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An office worker who was stalked for an entire year by a troubled spectre that spied on her and dragged her down the stairs faced her fears by moonlighting as a ghosthunter.
When Debbie McAll, 51, first realised a spirit had “attached” himself to her in late 2012 she asked a church to “banish” him. But it didn’t work.
She turned to a medium, who listened to her terrifying tales of being pushed and shoved and advised her to let go of the negative energy that was attracting it.
The development coordinator, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, says it worked and pursuing her interest in the spirit world afterwards helped her “regain control” of her life.
It also led to her finding her “soul mate”, Emily Cowell, 38, who she met at a séance.
She said: “Emily has the same passion for the paranormal as me and whenever we can, we work together.
“Our date nights are paranormal investigations instead of dinners – we prefer them.
“They’re unconventional, but they’re our passion and we have as many as we can.
“Going on these investigations has completely changed my life and I’ve never been happier.”
Since Debbie created hunting firm Ghost2Ghost, she has gone on more than 120 haunting excursions, taking a mixture of believers and sceptics.
And she says the most recent adventure in Fort Widley, near Portsmouth, Hampshire, was the most terrifying yet.
Debbie and a group of 24 ghost hunters ventured into the coal tunnels beneath the reputedly haunted building, only to be frightened witless by a thunderous roar that reverberated all around them at 2am.
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Despite her vast experience of investigating the paranormal, even Debbie was shocked to the core by the degree of “aggression” she says it conveyed.
She said: “It was so loud. It was giving a terrifying message.
“I think the spirits wanted us out of the tunnels. They wanted us to run out and we did.
“I’ve often heard the spirits shouting ‘Get out’ repeatedly, during investigations, but to hear such aggression was significant and something I’d never seen before. “
Debbie first became aware of her psychic senses as a child, when she would often feel a presence.
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But she began to have “visitations” during the night when she was in her 20s.
She said: “I could feel strangers, but I would dismiss them. I could also see spirits.
“I would just brush it off and then the spirits would move on.”
Then, in November 2012, Debbie’s life changed after a spirit “attached” itself to her and refused to leave her alone for over a year.
She feared for her life, as the spirit – which was initially invisible but eventually turned into an ominous shadow – would taunt her by moving items around and eventually became aggressive and dragged her down the stairs.
She said: “This spirit just wouldn’t go away.
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“The haunting got particularly bad and it was poltergeist haunting – a spirit that causes physical disturbances – so objects would be moved. Things would fly around and I even got attacked.
“I was pushed down the stairs and dragged by my ankles. That happened four or five times.
“I was literally stalked for over a year.
“I was absolutely terrified, I had no idea how to deal with it.”
Thankfully, by the end of 2013, the spirit left her in peace, but there was no turning back for Debbie, who became intensely passionate about the paranormal.
She said: “It was the most difficult year of my life, but I don’t regret it because it has got me to where I am today.
“I believe these things happened for a reason.”
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