2011 Cases

Farsight PRS Investigation – Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre

The Brief
In January 2010 I joined Dead Haunted as a Trainee Team Lead at Morcambe Winter Gardens Theatre. I knew instantly that I wanted to take Farsight PRS in to conduct our own investigation.

A derelict theatre with many reports of paranormal activity is really just too hard to pass up I think, whether the activity is unexplained or has a logical is what remains for Farsight PRS to find out.

On my visit with DHN there were some oddities noted, which fitted in with the reported activity. Such as a few knocks or taps. One women believed she saw a man in the corner of one of the dressing rooms, the experience moved her to tears and I helped her out of the vigil.

I want to take Farsight PRS in to look for possible logical explanations of this activity and try a couple of things to draw it out too!

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History & Activity
Previously known as the Victoria Pavilion Theatre, the Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre is a Grade II* listed building designed by architects Mangnall and Littlewood, with Frank Matcham consulting.

The Victoria Pavilion Theatre was built in 1897 as part of an existing complex. Dating from 1878, the original complex included seawater baths, bars and a ballroom. In the 1950s, the Winter Gardens were taken over by Moss Empires, however declining profits in the following decades led to its closure in 1977. Although the theatre building that remains today was listed the same year, the ballroom building was demolished in 1982.

In 2008, as part of an appraisal of the Morecambe Conservation Area, the Winter Gardens were listed as one of the area’s most significant features, as the main example of the remnants of the resort’s nineteenth century entertainment buildings.

In 2008, the Winter Gardens were featured on the tenth series of the ghost hunting show Most Haunted. They returned in October 2009, when the Winter Gardens Theatre was opened to the public as the live audience venue for the eight consecutive nights of the Most Haunted Live broadcast.

In parallel with the building history, of which I have kept brief, there are also many reports of paranormal activity. In fact there appears to be the full spectrum here, from audible activity such as knocks, bangs, footsteps, right through to the sound of a woman singing. There have also been physical activity reports, from small objects moving or being thrown to people being touched or pushed. There are even reports of some poltergeist activity within the theatre.

We should also take note of strange smells, light anomalies, any cold spots and perhaps the feeling of being watched.

I know this is only brief and not very specific, but it should give us a slight heads up for the investigation I think. We should learn a little more at the beginning of the night when our hosts give us a tour of the building, remarking on a little history and activity I hope. So notepads at the ready!

Witness Reports
Before arriving at Morecambe I heard a few stories of the oddities that had occurred at the Theatre, but didn’t manage to get an actual witness statement. Some spoke of the Theatre being split between good and evil, with an explanation of there being some good spirits within the building , but also some very dark ones too. These are quite dramatic and even scary claims, but not unusual as the Theatre is derelict and very atmospheric. These kind of conditions can easily fuel imaginations and create such theatrical claims if you will. However, without knowing the actual source of this information it can’t be totally disregarded, after all there could be a little truth to it.

When we arrived at the Theatre and were given a tour of the building, our guide made us aware of a few additional stories. I think for me though one of the more interesting things he told us was about the building architecture and that it was designed to be symmetrical. This meant if you stood at a point at the front of the building everything on your left is the same as everything on your right through the building to the back. He also added that this has been associated with what is known as the good and bad side of the theatre.

Attending Investigators
Ashley Knibb – Lead Investigator
Leanne Knibb – Documentarian
Rich Owen – Camera Crew
Aaron Hardy – Case Manager
Simon Ranson – Tech Manager
Siobhan Evans – Investigator
Kai Allen – Investigator
Kev Ling – Investigator
Joanna Botcherby – Investigator
Andrea Harvey – Investigator

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Location Hotspots & Equipment
As ever before arriving at the location I had some ideas for where we could setup our kit, but for this occasion I would be handing over to Simon to start manage the setup of our tech. This was possibly a little hard for me, as I was used to making the decisions on CCTV camera positions. Not to mention that I also needed to convey this information to Simon, so we may both be happy with the results. In fact 2011 was already beginning to be a year for some changes for Farsight PRS.

We cracked on and between us made some decisions on CCTV locations. The first CCTV camera was setup under the stage. This was for a couple of reasons really, there had been a few reports of activity and odd feelings in the under stage area. I also had a Séance experiment planned for one of our vigils later in the night, so we set the camera to cover that.

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For the second CCTV camera we decided to cover the ladies dressing room on the first floor. There had been a few reports of activity there and it would also be a location that we would pass by on the way to other rooms. Altogether this seemed a good point to setup a camera.

As ever we like to try and setup a camera to try and cover our HQ for the night and a large space, for this we placed CCTV camera three in one of the private boxes to the left of the stage at the first floor level. This pointed out across the auditorium covering a great deal of the upper circle seating area. The good thing about this camera was that we could also use it to log when we left and returned to our HQ.

Our final CCTV camera was up covering the Gods seating area above our HQ area. There had been some reports of the seats being moved and if it happened during our visit we wanted to capture it.

