Falstaff was one of those locations that I am not exactly sure how it came to be as one of the Farsight Files. A little googleing helped discover that it was another of these reputed places for not disappointing. This only fuelled my desire to investigate for myself.
History & Activity
Falstaff or 40 Sheep Street as it was then known, and now to an extent, was a plot originally allocated by the Bishop of Worcester back in 1196. The first known tenant of the building was William Shrieve back in 1536. He was believed to be an archer to King Henry VIII, and the house is named ‘The Shrieve’s House’ to this day.
William Rogers turned Shrieve’s House into a tavern in the 16th century and it is said that he may have been some of the inspiration for Shakespeare’s character Falstaff who appears in two of his plays.
Falstaff themselves claim a massive forty possible resident or returning spirits at the location. Making Falstaff a massively active location.
Other investigators have recorded a figure and a hand print using Fluke Thermal Imaging, heard strange noises, creaks and moans. Not to mention clear EVP’s including ‘get out’ and ‘shut up’. Also, many reports of physical contact from slaps to heavy feelings.
John Ford told us of several oddities that he had witnessed. Including a hooded figure with red eyes. He also spoke of Lucy, a young girl who he believes is a bit of a pick pocket that met a gruesome end.
Janet Ford spoke of many spirits that she believes to be resident, including William Shrieve, Lucy, John Davies, Mary and few more.
John McCann stayed in the main house under the previous owners and felt the bed move. He has also been poked during Ghost Tours and heard footsteps in the upstairs part of the building.
Tom Badger experienced a sudden feeling of breathlessness near the Dungeon.
Ashley Knibb – Lead Investigator
Jim Bridgeman – Lead Investigator
Leanne Knibb – Documentarian
Lucy Harkness – Assistant Documentarian
Keith Huckfield – Interviewer / Photographer
Ian Pegg – Tech Manager
Cliff Rose – Investigator / Sensitive
Martin Gregory – Investigator / Sceptic
Liz Egan – Spiritual Investigator
Siobhan Evans – Guest Investigator
Kai Allen – Guest Investigator
Lee Baines – Guest Investigator
Location Hotspots & Equipment
We placed CCTV camera’s covering some of the obvious Hotspots like the Dungeon area, the Plague room and the Ship room. We placed our long distant CCTV camera outside at the top of the Carriageway covering the building towards the HQ. This way the external doors are covered and it can be used to document the time of people entering and exiting the building.
Our HQ, located in the external room at the end of the Carriageway, will contain any noise contamination from the team not investigating!
Team Walk Around
Most of the team joined Janet as she gave us a tour. This was a mixture of historical fact linked with the building, paranormal experiences within its walls and possibilities suggested by spiritualist mediums.
Jim, Martin and I took a walk around the building. Looking for possible logical explanations for why visitors and staff may have experienced what they reported.
One of the first things we realised was, on entering, you are enclosed in low light. You are then presented with the unknown by placing a couple of curtains directly in front of you. It is facing this unknown that builds your expectations straight away. Then you pass the dungeon area containing a noose and a hooded figure, both of which could easily be missed, but registered subconsciously. Perhaps the noose explains the feelings of strangulation felt in that area?
On the stairs there are numerous types of debris which could easily explain why people believe something is in their hair or touching it. At the top of the stairs is the plague room where you are presented with multiple representations of death, which may lend to auto-suggestion. This includes a subtle A4 picture of a slender tall man dressed in black above the doorway. This image has been described as one of the resident spirits. Moving forward you find very uneven floors, adding further to the disorientation.
We also noted that exterior sound could easily be heard within the Falstaff building. For example you could hear voices from down the street inside clearly. Sound travels well in and around Falstaff!
This doesn’t mean the location is not haunted, just I think it could explain why many draw similar conclusions. Also, this is purely our opinion as we walked through with the intention of looking for sources of auto-suggestion, logical explanations and other sources to explain the paranormal activity.
With additional evidence such as clear EVP’s, hard physical contact, some audible phenomena and Thermal Imaging explanations at this time eluded us. Perhaps our investigation would present us with some answers!
