Haunted Office: fact or fiction?

Welcome, one and all, to a random post on my part. My previous article on Dogman continues to be a popular one, so I figured … why not write more stuff about things that fall outside the regular world?

So, today I’m going to be looking at a YouTube video that claims to show ghostly activity in an office. Not only that, but it’s an office in Manchester, right here in the UK. Now, paranormal stuff interests me. I love seeing all the alleged sightings of ghosts, demons, etc. and trying to figure out whether they’re real or not. To that end, what I want to do here is share the video and then give my thoughts on it:

So, let’s start by saying that the video having access to multiple camera angles is a good thing. It allows us to see what’s happening at various different places around the office, which really helps to illustrate the sheer number of events. In case you missed any though, I’m going to list the things that I spotted with the relevant video time signatures and camera numbers:

  • 00:56: The haunting itself starts, just after we hit the 3am mark.
  • 00:58 – 01:26 Camera 3: The door handle in the middle moving.
  • 01:39 – 01:41 Camera 5: A shadow runs across the rear wall.
  • 01:48 Camera 9: A computer screen briefly flashes on and off.
  • 01:58 – 02:29 Cameras 9 and 10: Three chairs move on their own.
  • 02:40 – 02:48 Camera 10: One screen flashes, then they all flash.
  • 03:03 – 03:18 Camera 3: Back to the door handles. The same one as before moves, then the closest door handle moves too. Finally, both start going at the same time, but quicker and more violently.
  • 03:18 – 03:20 Camera 6: A shadow passes behind door.
  • 03:21 – 03:35 Camera 12: One of the rear filing cabinets opens and closes a single drawer.
  • 03:35 – 03:42 Camera 15: The door slams shut.
  • 03:49 – 03:57 Cameras 15 and 16: A filing cabinet drawer slides open, and papers shoot out of the front file. Papers then fly across behind the door and we change cameras to see that the papers from the top of the printer near the back wall have been thrown. We cut back and forth and the papers on the table in the top left corner are thrown into the ceiling.
  • 04:36 – 04:43 Cameras 6 and 3: The door at back opens and closes, then we cut back to the moving door handles. They stop, the doors open and close, and everything goes quiet.
  • 04:43: The haunting ceases just before 03:03am.

 

Right, so there’s a lot to take in there, right? But the question is, what do I make of it? Well … okay, honesty time. I do believe in the paranormal. Like I said above, I like trying to figure out whether videos and stories are real or not. However, I come into that from a standpoint of already believing in the possibility but being happy to question what I see and hear. And I do try to question things deeply. Which is why, when it comes to this video … I think it’s a hoax. A well-constructed hoax, but a hoax nonetheless. Here’s why.

Let’s start with what I’d class as fairly obvious: the computer screens. Now, some time has clearly been taken over this. For one, when all the screen flash, you can see the reflection of the screens facing away from us in the window. But there are some issues. On the first shot, where only one screen flashes at around 01:48, there’s a shadow that shouldn’t be there. The black rim at the left side of the screen I could buy as the natural indent of the screen. The same thing is present on the right side too though, which from the angle we’re looking at, shouldn’t be visible. It wasn’t until I looked closely at a freeze frame of the multiple screen flash that I realized what it was: the screens aren’t coming on at all, the effect is made using paper. Freeze frame during that multi-screen flash and you can see that paper has been stuck to the screens. It’s most obvious in the row nearest the camera as you can see several instances of the paper curling away from the screen. The sound effect distracted me initially though, so good work there. Unfortunately, I was wary form the get-go simply because it seemed fairly bright. Or brighter than I expected given the general eel of the cameras anyway.

Now, sticking with the same room, there are also some interesting things to note with the chair movements. For one, the second chair makes a strange noise at 02:11. It wasn’t until the third watch that I noticed it, but if you turn the speakers up, you’ll hear a bit of a whizzing sound. At first, I thought it was string retracting, but then I noticed something: the sound happens three times between 02:10 and 02:13, and each time it does so, the chair makes a slight change in direction. That makes me think it’s a motor and that the chair is radio controlled. Interestingly, the same sound cannot be heard on either the first of third chair. But even then, there’s things to note. For one, when the first chair moves, the top immediately twists like something is pulling on the left side arm rest. It then follows a pretty straight trajectory compared to chair two. Chair three meanwhile also follows a pretty straight trajectory until it hits the table, and moves with the same twist that comes from the left side arm rest. I’m thinking someone has a sting attached to these two chairs and is pulling them from a spot off camera. For chair three I’d guess that’s behind the pillar on the right side of the screen, while for the first chair it’s possibly outside the door.