Our HQ for the night would be one of the old bar areas just off the main seating area. From here we setup our CCTV hub unit, laid out our kit and those all important refreshments to keep us going. It wasn’t long and following a minor hick up during the setup (my fault) that we were ready to go.

As we had quite a large team for this investigation we decided to split the team into two smaller teams. The first team would be me, Kev, Jo, Andrea and Leanne on camera. The second team was lead by Aaron with Simon, Siobhan, Kai and Richard on camera. Although we would investigate different parts of the theatre would still remain in contact by radio.

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Vigil 1 – Team One – Gents Dressing Room & Stage
My team began their vigil by heading up to the Gents Dressing room on the first floor. After a short while we soon realised that the only thing that could be heard were noises from a neighbouring pub and decided to continue down onto the stage.

The stage felt completely different to us all though! Almost immediately Andrea felt the presence of a man on the stage following us about, overlooking what we were up to if you will. Leanne also got a similar type of feeling. Now, neither of these team members claim to be psychic mediums, but both show a tendency to be a little sensitive towards the spiritual side of things at times.

They both went on to agree that the man was wearing a white short, had dark hair and possibly had a moustache. They also felt that he questioned our presence on stage.

This was all accompanied by a slight temperature drop and more dramatically by what seemed like gentle taps or raps on the huge metal fire curtain. I attempted to recreate the sound by knocking on the fire curtain or by gently moving it, but the only thing that sound similar was me tapping on it with my finger nail!

Quite an eventful first vigil I think.

Vigil 1 – Team Two – Gods Seating & Front Area
Team two began their investigation at the front of the theatre and around the Gods seating area. However, they didn’t appear to be as lucky as we were. They did experience a temperature drop around the area outside of the Ladies Bar, but they were unable to obtain a reading to quantify this.

Vigil 2 – Team One & Two – Under Stage Area – Séance
Our second vigil of the night would combine both teams to begin with and experiment with a more older and spiritual form of communication, a Séance. However, for this Séance I included some simple things, a round table to create a circle for the participants, three candles and a minimum of three people around the table.

As Andrea, Jo and Leanne had already shown a level of sensitivity I decided they would be the best ones to start things off. Later on Siobhan joined in as a fourth member and possibly increased the energy a little.

There was a slight temperature drop during the Séance, but not really dramatic or controlled enough to be labelled as an effect of the experiment itself.

As we continued with the Séance, Aaron and Simon decided to take a look around on their own. After they left us we heard them above on the stage for a little while, but then they were quiet. We later learnt that they headed to the front of the theatre to check on the seating. This was later seen during the review of the CCTV footage.

As the Séance drew to a close, Leanne thought she heard a voice copying everything she said, but coming from the stage area above. At the time we thought it was probably Aaron and Simon, but we soon realised it wasn’t, which was later confirmed when they returned. This left us wondering who might have been mimicking what Leanne was saying?

Singapore Theory Experiment – From Main Auditorium
We kicked off the tailored Singapore Theory Experiment for the theatre based on its past and some of its more well known acts. We had a playlist of about twenty nine tracks, which included a few old Morecambe and Wise songs, followed by music from the forties. In fact I think one track or two may have actually been performed at the theatre, although recorded elsewhere.

We hoped that these familiar sounds filling the theatre once again may stir some energy and give us some good results. We would leave it running during our next vigil and then turn it off before our forth and final one.

Vigil 3 – Team One – Ladies Dressing Room, Dress Circle & Ladies Bar
The team headed up to the Ladies Dressing Room to begin our vigil, but we were soon drawn to the balcony area overlooking the stage below. This was because we were hearing the odd noise from where we were earlier. Across the stage at the door to the Gents dressing room we witnessed a darkening around the doorway and sometimes what appeared to be shadows passing the door.

As we stood high up looking down at the stage in darkness we actually heard possibly the loudest knock of the night! In fact rather than a knock it sounded more like someone had walked right across the stage , but knocked a chair as they did so. We immediately radioed the other team to ensure they were not down there, and they weren’t!

As things quietened down we headed down towards the front of stage and stood in one of the private boxes overlooking the main auditorium. As we did this I saw a strange light anomaly move towards the stage and then suddenly change direction towards us before disappearing.

Although this wasn’t caught on film it was witnessed by Jo who was stood next to me. It was very odd though as it appeared to be travelling along the floor.

Towards the top of the staircase Jo picked up on something too, and felt a little uneasy,

Vigil 3 – Team Two – Gents Dressing Room & Seating
Team two headed towards the main seating in the Gods and main circles to check them out and ensure no seat had been disrupted since earlier. In fact they hadn’t, but the team did experience a brief possible communication in the form of a flash or two on the K2.

