Following a last minute cancellation of another location we had planned to investigate, Aaron our Case Manager stumbled upon the Arundel Jailhouse online. As ever with these places you have to take what you find out online at face value. Arundel Jailhouse was no exception claiming to be a ‘hotbed of paranormal activity’ on its website.
With reports of various audible phenomena and cold spots, as ever this seemed like a good location to investigate and from what I had seen on their website a little atmospheric too.
We decided to go in and attempt to record some of the odd sounds and see if we could experience the cold spots. As ever Farsight PRS would evaluate the situation, searching for logical explanations for what they could leaving anything else unexplained!
History & Reported Paranormal Activity
The 19th Century Grade II listed building which is Arundel Town Hall was built in 1836. It was purpose built as a Town Hall for the people of Arundel and is still a working town hall today. When the building was opened, its basement was used as a Jailhouse straight away and there are even documents dating back as far as 1890 that mention it. In fact there were some requests to modernize and clean up the cells after their first sixty years of use.
With the Police Station next door and the court in town, it has been used on and off for many years as a jail. In fact between 1977 and 1986 it was used as the Arundel Museum, following which it was reclaimed by the Magistrates and reused as a jail again.
Arundel Town Hall with its basement jailhouse is situated at the heard of Arundel with a near by castle overlooking the river Arun.
It was difficult to locate much more about this location online, but perhaps the visit will reveal some more information which we can add to this.
Although the Jailhouse website describes it as a ‘hotbed for paranormal activity’ and states that many paranormal investigation groups investigate the location, specifics are more sparse. As many places like this it conducts the usual ghost tours and claims if you enter a non-believer then when you leave you will believe in ghosts. The actually paranormal activity is not detailed.
In fact communications from the Jailhouse also mention they like teams to make their own mind up about the place, without being influenced by other reports. Although I can see the logic in this, it also raises my own scepticism.
However, following a tough dig around on the internet I did find a couple of investigation report (sort of). The first was by a more spiritual group which spoke of the connections they made with various spirits. That’s fair enough, but difficult to investigate. The second mentioned some more audible phenomena like bangs, knocks and taps. Even the sound of a small child singing and a ‘stony dragging noise’. They also mentioned ‘shivery feelings’ and ‘Goosebumps’ , which could be associated with cold spots.
So, for this investigation it appears we are looking at audible and temperature phenomena.
As with many of our investigations where we investigate old buildings or reported haunted places, gathering actual specific witness statements can be hard. Don’t get me wrong I believe in gathering information such as witness statements to assist with investigations. Just when you arrive at location after its standard hours, there is usually only person about to ask questions. We did manage to ask our host a few questions as he gave us a tour, but an indepth interview wasn’t on the cards this time round. We made do with a few reports from the internet and the information our host gave us as focus points for our investigation.
Ashley Knibb – Lead Investigator
Leanne Knibb – Documentation
Kev Ling – Investigator
Judith Hardy – Investigator
Simon Ranson – Tech Manager
Martin Gregory – Investigator
Liz Egan – Investigator
Cliff Rose – investigator
As with most of our investigations we began with a brief tour of the location courtesy of our host. This is an excellent opportunity to discovery a little more about the location, have some valuable hotspots pointed out and ask those all important questions in regards to the paranormal activity. However, as a few of our team members are slightly sensitive, the often elect to sit out of the tour. This is generally so they can enter a location pretty much blind, information wise. On this occasion, Cliff sat out as he wanted to see what he might pick up this time out. Although I respect my teams wishes on this, its not something I completely agree with. This is because I am of the belief that anything that is given to us during a location tour should be pretty much considered common knowledge and thus would not be seen as overly impressive if this information is ‘picked up on’.
The tour for Arundel Jail House was possibly one of our shortest, not particularly due to a lack of reports, but as it was the smallest by far. Still a location is a location no matter how big or small it may be. Either way we do our best to cover and investigate.
Our tour began with a piece of evidence presented by our host, in this case a photo taken of the corridor towards the Solitary Cell. The photo was of the alleged spirit of a jailer. I have to admit it took our host to point it out before i kind of saw it. Martin and I jumped straight into investigator mode and began to analyse the photo.
Equipment Location & Setup
This investigation was made particularly easy for us to setup our CCTV system, due to the location being so compact. In comparison to some of the Forts and Theatres we had already done, it was quick and easy. In dact it was practically in the same room.
