Liam Shuker

The story of a couple living with a “poltergeist”

When people hear the word poltergeist, most people think of “Hollywood’s most haunted horror film”.

Released in 1982, the blockbuster ‘Poltergeist’ focuses on a demonic spirit that haunts a family – trapping a little girl in a television.

However, there is a dark “curse” that surrounds the film.

The conspiracy being four of the film’s actors dying following the release of the first, and multiple sequels.

Although the deaths were officially explained, there is no denying the unusualness of the main characters – of the most popular horror film of 1982 – continuously dying in a chronological order.

This unusualness bring questions to people’s minds. Questions such as: Was the event coincidental? Or was it a conspiracy? Or do ghosts and poltergeists exist? The sort of questions an individual’s belief can only answer, as even science struggles to conclude.

Nevertheless, statistics favour a certain answer. The Independent reports that three out of five people claim to have seen a ghost. And with our previous report of many unexplainable moments posted on social media, it is clear that there are a lot of people that do believe in the supernatural.

Ben and Lainey, a couple who are both teachers from Buckinghamshire, are a few of the many people who do believe in the supernatural.

Unique as it is, the couple publicly express that they live with a “spirit, demon, or poltergeist” in their house.

But hey don’t just live with the supernatural,  they have turned to social media to “tell their story” of living in a house with the paranormal activity.

Their documentation of the activity has achieved a tremendous amount of success on social media, in which they have achieved over 6.5 million likes and 107 million views on TikTok, and over 4.6 thousand subscribers on YouTube.

However, despite having many sceptics question their story, Ben and Lainey only post the “evidence” to “tell their truth”.

 

Their truth

Ben and Lainey – the couple living with a “poltergeist”

The duo explained that before moving into the house, Ben used to be the “biggest sceptic known to man” in terms of believing in the paranormal.

He identified himself as a paranormal “non-believer” and that he had no personal experience with ghosts, spirits, or poltergeists.

Moreover, Lainey, who was more optimistic in believing in the paranormal than Ben, stated that she “…did not really experience anything with the paranormal”, but she “hoped that there was something out there”.

The couple moved into their house three years ago, which was Ben’s first house living after his parents. Additionally, Lainey described the house as a new build, which has three floors.

“Our top floor is our bedroom, our middle floor is where the bath is, and our first floor is the living room”.

But six weeks after the couple moved into their new house, everything changed, according to Ben

“I was very wrong. I could not have been more wrong”.

Around “six to eight weeks” of them living in this house, paranormal activity started to happen.

They both expressed that “silly little things” started happening to them both, with Ben explaining that he would “catch figures or shadows at the corner of my eye when I was home alone, and I would hear footsteps coming up the stairs”.

Nevertheless, the couple would just “shrug it off” until a defining moment for Laney happened when the teacher was having a “pamper in the bathtub”.

“I was having some time alone, having a bath in the afternoon when suddenly…”,

“…a gruff, man’s voice called my name”.

Shocked and alone, Lainey expressed that she “was really vulnerable”.

“I felt really vulnerable… I wonder[ed] if this was paranormal, or if I was going crazy”.

However, she was adamant about what she heard, and nothing could change her mind – a man shouted her name.

Lainey’s reaction was absolutely and utterly concerned.

“I got upright and shouted “hello”. I thought, “what if somebody has got into the house”.

Also, she expressed that she was sure that the voice came from the floor above, which was the couple’s bedroom.

However, despite the strange activity in the house – that included seeing shapes, hearing footsteps, and shouting names – the couple decided to remain calm.

“We did not talk to each other about it. Myself [Ben] and Lainey wrote our experiences off. She did not mention to me the voice or anything”.

Nonetheless, one night the pair were watching television together after work.

Relaxing, they noticed a strange encounter together.

A plant pot – that was on the TV stand –  slide from one side to the other in front of their eyes.

Both of them “shot up” to their feet.

“I did not want to say what I thought it was” Ben explained, which after that he admitted to Lainey – and vice versa – that “things have been happening to me”.

But with the only experience of the supernatural being Hollywood films, such as the Poltergeist or The Conjuring…

“we thought that we were going to die”.

Witnessing the activity together was a relief for the couple, with Lainey explaining “It was like an epiphany for us. We knew we were not mad”.

At first, they were reluctant to stay in the house. However, they both share a love for that house, and “It was either we get out of here, or we try and work out what is going on”.

“This thing is clearly wanting our attention”, explained Lainey.

However, the couple naturally started to ask questions such as “does it need help? Is it a demon? Or is it a curse?”.

The pair decided to continue living in the home they admire and love, but they did pursue help from reputable psychics and mediums. Professionals that were in contact with Lorraine Warren – a professor in clairvoyance, and a light trance medium that is most famous for pursuing psychic investigations involving the possessed doll Annabelle and Amityville horror.

“We have had some paranormal investigates come into the house, to help us understand the spirit”.

“Between him, a psychic medium, and us, we felt safe and protected. These people have 30 years of experience each and that was why we are more comfortable”.

