Paranormal Britain: The Police Files Uncovered

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Published in FHM on 05 Nov 2015

If a ghost stole your toothbrush or a fairy wrecked your garden, who would you call? A priest? Ghostbusters? Well, since 2013, 504 people called The police. Here’s what they saw…

© Bauer Media Ltd/Dean Beattie

© Bauer Media Ltd/Dean Beattie

Chip-stealing ghosts, child vampires and fairies who move pot plants – these are some of the supernatural events reported to police across England and Wales in the past three years, an FHM investigation can reveal.

We sent an FOI (freedom of information) request to each of England and Wales’ 43 police forces asking for the details of all 999 calls relating to paranormal activity since 2013. Of those, 28 forces sent us their X-Files.

And as our regional breakdown shows, paranormal beings are into pretty weird stuff. Of course, some callers may be pranksters who, the National Police Chiefs’ Council says, are “not only foolish, [but] can put lives at risk. Police will consider the possibility of action against those who waste their time”. A proportion of callers may also have been mentally unwell, and we’ve tried to weed out the most obviously erroneous claims while keeping an open mind.

But the Catholic church takes the issue so seriously, it has 10 exorcists in England and Wales who banish between 80 and 90 evil spirits every year. The Rev Dr Gareth Leyshon, an exorcism consultant for the Catholic church (who has a PhD in astrophysics) says, “To believe you’ve seen a ghost or other supernatural being does not necessarily make you mad – far from it. It is a very real issue for a lot of ordinary people.”

After all, a 2013 YouGov survey found that 52% of British people wholeheartedly believe in the supernatural. Are you one of them?

To read this feature in full, click here.