Tina Barcoe admits she is sceptical about paranormal activity, but says sometimes there is just no other explanation.
Eight years ago, Shankill native Tina Barcoe decided to find out if it’s possible there is life after death.
Wondering how to go about it, she was recommended to enter the field of paranormal investigating.
Now, the mother-of-four is one of Ireland’s most renowned “ghostbusters”.
A hairdresser in Wicklow town by day, investigator by night, all while trying to raise four kids, the 41-year-old probably deserves some sort of accolade, but she seems to enjoy it.
“I just find it fascinating. I’ve been to some of the same locations dozens of times but I still get excited each time,” she says.
“I am actually really sceptical. People don’t understand how I’m a sceptic in this business, but it just means I won’t believe until there is hard evidence.
“When things happen that you can’t get your head around, you have to accept that there is something else out there,” she added.
One of the members of Paranormal Researchers Ireland, the group travel around the country visiting some of Ireland’s most haunted locations.
Her most terrifying experience to date happened in the Hell Fire Club in the Dublin Mountains, which Tina says she will never forget.
“It was the worst feeling ever. There were about seven or eight of us and it was around 1am. The building itself is a solid brick building, even the roof is brick. We were downstairs and it was like a boulder hit the house and it started vibrating.
“When that happened, all our equipment started spiking - lights were going off, machines were going off and one of the guys started feeling really ill. He was bent over and started vomiting. Another guy saw a black shadow go across the room. One of the girls says something whispered in her ear to ‘get out’ and then everything went dead,” she says.
Just recently, Tina was in Loftus Hall in Wexford, where numerous paranormal incidents have been reported.
Some people believe it is just a marketing ploy, but she insists there is “definitely something there”.
“It’s a darker energy in Loftus Hall. Sometimes you get quite a sad energy, but it’s different down there.
“I’ve been investigating Loftus Hall twice a month for the last two years. Last Saturday night, we were there with members of the public. There was another guy leading the group and I was observing.
“Seven people out of the group saw an apparition. I didn’t see it with my eyes, I didn’t see what they were seeing. They got a fright and there was a bit of panic. It was a girl in the tapestry wearing a white gown,” she says.
Private house investigations are the most common form of work the group carry out – free of charge, and she describes the different types of “hauntings” they experience.
“There is one which is really common, it is a residual haunting, it is something that happened years ago that is caught in the fibre of the land, or the wall of the building, usually it was someone who died suddenly. You see them, but they don’t see you.
“Then there are demonic things. With those, you normally get in touch with the Catholic Church to come in and bless your house. Then lastly, there is usually loved ones, who haven’t moved to the after life yet.”
Next week, Tina and her colleagues will be visiting a house which reportedly has a demonic presence.
“Those ones are the scariest, because it’s just such a strange and terrifying feeling.”
“If there is something darker there, you’re giving it an invitation to come into the room when investigating.”