer no doubt, to get us through the night. We aired on the side of caution and decided to stay clear away from Stafpuft Marshmallows, just as a precaution you understand.

So, am I a believer or sceptic? Neither really, I’m not expecting rattling chains or Hollywood Paranormal Activity shenanigans, of course who hasn’t seen Most Haunted, who have even spent the night at Oxford Castle in the same areas we are set to tread in the dead of night, or programmes of that ilk.

I spent huge chunks of my childhood mesmerised by the likes of the Usborne Book of Ghosts, Peter Haining’s Book of Hauntings and Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World, so am faintly aware of my Borley Rectory to the Enfield Poltergeist, not to mention all things Amityville Horror.

Dean and Gav Winchester, I mean Newman

Back to the Ghostbusters side of things, my brother is certainly the Ray Stanz of the group, equipped with his night vision camcorder and several torches, including a wind up one if the spirits zap the energy in all the others. Not to be outdone, I’d like to think of myself as the Peter Venkman of the group, but with slightly better skin, although am sure the glasses and quiff is more Egon in nature, I’ve got a dictaphone and two stills cameras packed.

I’ll be leaving the likes of Poltergeist and White Noise at the door with the sceptical but open to possibilities me taking those steps into the darkness of Oxford Castle and the secrets that await…the only white light I plan to be walking into is the one into the burgeoning daylight of 4am in the morning.