We setup the CCTV hub unit near the main entrance, as it seemed the best place and would be out of the way for most of the investigation. The system is setup for a couple of reasons for us. Firstly, we use a CCTV system to try and capture video evidence of the paranormal. Meaning we can cover some of the locations hotspots with the hope of picking up something odd. However, we do have a second very important reason for covering the locations with CCTV cameras. We use them to cover our own movements through a location, that way if something is picked up it can quantify where abouts we are. After all if you show anyone video evidence, nine times out of ten they will have an explanation.
Given the reports of activity in the Solitary Cell, we decided to make that the location of our first camera. As ever we setup the camera to cover as much of the room as possible.
Camera two was setup in Cell One, which although wasn’t far, was the camera farthest from the hub unit. Our host had mentioned some activity in this Cell, so once again we covered the area the best we could.
The third camera was set up in the Cell which was described as the Chapel Cell. This was simply because the interior of the Cell slightly resembled that of a little chapel. The camera was placed on the farthest wall in the Cell, covering most of the Cell and the doorway.
The forth and last camera was setup to cover the doors of Cells One to Three. We would have liked to cover most of the main Jail House area, but unfortunately we were unable to obtain a good camera angle which would achive this.
As the Jail House was such a small area to investigate, it soon became obvious that on this occasion we wouldn’t have a HQ as such. This was because we would be investigating the very areas we would later use for our breaks. This in a way presented a new angle to our investigation. Usually we work through the night with the lights out, returning to selected HQ for some light and refreshment. It would seem that we would be spending our breaks within the very places we were investigating, which actually helped a bit.
Vigil 1 – Team One – Full Jail House
We kicked our first Vigil off by sitting in a circle quietly for a little while. This is generally to allow us settle down and get a feel for the location. However, it wasn’t long before we had a reaction on the KII meter. We immediately checked the obvious such as mobile phones and radio’s, ensuring both were not interfering or switched off. Then we continued with the Vigil.
Judith and I decided to spend some time in the Solitary Cell. As we settled once again, we heard a few faint taps, but soon identified these as external sounds. The Cell has a window direct to the outside, which isn’t well sealed. However, we also heard some very distinctive taps, which we identified as coming from the room next door. We chased the sound, but found nothing apart from chairs in the cupboard. We noted this as slightly odd, given that the taps were so prominent.
The Team also noted that they had all heard a knocking or thudding from before we even started. As the sound appeared to be emanating from an external source or even the building above us, we decided to take measures to locate its source. My initial thought was that the sound was that of passers by walking past above on the street. Simon, Judith and I headed outside armed with a radio to test this theory. However, even when we ran or made an extry effort to stamp our feet, the noise heard below in the Jail House didn’t match what we were hearing. This reoccurring sound became something we would seek throughout the night.
The KII meter continued to light up randomly, but this didn’t seem to occur in response to any of our questions. In fact although the KII seemed to be frequently lighting up unusually, which could possibly be seen as odd, there was no obvious reason for this. With this in mind we made a quick check of the teams mobile phones, ensuring we had turned them off or at least into flight mode. The reason for this is simple, we have realised that the mobile phone signal does effect the KII, among other things.
We also tried to split into different areas of the Jail House to pin point the source of the knocking, but oddly it stopped and we had to abandon this.
As we stopped for a break our final team member Kev arrived to join us for the investigation. Also, during the break Simon saw the KII record its higher measure, showing red lights. We also heard the knocking again and it seemed to a few of us to be coming from the Solitary Cell direction, but also above.
Vigil 2 – Team One – Full Jail House
We began the second vigil much in the same way as the first. It wasn’t long before the fluctuations on the KII and the knocks returned. As a matter of fact I don’t think they had really stopped during our break.
We decided to try a less technical version of Franks Box, to see what results that might gain us. We switched on the small digital radio and listened as it continuously cycled through the frequencies. After a few moments we began to ask some basic questions, ‘Is there someone here?’ and ‘What is your name?’
As the radio struggled through frequencies, briefly a few words could be heard clearer than others, but they were either unrelated to our questions or just seemed like we were fitting them to what we wanted. However, in truth given location of a basement jail house, the radio signal was poor, so we decided to cease this experiment.
Given the audio phenomenon we were already hearing, we decided to try a little EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) work to see if we could pick anything up there. Placing a digital voice recorder in the middle of the group, we bagan asking some basic questions to ascertain if there were any spirits with us. Following each question we would allow ample time for a response before proceeding with the next question. We continued this for between five and ten minutes, any longer becomes difficult to listen back to. However, given the constant reactions on the KII meter, we decided to combine both. We placed the KII meter and a digital voice recorder in Cell Two, hoping a change of location may spark some new results. We then continued to ask questions. There were a few spikes on the KII, but nothing that could be directly linked as a response to our line of questioning.
