OLD HIGH CHURCH GRAVEYARD, INVERNESS.
A brief History
The current Old High Church sits on possibly one of the oldest religious sites in Inverness. It is believed that St Columba preached here in 565AD and a wooden church was thereafter build on the site, then know as St Michael's Mound. Various structures followed and by 1746 the then stone built church had was reported to be in poor repair and was eventually rebuilt in the 1770's.
Without question Inverness's darkest days fell after the Battle of Culloden, when it was said that blood flowed in the town's gutters. The Old High Church also saw it's fair share of that bloodshed, “the Kirk Session Records dated 25th August, 1746, refer to certain repairs which were required consequent on the use of the Church by the Government forces to house the prisoners captured at the battle of Culloden Moor. Those condemned to death were taken out and executed in the Churchyard. Two stones can be seen, near the west door, one with two curved hollows and the other with a V-shaped groove. They are nine paces apart and in direct line. It is thought that the prisoner, blindfolded, sat on the one, or stood or knelt behind it, while the musket of the executioner rested in the groove of the other.” The bodies of the executed Jacobites were then carried away by the poor folk of Inverness and thrown into a pit outside the church boundary.
The graveyard also contains the burial monument of the Robertson's of Inshes which is regarded as one of the finest examples of 17th Century Scottish decorative masonry.
For more on the history of the Old High Church, please visit http://oldhighststephens.com/html/old_high_history.html
Firstly and foremost our risk assessment of the location noted to all “to be respectful in this place being a cemetery.” It also pointed out the risks underfoot of small holes, uneven surfaces and even though the site has lighting, there are some dark areas with poor visability.
From an equipment point of view the following issues were noted, under and overgroup cables, lighting and the large communications building on the opposite side of the road which could all interfeare with our EMF equipment. Audio pollution is also an issue with roads and streets surrounding the site.
Investigation - Septemberr 2010
This was to be the teams first investigation and consisted of a walkround, EMF sweep and some calling out. Weather wise it was dry although cold, no temperature or humidty readings were taken on this occassion.
The EMF sweep of the graveyard produced some interesting results, although some hits were quickly dismissed as elecrtical interference from the lighting in the graveyard. On the east side of the church our EMF devices picked up a heartbeat response, this reading was not constant, however the phenomena did return when requested and has done so on other visits.
We also recorded serveral EVP's on this location, several deep breaths/sighs were recorded, though no inhale of breath was caught with these. However by far the most impressive was the voices of children singing. Although to faint to work out the song, further investigation showed this to have been recorded close to the grave of a family of children. It's also worth noting that it wasn't uncommon that long ago for the children of Inverness to play in graveyards.
Several photo anomalies were also captured on film, along with some orbs and a strange white light was picked up, however the team has since debunked the white light as simply an effect of the camera flash reflecting off a piece of our equipment.
Investigation - October 2010
Following the previous investigation at the location it was agreed to return and follow up on the evidence already captured.
Again our EMF sweep provided the same response at the east side of the church and more orbs were captured on camera. No further breaths were caught on our audio equipment, however when some of the team heard what sounded like children signing again, they asked if it was the same children as the last time, although no response was heard on the night, an EVP with a clear “no” was recorded.
Ghost walk – October 2011
The team returned to the location in 2011 but this time as guides. We took some guests from our public open meet around the location to inform them of the history and paranormal activity recorded here. We also took the oppertunity to allow our guests to use some of our equipment and again EMF hits were recorded at several locations, again the east side of the church seemed to have most of the activity with a hot spot also being detected. One guest also felt ill standing in part of the graveyard, another heard signging and one of our own team reported being patted on the head.
We were also joined on this investigation by Mike Murray a sensitive and spiritual healer who reported that he could hear children singing and the name Mary. Mike has since joined the group as our medium.
Haunted or not?
The team have caught what we believe to be both intelligent and residual activity at this location, for this reason we believe the Old High Churchyard is haunted