Phantom footsteps, ghostly apparitions and a chair with a life of itself… raise your glasses for High Spirits at The Room! Created for the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Fest Fringe, High Spirits aimed to give an eerie insight into our roles as paranormal investigators in Dumfries & Galloway and beyond with a spotlight on strange happenings at the Troqueer Arms Pub.
Events Manager Laura Marr, had done a super job setting up, we particularly liked the silver ghost tablecloth just like the ones we’d get for the weans’ Halloween cloaks (happy memories!). We made up a display with features from various publications including Dumfries & Galloway Life Magazine and a selection of photos lining the walls. With the final addition of sponge cakes and shortbread, we lit up the tealights. The Room looked stunning as we dipped the dimmer switch creating a warm and somewhat ghostly glow, setting the scene perfectly.
Our guests began arriving and what a lovely compliment to see so many returning from previous events. Some had been on the Dumfries Ghost Walk, others Haunted Highways or Legends and Lore at Castle Loch, a few had attended multiple tours. It was like being among old friends and at the same time, making new ones including a lovely gentleman who’d come along from Annan after reading about us in DGLife.
After welcomes, we introduced the evening with a team background charting some of our most memorable investigations and personal experiences – many of these have had a huge impact on our lives. Guests listened attentively as we revealed the history and hauntings of Greenlaw Mansion, Pittenweem Clock Tower and Dumfries Theatre Royal to name but a few.
It was a gorgeous evening and we encouraged guests to step out for a breath of air, a wee drink (and of course, cake!) before opening up part two with a history of the Troqueer Arms and its former identity as Rosefield House. We’d been researching avidly for weeks; information was surprisingly sparse, however we managed (with the help of Ewart Library team), to learn a lot about the house. There was a particularly heart-warming anecdote about a lost ring that travelled all the way from Australia to Rosefield Mills in Dumfries caught up in a bale of wool! From there, it was over to happenings of a more spine-tingling variety as we disclosed a range of curious and humorous encounters from the Troqueer Arms.
Keen to stimulate discussion and ideas, it was time for some audience interaction; with that in mind, we invited guests to make up three groups for a ghost-hunting workshop. Each group was given a location in Dumfries & Galloway with the brief of devising a plan as to how they’d go about investigating. The groups mixed naturally with everyone contributing; we could hear animated discussions going on and were excited to learn what people had come up with. A spokesperson from each team fed back; some had gone for a more technical approach, others combining technical with traditional methods. Great ideas and much thought put in – well done folks!
Prior to the rod and crystal dowsing session, Suzie, one of guests, kindly shared a couple of spooky personal anecdotes about the Troqueer, which we listened to with interest. After introducing the session, groups were given a selection of dowsing tools to work with including crystal pendants and rods. Most folk found their yes/no responses and from there, practised asking questions both on a personal level and relating to the building. We liaise closely with professional dowsers and if anyone would like to learn more on the subject, please get in touch.
Rounding off the storytelling part of our evening, we focused on two very local reports; one concerned a spate of frightening ‘collisions’ involving a ‘running man’ on St. Michael’s Street Bridge, the other a curious happening on a Troqueer street. To close, it was over to our guests for a thought-provoking round of questions and answers. Emerging themes included; the possibility that what we perceive to be ghosts and spirits are actually viewing us in the same light, haunted objects, the influence of fear and external factors, spirit attachment and why ghosts are generally linked to night time.
We thanked Landlord Iain Marr and his daughter, Laura, for hosting our Mostly Ghostly event and all the fantastic guests who got into the high spirit of things. We’re already looking ahead to our next gathering at The Room – delighted the Troqueer team are keen to have us back – watch this space!!
Shiela: “Enjoyed very much. Been at Lochmaben, Dfs Walk and Bus Tour. Find it very interesting. Dowsing etc – not mastered crystal, maybe just not attuned, hope to be back!”
“Thank you for a fascinating night of ghostly delights. Best of luck with your investigations, I look forward to the next event!”
“Very enjoyable and informative evening. Worthwhile coming. Look forward to more events in the future.”
Ruth: “Great evening, very interesting. Apparently communicated with a Scottish (not British!) man who worked here when it was a house. Did not like his employer. Died in Dumfries, not in this building.”
Fiona: “Loved the second half with all the local stories about Troqueer Arms, Rosefield Mills and other local places. Thanks for a great evening.”
Thank you to everyone who attended High Spirits at The Room; your warmth, enthusiasm and interest was much appreciated and we hope to welcome you all on a future ghostly event!