AN Inverclyde ghost hunter and paranormal investigator says Halloween should be less about creepy costumes and decorations and more about honouring our ancestors.

Nick Kyle and his wife Sarah are called upon by people all over Inverclyde to deal with restless spirits in their homes.

Since moving to Inverkip in 2012, the couple have helped a number of people and investigated reports of paranormal activity in homes across the district.

Nick is past president of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research and is a scholar on the subject of spirits and hauntings.

With Halloween approaching, he has appealed to Inverclyde people to look past the thrills and spills and remember the true nature of the festival.

Nick said: "Halloween has become a somewhat childish time of silliness and games, and minor frights and chills.

"It's a remnant of the Gaelic festival of Samhain and should really be a time when we honour our ancestors.

"It's traditionally a time when the boundary between this world and the otherworld 'thins' - allowing spirits or fairies to become more active.

"This 'thinning of the veil' is when there's more potential for us to make contact with people in the otherworld.

"The souls of the dead were also traditionally said to revisit their homes at Halloween, looking for hospitality."

As well as searching out spirits, Nick is an expert on witches and has given presentations of the infamous witch trials which took place across the world between the 1500s and the 1700s.

His research has revealed that between 1563 and 1736, a total of 35 people in Inverkip were persecuted as witches - 33 of whom were women.

Since moving to Inverclyde, Nick says he has picked up on a lot of activity in Inverkip, particularly in the Main Street.

The ghost hunter says that the appearance of spirits is all down to the right combination of certain factors - and has urged people to be open-minded about worlds other than our own.

He added: "It's about the interaction between people, energy and the environment.

"If there is the correct combination of these, who knows what may happen."