Joe Anwar, Alex Watson, Tim Fitzgerald and Joe Lovett gained a first for the project, which will represent an important part of their overall degrees they will complete this summer.
The group are studying digital film production and needed a suitable subject when Joe turned up at the Chichester Observer offices for a week’s work experience. He soon got to hear about the ghosts which are said to occupy the building. In the years since the Observer moved in, numerous people have reported hearing sobbing or crying near the stairs; objects, papers, documents have mysteriously moved; drawers have opened or slammed; cold spots send sudden chills; moving shadows have been seen; and voices have been heard.
Joe approached the Observer’s arts editor Phil Hewitt who provided the interview which forms the basis of the seven-minute film. Joe and the team also spent the night in the Observer offices – though they emerged disappointed not to have sensed terribly much at all. They returned for a session with a Worthing ghost-enthusiast group who were delighted at the strange light spots which seemed to show up on photographs they took.
“The brief was to find a story within Chichester, hunt it down and tell it in a documentary,” Joe says. “We are usually allocated groups, but for this one, we could pick our own group, and I got the best possible group. There were four of us.”
Joe admits he certainly wouldn’t have wanted to spend the night alone in the building – which is when perhaps things might really have started to go bump in the night: “But we came back with a group of professional ghost enthusiasts, and they came in with their equipment and took lots of readings. They used flash on their camera because they thought something might show up in the flash. We got into the main room, and all of a sudden the guys thought they had seen something on the photos. They took about ten to 20 photos at the same angle, and in only one of them was there a bright spot.”
Joe remains sceptical, though not dismissive: “I think I have to believe. I have a religious background, an Islamic background. That’s not to say we would believe in ghosts, but you have to be careful.”