We’re NZ’s Real Life Mulder and Scully – Spooks

We’re NZ’s Real Life Mulder and Scully

Just like Mulder and Scully in the popular TV series The X-Files, Kiwi investigators Mandy and Adam Lancaster try to uncover the truth behind spooky happenings and scary events. But they ended up experiencing their own spine-chilling supernatural story during a recent investigation at creepy Larnach Castle in Dunedin.
Ever since Mandy first started Spooks Paranormal Investigations in Christchurch four years ago, to take a closer look at reports of ghosts and haunted houses, both Adam (28) and Mandy (21) have been sceptics on the subject of spirits. Well, they were, until the night they went to Larnach Castle.
During a vigil in the historic building, Mandy says, her camera was wrenched out of her hand by an invisible force and she saw a hot water bottle float through the air. “I’m definitely a believer now. That was terrifying,” says Mandy, still shaken by her experience.
“We saw a curtain moving quite violently with nobody there. We caught that on camera. Then my camera was violently pushed out of my hands and the building’s fire alarm went off. The owner said there’s no way it should go off on its own.”
Adam’s camera also captured several orbs – transparent spheres, which he says can be attributed to dust particles but can also indicate spiritual activity.
Spooks Paranormal Investigations, which is made up of a team of 12 people around New Zealand, was called in by Larnach Castle’s owners to check out evidence of a possible haunting. The castle was built more than 120 years ago as a tourism venture by politician William Larnach, who notoriously committed suicide in New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings in 1898.
Mandy believes the castle certainly holds its fair share of secrets. “They’ve had strange deaths there and we found a grave in the family plot that just says, ‘Larnach child, aged four years’ there’s no name or anything,” she says.
“I felt like I was being watched the whole time in the castle. We slept in the stables and I was just about to put the light out when I saw a hot water bottle lift up and crash onto the floor. It didn’t fall, it lifted first. That’s the part that makes me a believer now.
“Another thing that happened was that one of our team members was slapped quite hard on the leg by an unseen force. She was in tears and wanted to leave, but we convinced her to stay.”
The Spooks team has concluded that the castle is haunted, possibly by more than one entity. Mandy’s theory is that it could have something to do with the building materials. “It’s made of Oamaru stone and I believe that ghosts are left-over energy. I’ve found that buildings that are made of this kind of stone can attract spirits.”
Mandy, a long-time X-Files fan, first came up with the idea of starting Spooks Paranormal Investigations four years ago. She placed an ad in the local paper for other like-minded people and was stunned when she received 200 responses within a week.
Between them, she and the other ghost hunters in the team are called to about 80 possible hauntings each year.
Mandy, who’s also a singer and about to release her debut album, and Adam have been together for eight years now. The pair say they’ve lost count of the number of times they’ve been likened to The X-Files’ Mulder and Scully. Although Adam admits he bears no likeness to David Duchovny, who played Fox Mulder, he does think Mandy looks a bit like Gillian Anderson’s character Dana Scully.
“But Mandy is hotter,” he grins.
Although they haven’t branched out into alien investigations, the pair have shared plenty of unexplained experiences while out looking for ghosts. Adam says his worst brush with a spectre was at Blackball Community Centre on the West Coast.
“I was walking into the kitchen and it looked like there was a face of a little girl in the window. It freaked me out.
“And at Riccarton House I felt like I was being followed everywhere. Lights got turned on after we turned them off.”
There’s no charge for their investigations, and the group survives on sponsorship. “If we charged, people might think we were making stuff up,” Mandy explains. “Generally, people who’ve heard or seen things just want to know what we think about it because they wonder if they’re going crazy. Most people don’t want to do anything about the ghosts, and they usually aren’t harmful,” she says.

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