“Did you hear that?” – Exploring sounds from the other side

Stephen discusses his best evidence to date

Stephen Hack can usually be found in haunted locations armed with an EVP recorder. He talks to GhostMag about his best recorded evidence to date.

This is the first time I’ve been invited to write an article for anyone regarding my involvement with the paranormal so this is an honour for me to be able to write this piece about something which has been a passion of mine for more than half my life.

First of all, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Stephen Hack. I’m a paranormal investigator from Reading in Berkshire, UK.

My interest in the paranormal happened quite by accident way back in May 2004. I was 15 years old at the time and had caught the end of an episode of Most Haunted on TV before heading to bed as I had school the next day.

After researching Most Haunted on the computer and borrowing books from the school library, I thought that the prospect of ghosts and the paranormal was fascinating so from then on decided to record, on video tape, every new Most Haunted episode I could that was shown on freeview. I think my parents still have the tapes!

Stephen Hack
Stephen Hack EVP recorder

Let The Investigations Begin

Fast forward to May 2016 and I got the chance to take part in my first ever paranormal investigation at the now demolished Friars Walk shopping mall (pictured) in Reading. As we leave May 2023, I recently celebrated my 7th anniversary as a paranormal investigator.

In that time I’ve taken part in 112 investigations at 57 locations and travelled all over Britain working with many respectable companies such as Haunted Happenings, Fright Night and Most Haunted Experience. I also had the pleasure of being a team member of my local group Berkshire Paranormal, whom I would love to be able to work with again in the future.

Boys And Their Toys

During my early days as an investigator I wanted to gather all kinds of evidence using any paranormal equipment I could lay my hands on. I was buying multiple pieces of equipment ranging from an voice/EVP recorder, video cameras, EMF meters, motion sensors, laser grid pens and so much more as you can see in the nearby picture. Even some of my equipment remains with my parents!

Ghost Hunting Equipment including an EVP recorder
A selection of my ghost hunting equipment

There are only so many gadgets you can use during a vigil and I have tried to use everything, but I’ve found that it’s never always possible as you lose time investigating while setting the equipment up and putting it away again as vigils on organised events generally last 35-40 minutes.

One thing I will say is if you find a piece of equipment you enjoy using then make the most of those. Personally, for me it has to be the voice recorder, given my interest in electronic voice phenomena.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

In 2018 I came across one of my favourite pieces of evidence I have captured. I definitely became the first of many. I was investigating Shepton Mallet Prison in Somerset for the umpteenth time with a former colleague on a Haunted Happenings event.

We found ourselves alone in C Wing with the rest of our team almost directly below in the morgue and the other teams much further away in A Wing, B Wing and the Infirmary respectively so they were too far away to hear.

Around 2:10am we were standing around the wing, calling out and waiting for things to happen. We both jumped when high above a cell door seemed to slam shut and get bolted. It wasn’t windy that night and the door seemed to be shut with some force.

It was only when I listened back to the audio from my EVP recorder from this vigil that I discovered a disembodied voice, sounding like a man saying “Redemption”. Was someone looking for forgiveness for the crime they committed?

Since that particular investigation I’ve been more and more interested in capturing audio footage, and I have caught some amazing results. On board Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain for instance.

During a Most Haunted Experience event I was involved in a vigil on the promenade deck with Aaron and Mike Hunter from the MHE team. Aaron was talking about seeing someone in the centre of the piano when he was interrupted by the piano playing a note. This was captured on audio equipment placed on top of the piano.

Piano on SS Great Britain, Bristol, which played on it's own. The note was caught on Stephen's EVP recorder.
Piano on SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain staff on board that night confirmed the piano was locked and keys were in a separate building. Before leaving, I filmed myself trying to open the lid. It was definitely locked!

In an investigation at Arundel Jailhouse with Berkshire Paranormal at 10:22pm, footsteps were heard walking along the floor above. Situated upstairs is the Town Hall which, when we met up for the investigation, was already closed. So who or what made the phantom footsteps? We still don’t know.

Since the start of the year I have conducted small investigations at my place of work with a current colleague, Natalie, who is as potty about the paranormal as I am. I have recently had the opportunity to cover my local branch where I decided to leave a voice recorder overnight to see if I could catch anything.

I started recording at 5:50 in the evening, 10 minutes before closing. Around 15-20 minutes later myself and my colleague I was on shift with had left the building so by 6:10 that evening the store was completely empty… Or was it?

Approximately 1 hour 46 minutes into the recording a faint whistling can be heard. I worked this out to be roughly 7:35pm. It certainly wasn’t staff as we’d already gone home and certainly wasn’t the store next door as we said goodbye to the couple just after 5:30 when they closed. So who was responsible for the whistling?

At the time of writing I still have some footage from that particular night to go through so who knows what else I may find. Anything that I do find will be shared openly and honestly via my Twitter page (@SoundingSpooky) as well as SoundCloud, YouTube and Instagram.

What The Future Holds

After relocating home and work at the start of 2023, and meeting Natalie, the future is looking really bright. From day one we clicked and built a bond like brother and sister. Cue or partnership “Spirit Seeking Siblings”, a phrase dropped by chance in a WhatsApp message.

Together we will bring you more investigations as well as bringing you hauntings and activity surrounding Britain’s Monarchy in “Royally Haunted”. Research is already underway and you can follow our progress on Twitter. (@RoyallyHauntGB).

We also look to make progress on a project I have been working on regarding hauntings reported on Britain’s railway network, past and present, called Tracks Into The Unknown. (@GhostlyRailTale). Episodes 1-3 are currently on YouTube. We look forward to welcoming you.

I do still sometimes use a video camera to try and capture evidence although it mostly fails to to capture any hard evidence on film, but it’s always nice to watch back locations I’ve been to.

I have learned over the years that while having ghost hunting gadgets like REM pods or K2 meters or trigger objects such as flashing cat balls, can be a handy piece of kit to have, they’re not always the most reliable so these days mine get used less and less.

Ghost Hunting Gadgets

For me using audio equipment has become one of the best methods of capturing evidence. Yes I am one of those who will record the entire vigil and end up with hours and hours of footage and struggle to listen back to it all, but if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t have captured the disembodied voice saying “Redemption”.

I wouldn’t have captured phantom footsteps walking or a disembodied whistle. Not to mention the piano note and even the sound of furniture being dragged along the floor!

Don’t forget when you go out investigating instead of using gadgets, try using your senses. In unfamiliar surroundings our senses are heightened in the dark and become some of the best tools you can use…

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