Sometimes when searching the UK for locations for Farsight PRS to investigate, new locations are far from your mind. Such a thing as a location which has yet to be investigated by a team seemed to be a luxury we would never encounter.
Luckily Leanne had her eye on the local newspaper and saw that the Mine just up the road was expanding from its usual historical.
My aim was to take in a small team in on this occasion to see what we can find.
History & Activity
Dating back to almost 1742, when the original mineral vein was discovered, the mine consisted of two shallow shafts. By 1790 two levels were being created in the hillside using hand drilling and gunpowder blasting. One of these tunnels struck a main lode of silver-lead ore, whilst the second tunnel was not so lucky.
The Williams family of Scorrier House, Gwennap, near Redruth in Cornwall leased the mine between 1824 and 1834. They were known as the Cornish ‘Mine Adventurers’ and it was the start of a long association between the Mining Districts of Cardiganshire and Cornwall, which continued into the 1900’s.
The mineral vein became increasingly unproductive and pumping costs grew! The company installed a 16 hp steam engine to assist the pumps in addition to the 40ft diameter waterwheel in 1869. To realise John Balcombe’s dream and explore at greater depths, a 50ft diameter overshot waterwheel was built around 1874.
By 1910, as the giant waterwheel slowly rotted and following a Scottish Companies attempt to prospect for zinc ore, the mine slowly became dormant. The waterwheel was blown up in 1953 for scrap and the mine became a shadow of its former self.
However, this wasn’t the end for Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine! Dr. Stephen Harvey (University of Leicester) and his son Peter Lloyd Harvey woke the mine and began to develop it as a Mining Museum in 1973. Peter Harvey continues to privately maintain and develop the museum today as a beautiful example of the districts mining heritage.
Peter told us about some of the activity that visitors, mediums and he had experienced at the Mine. This was varied, but some things I thought I may have a possible explanation for straight away! There had been reports of shadows and cold spots throughout the location. Mediums that had visited the location had picked up on a few things, the most predominant being that of a child spirit in our first vigil location the Big Stope. The usual reports of Orbs were present and given the location I had my suspicions to their cause. Peter also mentioned some odd things which had been experienced in the woods up the hill from the Mine, including his own personal experience. The one thing I did want us to look at was Peter’s picture of what he called ‘The Red Soldier’. This was a possible apparition photographed in Poole’s Mine Chamber.
Peter’s main experience was when he saw what he believes to be a Miner stood on the hill near the Mine shaft. The other thing that interests me about this report is the fact that Peter told me it occurred around the time the sun was going down, so it was still light enough to see the hill.
Ashley Knibb – Lead Investigator
Leanne Knibb – Documentarian
Keith Huckfield – Photographer / Interviewer
Jim Bridgeman – Lead Investigator
Ian Pegg – Tech Manager
Julie McNicholls – Local Reporter
Location Hotspots & Equipment
Once we had our guided tour containing a little historical information and some paranormal reports it became apparent where we should set up.
Our first CCTV camera was placed outside covering the entrance to the mine.
Camera two was placed behind the museum filming up the hill where Peter saw the apparition. As this had to cover quite a distance we used our long range CCTV camera.
Camera three was in the far end of the museum ground floor.
Our forth CCTV camera was placed in the Big Stope, covering the entrance and exit intersection.
Our HQ for the investigation would be the Restaurant Area. Following the usual brief we kicked things off. First stop was the kit room to grab our stylish hard hats, lamps and quite large battery packs. All necessary and great looking, honest!
Vigil 1 – Big Stope Chamber
We stood quietly to acclimatise ourselves to the location. As you might expect from a mine there was a lot of background noise, mainly in the form of dripping water.
We did hear a possible whistling noise, but believed this could be birds outside the mine. Both Ian and Julie believed they heard some whispering through the Kanum device, which enhances your hearing ability.
We realised straight away that the environment we were in could easily trick your mind. The light from our lamps created many shadows and pockets of darkness.
Vigil 2 – Poole’s Mine Chamber
Again this area had some atmosphere created by the shape of the Chamber.
We took a look at the rough area where the picture was taken and quickly saw what we had already seen in the photo. A very rough outline or shape of someone could be made out, but it was a case of how you interpret it.
Vigil 3 – Wooded Area & Ruins on Higher Ground
Looking around this area gave us a good feel for some of the sounds we heard from in the mine. We soon identified a horse and several birds.
Experiment – Lock Off with Singapore & Trigger Object
Pete had given us a large drill bit which was found in the mine as our trigger object, so we leant that against the rock in the Big Stope. We setup a camcorder. We added the usual devices, a cell sensor EMF, temperature gauge and a digital voice recorder. We also added an iPod and speakers playing some sound effects specific to a mine.
We then left the chamber locked off with beam barriers for at least half an hour.
Vigil 4 – Museum Area
Again this area seemed quite calm. After a little calling out, we decided to give Jim’s experiment idea a go.
Experiment – UV Light Room Flood
Jim’s idea was something he had heard about from some friends in America. The basic idea was to flood the room with UV light, film and take pictures to see what was captured! Keith took a few pictures and Leanne filmed the moment.
Experiment – Unmanned EVP
This basically involved playing a recording asking location specific questions, as you would if you were conducting an EVP session. However, there were two versions, one with a normal silence after each question and one with white noise following each question.
Vigil 5 – Big Stope & Poole’s Mine Chamber’s
After spending some time in each Chamber we soon came to the conclusion that the location was decidedly peaceful. So we decided to call it a night and break things down.
Although an interesting, historical and as atmospheric location, solid evidence was a touch lacking.
However, one piece that does warrant some discussion is that photograph of the ‘Red Soldier’. I see this as a case of Pareidolia, which is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague or random stimulus which is regarded as being of significance. This wasn’t an isolated incident either, as we done the same in the Big Stope, believing we saw something on the CCTV which was clearly no more than a wet rock on closer inspection.
We had a few small personal experiences, such as Ian and Julie hearing whispering through the Kanum device. Other than that though, we had a quiet night.
Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine was very interesting and atmospheric location to investigate, presenting the team with a few challenges in regards to CCTV coverage. As we were the first team to investigate the location we had to go with our instincts.
Is Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine haunted? Our investigation lacked evidence and personal experiences to support it! However, we cannot judge a location following one night of investigation. It would appear that more of the reports were picked up by sensitive’s, something we didn’t have. So, I can’t say the mine is haunted, but equally I can’t prove it’s not.
Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine is an excellent place to learn about some of the Welsh mining heritage by day. At night remotely located in the rolling hills of Ceredigion the mine does take on a decidedly darker persona.
Take a look for yourself – http://www.silverminetours.co.uk/