Lead investigator / medium
Matty has had numerous experiences of the paranormal over the years. His first was in Hanham, Bristol in 1983.
My name is Matthew and I have been investigating the paranormal since I was about nine years old. You’re probably wondering how I came to be a paranormal investigator? Well sometimes I wonder that too. I believe I was just meant for it. I know that sounds crazy and a little strange, but the paranormal seems to either follow me or has always been around me. I can actually remember being in my bed when I was about four years old and having something rub my stomach every night. It used to put me to sleep. Nothing odd about that, you might think, except I was alone at the time. Of course, as I was so young I didn’t know at the time that it wasn't normal, so I never got scared. As I recall it eventually stopped happening when I was around six years old and started lying on my stomach when I couldn’t sleep one night.
It wasn't until I was about eight years old and saw my first apparition of something that wasn't human that I actually got scared. My family didn’t believe me when I told them at the time, and kept telling me it had only been a bad dream – and gradually I started to believe it myself.
But all that changed on February 15th, 2007. I had been sitting in my living room and decided to watch some TV for once (something I don’t often do). I typed ‘paranormal’ into a Google search and eventually found a show online that sounded interesting. I settled back and started playing it, but only managed to get through about 30 minutes of it before I had to turn it off. The host of this particular show had been telling a story about when he had been a boy and had seen something unusual. Well, when he described what he had witnessed it was almost like I was a child again. Amazingly, he had described exactly what I had seen when I was eight – the thing my parents had almost convinced me had only been a dream. Hearing that made me realize that maybe I should get my story out too, because I might not be alone:
When I was eight I had slept over at a friend’s house. We were both in the same room, but he was already sleeping and I was still awake. The bedroom door was open a crack and I was lying on my right side staring at the hall light trying to go to sleep. That was when I heard footsteps coming down the hall. I thought that it had to be my friend’s mum or dad checking in on us, so I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. I waited for maybe two minutes, but whoever was standing at the door hadn’t left - so I opened my eyes to see who it was. I saw a hand grab the door and open it just enough so the light fell right onto the small figure standing there. It was horrible – about the same height as the door handle. It had big round eyes, brown skin and a nose like a monkey, but what really scared me was the mouth - it was huge. The whole of its jaw from ear to ear was filled with teeth. Its eyes met mine and I froze, unable to move or breathe. That’s when its eyes changed colour from red to black and it pointed a finger at me and seemed to laugh silently. I stared at it for what must have been a good 20 seconds, but which felt a whole lot longer to me at the time. Finally I screamed. My friend’s mum and dad came running into the room and I ended up going home and never went back there. My friend eventually moved and I never saw him again. But after that, even after I went home, I kept seeing the awful figure. I even saw it in my room, although it wasn’t as clear as it had been in my friend’s house – more like an outline, but when you looked into the middle of it, it appeared almost like a fuzzy television set. Every time I saw it I would yell for my mum or my dad, but it had always gone by the time they arrived. They kept telling me it was only a dream or my imagination and would send me back to my room. I remember that I used to crawl into my mum’s bed because I didn't want it to come back and was afraid to sleep alone. In the end I started sleeping with a night light on and it eventually stopped appearing. I never knew what that was. I still don't.