Now, onto the paper being launched all over the place. The first thing to be thrown comes form the filing cabinet. Of course, that could be set up mechanically. What I think adds to that possibility is that only the front papers are thrown. If you were a ghost that was about launch papers from the cabinet, why not do all of them? On top of that, it’s a very neat movement that goes straight up. When you pull stuff up and throw it like that, it tends to be a bit messier.

Traversely, the first pile to be thrown from inside the adjoining room is definitely messier. The angle is such that it looks like it’s been launched directly at the window in the door, then bounced off. The noise is unusual though. I was trying to figure out what it could be and I do have a theory. The angle the paper is travelling when we see it through the glass is almost sideways, rather than the straight on I’d expect given its original placing on the printer on the back desk. No, the most direct route would be to throw it straight on. So, take a look next to the door. What is that? I can’t tell if it’s a safe, a photocopier or a desk unit of some sort. I suspect that the top can be loaded with paper and then used to launch it.

The second paper launch in the room is a little more obvious. You would need a fantastic aim, or a ton of luck, to get a sheet stuck between the light and the ceiling tiles like that. You can also see that the papers fall outwards from the stuck sheet, while if you threw paper up, it would likely spread sooner that that or clump more. There’s also the point that the paper is travelling outwards, but the sheet stuck in the ceiling is not swinging the same way. In the first half second that we see it, it’s swinging upwards in the opposite direction. I can’t figure out what the noise is this time, but there’s definitely some sort of system at play here.

As two interesting side bits from this section, see if you noticed either of these things. First, the chair under the desk near the door changes position between the first paper launch and the second. Second, pause the video and skip back and forth between the shots of camera 16 before the papers are thrown and after. The camera angle changes. Specifically, try 03:58, 04:08 and 04:21. It’s only a  slight change, but it’s there. Weird, isn’t it? At a guess, I’d say the creator either didn’t notice the change in the camera and the chair, or didn’t have time to fix it.

There are some other minor things that I picked up on too, like the way the door opening and closing at 04:36 and the filing cabinet drawer opening and closing at 03:21 both look a bit mechanical to me. It’s all so smooth that it almost seems out of place. The big one though is that I have a question about the cameras themselves. Security cameras mostly record every camera, even if you’re switching between them. Yet, when we have shots of things like door handles moving on their own, or shadows on walls, we don’t get to see the shots from other angles. Like inside the rooms. Now, you could argue that maybe there weren’t cameras in the rooms but given the number of cameras (not to mention that the camera numbers indicate that we don’t see every camera), it seems unlikely. Plus, there’s the possibility that the room shown in cameras 9 and 10 are behind the middle door in camera 3. If that’s the case, why no shots from within that room when the door handles were going mad?

The timing of the haunting and the build-up seems a little suspect too. The 3am start means that it takes place during the witching hour. The thing is, that’s more associated with demons than ghosts. The idea is that 3pm is the hour of mercy for Christians and represents the time that Jesus is said to have died. 3am is therefore the opposite and a way for a demon to mock the holy trinity. The way the haunting builds up is also similar to the way a demon manifestation would build (albeit far, far quicker) at least in terms of the increase in activity. Demons tend to be person centered rather place centered though, especially once they move beyond the manifestation and infestation stage and start creating activity like seen towards the end of the video. While a poltergeist could fit the things happening, that is also up for debate, as poltergesits are generally thought of as being generated through the telekinetic energy of a single person. As such, the activity would likely be contained to the room where the person causing it is situation. No, I honestly think that the creator was just mixing lore with ghosts and demons here.

So, there you have it. Whether real or fake, the video is certainly entertaining. But what did you all think? Would you agree with my thinking? Did you spot anything I didn’t? Or do you have any suggestions for paranormal videos that you’d like me to look at next? Or any cryptids or sightings thereof  that you’d like me to check out? Let me know in the comments below.

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