Explosions Museum actually has quite a bit to offer. Like Landguard Fort from earlier that year, it would be a sizeable location to investigate. However, along with that came many notable reports of activity, including audible, visual and physical. Types of activity I would like to get stuck in to.
Clearly we would have to check out the claims and look for some logical reasons which may explain these reports. It would seem also that there were specific areas which were clearly hotspots. Each with many different reports, from unknown noises, moving objects, apparitions and doors that close on command, this was a place that had to be investigated.
I intended to take Farsight PRS in to investigate the claims of paranormal activity, looking for more logical explanations. We shall debunk what we can and what we cannot will remain unknown.
History & Activity
Priddy’s Hard Fort, completed back in 1757 and manned by the Army was the new location for the gunpowder magazines following a series of accidents.
After 6 years, 1777 saw the completion of the new powder depot for the Royal Navy. Then throughout the 19th Century further buildings were added including First Royal Laboratory Complex, C Powder Magazine, Shell Filling Rooms, Twelve Cartridge Rooms, and more.
The site saw continuously change during the early twentieth century to meet the evolving needs of naval ordnance technology, not to mention to improve security of the site from both landward and seaward attack. The site was fully utilised during the Second World War with the introduction of 2,500 women workers who filled jobs vacated by men on active service. The site was last used for significant naval activity during the Falklands Conflict in 1982, and was vacated by RNAD Gosport in 1988 when it relocated to Frater further north on the Harbour.
Currently the Priddy’s site is home to a Museum which opened in March of 2001. Explosion!, The Museum of Naval Firepower.
Paranormal activity at Priddy’s is varied and seems to have been found in multiple locations around the site. However, the main hotspots seem to be the Grand Magazine, C Magazine, Room 309, Room 316 and the Admin Block. These areas have had reports of footsteps, objects being thrown or moved, sounds having been recorded, apparitions, unexplained noises, battery drain and physical contact.
Ashley Knibb – Lead Investigator
Leanne Knibb – Documentarian
Jim Bridgeman – Lead Investigator
Ian Pegg – Tech Manager
Liz Egan – Investigator
Kev Ling – Investigator
Aaron Hardy – Case Manager
Claire Hickling – Guest
Location Hotspots & Equipment
The first CCTV camera was setup in the Grand Magazine covering as much of the large room as possible. This included the entrance and the area we would later use for our Ganzfield Experiment.
The second CCTV camera was placed in the Big Gun Room, in the furthest corner covering pretty much the whole room and both entrances. I don’t think this room is actually called the Big Gun Room, but with lack of a better title and considering its contents of guns including a rather large one, I thought it best.
The third CCTV camera was located in the Main Entrance covering the shop area and entrances to the cafe and other parts of the museum. We wanted to place a camera here to monitor any team movement through this area, as this helps us to detail where people are at certain times.
The fourth and final CCTV camera covered the main through corridor all the way up to the Grand Magazine. Again this would cover team movements, as it covered the exit from the cafe, a cross section further up and the door to the Grand Magazine itself.
Our HQ for the night was the cafe area of the main building, right next to the main entrance. This was located quite conveniently giving us access to all areas for the investigation.
We also tried something else in regards to logging baseline readings for EMF and Temperature this time around. During setup I had a couple of the team walk around the location visiting each vigil location, as they did so they would a make a note of a baseline reading. The difference is they would stick some tape on the floor where they stood and write a brief identification for that location. That way as we walked around visiting vigil locations during the night the teams could take readings on those spots, giving us a rolling baseline through the night. This could then be used for comparisons to any odd readings in those areas.
Vigil 1 – Team One – Admin Block
Before we even headed off to the Admin Block, Aaron’s Digital Voice recorder seemed to suffer from battery drain.
On arrival in the Admin Block I thought I could hear whispers in the distance, but ruled this out as being the rain outside.
As the vigil progressed Kev’s Digital Voice recorder also lost power.
Following a walk around the building we stopped in one of the rooms on the ground floor. Aaron set his K2 Meter down on a chair and it wasn’t long before the LED’s lit up! Over excited by this, as we had never really had much of a result from the K2 we began to ask some questions. The LED’s continued to react, but it was hard to say if they were truly in reaction to our line of questioning. However, as quickly as they had began they stopped, which brought our vigil to a close.
