I do love ghosts, folklore and history, as you probably have already twigged when you landed on this blog. But I am more of a lover of the old stories, happiest when I fall down the rabbit hole of research, finding out all I can about a ghostly tale, digging into the history and stories that surround it.
I am not a ghost hunter, I don’t like the cold and I am actually very scared of seeing a ghost. I like my bed far too much to stay up all night looking for ‘real’ evidence, so I tend to leave that to my fellow paranormal-loving investigators.
That being said, I do visit plenty of strange locations. It just tends to be in daylight. And, since I do write extensively within this field, I have been on one proper night investigation at The Ancient Ram Inn (you can read all about it here if you haven’t before) just to see what happens. I’ve watched a lot of the programmes on tv because wouldn’t it be great to witness some actual, real evidence that ghosts really do exist? For the record, I’ve yet to see anything concrete! But I guess that’s exactly why so many people have taken up paranormal investigating as a hobby and for some, it is a totally absorbing passion. How people ‘investigate’ is up to them. Some rely on their senses; others like to dabble with techie bits and bobs. There’s an awful lot of different methods. I’m always open to any ideas so I was interested to find out if any of this technological equipment works and how so.
I came across Barrie Reader, the creator of Chattergeist and a native of Wiltshire (so, a Moonraker!), thanks to the internet. He is a very clever guy who has a lifelong interest in the paranormal. Barrie’s day job involves programming for a very large and well-known company. His keen developmental mind led him to learn robotics, electronics and microcontroller programming and he decided to use that knowledge to develop a new bit of kit to use in his paranormal investigations. And so, the Chattergeist came to be!
I took the opportunity to have a chat with Barrie about where his interest started, what he does during his investigations and why he ended up developing the Chattergeist. You can read the interview below and my experience of using it! I’ll be taking my Chattergeist out with me to any spooky locations in the future so I keep you posted on how I get on.
Interview with Dimension Devices
You’re officially a paranormal investigator. How did you get into it?
I’ve always been into the paranormal as far back as I can remember, starting with some books I read in primary school around age seven or eight that had large images of spooky ghosts, UFO sightings and conspiracy-related musings. My father had a subscription to a paranormal magazine in the late 80s/early 90s that further piqued my interest and then I found The X-Files… And I was away! When I was in my mid-30s, I created a Discord community for conspiracy and paranormal content, which is still running and always has interesting posts and information on all things paranormal.
My paranormal investigative journey, however, didn’t start until 2021. I was watching a game streamer called NetEcho (aka. Travis) from the US and watched him do a few paranormal investigations. I got talking to him and that led me to dig out my old Sony Dictaphone to record EVPs and start creating my own devices. I started going out to local places, such as a very ancient graveyard, used since the 800s as a mass burial ground and repurposed as a church, later on a mental institution. That was my first real taste of paranormal investigation and typically, the rest is history!
So, do you believe in ghosts? Where did that belief start from?
I would consider myself ‘healthily Sceptical’ when it comes to spirits and ghosts. I’m very open to the idea but I’m yet to see definite evidence that I could say that makes me 100% a believer. I have caught some interesting EVPs and results myself, as well as seeing a few things that I cannot explain when watching NetEcho’s live streams, such as strangely moving shadows and voices and sounds. These are beyond my levels of explanation. I always try to debunk before blindly believing; I think that’s an important part of paranormal investigation.
Have you got mediumistic abilities?
I don’t think I do.
What do you think a ghost is? Do you believe in different types, i.e. poltergeists, elementals, residential energies?
It would be remiss of me to say that I know anything, but right now my belief lies somewhere in the realm of ‘all time exists all the time’; thus, spirits and ghosts could be time ‘stacking’ on top of itself and causing echoes. It may very well be that ghosts are visual and audio representations of this that we (as consciousness’) can pick up on. I do believe that water can hold ‘memory’ and given that a lot of solid matter has water in it, there could be a link between water and time echos.
Where have you been on investigations?
A few places in the UK. A lot of around Wiltshire, such as Avebury, Devizes, Trowbridge and Longleat. Since living in Derbyshire, I’ve been looking into the various castles and halls they have up here. I don’t often tend to investigate by myself because I’m too much of a scaredy cat to be alone in a location at night. I like to do casual investigations of cemeteries and ancient monuments.
What has been your favourite places to investigate and why?
Any fairly old (200+ year old) church or graveyard! There’s something in those places I have a great affinity with.
What have you experienced?
I’ve witnessed a few shadows moving when out ‘in the field’ as well as capturing a fair few EVPs. No visual evidence caught on film/photo, though. When that happens, I will be a happy man!
Have any experiences stuck in your mind in particular?
When investigating the old burial ground in Devizes, known as Drews Pond, late at night, I recorded a very distinct growl on my EVP recorder. It sent shivers up my spine and I didn’t hear it at all at the time. When I got back home, I started listening back to the recordings and isolated the audio for the growl and attempted to match it against animal growling sounds (trying to debunk it). I could not match it to any animal known. Not a badger, fox, hedgehog, dog, cat or anything else! That still disturbs me to this day because the sound is really aggressive and was recorded on the outskirts of Drews Pond burial ground. I have since nicknamed this place The Dead Place.
Have you ever been followed home?
I don’t believe so.
Do you do anything to protect yourself?
The only thing I do is keep my mind sensible and keep myself level-headed. I also go into investigations with good intentions. Don’t try to mock/anger/upset anything. I believe this is the best protection. Prayers and incantations are essentially intent put into words!
What equipment do you use and why? Which works best?