That same year I went to visit my grandparents. My Nana was a housewife, my grandfather was retired and they were nice, happy people who were very caring and welcoming. They both liked to wake up with the sun every morning, and when I stayed with them I also used to enjoy waking up around the same so that I could help Nana get the breakfast. As a result, I never got that much sleep when I stayed there! One night I was up in my mum's old room (where I liked to sleep) and woke in the middle of the night. I didn't have a clock so I had no idea what time it was. I climbed out of bed and crept out into the hallway before making my way quietly down the stairs. I was moving very slowly because I was listening to see if anyone else was up, and I was also trying to make no noise. I got about halfway down when I thought I heard something, so I stopped and listened very carefully. That was when a girl’s voice I had never heard before suddenly whispered something in my right ear. I was so scared that I ran back up the stairs and hid under my blankets. Even though I was scared, I eventually managed to fall asleep and I recall having a vivid dream that something was pulling me under water and I couldn't get to the surface. I woke up coughing, as though I had really been holding my breath, and I scrambled out of bed. I could see by the light streaming in through the window that it was a beautiful sunny morning outside, but as I stood to look out, I realized I was dripping wet – my hair was so wet I could wring it out. I looked down and saw that I was standing in a puddle, and as I turned back towards the bed I could see water pouring down the walls and pooling around the bed itself. I didn’t know what else to do, so I ran out of the room and down the stairs - and straight into my grandfather who had been coming up to wake me for breakfast. He saw the state I was in and asked if I was alright, but I was so freaked out I couldn’t even answer him. I just grabbed his hand and hurried back up the stairs with him, but by the time I got back (which was less than a minute) everything was dry and perfectly normal. Well, everything but me, that is. I was still soaking wet. That was when I sat down and told him what had happened. Then he took me down into the kitchen where everyone was having breakfast. I told my Nana about it too, but she and my grandfather just shrugged their shoulders and told me to go and take a shower. I can’t be sure, but I had a feeling that they knew what I had been talking about, but were ignoring it or didn’t want to talk about it. Or maybe it was just because I was young, I don’t know.
As I got older other paranormal things started happening to me. I clearly recall when I was eleven years old that I got a small radio for Christmas. It had a recorder in it, and I used to take it with me to school. Afterwards I would go down to a local graveyard and I would turn it on and leave it recording while I sat and did my homework. I think it only took me a week to get my first EVP, which as I recall was a voice speaking a name.
Another childhood incident which has stuck clearly in my mind was from a time when a group of us used to experiment with Ouija boards (something we no longer do). I clearly remember one time just after we had finished using the board when the glass suddenly began moving by itself, going from one letter to another. We took note of this and wrote down the message, ending up with something that seemed to be in a foreign language. Not having a clue what it might mean, we took it to our tutor in school and asked him if he knew what it was. He didn’t, but suggested we show it to another teacher who spoke Latin. We followed this advice, but as soon as we showed the other teacher the message we had received he suddenly grew extremely angry and demanded to know where we had copied this message from. It turned out the translation of the phrase was: “I am the Master of the heights and the depths, whoever meddles with me beware.”
Do I believe in ghosts? I don’t know if it’s the ghosts and spirits of dead people, or if it might perhaps be other beings in a different realm, or even demons and things like that, but I do know that I am always surrounded by whatever the paranormal is. As I got older I came to understand that it doesn’t really matter if people believe me or not. I know what I see and feel, and whatever it is – it’s here.
A lot of people get confused about what it means to be a medium and think that it means I am somehow psychic and able to get flashes from objects or places, or can ‘get in touch’ with lost relatives, or call on the dead somehow. I can’t do any of that. What it actually means, for me at least, is that I am very sensitive to the presence of spirits around us, more so than most people, but I am only able to see or speak with those that are in the same location as me, and only if they wish to be seen.
In 2011 I was ordained a priest (non-preaching), and since then one of the main focuses of the team has been helping people who are having problems of a paranormal origin. We do this by performing house and business clearances – and if a bigger problem arises, then through exorcism. As for any spirits we encounter that are not causing harm, we do not force them to move on, but are always ready to help them if they wish it.
Mario Di Blasi
Cameraman / EVP specialist / Tarot card reader
From an early age I had strange things happen to me that I couldn’t explain at the time. I confided in my parents who spoke to a family friend about it (Matthew’s parents) after which Matthew and I sat down and discussed and explained my experiences, and he opened my eyes to the world of the paranormal. Matthew then took me under his wing, and together we founded the M&M Neighbourhood Ghost Watch (WWPITC) so that we could help others better understand their experiences. Since then I have attended numerous house clearances and one exorcism, and can’t wait to further my experience in the paranormal.