The paranormal team decided to do a séance with a spirit board – a board marked with letters and numbers for the use of contacting spirits. The séance lasted three hours, in which they understood that the spirit was “called David”.

“We learned that he passed away due to a car crash in 1983. He was also here because of us”, with Lainey explaining it has the connection with her more so than Ben.

***During the interview with myself, and Ben and Lainey at this giving moment, the couple stated, “there is banging going on upstairs right now”. Through listening back to the recording, the banging can be explicitly heard twice***

In addition, one of the psychic’s brothers regularly visits the pair’s house, as he has “connected well with the spirit”.

The couple are also aware of how unbelievable they may sound, as they said: “saying it out loud, it sounds ridiculous to say. We cannot believe what we say”.

They are also nervous regarding their profession, as they are both teachers which means they both require a professional, unbiased opinion of topics such as religion, politics, or anything that can influence a person’s lifestyle.

The couple stated: “As professionals, we are scared to lose our professional stand. But it got to a point where we put up with this for a couple of years. We said “we need to put it out here this is something. We need someone who can relate with us or help us with our situation”.

From this, the couple turned to social media, in which they realise they may receive backlash for posting their experiences on social media, but their reasoning is “not for attention or popularity, but to tell their truth”.

“We have had big influencers contact us, stating “we need to do it in a different way” but we do not post it on social media for attention. This is our truth, and we post it to share it, and to see if people go through the same”.

Ben and Lainey’s TikTok account has over 5 million likes and 107 million views, and over 4.6 thousand subscribers on YouTube.

Here are some of the experiences with the poltergeist the pair have put on social media:

@lainey_and_benMy mug! (Part 2) ##ghost##laineyandben##paranormal##poltergeist##ghosts##hauntedhouse##hauntedtiktok##scarytiktoks##haunted##scary##spooky##ghostmode♬ original sound – Lainey and Ben

@lainey_and_benSome weird activity caught while @paranormalnow investigated our home##laineyandben##ghost##paranormal##poltergeist##scary##scarytiktoks##haunted##fyp##spooky♬ original sound – Lainey and Ben

@lainey_and_benDaves shenanigans ##ghost##paranormal##poltergeist##laineyandben##spooky##scary##scarytiktoks##haunted##hauntedhouse##hauntedtiktok##fyp##foryoupage##foryou##fypシ♬ original sound – Lainey and Ben

 

 

As stated above, whether you believe in spirits or not is a personal choice. But since there is no scientific evidence that they do not exist, and one in five people have witnessed seeing ghosts, having an agnostic approach towards spirituality and paranormal activity may be best until proven.

And as Ben and Lainey stated with their spirit, demon, or poltergeist, “we are only telling our truth”.

Coincidence, or conspiracy. You know deep down in your heart.

 

 

Candle maker of the year shares tips on how to manage a small business during the pandemic

We are living in an unpredictable time where a deadly virus has forced the world into a global pandemic.

During this time, corporate businesses have taken advantage of everyone being locked at home. Research FDI states that Amazon has reported a 70% increase in earnings in the first nine months of 2020. Moreover, Global News claims that Facebook revenue has increased 48%, due to the surge in digital ad spending as consumers shopped online.

On the other hand, small business owners have not matched the success corporate businesses have achieved. Statistics from Statista show that as of April 2020, nearly one-quarter of all businesses temporarily closed or paused during the pandemic.

Additionally, simply business claims that 61% of small business owners have had serious financial concerns at some stage of the pandemic, and 81% of small businesses said they have not had enough support from the government.

Nevertheless, some small businesses have managed to maintain success during the pandemic.

Amy Howden is the owner of a successful candle business – that is eco-friendly – located in Widnes. The business owner has not only managed to maintain success in her business throughout the pandemic but has also managed to grow her company.

Moreover, The Starlight Candle Company has been not only been promoted in Vogue, but has ben sent to independent store Flying Solo in New York , and has won many awards such as at the Candle Company of the Year at the Northwest and Manchester Prestige Awards 2020/2021.

However, a key reason why her business has been so successful in the pandemic is mainly due to her products. Howden explains that selling home-based products has been an advantage to her company, as “everyone was stuck at home; everyone started to spend their money on products that can be used at home instead of things like family days out or holidays”.

“Candles are a home product, and as everyone was at home people wanted to make their houses smell nice”.

The Starlight Candle Company sells various candle products – that have countless range of scents that once lit or melted, reach all around the house.

One of the most important pieces of advice Amy suggests is to search for, and if available use all of the government funds that are available to you specifically during the pandemic.

Howden stressed to “definitely be on the lookout for government grants or loans that are available at the moment”. The businesswoman was eligible to use the bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) – a scheme that is now withdrawn. The scheme “absolutely helped me and my business” as it enabled small businesses to access finance more quickly during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the candle maker has noticed that since restrictions have eased her sales have “slightly” been impacted. However, Howden expressed the importance of using social media to market her company and products.

