In August 2009, Farsight Paranormal Research Society investigated the Valentines Mansion in Ilford Essex. The Mansion has been the subject of several Paranormal Investigations, returning claims of audible phenomena such as footsteps, knockings and even voices sometimes. There have also been claims of objects being thrown.
With these claims in mind we tried to do some experiments which may draw out this kind of activity.
We also flimed the entire investigation with the aim to create a TV style show documenting our investigation. This approach can be very useful, as it presents to others in a simple media format what we done and experienced whislt there. It also outlines to us what we should have done or could have done better. It also acts as another source for recording paranormal activity during the investigation.
Valentines Mansion and its 130 acre parkland can be found slap bang in Ilford London, hidden reasonably well by the surrounding houses.
Completed back in 1696 by James Chadwick, son of the Archbishop of Canterbury no less. It then changed hands many times, with ownership finally resting on Sarah Ingleby, being the last private resident. When she died in 1906 the mansion and land was passed over to the council.
Since then, the mansion has been home to wartime refugees, a hospital, a public health centre, and a council housing department. In ’93 the mansion was left empty, where it slowly fell into disrepair.
During its days of neglect, many paranormal investigation groups took an interest in the Mansion.
Some investigators have claimed to have heard loud bangs, strange noises and even had stones thrown at them.
Although logical explanations or even the psychological impact of a large abandoned house in the dark may explain these claims, they are nothing without supporting evidence.
However, some of the previous investigations have claimed to make contact with members of the Ingleby family, and have seen a figure of a woman around the sleeping quarters of the mansion. They have also, noted the smells of brandy and stale milk. As well as contact with a young boy.
Would we be able to make contact with these spirits during our investigation, more importantly would we be able to prove it, if we did!
In 2005, work began to restore Valentines mansion. This has brought about a change in layout to the original building and total refit of it interior. In fact Valentines was modernised in line with its new role.
There has been speculation in the field that restoration, rebuilding or even decorating can stimulate paranormal activity. Stir things up if you will! However, in the Valentines case there was activity supposedly before restoration, so what effect would it have now? This was something Farsight PRS wanted to investigate.
The only main statement is that of an investigator that whilst up on the second floor of the building had something thrown at his shoulder. This was back when the building was almost derelict, a couple of years back. However, I have not managed to reach the investigator in question to obtain a proper statement of events from him. Which in turn makes the source of the information third hand in a way and thus devaluating slightly.
As you look though a few reports on websites regarding the Mansion it does in deed sound quite an interesting place, with what would seem plenty of activity. This activity seems to remain as personal experiences though with little evidence supporting it.
Perhaps after reading this report and seeing the Farsight Files webisode on Valentines more people will come forward with their experiences and possibly even evidence for the location.
Location Hotspots & Equipment
On the Ground Floor we had access to the Holcombe Room, the Bird Room, the Gallery and the History Room. Although Liz reported the History Room being active on a previous visit, there wasn’t anything specific about the activity or evidence of it in that or any of the other rooms.
On the First Floor we had access to the Raymond Room (the Parlour), the Drawing Room, the Landing and Main Stairwell. We setup our Base of Operations in the Drawing Room. We also setup two CCTV cameras to cover the Main Stairwell from two supporting angles. This was mainly because of past reports of a female member of the household attempting to take her own life there.
Although we only really had access to the corridor and one side room on the Second Floor, we decided to setup the floor as a kind of ‘Lock Off Experiment’. Covering both ends of the corridor with CCTV, Digital Voice Recorders and EMF. The main reason for this was the witness statement of a previous investigator having a stone thrown at him whilst on this location.
Vigil 1 – Team A – Holcombe Room – Glass Divination
The first team headed to the Holcombe Room to attempt a Glass Divination Experiment. The idea is to make contact with a spirit by means of lightly touching a glass, then using Yes and No questions to communicate. However, it would seem the spirits were unwilling to communicate and this method return little results.