As the Vigil progressed Liz and Leanne both mentioned a cold breeze, even though there wasn’t a natural source for it in the area we sat. Cliff also stated that he felt particularly cold, but temperature readings didn’t reflect this showing it to be similar to the what it had been most of the night.
Sound wise the knocks we heard continued throughout this vigil. Howe er, more interestingly at one point I heard a sound, which I can only describe as the sound someone may make as theh begin to speak.
Not long after this we decided it would be a good time for another break.
Vigil 3 – Team One – Full Jail House
For this Vigil a few of us decided to occupy some of the Cells in order to possibly recreate the illusion of inmates within the Jail House. With Judith in Cell One, Martin in Cell Two, Simon in Cell Three and myself on the Chapel Cell, we started to call out into the darkness. Martin soon raised the stakes and requested the present spirits to effect us in some way or touch us, if in deed any were present. We had a little reaction on the KII meter. Then Martin asked the spirit to choose one of us to stay. Oddly enough at this moment I felt absolutely freezing as if the the temperature around me had dramatically dropped. This happened again when Martin asked for this to be confirmed. This was particularly interesting as there didn’t appear to be any real reason for the change. I also began to feel very uneasy as I stood within the closed Cell. This could have been due to the temperature change in direct relation to Martins request, but either way I felt as if I had to leave there.
Once back in the main room I felt better and we continued the Vigil. As I moved around the room a touch, Simon came out of the Cell he had occupied. After a little while he thought he had seen what he believed to be a white figure pass between Leanne and the wall. However, this was observed at the exact point in time when the rest of the team were looking in other direction. This was a shame, as there was no one to confirm Simon’s sighting. We spent a little time to see if there was anything that could have create this white figure, but were unsuccessful.
At this point we realised the KII fluctuations were starting up again, but other EMF Meters didn’t seem to pick up the what the KII was reading. This caused some questions in my mind, so we decided to test the EMF further, by timing the intervals between the fluctuations. Oddly enough there did appear to be some kind of patern, with the time between the fluctuations being very similar. This made us believe that perhaps something more natural or at least man made was creating the fluctuations. Initially we thought it was a phone, but none of us had a phone on us or if we did it was switched off!
We decided it was time for a break as we were in need of refreshment, so we switched on the lights and put the kettle on. During this time as a few of us sat in a circle talking about the previous Vigil, I felt a slight tug on my shirt sleeve. I’m not sure why, but I kind of disrlegarded to begin with. Judith asked me what had happened. I replied simply, ‘I think my shirt was just tugged’. She reminded me to make a note of it, but I am still unsure why I initially thought nothing of it!
Vigil 4 – Team One – Full Jail House
As with the Vigils prior to this one we attempted to call out to gain a reaction on the EMF meters or even something more dramatic. On this occasion though things seemed to have quietened down, the knocks we had heard earlier even seemed to have dissipated. The only thing thats was still reacting was he KII meter, which was still lighting up at regular intervals. At this point we were convinced something man made was causing it.
As it was getting on and appart from the KII activity had ceased, we decided to wrap things up. We switched the lights on and had a break. However, Martin and I wanted to track the KII source down. Martin placed he KII on a chair and began moving it around the room to ascertain where it was receiving the strongest reaction. After a few minutes he placed the chair near our bags, which had been in the same part of the room all night. As he got closer to a particular bag, mine, the signal was at its strongest. I realised my mistake, I took my phone from my bag and it was still switched on happily checking for service almost every minute. This matched the KII fluctuations and it was clearly the cause. We switched he phone off and he KII reading ceased.
This was a clear ‘school boy error’ on my part, but in a way a good exercise. I had switched my phone back on to receive a call from Kevin, as he had arrived slightly late that night. However, I then placed it in my bag without switching it off. So, for the second half of the investigation it had provided us with false KII readings. The question does remain, what was the reason for the KII fluctuations in the first part of the investigation?
Captured Evidence & Personal Experiences
The investigation certainly didn’t pass with a lack of odd experiences, as it seemed as if things were occurring throughout the night. Possibly one of the most significant was a distinctive knocking or thumping which we heard constantly most of the night. Early on we proved the sound wasn’t external, as an individual running or walking past outside created a different sound. Some of the team actually tested this by walking and running up and down just outside the Jail House. Attempts to pin-point the source of this audible phenomena were only partly successful. We even tried standing for a while at different points to see who was closest, but oddly the sound ceased during this time. As the night went on we realised the sound seemed like it was coming from the direction towards the Solitary Cell, but upwards towards the Hall.