While not a medium in the same sense as Matthew, I do have contact with my spirit guide, who has often given me information I wouldn’t otherwise have known. A good example of this was with my girlfriend. At first she didn’t believe me when I told her about my guide, but then I started talking about her great grandfather, who had died years before (she had never spoken of him, and I had never met him) but from the information my guide relayed to me I was able to tell her things about him that I could never have known: that he used to love playing cards at the pub, that I knew a nick-name that he used to call her from childhood, I also knew where his parents had come from and even what his favourite song was. She burst into tears, because everything I had told her was true.
I am also learning to read Tarot cards and have started performing readings for others. Although this is a skill I am still honing, so far my readings have proven to be accurate.
I have always had an interest, like the others, in the paranormal, but never considered the study of it until recently. Joining the team wasn’t part of my plan at first, as I first approached them asking them for any information and advice they would be willing to pass on in order to aid my desire to write a future series of fictional short stories (based on the paranormal of course!). Rather than simply offering information, they went a step further and invited me along to an investigation to get a first-hand experience of it, which was far too good an opportunity to turn down.
I then thought that Simon would appreciate joining me as he shares my interest, so with the permission of the team, we both tagged along and have since been lucky enough to be taken on as additional members of the team. Since joining the team as the debunker, I’m keen to learn all I can in order to aid our investigations.
From my own personal experience, I have only ever encountered one possible supernatural experience, and while it’s my job to look at such occurrences in a logical and somewhat sceptical manner, I remain open-minded to such things.
I’m also responsible for the creation and maintenance of our new website.
I had an interest in the paranormal from a young age, and I think the catalyst for that was an odd experience that happened when I was very young. I fell out of bed which obviously woke me up rather abruptly and I remember that as I sat up on the floor I saw something white out of the corner of my eye on the landing just outside my bedroom door. I turned my head and saw a figure standing there. The body was hazy, but seemed as though it was covered in some kind of long cloak or gown – but the face was clearer and definitely that of a women. I should have been terrified, but oddly enough I wasn’t. Instead I got a strong sense of calm from this figure – a sense that I should just go back to bed, and that everything was going to be just fine, that there was nothing to be scared or worried about. I did go back to bed, and have never seen the figure since – but the memory is one I have never forgotten.
After this I began to read widely on the paranormal (thanks to some very understanding parents) and became fascinated with ghost stories and old legends as well as the possibility of psychic abilities. I even remember being asked to leave my school library one lunch time (many years ago!) when the librarian caught me performing a Zener card test on a friend. She clearly thought we were both playing some kind of card game, and told me the library was not the place for that sort of thing.
Apart from that my brushes with the paranormal have – until recently – been largely confined to reading about ghosts and folklore in books. Although there was one curious event that took place a few years ago that really sticks in my mind. I had been visiting Adrian, back when he still lived in Downend, and I had been sitting in his room (a converted attic) using his computer with my back to the door. We had both been alone in the house, and he had gone downstairs – probably fixing a snack or some drinks, I can’t quite recall now. Anyway, as I sat reading on the screen, I became suddenly very, very certain that someone was standing right behind me in the room. I naturally assumed that Adrian had come sneaking into the room to scare me or play a prank of some kind. So I braced myself and waited for him to shout “boo!” or make some kind of noise (it wouldn’t also be unknown for a fake rubber spider to suddenly make an appearance in front of my face or down by my feet). But nothing happened. Wondering what he was waiting for, I turned to find myself totally alone. Moments later Adrian came hurrying in – only to tell me that he had been coming upstairs and had felt something strange – almost as though something unseen had moved past him as though coming down from his room.
At the end of May 2012 I was lucky enough to be invited to join the team of the M&M Neighbourhood Ghost Watch as their photographer. I am very much looking forward both to learning from the rest of the team, and to seeing for myself glimpses of the paranormal around us that has so fascinated me since I was a child.