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Vigil 4 – Team One – Stage
For their final vigil of the night team one returned to their most active location of the night, the stage. As soon as we arrived back Andrea picked up on the presence of the man again. This was soon followed by the return of the tapping again. However, this time a followed it and found where it was coming from, the corner of the stage, but still on what seemed like the other side of the metal fire curtain. After a while I became convinced someone was on the other side of the metal curtain tapping for some reason. I radioed through to Aaron’s team and asked their position. They responded by stating they were in the Gods Seating overlooking the stage, so I asked if there was anyone on the stage near the metal curtain. The response to that question was a ‘no’, and with that I took a step back from the curtain. I searched for a logical reason, but found none!

Our attention was also briefly caught by a loud bang from another part of the stage, which Leanne later recreated at the trap door. Still, there was no reason for the noise to occur when it did though!

Vigil 4 – Team Two – Gods Seating
Other than a radio call from team one, to check their position and what they could see, this was a quiet vigil for the team.

Captured Evidence & Personal Experiences
Although our night in the Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre seemed quite active with a certainly a few oddities, not to mention a couple of personal experiences, actual evidence eluded us once again. However, we did capture an odd light anomaly on Aaron’s camera which does resemble the light anomaly I saw in front of the stage. Unfortunately these kind of small lights which appear on video whilst filming using an IR lamp can often be dust particles or even bugs, which become illuminated as they pass in front of the camera. This was the case for many of such lights which we picked up on the night, but under review there is one which stands out as being slightly different. Whether or not its a spirit is unknown, just that it remains unexplained and matches the light anomaly I personally witnessed.

We had some temperature fluctuations which we managed to get a readings on, but still these were not specific enough to call paranormal in my mind. After all we were investigating a large derelict theatre, varying temperature comes with the territory. However, my team did experience a few moments when we felt cold around the same time as we noted some activity or Andrea picked up on a presence. Possibly there was a connection, but on this occasion we were unable to obtain supporting evidence.

There was the incident where Leanne believed she heard slight whispery voices on the stage above her copying her word for word. At the time Aaron and Simon were away from the group, but at the time this occurred the CCTV placed them in the seating area. One of my regrets for the night was placing a camera overlooking the stage and with the abundance of activity which appeared to be centred around it this may have been a missed opportunity. On their return to the group Aaron confirmed there was no one on the stage and that it wasn’t them mimicking Leanne. Perhaps there was a spirit with a child like sense of humour on the stage?

The most significant occurrence at Morecambe, for me was the tapping on the what had to be the fire curtain on the stage. This happened the first time we investigated the stage area, but we found it hard to pin point. However, on our second visit I narrowed it right down to a specific area of the curtain. Following a brief radio call to Aaron’s team we also established that there was no one on the other side of the metal curtain. We also tested the curtain to try and recreate the noise we heard and the only thing that came close was the sound of me tapping my finger nail against the metal. This remains truly unexplained!

More often than not you can investigate a location and hear all sorts of taps, knocks and various sounds, but usually they are hard to pin point. On this occasion I stood right next to the metal curtain and listened as something tapped only a few feet away from me. I have to admit though it sent a shiver down my spine when I realised there was no actual reason for it and no one on the other side of that curtain!

Conclusions
The Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre was a great opener for the Farsight PRS to begin their 2011 investigations. The location was huge and in its current derelict state very atmospheric, making it an investigators dream location. Not to mention the fun you could have shooting some kind of horror film there, but that’s another tale.

I have to admit I had already been once before as a Dead Haunted Team Leader and from the moment I walked in the location I knew it was a must for a team investigation. In fact the Dead Haunted team relayed a few stories to me that night and some of the guests shared some info too. Some guests even had experiences of their own that night.

As a Most Haunted location in years gone by and more recently a Live location it had seen its fair share of interest from the paranormal world.

Is the Morecambe Winter Garden Theatre haunted? Well, from my own personal experiences it certainly seemed that way or at least to have something going on. The place did throw up a few weird things throughout the night, in the form of both audible and visual phenomenon. However, evidence to support this is lacking and as much as I would love to go purely on personal experience, we must remain slightly scientific and allow the evidence to speak.

On this occasion the evidence has remained firmly quiet, albeit a few fluctuations and a light anomaly were captured, we can’t confirm these as paranormal in origin.

So, where does that leave us? Although it sounds as if I am a touch stuck on the fence, that’s possibly because I am. In my own opinion there is most definitely something odd at Morecambe Winter Garden Theatre, something that requires further investigation, possibly over a longer length of time. Our usual eight hour window over one night is never really enough! Although we didn’t capture any dramatic evidence of the paranormal that doesn’t mean its not there. Our more sensitive team members picked up on quite a lot, we heard tapping from no where and we saw odd lights.

The one thing I will add is in reference to the theatre having a good and bad side. Personally I think this a psychological development deduced simply from the fact the individual is in a building which for all tense and purposes is symmetrical. As its supposed to be haunted, this can create a mirrored environment and the perception of a good and evil side of the theatre. We found no evidence of any dark or evil spirits and never really felt threatened during our investigation.