“As more people go back to work, and restrictions are easing, fewer people are staying at home meaning fewer people are buying stuff for their households. But social media has definitely helped me. Using free tools such as Facebook, and Instagram is beneficial for any small business”.

More importantly, Amy conveyed that word of mouth is her most impactful source of marketing as a small business owner. 

“I think word of mouth has definitely helped me the most. What has helped the business is , myself, my friends, or my family spreading the name of my business to their friends or family”. 

You can visit the Northwest and Manchester Prestige Awards candle company of the year 2020/2021 here.

 

Is society becoming cashless? A look into whether cash is declining, and its replacement

The question of whether we are heading towards a cashless society seems to be becoming clearer, as various statistics support the question. A completely cashless society may seem like a futuristic idea for the most world. However, the world – especially during a time a deadly virus may contaminate cash – is rushing towards a society without cash faster than ever.

 

Is cash really on the decline?

 

Although statistics prove that cashless methods such as debit cards are prominent, the use of cash remains prominent. However, each country has different favoured methods of payments.

 

Britain

The statistics already prove that the majority of Brits use cashless payments. A study from Merchant Machine reports that 91% of British people own a debit card. Besides, 21% of Britons are willing to go completely cashless. Moreover, a study from Diebold Nixdorf concluded that within the week of the 13th and 20th of May, 61% of British people aged 55 and over used cash. However, cash payments declined as the age range decreased, which suggests that cash seems to be favoured depending on generation. 56% of Brits aged between 35-54 used cash, and 46% of those aged 18-35 used cash within the same week. Although still in use, cash use is declining with age.

 

Sweden

Despite Sweden being the first nation to introduce banknotes, Sweden aims to be the first country to end cash and become the first cashless country in the world. According to Sweden’s central bank, the proportion of Swedes that use cash has fallen from 39% to 9% in ten years. Also, Eurostat conveys that 82% of the Swedish population makes purchases online, making Sweden the top of every European country.

 

China

China – a country that has over 1 billion people – is also another nation that is leading the way to a cashless society. Finextra estimates that mobile payments in the country already account for four out of every five payments. Moreover, the People’s Bank of China has been developing a digital yuan, a central bank digital currency that aims to replace cash in circulation.

 

El Salvador

The central American country has revealed plans to introduce the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as legal tender. With El Salvador not having its own currency and only using the US dollar, the President explained on Twitter that “, 70% of El Salvador’s population doesn’t have a bank account and work in the informal economy”. By adopting Bitcoin as legal tender, the cryptocurrency “will bring financial inclusion, investment, tourism, innovation and economic development for our country”.

 

What does this suggest?

 

Clearly, digital currencies are becoming more prominent in each part of the globe. Worldplay claims that 44.5 percent of online transactions worldwide are from digital and mobile wallet payments. Moreover, with countries like El Salvador adopting cryptocurrency Bitcoin as national legal tender – and China suppressing Bitcoin but creating their own centralised cryptocurrency ‘Cyber Yuan – it is evident that digital currencies and crypto-currencies are more common than we think they are.

 

 

Cryptocurrencies, and the impact they could have in our future. 

 

 

Image belongs to Shutterstock

What are cryptocurrencies?

 

Dubbed as “bank-free internet money” cryptocurrencies are decentralised online currencies. Dr. Douglas Arner, a professor from the University of Hong Kong that specialises in economic and financial law, regulation, and development, explains decentralised currencies as “currencies that not one person controls. This is different from Fiat currencies – such as the Great British Pound, the European Euro, the Japanese Yen, or the American Dollar – because they are all centralised; meaning they are stored in banks and controlled by governments. The professor conveys that Bitcoin – the most popular cryptocurrency -was created “in response to the global financial crisis in 2008”.

 

“Bitcoin was created following the global financial crisis in 2008, as a reaction to government-controlled money. Bitcoin was created since no government controls the currency, just a computer”.

 

“Instead of trusting money, trust technology”.

 

Cryptocurrencies are created, distributed, traded, and stored through a decentralized ledger system, known as a blockchain.

 

What is blockchain?

 

The best description of blockchain is how online data is structured and shared. Blockchain is split into two categories: data storage system and cryptography system.

 

Data storage system

In order to store any data, a storage system is needed. As cryptocurrency uses data instead of gold or paper, data storage is required.

 

Cryptographic system

A cryptographic system a way of hiding data, meaning that only certain people can see it.

Blockchain is different from the typical database, as it stores data in blocks that are then chained together. The blockchain is recorded with cryptographic signatures called hash. Once new data is entered and filled into a block, it is chained chronologically onto the previous complete blocks.

The most common use so for blockchain is a ledger (a collection) for a transaction.

 

Why cryptocurrencies?

 

Relating back to the financial crisis in 2008, many people including professor Douglas Arner suggest that cryptocurrencies are “safer” than normal currencies. This is because certain cryptocurrencies are decentralised by governments.

“With [certain] cryptocurrencies, you know the government is not involved. In that sense, it is more trustworthy”.

However, with recent news stating that China is condemning Bitcoin, the value of Bitcoin has dramatically decreased and still fluctuates to this day.