Tom Perrott (1921–2013 ) was an English lay investigator of hauntings, apparitions and related phenomena; chairman of the Ghost Club, London, from 1971 to 1998.
Tom Perrott was born on December 28, 1921 in Bridport, Dorset. In 1925, his family moved to London. He attended Highgate School, not far from Highgate Cemetery, where reports of a vampire scared the public in the 1970s, (most likely, the “vampire” was created by imagination and hysteria). Perrott married Doris Norton in 1949; the couple have four daughters. During World War II, he served in the Reconnaissance Corps and the Office for Prisoner of War Intelligence, the latter of which involved the interrogation of prisoners of war. Following his discharge in 1946, he pursued a career in business. In 1984, he took an early retirement from his post as personnel manager at a bakery factory, and devoted himself full time to his studies of folklore and the paranormal, subjects of lifelong interest.
Perrott specializes in collecting information on cases of Apparitions and Hauntings. He has collected records of nearly 3,000 reports at sites around Britain and has investigated cases for the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), which he joined in 1964. He has devoted special effort to collecting British ghost stories and legends so that they are recorded for history, and to researching Gypsy folklore.
Although numerous cases have been authenticated, Perrott finds most are subjective and can be explained by ordinary causes, such as atmospheric changes, effects of medication or drugs, imagination, emotional stress, biases or expectations. The occupants of allegedly haunted places may require as much investigation as the sites themselves. A small number of cases may involve telepathic transfer of impressions from a percipient to others. On rare occasion, atmospheric and other environmental conditions may give perceptible form to strong emotions, such as love, hate or grief, that linger at a site.
Perrott prefers not to use electronic equipment when making an inquiry, and does not rely on electronic or photographic evidence because of the ease with which trickery can be used.
Perrott also remains skeptical of Survival After Death, because of lack of personal evidence. A theory that some hauntings may be due to psychic vibrations left at a site is feasible, he believes. Collective apparitions may be caused by telepathy or mass hysteria.
Perrott lectures widely around the United Kingdom and has taught his own courses in parapsychology. He has made numerous media appearances for radio and television programs in the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia and Germany. In addition, he leads tours of haunted U.K. sites.
Perrott has written books, columns and articles and is a co-author of Ghosts of Dorset, Devon and Somerset (1974) and Strange Dorset Stories (1991).
He joined the Ghost Club in 1967 and became chairman in 1971. In August 1993, Perrott resigned his post and quit the club as part of an internal dissension centred around president Peter Underwood. After Underwood left the club in 1994 to form his own group, Perrott was invited to return as chairman. He retired from his post in 1998 but remained active in club activities and continued his lecturing and media work.
Perrott was a member of the Folklore Society, London, and has been a lifetime member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), London, since 1968. He was the England director for the Ghost Research Society of Oaklawn, Illinois.
- Neesom, Dawn. “Ghosts Terrorized My Family for Two Years.” Woman’s Own (May 27, 1991): 16–17. Strange Dorset Stories. St. Teath, England: Bossiney Books, 1991.