Farsight PRS leave the Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre and great start to our year, as we head to Reading for our next investigation at Watlington House. We take with us a few additional pieces of knowledge and the our new team members which after one investigation have already began to settle in.

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Farsight PRS Investigation – Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker – Report Pending

The report for this case is currently being put together following our investigation.

Please keep checking back here and on Facebook for updates.

Thank you

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Farsight PRS Investigation – Royal Hippodrome Theatre Eastbourne – Report Pending

The report for this case is currently being put together following our investigation.

Please keep checking back here and on Facebook for updates.

Thank you

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Farsight PRS Investigation – Royal Oak Pub Swanage – Report Pending

The report for this case is currently being put together following our investigation.

Please keep checking back here and on Facebook for updates.

Thank you

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Farsight PRS Investigation – Harwich Redoubt Fort

The Brief
In 2010 Farsight PRS investigated Landguard Fort near Felixstowe. At the time we conducted an in depth and detailed investigation of the Fort, the best we could in the freezing March conditions. When I discovered that Landguard had a sister Fort across the estuary in Harwich, which also had reports of paranormal activity, I knew we had to investigate it.

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As ever we would approach the case with an open mind, looking for evidence to support the paranormal reports at Harwich. However, we would also look for logical explanations for the reports too.

History & Reported Paranormal Activity
Built between 1808 and 1810, the Redoubt was designed to protect the port of Harwich against the threat of Napoleonic invasion. Circular in shape and nearly 200ft in diameter, with a central parade ground which is 85ft in diameter. The Fort was originally armed with ten 24-pounder cannons, but later on the Fort was re-modified to accommodate 68-pounder cannons.

Despite the modifications over the years the Redoubt never fired a shot in anger. As the strategic importance declined towards the end of the 19th century the Redoubt was replaced by more powerful batteries to the south. As the council brought land almost right up to the moat the Redoubt was allowed to fall into disrepair.

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During World War II the Redoubt was taken back into the military and used briefly as a detention centre for British troops awaiting trial. Following World War II the Redoubt was used by the Civil Defence organisation until it was disbanded, thus ending its military service.

Harwich Redoubt became a listed building around 1969 and its restoration began from there up until the present day.

As for reports of paranormal activity at the Fort, these are varied. The most prominent of the reports and almost horror story in style, is that of a headless soldier. My research turned up a few instances of the decapitated soldier turning up around the fort on a number of occasions. Other unexplained figures have also been sighted within the Fort, which means quite a few possible sightings of apparitions.

There have also been a few audible phenomena reported at the Fort. Many have reported the sound of footsteps often being heard around the fort and voices when then has been no one there.

There have also been reports of light anomalies, cold spots and the odd feeling of being watched.

Witness Reports
We were unable to obtain any witness reports which detailed the activity at the Fort.

However, what was a little concerning to my team and I was that our Host for the evening, who had volunteered at the Fort for thirty odd years, told us he had never experienced anything. In fact when one of my team asked further questions in regards to the activity, we ascertained that the reports really began following a visit from a member of a paranormal team. This information kind of placed a negative vibe on our investigation as we were worried that perhaps the Fort may not be quite as active as we previously believed.

Please don’t misunderstand me though, as investigators we didn’t rule out activity or stop our investigation there! We just thought it odd that a man that spent a lot of time at the Fort returning it to its former glory had no paranormal experiences and the first experience is that of someone who investigates the paranormal. I’ll return to this later in the investigation.

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Attending Investigators
Ashley Knibb – Lead Investigator
Leanne Knibb – Documentation
Aaron Hardy – Case Manager
Martin Gregory – Investigator
Kevin Ling – Investigator

Location Assessment
As ever we started our investigation with a brief tour of the location by our host. I find this is an excellent starting point for the team to learn a little about the location, both historically and in regards to any paranormal activity there may be. These little tours have also given us the opportunity to get our teeth into some of the reports straight away, with explanations jumping out at us.

Harwich Redoubt Fort was no exception to this rule! Our host took us to a staircase and explained to us that many had felt as if they were pushed down it. The explanation seemed reasonably obvious straight away, given that this occurred during darkened ghost hunts! We hypothesised that perhaps as the staircase was very dark, elevated up and around to the right back on itself, then towards the top it levels off, but appears still to be rising. This combination seems to make you feel as if you are losing your footing a little as you descend the staircase, this could explain the feeling of being pushed. This is merely our understanding of the situation explained to us and the explanation which may provide a logical reason for its occurrence.

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Our host continued to give us a tour of the Fort informing us of some of the locations history, but where appropriate also mentioning some of the paranormal reports. Unusually this didn’t really provide us with any exact hot spots for paranormal activity, apart for one. There was a magazine which was being used display some toys which had a relation to war. We were told that many teams like to utilise the room for vigils and attempt spirit communication through means like glass divination. Some of which had apparently had some good results. With this in mind I thought it may be good location for one of our vigils later in the night.