Obviously, I use my Chattergeist Touch, but I also use a DSLR camera and a Sony EVP recorder. That’s it, nice and simple!
Why did you decide to create Chattergeist Touch? What makes it better than the other devices out there?
Basically, this stems back from talking to NetEcho (aka. Travis) about paranormal equipment. I was quite ‘green’ about the whole area of paranormal equipment. He was talking to me about the Ovilus, which takes environmental readings and converts them into text for the user to interpret how they see fit. I took a look at this device and was astonished that it was selling for upwards of £500 in some places and thought this daylight robbery and paranormal investigators were essentially being conned out of their money because they had the monopoly on that particular ITC device market.
I started creating my own version of the Ovilus using electronics equipment and skills I had honed as a programmer of 25 years, and thus the Chattergeist Touch v0.1 was created. Using Micro-EMF fluctuations, temperature readings and Radio Frequency Noise readings, it provides a good base for environmental information converted into user-intractable data. After almost two years of development, it had six times the functionality of Ovilus (with over x 10 the number of outputs Ovilus can provide) and could be produced at a fraction of the price. Basically, we wanted an affordable yet very functional device for paranormal investigators to use. I also had the idea of incorporating modular functionality into it as well, so further ‘plugins’ can be purchased that would allow owners of Chattergeist Touch to further expand the device’s uses. THEN came the idea of software updates to even FURTHER extend its usage. We have a chart on our website’s devices page that compares Chattergeist Touch to other devices of a similar theme. We’re very proud with how much more functional Chattergeist Touch is in comparison!
Has it offered you any ‘evidence’ yet?
Oh lots! Besides lots of relevant words in specific locations, we get a lot of reports from people all over the world (as well as in our own tests) of shadow people drawn in the Chattergeist Touch canvas drawing mode. This mode takes raw environmental data and ‘draws’ a picture of shapes onto the screen, users can then infer meaning from these images as they see fit. We have algorithmically programmed Chattergeist Touch to utilise raw readings from the sensors to create these images. It does not dictate how these images are drawn, yet we have had a crazy amount of ‘humanoid’ figures drawn in black in this mode… We have absolutely no clue how or why this happens. The figures seem to be more prevalent in areas considered ‘more haunted’.
Have you been getting good reviews for it?
So far, we have had almost exclusively great feedback from customers who have already purchased a Chattergeist Touch. We’re super proud of this fact!
What’s next for Dimension Devizes?
In the future, we plan on further expanding the software updates to incorporate more functionality for free to owners of Chattergeist Touch, as well as releasing more and more physical plugins for owners to extend the sensor functionality of the device. There are exciting things in the works for Chattergeist Touch. We have some seriously groundbreaking extensions and updates in the works. Watch this space!
Chattergeist in action
Barrie was kind enough to send me a Chattergeist so I could try it out for this blog. When I finally got to the shops to buy a power bank to get my Chattergeist working (and I may add, I found this the easiest way to get it going for any tech-fools like me who can’t even order the right connector to run it from my phone). I believe there are new developments in the pipeline, so this won’t be something you even need to think about in the future!
As part of my research, I was watching a YouTube channel to see what other people were saying about it and there were a couple of negative comments and others who accused the negative nellies of creating a ‘slur.’ Well, that is the downside of the internet, of course. Most people seemed pretty pleased with this nifty bit of kit though and there have been some really positive reviews.
Playing around with my Chattergeist, up flashed the following words:
Pretty relevant don’t you think, given what I was looking at beforehand!
I thought I might ask the Chatter to give me the name of a fruit or vegetable and I asked out loud a few times. ‘Please give me the name of any fruit or veg.’
While I was waiting for it to ‘pick up’ on some words, I thought I should just write this down and my partner knocked on the door of Weird Wiltshire headquarters (aka the shed) and made me jump out of my skin! He came to ask me what I fancied with tonight’s dinner (which was soup). Veggie sausage sandwich was what we agreed on. I just swiped the Chattergeist again and…
Yes! We’re having food in a bit! It’s pretty much dinner time. Plus, I did ask for the name of a fruit or veg. Okay, I didn’t get that but I did ask for the name of a kind of food. I thought I would just ask for some relevant words and…
Well! What do you think of that? Soup and sausage roll for dinner. Are the spirits impressed by our choice of meal?! One more swipe and I’m asking for either a fruit or veg again or something related to what I am doing now or this evening.
And we got:
Okay, so I think attuned could be relevant, given I am trying to connect with the spirits (in a general sense but also using this new tech). I did say I was only going to do that one last swipe but then I did another and it’s all gone a bit bonkers. No idea what this all means but I think I’ll leave it for now and head off somewhere spooky at the weekend and give it another go!
I’ve enjoyed trying out my Chattergeist and I’ll be interested to see what happens when I am on my travels. It’s an innovative, customisable, lightweight and easy-to-use bit of equipment. If you are ever off on an investigation and you fancy trying some technology with you to see if it works, I highly suggest you try Chattergeist.
If you are interested, you can buy one here. Thank you to Barrie and the team at Dimension Devices for taking time to chattergeist with me. I look forward to see what happens next!
Don’t forget, I’m always on the lookout for spooky and weird stories from Wiltshire and beyond. If you have a tale you would like to share I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via Twitter (or X as we are supposed to call it now) or here.
If you enjoy my weird tales from Wiltshire and beyond and can spare a few pennies please head over to Ko-fi and buy me a cuppa. Every bit is used to help bring you more stories. I sure would appreciate it!
Stay spooky everyone!