However, on later review of the camera footage of the room when Martin was setting up the experiment we discovered some interesting background audio. This is reviewed more in the Evidence section.
Vigil 2 – Team B – Parlour – Ganzfield Experiment
Whilst the first team conducted their Glass Divination, the second team attempted a more Lab based experiment in the field, the Ganzfield Experiment.
The technique is used in the field of parapsychology, usually for the purpose of testing an individual for Extra-sensory Perception . Typically during this experiment one person relaxes in a chair with half ping pong balls over their eyes. This person will wear headphones playing white noise, and a red light is shone on them. This in turn stimulates sensory deprivation.
Wolfgang Metzger came up with the technique back in the 30’s when he was investigating the Gestalt theory.
However, the experiment didn’t really work out at Valentines and didn’t really return any results. Another experiment that will require some more work I think.
With a poor start to the investigation with little results and things not going according to plan, we called our Mid-Way Briefing early. This gives us all a chance to re-group, discuss what has happened so far and make some decisions on how the investigation should proceed.
We are finding this a critical part of our investigations, as you can’t really plan a paranormal investigation and having everyone comment on where they think the investigation should go helps us to proceed more logically.
Two main points came out of our briefing. Firstly, someone should do a lone vigil, which we agreed on. Secondly, we should join up the teams, as sometimes greater energy can yield better results.
Vigil 3 – Martin Gregory – Outside Kitchen – Lone Vigil
Martin kicked the second half of the investigation off with a lone vigil done on the Ground Floor near the access to the Kitchen and Cellar. This location was highlighted in the Mid-Way Brief as being previously active, but as access to the Kitchen and Cellar was blocked by a locked door, the access hall outside was the next best thing.
Once again though Martin had nothing to report back following his vigil.
Vigil 4 – Team A & B – Second Floor – EVP
Whilst Martin spent some time alone on the Ground Floor, the rest of the team gathered in a room off of the corridor on the Second Floor for a little EVP work.
Once again though this returned no results during the session and none on the digital voice recorder we used.
Vigil 5 – Team A & B – History Room – Glass Divination & Trigger Object
This Vigil saw the whole team together for the first time during the night. We once again attempted some Glass Divination in the History Room, but this time we tried calling out to more specific individuals related to the location. Martin also setup a trigger object, which was a large key from a cabinet in the room.
However, once again there were no results to be found.
Vigil 6 – Team A & B – Bird Room – Glass Divination & Basic Provocation
We moved on to the Bird Room and once again tried to communicate using Glass Divination and again we were more specific to individuals that had once been associated with Valentines. Once again the results were not forthcoming and we began to feel that we should draw a close on our investigation.
Vigil 7 – Team A & B – Second Floor – Communication
The whole team went up to the Second Floor for the final vigil before the sun rose, this time we split boys going one end and girls the other end of the corridor. Then we sat and called out one by one, trying to communicate.
At one point myself and Ian thought we heard a noise from one of the locked rooms, but as we couldn’t investigate it was hard to class it as paranormal.
The piece of evidence that we seemed to have come away with from Valentines Mansion is that of a sound , which we recorded via our cameras whilst Martin set up the first Divination experiment. Whether this is paranormal or not is also inconclusive, as we neither recall the sound or outright rule it as not being a member of the team. However, after speaking to the team we are pretty sure it wasn’t any of us.
With the first Farsight PRS investigation done, I realised we had a lot to learn and a long way to go!
The investigation certainly had taught us many things to bear in mind for the future and I had realised some things about myself!
Unfortunately whilst at Valentines none of us experienced anything personally. However, I have learnt that you can’t let this stop you as the evidence may still be there only to be discovered during the review.
Is Valentines Mansion haunted? I wish I knew! If we had discovered nothing I may have swayed towards a ‘No’, but the previous reports would have made it difficult to be conclusive! Certainly what we did find whatever it could be pushes me back, stuck between believer and sceptic!
It could be possible that Valentines has lost a lot of its paranormal appeal following its recent refurb, which I have to admit does look nice!