Another point of interest was the cells, which had a large amount of graffiti on the walls. The graffiti dated back according to some of the scribbles to the war. This varied from the usual pieces of vulgar detail, general information to a little poetry. All in all this little area was quite atmospheric and I decided we would pop back later to see if we could pick up anything.

After a few more little stops, where our host introduced us to some of the many pieces that Harwich Redoubt Fort has on display, we found ourselves full circle, literally, back at our HQ for the night. The theories that some objects may hold the energy from past events or even have a direct spiritual link crossed my mind. Something our investigation may have to look into.

Equipment Location & Setup
We had our doubts about using the CCTV system for this investigation straight away for a couple of reasons. First up, the lack of specifics in regards to the apparition sightings or reports, made it a little difficult to deploy the cameras to locations which may yield any results for us. Granted we face this on every investigation, but at least we have a little of an idea. Secondly, we were aware of the CCTV system having a few technical problems recently and we were concerned it wouldn’t even work as it should.

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With all of this in mind we decided to setup the system as simply as possible with the aim to cover the Fort on two levels in two direction on each level. This was achieved simply with two cameras on the lower level, side by side, but pointing off in directions which set a ninety degree gap between them. Actually that sounds more complicated than it was when you write it down! The other two cameras were placed on the higher level pointing at an angle which had them cross each other. These were setup to cover part of the upper level wall, but also a little of the lower level.

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Although as ever we would hope to capture some paranormal evidence with our CCTV system, we mostly set it up to allow us to validate our own location in the Fort. Thus if we did capture anything we could determine more easily if it was one of us or not.

Once we had setup the cameras and cabled them back to the CCTV system hub, we fired it up and were presented with issues straight away. It failed to record due to some technical issues with the system. However, following a little engineering on the go it seemed to be up and running and we set it to record.

Vigil 1 – Team One – The Whole Fort
We spent the first Vigil conducting a simple walk around of the location to see what we could explain.

Our first stop was those stairs to further explain our theory on how they visually appeared as steps, but actually levelled off making you feel a little off balance. Concluding that this could explain the feeling of being pushed down the stairs.

Splitting up and heading to opposite sides of the Fort, we decided to experiment with how audio travelled. I wanted to try and explain why some groups may have heard voices during their investigations. Simply if there were more than one team roaming the Fort, then voices even quiet ones travelled easily to the other side and from outside to the inside too. This is assuming there is more than one group present, but equally external noise from the local town also filters in with ease too. This makes the Fort a slight audible nightmare as determining who or where the sounds are from is not easy, but equally makes it difficult to conclude them as paranormal.

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During the break following the first vigil we noticed that the CCTV system had frozen! This wasn’t uncommon now days and we had observed it at Watlington House and Arundel Jail House. I feared that our dear old CCTV unit was on its last legs soon to fail completely, but I didn’t know how true that would be. I attempted to restart the unit, hoping it would reboot and recover as it had in the past. This wasn’t to be the case though. Each time I restarted it the device failed to recognise the hard drive or failed to start at all. I attempted a little field maintenance hoping I could fix it, but this didn’t help either. Finally I tried the last restart, but this time the device decided to reformat the hard drive, which it done and then following that it would fail to recognise it again. We had lost CCTV for Harwich and our system forever!

This wasn’t a massive shock to me as I had already tried to fix these issues prior to the investigation due to its minor hiccups during some evidence review. However, at the time the route cause of the problem had been identified as the hard drive and not the system failing. Both appeared to have failed now!

Harwich Redoubt Fort would mark the end of our CCTV system and the loss of a chunk of our CCTV footage. I was a little worried how we would progress forward without CCTV.

Vigil 2 – Team One – The Games Room
We decided to attempt a simple vigil in one room calling out to see if we could gain a reaction. Other teams had remarked on the Games or Toy room being quite good for this and conducting a séance type vigil. We decided to give it a go, but with little results.

As we left the room for our break I setup a camera on the table to record the empty room, just in case. On my return towards the end of our break, less than half an hour later the battery had exhausted. Whether this is paranormal or simply a faulty battery is still under discussion, mainly as it happened previously at Watlington House.

It is believed that significant battery exhaustion could be possibly related to spirits attempting to manifest. As an investigator its nice thought that possibly something may have been present, but unfortunately as we lack evidence to support this we can’t claim it to be so. However, in the mean time though we will look at the battery more to see if it is faulty.

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Vigil 3 – Team One Split – Multiple Rooms around the Fort
During this Vigil the whole team split up to conduct individual loan vigils in various rooms throughout the Fort. In a way a crude attempt to see if spending time alone within the location would cause any of us to experience anything. My concern here was whether we could significantly state something as being paranormal when there is a possibility it could be psychological. As with many situations, not to mention that of spending time alone in a possibly haunted Fort at night, our minds can play tricks on us. However, I trust my team and the dark is the least of their fears.