Vigil 1 – Team One – Plague Room
As we sat and attempted an EVP session, both Liz and Keith believed they heard a groaning or growling. A sound they believed came from behind them, but between them. Liz also felt as if something had touched her hair or as if something was in it. Some of the group also heard what can be described as a ‘click’.
Vigil 1 – Team Two – Whole Location
During this vigil Cliff believed he picked up on a James Edwards or Edward James in connection to something nautical. He also believed that there was a 19th century textile connection to the local area with the name Jacobs.
Vigil 2 – Team One – School Room/John Dee/Witch Area & Ship Room
Liz may have felt something touch her shoulder, but that was pretty much it for that vigil.
Vigil 3 – Team Two – Whole Location
As the team completed an EVP session they decided to play it back. They then realised, there can clearly be heard two knocks followed by what could be a faint female voice behind Jim’s. Cliff also picked up on a 16th century French woman called Anne Clairemont.
With the investigation going as planned and with nothing dramatic occurring we decided to continue as we were!
Vigil 4 – Team One – Tavern
As our vigil came to an end we stopped in the spirit area to have a quick go on the Ouiji Board. During this Liz felt a slight swaying feeling, and both Lee and Lucy reported a slight pressure just under their knee!
Vigil 5 – Team Two – Whole Location
During this vigil Leanne believed that she could hear the sound of a crying child through the camera headphones. Cliff also reported having a metallic taste in his mouth!
Vigil 6 – Team One – Elizabeth Area (Just past door to plague area)
On this short and final vigil Liz and Keith felt a cold breeze. However, even better at one point our main camera seem to switch off by itself!
Although our investigation didn’t present any concrete evidence, we did seem to pick up a few anomalies.
A few of the team believed they heard what can only be described as a strange growl come from behind and between them. At the time we believed this may be outside, but I think our camera footage shows the difference between external and internal sounds, identifying this as internal. What the growl was, we have no idea. There have been reports of loud breath and similar sounds before. Perhaps our growl is similar to previous reports?
During Vigil 2 the team attempted a brief EVP session. Towards the end of this session as Jim was talking you can clearly hear two distinctive knocks followed by what can only be identified as a muffled female voice. Attempts to clear this voice up or lift it from the recording have currently failed. Although we must bear in mind that the EVP session had just ended so the team may have been moving around and thus created the sounds.
Vigil 4 saw our main camera switch off by itself! Well that’s what we thought, but as Lucy (the camera operator) mentioned you can’t rule out that possibly she accidently turned it off. Only problem is that this is recorded as a gap in the filming which is hardly evidence.
The Falstaff Experience was an interesting place to investigate, but I think on this occasion maybe the activity was a little lacking. This is in comparison to previous reports and statements I have read. Sometimes when investigating the paranormal you can have a flat night and pick little up, but this doesn’t mean there is nothing there to find!
Although, we did pick up some evidence the other things we got have possible plausible explanations. The EVP with the knocks and possible female voice! For this we must take into consideration that it was the end of the session and the team could have created the sounds whilst moving around. The camera turning off could have been done accidently by Lucy. We have to be level headed and logical sometimes. Other sounds such as taps and clicks could also be explained as the team moving on the floor. Also the layout and uneven floor could easily contribute to feelings of disorientation.
Also, from reading older reports on the location I realise that it’s a shame we didn’t get to investigate the front half of Falstaff, which is the main house. Perhaps this area may have turned up some other anomalies.
Is Falstaff haunted? Our investigation lacks the evidence, but a single night investigation isn’t enough to prove either way really. Reading through previous reports and witness accounts leads me to sit well and truly on the fence on this occasion. I can’t prove Falstaff to be haunted, but I can’t say it is not either. There is certainly something there, which may warrant further more in depth investigation. Perhaps now with a better understanding of the place I could plan a different approach which may produce better results. If you are into the paranormal or indeed sensitive, it may be worth a visit to see what you find!