The KII meter was also in frequent use throughout the night, with what appeared to be activity fluctuations throughout the night. However, as explained following Kevin’s arrival, I had left my phone on. This explains the KII fluctuations in the second half of the investigation. However, this doesn’t explain the fluctuations we witnessed during the first vigil. I think given the fluctuations were caused by the mobile phone in the second half of the investigation, we may have to disregard those picked up in the first vigil. The fluctuations didn’t occur in response to any questions either, which would make it more credible.
I personally had some experiences of my own during the night. Whilst we attempted to make contact and in a way offer ourselves up in the Cells, I experienced a temperature anomaly. In fact it seemed as if the temperature dropped dramatically in direct response to Martins line of questioning. Along with the temperature, what I can only describe as the Cells atmosphere appeared to change. This left me feeling uneasy and had a desire to leave the Cell as soon as possible. I left the Cell and the feeling passed including the temperature anomaly. We didn’t manage to show this change in temperature using a digital thermometer, perhaps it was something I personally felt.
My final experience was when my shirt was tugged. This was initially something I disregarded, but another investigator brought it back to my attention. I can’t explain why or how this occurred! Perhaps my shirt had got caught unbeknown to me, which the felt as if my shirt was tugged. To be honest though, I don’t think this is the case, but it is a distinct possibility.
Although the investigation included some interesting personal experiences we unfortunately didn’t manage to capture any good solid evidence.
Initially I was more than a little surprised when we first arrived at the Arundel Jail House. This was mainly due to the limited size of the location. I knew it was small, but the reality was smaller than I actually imagined. This threw my first plan out the window and I had to re-think it as I went. The location size didn’t hinder us though and we managed to conduct our usual thorough investigation.
We had a number of personal experiences throughout the investigation, the most interesting being that of the knocking. The reason this is so important is because it was something everyone experienced. We all heard the knocking and we all attempted to find its cause. I have to admit that although each time we tried to explain it we couldn’t a part of me still believed there may be a logical explanation. Perhaps it was sound travelling from a near by pub or even a beating system in the building above. However, even these were explained away and the sound remained a mystery.
I also found my experience in the Cell very interesting. As an investigator I had experienced various cold spots during an investigation, but this time I felt the temperature drop so severely that I actually felt freezing. That coupled with this sudden urge to leave the Cell was strange indeed. Top that with the fact that it seemed to coinside directly with the questions and statements posed by Martin, made the whole event noteable. Unfortunately as there is no solid evidence to back these events up, we can only really speculate about the event. Perhaps Martin’s provocation caused a spirit to react and directly effect me. He did ask for the spirit of the jailor to select one of us. However, as I deliberate the situation, I often wonder if being alone in a closed Cell listening to Martin’s line of questions could have effected me. Not unlike when you read a scary story or watch a scary film, whilst stood there alone in the dark I could have been consumed by the moment. This is more than possible, but I have been alone in the dark in similar situations many times and not experienced this before. Why would this be different for Arundel?
Is the Arundel Jail House haunted? Without good solid evidence like video footage, audio or even a photo, I certainly can’t prove that it is. However, we experienced numerous things which have been reported at Arundel before. Just like previous reports we to experienced audible phenomena, cold spots and changes in atmosphere. At least the phenomenon is consistant I guess. It is these experiences that keep the question open and will keep investigators returning to try and capture some evidence. Personally I believe that there may be something at Arundel Jail House, but one nights investigation was not enough to find the evidence to support my theory. Perhaps an experiment using the Singapore Theory may stir things up and generate some energy to allows us to capture something. A possibility if we return.
Farsight PRS leave Arundel Jail House behind us, but I certainly won’t forget it. As ever with elements of the paranormal and investigating it, I find myself sometimes leaving with more questions than I arrived with. Perhaps that’s what drives me and the team onwards, looking for more questions to try and answer.
Franks Box; is an electronic device constructed in the attempt to capture EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Franks Box is also known as the “Ghost Box.” The device was originally constructed by EVP enthusiast Frank Sumption in 2002, for supposed real-time communication with the dead. Sumption had made claims that the design ideas were passed to him from the spirit world. The device generates white noise, whilst sweeping back and forth through the AM band selecting snippets of audio. It is these snippets of audio which are translated as communications from the spirit world. However, the device has received criticism as the meaningful responses actually being just coincidental or simply pareidolia.
For our experiment we were not fortunate to have access to an actual “Franks Box”, so we used a digital radio which constantly cycled through the AM band.