None of the team remarked on having odd feelings or experiences of activity whilst alone. I sat in a room where there were many objects which may have held some kind of paranormal energy, this included an old hearse cart, but I felt quite comfortable. Leanne reported a slight uneasiness, perhaps due to the darkness of the cells she was situated in. The rest of the team had nothing to report.

As the Fort was so quiet and we had some good explanations for the possible reported activity we decided to call it a night, pack up and head home.

Captured Evidence & Personal Experiences
On this occasion I have little to mention in the line of captured evidence or personal experiences. In fact the Fort was more than a little quiet on our visit.

We did experience a battery drain on one of our camcorders, but as we have had this happen a couple of times now we are looking into a possibility of a faulty battery. Usually we have something else to accompany the battery drain which would make it of greater significance. On this occasion there was nothing!

The only other thing that I think I could report is Leanne’s feeling of uneasiness whilst in the cell alone. This could easily be explained by the simple fact she was alone in a dark cell. Something none of us believe to be associated with the paranormal.

Conclusions
On arrival at Harwich Redoubt Fort I have to admit I was really impressed. The volunteers that work hard to restore and run the Fort have done an amazing job. The place is picture perfect and very impressive. As you walk in unusually onto the upper level of the Fort you can see straight away the detail of care and attention that has gone into the Fort.

It is immediately understandable how a place with such history could possibly house paranormal activity. Even the oddity or perhaps military genius that the Fort is built into a hill rather than on one invokes an interesting thought or two.

However, the Farsight PRS investigation yielded few to none results to support the previous claims. Also, that coupled with the fact that a volunteer that has worked there for more than thirty years has no tales of his own to tell of ghosts, gave my team some serious doubts. Is Harwich Redoubt Fort haunted? I would have to say a firm ‘no’ from our investigation on this occasion. We lacked evidence or experiences to support previous reports. And for many of those reports we managed to find some quite solid explanations.

Still, the paranormal field isn’t somewhere you usually find simple black and white answers. This also includes a quiet night at a Fort. I think it is a little weird how it works, but it does! One night at a location doesn’t make for a definitive investigation and from our single night we can only draw conclusions from what we have. This doesn’t mean the Fort has nothing to offer. After all there are many recorded instances of paranormal activity occurring there, after all that’s why we went. Just not on our night.

Harwich Redoubt Fort is an amazing and well cared for location. It is well worth a visit to understand a little of its history and the work which has taken place to restore it over the years. Please don’t let our quiet night deter you from investigating it either, after all you may discover something we didn’t. And if you do, please let us know.

As we leave the Fort behind us I find myself questioning my approach, wondering if we could have done something different to obtain better results. Sometimes though you just get a quiet night and you have to accept it. We head off to our next investigation, but first I fear we may have to purchase a new CCTV system!

Test Equipment
I thought I should explain why I feel the use of CCTV is important to Farsight PRS investigations. We were lucky enough to have our original system on loan from the guys who helped me start Farsight, Jim and Ian from In Search of Proof.

I think we all agreed with the TAPS approach where it was an excellent tool to assist with monitoring a location. I utilise it to cover two primary things during the night. Firstly, known hot spots where video evidence could be picked up. This could be somewhere that an apparition was sighted or objects had been seen moving by themselves. Secondly, I would use at least one camera to monitor the team movements, specifically from our HQ. This helps us to ascertain when we left on vigils and where we may be at certain times of the night.

Since our CCTV system died at Harwich Redoubt Fort, we purchased a new one. With this purchase I decided to upgrade a little to give us more input. The new system has a possible eight video channels, four of which can also have audio. The system will also record whilst you can review and even backup footage. It also logs any movement events for review. I am hoping that this new system will allow us to be a little more proactive during investigations. This will also mean constant monitoring during the investigation too. Read our future Farsight Files to see how we get on with this.

Categories: 2011 Cases, Cases, Harwich Redoubt Fort | Leave a comment

Farsight PRS Investigation – Arundle Jailhouse

The Brief
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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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So, for this investigation it appears we are looking at audible and temperature phenomena.

Witness Reports
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.

Attending Investigators
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

Location Assessment
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Conclusions
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.

Test Equipment
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.

Categories: 2011 Cases, Arundle Jailhouse, Cases | 9 Comments

Farsight PRS Investigation – Watlington House

The Brief

With reports of knocks and bangs throughout the house, plus an odd feeling in the Garden Hall. Also, more significantly is the report of an actual apparition in a window at the rear of the building. Watlington House seemed ideal for a Farsight PRS investigation. More importantly there hadn’t been that many paranormal investigations at the location, which would make us one of only a few teams to investigate.

I decided to take Farsight PRS in to try and debunk some of the claims and hopefully find some truth behind what we can’t explain!

