I couldn't spend a couple of days (working) in the reputedly haunted St James Theatre, Wellington, without getting a little curious. As official photographer for the 10th Webstock conference (here are some of my photos), I could legitimately access most areas of the building, including the upper seating levels, and backstage and below the stage (which is all new or renovated).
The old stairs to the boxes overlooking the stage were the most interesting, and were also relatively quiet. The stairs on the right (looking towards the stage) were ho-hum, but the ones on the left side felt quite odd, more so nearer the top. There was too much noise and not enough time to investigate properly, but I felt something oppressive about the LH stairs that wasn't noticeable in the RH stairs, depsite their being an architectual mirror image. It was just that feeling of tightness in the chest and perhaps the sense of a presence - of being observed - that some of you will be familiar with. It was the only area of the historic theatre I felt it in. (I didn't spend much time on the top level of seating this year, but I did last year. I find that vertigo overpowers anything else I might feel there!)
The photos below were taken during the conference's after party, so there was pounding music from a DJ reverberating up the stairwells. An EVP session was thus impossible but I would've liked to have done one. It would be nice if there was an opportunity to spend some quiet time the old theatre with a few other Strange Occurrences team members.
I don't think these cellphone photos show anything, they're just for the record. The photos without LED flash are underexposed and blurry. And as we've observed, the poorer quality the photo, the more likely people are to see "something" in it!
Partly with this in mind, I decided to not take my big DSLR camera with me up the dusty old stairs. Also, as I'd already shot a few thousand frames on it during the week, having it in my hand felt like just more work and I'd knocked off by this time - around 7.30pm. It's definitely better to be relaxed and not thinking about other stuff - like work - if you want to try to pick up on anything that might just, in the most subtle way, be present.
So, next time. If there be a next time.
- James Gilberd, 12th Feb 2016
is a blog by James Gilberd - leader and co-founder of Strange Occurrences. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the Strange Occurrences team.
James Gilberd is an amateur paranormalist, writer and musician, and a professional photographer, living in Wellington, New Zealand.