One last thing to mention about this particular room was that there was what appeared to be a pentagram faintly drawn on the floor! Slightly odd, but I had been told of these kinds of markings being found over the years on the site.
Vigil 1 – Team Two – Building 309
Unfortunately the team had only one thing to report from this Vigil, which was that the rain on the corrugated roof was very loud! In fact the rain made it impossible to do any kind of audio work, such as EVP or even just simply listening out was made impossible.
With nothing to report the team returned slightly disappointed.
After the first two vigils we decided to hold a quick briefing to determine how to continue with the investigation
Given the heavy rain we decided to concentrate our efforts closer to the HQ, but still included one more solid building, the Admin Building.
Vigil 2 – Team One – 425 Grand Magazine – Ganzfield Experiment Receiver
We began this vigil by setting Aaron up as the receiver for the Ganzfield experiment. Basically, yet oddly enough this involved sitting Aaron on a chair in the Grand Magazine. We then taped half ping pong balls over his eyes, shone a red lamp at his face and played white noise through earphones that covered his ears. We also set up a camcorder close by to record him as the experiment progressed. There was also a CCTV camera in the room, which should capture any movement.
We then left Aaron alone to settle before starting the experiment. As we exited the room we locked the door way off with alarmed beam barriers.
Vigil 2 – Team One – Big Gun Room – Ganzfield Experiment Sender
The rest of Team One then took up position in the Big Gun Room. The idea was to attempt to send information to Aaron either by talking about it or asking out loud to see what he may pick up on.
It may be important to note that at this time, even without earphones playing white noise, Aaron would not have been able to hear what we were saying. The distance between the two rooms and even the size of the Grand Magazine made that pretty much impossible.
We asked some simple questions, such as his favourite colour the date he is due to marry on, his age, things associated to him. We also tried something a little more random. We read out information from the exhibits to see if he picked up on any of that. We also asked any spirits present to affect him.
As the vigil came to an end we headed back to the Grand Magazine to release Aaron from the experiment.
Vigil 2 – Team Two – Admin Block
Although Team Two didn’t seem to experience activity as dramatic as Team One, they did hear what they described as footsteps upstairs and in various other areas. This is not dissimilar to previous reports for this area.
At one point during the vigil Jim sat down in an old brown arm chair and after a short while felt a pain down the side of his face followed by nausea. Could this experience be associated with the arm chair?
Vigil 3 – Team One – Admin Block
On this occasion we had some more K2 activity upstairs this time. Across what seemed like three different rooms. At times it even seemed a little like the activity was in response to our questions, but this remains inconclusive as we couldn’t get it to work on every question. It was more like hit and miss, across a conversation!
We also tried throwing some small objects to see if that would get a response, but on this occasion nothing happened.
Vigil 3 – Team Two – 425 Grand Magazine
For their final vigil of the night Team Two headed to the Grand Magazine to investigate. The team attempted the Singapore Theory experiment, which in the past has given us some positive results.
With the experiment up and running playing sounds related to the location and building they waited to see what would happen. Incidentally they believed that footsteps were heard outside the door.
However, as the vigil progressed things went decidedly quiet and the team returned with little more to report.
Often we leave a location, review our footage and audio hoping to discover something, even following a quite night. Explosions had presented the team with some experiences during the investigation, the most prominent being that of the reactions we seemed to get on the K2.
However, as ever the analysis of the investigation footage and audio laid ahead of us. I have to admit since we have began investigating these supposed haunted locations some kind of evidence or at the very least something that re-fires your interest has been a little lacking. Sure, we had recorded on video the K2 meter fluctuating and at the time it did seem a little to be connected with our questions. However, this was a very loose connection and I think our excitement at the time of any reaction may have damaged the results slightly.
Was the K2 fluctuations communication? It’s hard to say, but we did remove any possible cause from the area such as mobile phones or radios. We also used a different EMF meter to check for any other sources which there were none. The randomness of these fluctuations could have been the beginnings of a connection with a spirit, but unfortunately our questioning didn’t really produce positive logical responses from the K2, which leaves it difficult to determine.