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History & Activity

Watlington House is the oldest secular building in Reading. The current building was built by Samuel Watlington, a successful Reading merchant in 1688, with the front being added in 1763. Samuel owned business premises in Broad Street and was very successful in his time.

Robert Watlynton (1542) was recorded as being Mayor for Reading no fewer than 4 times, he died in 1601 and is buried in St Laurence Church. The Watlington’s show a close relation to the St Laurence church because Samuel became the Church Warden. However, Samuel Watlington never took residence in Watlington House.

The first resident for the building was Captain Edward Purvis in 1794, renting the house for 25.00 annually. Purvis fought in the Peninsular War (at Corunna) with the 4th Regiment of Foot; and, as an adjutant, trained the Berkshire Militia in Orts meadow near his home. He often used to sit in his window, pigtailed in his red military jacket, smoking a pipe.

Then in 1816 Mrs Stevens resided in the property and from then the Town Clerk used the House for their local office. In 1877 the building was adopted by Kendrick School.

1931 saw Watlington House acquired by the Trust to provide accommodation for social and educational organisations. With the money from the rents being used solely for the upkeep of the House.

With an abundance of history its not uncommon for a location such as Watlington House to be home to paranormal activity. Although there isn’t an abundance of said reports, there are a few. These range from audible knocks and bangs, strange feelings in the Garden Hall to the sighting of a full blown apparition.

Witness Reports

We didn’t manage to obtain any complete witness statements as such, but the building manager did inform us of a few reports of activity. The most prominent of which was the report of a figure stood at the window of one of the rooms on the first floor. The figure was reported to be in military clothing, perhaps that of an officer. The only downside to this report was the simple fact the observation was made from outside of the building and that the information we were receiving was more than third hand. Regardless of that fact, there is still the possibility that Watlington House is home to a full blown apparition.

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Attending Investigators

Ashley Knibb – Lead Investigator

Leanne Knibb – Documentarian

Aaron Hardy – Case Manager

Ian Pegg – Tech Manager

Simon Ranson – Tech Manager

Liz Egan – Investigator

Joanna Botcherby – Investigator

Andrea Harvey – Investigator

Location Hotspots & Equipment

Following a brief walk around the location and some additional explanation from the Building Manager, we decided to set up our HQ for the night in Basement Kitchen. As with Morcambe, I had decided to hand over the setup of the CCTV to Simon and Ian on this occasion. We spoke briefly to ensure that we all were agreed on the camera locations, then Simon and Ian proceeded with the setup.

The first camera was setup in the first floor of the archive area. Although we wouldn’t be actively investigating this part of the House we thought it would be a good place for a camera, given its the oldest part of building.

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Camera two was setup in the room on the first floor where the apparition was reported to have been seen. Simon and Ian placed it to cover the window, that way if the spirit appeared we would hopefully capture it.

Our third camera covered as much of the Garden Hall as possible. There had been a few reports of odd feelings within the Garden Hall, so this was an obvious hot spot. Hopefully the camera would capture anything odd if it appeared in the Hall.

The fourth and final camera was placed in the ground floor hallway, which allowed us to cover the hall, the stairs up to the first floor and the down to the basement. This camera wasn’t setup to monitor a hot spot, but capture the teams movements during the investigation. There were also a few residence who’s movement we could monitor using this camera.

The CCTV hub was placed in our Basement Kitchen HQ, where it recorded throughout the night. However, we did have a couple of problems with the CCTV system, where it froze up and required a restart. Although we still continued to capture video, there were a few minutes when the system was offline. Sometimes even the best plans and tech can have a few problems. Regardless we continued as planed with the investigation, double checking on the CCTV System as we went.

We then split into two teams before beginning the investigation. Myself, Andrea, Ian and Liz made up Team One. Aaron, Simon and Jo made up Team Two. Leanne would jump between both Teams, swapping between Vigils filming the investigations.

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Vigil One – Team One – Garden Hall

Team One began their investigation in the Garden Hall. With reports of knocks, bangs and strange feelings, I started things off by asking the more sensitive in our team how they felt. It wasn’t long before Andrea picked up on the presence of a young boy. She said that it felt as if the boy ran round and round the Hall without a care in the world. Andrew believed that mentioning the War stopped him in his tracks. We tried a couple of EVP sessions to see if we could capture anything to support what Andrea picked up on. Although we did hear a couple of odd sounds, after some brief investigation we believe that they were caused by the electrics.

Just before leaving the Hall Andrea believed that the boys name was ‘Jonathan’, this maybe something for further investigation and research.

Vigil One – Team Two – First Floor

Team Two started their investigation on the first floor in search of the uniformed apparition. Interestingly enough Simon did record a few spikes on the EMF Meter. As the team investigated the room where the apparition was sighted they heard some noises from the landing. Unfortunately the team were unable to determine the origin of the sounds and equally can not state them as being paranormal. After all an old house can have many normal sounds of its own.

