A geneticist has revealed how he and other students were ‘terrorised’ by an ‘evil spirit’ in the same university room in a chilling new podcast series that claims to be ‘the biggest ever investigation into the paranormal’.
Ken, now in his 60s, recalled a malicious force that haunted his bedroom at Queen’s University Belfast in the 1980s, sending cutlery flying, stalking empty corridors and trying to ‘bang down the door’.
Over three years, three groups of students staying in room 611 in Alanbrooke Hall reported supernatural happenings, including friends who believed their dreams had been hijacked by the force.
Speaking to presenter Danny Robins on BBC podcast Uncanny, Ken explained he later learned at least three former residents of the room had died, including one who was rumoured to have been pushed out of the window.
Ken recalled a malicious force that haunted his bedroom at Queen’s University Belfast in the 1980s, stalking empty corridors and trying to ‘bang down the door’. Stock image
Ken, who grew up in rural Northern Ireland, said he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but has never been able to explain what happened to him 40 years ago.
‘Things begin all of a sudden and very dramatically,’ he recalled. ‘It was the dead of winter. I had gone to bed, James had gone to bed as well.
‘My eyes were open and something caught my attention. I saw a large black sill near the desk of what I had the impression was a man. The first thing that struck me, because I was analysing this data as much as possible, was I had never seen anything so black. It was the blackest black I had ever seen.
‘At the same moment, two things happened: I could hear what could only be described as very, very loud white noise and also there was a very, very strong sense of pure, distilled evil coming from this figure.
‘It felt like a force of nature. There was a feeling of everything that is good, everything that is called hope, had disappeared. It was complete and utter despair. I felt it coming through me in waves.
‘As I looked down the bed, I could see ripples on the blankets that was corresponding to this movement of force. And I thought “what on earth is going on?” I also thought this evil was specifically against me. This thing wanted to do absolute harm against me. It started to drift towards me.’
As it came towards his shoulder, his adrenaline kicked in and he ‘lunged’ at the figure. At that moment the whole figure disappeared.
Over three years, three groups of students staying in room 611 in Alanbrooke Hall reported supernatural happenings, including friends who believed their dreams had been hijacked by the force. Pictured, a stock image of Queen’s University Belfast
Shaken, he turned to his roommate James, who said he had also experienced something he couldn’t explain.
‘[James] said something completely different,’ Ken continued. ‘He had his eyes closed, he was lying in bed, trying to get to sleep, he saw a point of light. This point of light got larger and larger in his mind’s eye. He could see the back of the head of a man. This man turned, gave him a very dirty look, then disappeared.’
Like Ken, James had felt strongly that this man, who appeared to be a young student like them, had wanted to do harm against him, and described it as one of the most disturbing things he had ever experienced.
The following night, more horror followed. It was a Friday and everyone had left for a weekend at home. Ken told how he was reading a book when he heard the sound of the lift rumbling nearby.
The lift stopped at the floor I was on and I could hear the doors opening… At that instant, I felt the same force of evil, this time coming from my left side, which is where the lift was located. I immediately heard very loud footsteps, as if they were wearing boots with nails on the bottom
‘I thought, “okay, so there’s someone around”,’ he said. ‘Then the lift stopped at the floor I was on and I could hear the doors opening and I thought, “that’s strange, maybe someone is coming to see me”.
‘At that instant, I felt the same force of evil, this time coming from my left side, which is where the lift was located. I immediately heard very loud footsteps, as if they were wearing boots with nails on the bottom, they were that loud.’
The ‘feet’ stomped down the corridor towards his room and stopped outside his closed door.
‘And then there was this profound silence,’ Ken continued. ‘It probably lasted a millisecond but it felt like one of the longest silences ever.
‘And then the door started to bang. It was as if the door was being kicked, punched at both the top and the bottom at the same time. It felt as if there were multiple fists being hit against the door and it was extremely violent. I could see the door shaking.’
Once again, his instinct took over and, with adrenaline pumping through his body, Ken opened the door.
‘There was nothing,’ he said. ‘The feeling of evil had gone completely. Complete silence. I saw the lift was stopped at the floor, so I knew I hadn’t imagined the lift being somewhere else, but there was nobody.
‘There were no lights on in any of the rooms, I knew there was nobody on the floor anyway. There was no one there.’
Speaking to presenter Danny Robins, pictured, on BBC podcast Uncanny , Ken explained he later learned at least three former residents of the room had died
Ken later discovered the two students who had stayed in the room the previous year had also experienced unexplained happenings. They told him they had seen books come off the shelf and fly across the room.
The following year, to test the theory about the room being the source of unexplained activity, Ken did not tell the two new inhabitants about what he or the others had experienced.
A few months after they arrived, they approached Ken, as he had done with the occupants before him, to ask if he had noticed anything unusual.
The new students spoke about having dark and violent nightmares. Eventually the nightmares evolved to the point where one student would have a nightmare and it would be continued by the other in the same night.
Pieces of cutlery, or other sharp instruments, would be placed beside the bed, arranged in a certain way that they could hurt themselves when they got out of bed
Next came ‘poltergeist activity’. ‘Knives and forks would fly through the room,’ Ken said. ‘Pieces of cutlery, or other sharp instruments, would be placed beside the bed where they would put their feet, arranged in a certain way that they could hurt themselves when they got out of bed and they perceived this as being something that was malicious.’ The students didn’t remain long in the room after that.
Ken explained that if it had just been an isolated incident he had experienced, he could have put it down to ‘some sort of hallucination’.
‘But what happened in that room, happened to different individuals, often at the same time,’ he continued. ‘I’m really trying to explain this in terms of the physics.
‘What would explain seeing that particular thing? What would explain feeling that force? I try and rationalise it sometimes but I can’t rationalise it.’
Desperate for an answer, Ken spoke to the cleaner who had taken care of the halls for years. She told Ken and James she had always felt uncomfortable in the room, that there was a presence there she couldn’t explain.
She also revealed that there had been three previous residents of the room who had died while at university, including one who was shot dead on the way to or from Mass in the early 1970s. A second fell from the window in an apparent suicide, although there were rumours he had been pushed.
Ken described it as a ‘remarkable coincidence’ and wanted answers. The podcast put out an appeal for information from anyone who had a theory about what took place – or had their own unexplained experiences in room 611.
But Parapsychologist Caroline Watt, of Edinburgh University, said there could be a logical explanation for what Ken had experienced.
‘One possibility is there is something in the environment that is affecting people in the room, such as electromagnetic activity or infrasound. We know that low frequency sounds in the environment can create emotions in people, a sense of presence and sometimes a sense of fear, as well. So I started to think about what could be a source of infrasound.
‘I thought about the lift. It’s got a large amount of electrical activity powering it somewhere, that will create electromagnetic activity and it may also create infrasound in the way that it moves.’
She added: ‘So that could create haunting experiences, ghost experiences. I think I would want to find out where is the power source for the lift.’