The Ganzfield Experiment also produced some odd results, which Aaron mentioned at the time and later in analysis there are a few loose links to the sender team. However, more interestingly from my point of view, Aaron said he felt as if someone was walking around the room on a couple of occasions. Maybe this was due to the state of mind he was in created by the audio and visual deprivation. The CCTV camera and camcorder in the room certainly didn’t pick anything up! More significantly towards the end of the experiment Leanne asks someone to touch him on the head or shoulders, within a few seconds he touches his face! This could be coincidence, but it’s certainly something to think about! All in all I think the experiment proved relatively positive and created some good results, even if they are more along the lines of personal experiences.
Jim also documented a personal experience in the Admin Block. Whilst sat in an old arm chair he had a pain down one side and then felt sick. What made this personal experience even more interesting was during our analysis we discovered a possible voice in the background, in that very room. We have some ideas to what it might be saying, but nothing for certain. However, it appeared this wasn’t all for the Admin Block. We also discovered a further two odd sounds which didn’t fit and were not produced by the team. Then finally as the team ascended the stairs to the first floor, a distinctive voice is heard. In fact the voice is clear that you can even hear an accent. Usually with oddities like this I would keep my thoughts on what is said to me, to discover what others may think. On this occasion though it’s so clear it’s hard to imagine it saying anything else. As Aaron (holding the camcorder) and Claire begin to climb the staircase, the voice seems to call down saying ‘shitehouses’ ! I know this wasn’t my team as the accent doesn’t fit and the phrase itself doesn’t even fit with what we were doing or saying at the time. I know that due to the clarity it will be scrutinised and that’s fine, but I know it is unexplained, which is good enough for me!
That’s brings us to the end of the evidence, but in my mind I think it was a very successful investigation with quite possibly the best results today, in terms of what we can take away. The sounds and voices will be something that we can chalk up as evidence, but I know out there as proof, it’s not great! I also know how easily this evidence could be discounted. If these had been captured whilst no one was there then they maybe more valuable, but even then some sceptics would argue the presence of someone off camera making the noise. All this I understand, but simply for me I know that this audio wasn’t us and just fuels my personal desire to find better more acceptable evidence if I can.
The Explosions Museum was certainly an excellent close for Farsight PRS in 2010, presenting challenges and experiences alike. Following a few re-thinks on our approach to the investigation and changes along the way thanks to the weather, we soon pushed forward and produced some good results I think.
Reading some reports from other teams and individuals on the internet in regards to their own experiences at Explosions had left me hopeful, but as ever sceptical to how well our own investigation may pan out. I must admit, I thought some of the reports a little too good to be true in places. The abundance of activity reported should have made the Museum a good place to find something. In fact it didn’t disappoint either, although I don’t think we saw any apparitions, we did leave with a few personal experiences and following analysis found some of what we had been seeking.
Is the Explosions Museum haunted? Well this places me a little in the same position as I was at Peterborough I guess! We don’t have overwhelming evidence to prove it is, but we do have a few oddities which seem to give some credibility to previous reports. In fact some experiences even fit a little with previous reports. I think there is certainly something at Explosions worth a second shot and my money would probably be on the Admin Block, as that is where I think we experienced the most activity. If a haunting is defined as unexplained noises, voices and some odd goings on, then Explosions ticks those boxes. However, if I am honest whilst there I don’t think we felt particularly as if the place was very active. As we had so much though, K2 activity, four unexplained voices or sounds and some odd feelings, I am going to go ahead and give it. Explosions Museum may just be haunted and I for one would certainly want to return with my team to investigate further one day.
So, if not just for the possible paranormal activity within the Admin Block and possibly other locations around the site, Explosions is an excellent place to learn about Naval firepower with some excellent exhibits on display. Day or night, depending on your preference please pop down and take a look.
Farsight PRS leave Explosions behind us and take a little break until March 2011. As ever we take what we have learnt with us and over the next few months will redevelop the team adding some new faces ready for our first investigation in 2011. Join us next time when we take on the mighty Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre made famous for its paranormal activity by the Most Haunted Live event in October 2009.