The team also reported an odd crackle on the radio’s, but this could have easily had a logical explanation. However, Simon did see faint odd lights on the curtain in the Science room, which was completely dark. The team couldn’t easily explain these lights at the time.

Vigil Two – Team One – First Floor

Team One’s second vigil took them to the first floor, where Andrea picked up on a military man. However, Captain Purvis didn’t fit for Andrea, even though he is connected directly to the House. Captain Purvis is believed to be the apparition seen in the window, but Andrea picked up on this in a different room.

Liz and I also spotted some odd lights on the wall. Although they were there for a brief moment, we both spotted them ad couldn’t explain their origin.

As we came to the end of our vigil and headed back out to the landing, Andrea felt that someone liked to use the lower landing on the stairs as a good view point.

Vigil Two – Team Two – Garden Hall

For their second vigil, Team Two headed out to the Garden Hall to investigate. During this vigil the team didn’t really pick up on much, but the oddest was that Aaron’s camcorder battery totally drained for no reason. The camcorder had a six hour battery, of which about an hour and half had been used in the previous vigil. The team also heard some noises which they described as being similar to dripping.

Mid-Way Briefing

Following the first two Vigils, we decided to combine the two teams into one team. Given the size of the location and number of us, we thought it may make things easier going forward.

Vigil Three – Team One & Two – Ground Floor & First Floor

For the second half of the investigation we decided to investigate the ground floor as one team and began by heading to the library. Although Jo’s Tri-Field meter spiked here briefly there wasn’t much else to report.

Meanwhile Aaron, simon and I headed to the first floor and decided to see what the KII meter would pick up. We soon got a result, as we sat on chairs leaving one empty with the KII on it. After further investigation we realised that this occurred more when we moved our hands closer. We continued to investigate trying to determine why this was. After a few tests we realised that a static charge was begin transferred from the carpet to us and onto the chair. It was this static charge which was creating the spike on the KII. In fact it was so prominent we could recreate it a few times over. Something to bear in mind for future use of the KII meter I think.

Vigil Four – Team One & Two – Garden Hall

The final vigil of the night took the whole team back to the Garden Hall. We wanted to attempt to reconnect with the boy spirit and hopefully capture some evidence of this.

However, this wasn’t to be the case, even after attempting to play various ball games nothing seemed to work. It all seemed to have gone a bit quiet!

With activity quieting down, our sensitive members struggling to connect we decided to call it a night and pack up.

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Captured Evidence & Personal Experiences

The team did manage to pick up on a few things and have some very minor experiences at Watlington House, but actual solid evidence seems to have escaped us on this occasion. However, we did have a few things of note; a six hour camcorder battery which went flat in a matter of seconds, but was fully functional before and after the event. Battery drain has been associated with paranormal activity in the past and our team has experienced similar occurrences at other locations. Also, the drain occurred in the Garden Hall, where the strongest spiritual connection was made by Andrea with the boy.

Although some of the team heard some odd noises around the House, we can’t determine their origin and cannot rule out that they were normal noises for the house. After all houses of that age tend to make various noises as they settle down at night. The noises heard in the Garden Hall by both teams, in my opinion were coming from the electrical system, but I was unable to prove this at the time.

Finally, members of both teams reported seeing some odd lights on the first floor. Although they were in different rooms, they were still hard to explain. They were not the usual passing car lights or a light from an external source. As quickly as they appeared they were gone to. If only one member of the team had spotted them I may have disregarded them, but three members is a little more odd.

Conclusions

Watlington House turned out to be an interesting location for our second investigation of 2011. Located almost in the centre of Reading, initially the House seems relatively normal in appearance. However, coupled with the towering church across the road, the older part of the building and its history you soon have a character filled location.

However, I think it will have me a little on the fence in regards to my opinion. If you look at the captured evidence of audio and video, there isn’t anything to go on. This doesn’t mean there is nothing there though. I can’t rule out what our sensitive’s picked up on, which oddly enough didn’t include the more documented Captain Purvis. Still for Farisght PRS we like to have some good evidence before declaring a location as haunted, something which is lacking here.

Evidence wise the strongest appears to be that of Aaron’s battery drain.. What makes it odder is the fact it occurred in the Garden Hall, where it seems the spiritual connection was strongest.

Is Watlington House haunted? Well from this single nights investigation, I don’t think I could really conclude either way. There maybe something there, something picked up on by the teams sensitive’s, but more positive experiences and evidence was lacking during our investigation. If anything its possible they have a couple of residual ghosts, which will continue doing their thing without interacting with us living. That’s just an opinion though and supporting evidence still needs to be located.

Farsight PRS leave Watlington House, but I think we keep the case open and look into it some more soon. Perhaps the boy ‘Jonathan’ will be identified or even the officer from the first floor. We move onto our next case, which is the Arundle Jailhouse in Sussex. Perhaps we will discover some evidence as some of the team spend time in the Cells ..

Categories: 2011 Cases, Cases, Watlington House | Leave a comment

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