A month ago a story appeared in the Sunday Mirror about pop bint du jour Lady GaGa spending £3000 on ghostbusting gear to clear bad energy from the O2 arena before a concert. The story swept the internet like a midsummer heat rash so Fortean London decided to go in search of the ghost and Lady GaGa and found mysteries in unexpected places.
The story, by Adrian Butler, reported that GaGa was terrified by the idea of ‘bad energy’ and ordered an aide to arrange a “spirit-seeking sweep of the backstage area”. The aide telephoned Dan Webb who runs a “ghost-busting firm”.
We wanted to know if Dan’s equipment would have picked up the ghost of industrialist George Livesey, who haunted the offices of East Greenwich Gasworks which he constructed in the 1880s on Greenwich Peninsular, the gasworks site became the site of the Millennium Dome and then the 02 Arena. Ghost Haunts Millennium Dome reported the Daily Mirror in 1998, describing how Livesey’s ghost vandalised an office at the gas works. Cleaner and psychic Maisie Flegg contacted the angry spirit who identified himself as George Livesey. Peals of ghostly laughter were reported echoing through the Dome during it's construction, thought to be George’s comment on the project. South London paper the Newshopper pointed out that the ghost appeared at the gas works, not the emerging Dome. Despite the Millennium Experience Company “enthusiastically claiming plenty of construction workers on the site had seen him laughing” a spokesperson told the Newshopper that: "none of the construction workers have seen him." Millennium Ghost Was Just An Illusion the Newshopper thundered.
So is there lots of bad energy there to scare pop-tarts and make ghost-detectors go ping? Fortean London wanted to ask Dan Webb so we did a few web searches for him and his company and found nothing. Here’s where the real mystery begins. We found a very nice Dan Webb who runs a ghost hunting group in Las Vegas but he assured us that “It was not our team that supplied Lagy Gaga with the equipment”. One UK based company, Toms Gadgets, sells ghost hunting equipment but has not had a Dan Webb working there. Adrian Butler of the Sunday Mirror told us on 18 June that “Dan didn't want his company to be named in the article” and that he would pass our email on to him but we have heard no more, even after emailing Adrian a couple of questions. We emailed parapsychologists, ghost hunters, skeptics and the editors of the Fortean Times to ask if they knew a Dan Webb making a good living out of selling supernatural pest-control equipment. No one did. A search under 'Dan Webb' at Companies House brought up web designers, landscape gardeners and mortgage brokers but no manufacturers or suppliers of specialist or bespoke electrical equipment. However this could mean that Dan Webb is a sole trader or in a partnership and his company is not limited.
The mystery isn’t really whether grumpy Victorian industrialists haunt the 02 Arena or not but is this: how did Lady GaGa’s aides get Dan Webb’s company’s telephone number when we cannot find them no matter how we search? Why would Dan Webb contact a newspaper with a story about his company and not want his company to be named? Why would that basic piece of information be omitted?
What we have is a story all over the media of Lady GaGa’s eccentricities and ghosts from an unverifiable source. Is Dan Webb himself a phantom? Is the whole story a ghost in the machine that is the celebrity news industry? Dan, if you're out there and reading this, Fortean London would like to know.
(Image / The Dome by DaveWilliams)