Saturday, 16 December 2017

The 'ghosts' of Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort, Suffolk, location of the last seaborne invasion of England (2nd July 1667), is a place that has gained popularity for organised ghost hunt events over the past ten years or so, although it’s yet to reach the dizzy heights of paranormal folklore that haunts such as Fort Amherst or Dover Castle enjoy.

However, from an historical perspective, the location is quite significant, the current fort being the last in line of three military buildings guarding the entry point to the Stour and Orwell estuary and, onwards to the important ports of Harwich and Ipswich.

None of the three buildings had been built on the same location, although the current Fort (dating from 1716) has one small corner, the Holland Bastion, that overlay’s the site of the previous building.  

The Dutch invasion of 1667 is recognised as the first ever engagement of the Royal Marines, so overall, a very notable location.

It was due to the Fort’s popularity as the venue for paranormal events, that we'd never really been interested in making a visit.

At the same time, we'd always avoided reading any reports or reviews from these events, or indeed the alleged paranormal history of the location, as not to taint any future visit that we could have possibly made, especially from Laura’s perspective.

Nevertheless, we eventually succumbed and finally paid a visit, on what turned out to be the final opening day of the 2017 season.

Subsequent research has revealed the reasons and motivations behind the Fort having a secondary role as a paranormal event venue and we’ve listed the alleged haunting and ghosts present at the location in the footnote following this blog.

After parking up outside the Fort, in the small car park, adjacent to the entrance, we found ourselves in front of an impressive 18th Century gatehouse, not too dissimilar to some of the medieval castles that we had visited in the past.

Crossing the stone causeway, which replaced the original wooden drawbridge in the 1930’s, across the moat, we paid for our entry, deciding to skip the free audio tour option and explore the Fort in relative ignorance, so to speak.

Taking the wrong turning once again.....

The Wash Suite
Leaving the gatehouse, we found ourselves in a curved, narrow area, which formed an outer courtyard. This had originally been part of a larger parade ground that had been divided into two as part of the re-modelling of the Fort between 1871 and 1875, resulting in an inner and outer courtyard that we now see today.

As we looked back towards the gatehouse, we saw a series of adjoining rooms lined up against the outer wall of the Fort.

Deciding that this was as good a spot as any to begin our exploration, we entered the nearest doorway and found ourselves in a shower room, Victorian or later in appearance, which we subsequently learned formed part of a wash suite, with baths and an old boiler being located in adjoining rooms.

Almost immediately, Laura began to relay information to me – in the past, the room had been a make-shift prison, where people had been kept chained.

Something had happened to a person in here. This person was very scared, a man.

I noticed that Laura appeared to be greatly affected by what she was sensing, going on to tell me that there was one person here, who had their...... At this point she found herself locking her hands together and telling me that her hands were held together with such strength that the blood was beginning to drain from them.

Laura described that it felt as if someone was wringing their hands really tight, or if their hands were bound, locked together.

Laura, clasped hands, in the wash suite

Turning to face me, she exclaimed that her hands were clasped together so tightly that she could feel them ‘pulsing’ strongly.

Laura felt herself compelled to keep her hands in this position, which she did so for the entire duration that we were in the wash suite.

With no further information and, having completed our inspection of the adjoining rooms, we left the wash suite, returning back out to the main court yard.

It was at this point we subsequently discovered that we’d recorded our first EVP, although unfortunately indistinct, of our visit.

Deciding to continue our tour in an anti-clockwise direction, we soon found ourselves in front of a concrete staircase to the upper level.

Laura, at the point on the stairs where she
saw the ghost of a young girl, walking
down towards us.

At this point, Laura grabbed my arm tightly and exclaimed that she could see a young child, a girl of around three or four years of age, three quarters of the way down the staircase, on the lower steps, walking down towards us.

With my camera already out, I took some photographs as quickly as I could, in the hope of capturing that ever elusive picture of a ghost on film, but sadly, not to any surprise, nothing of interest came out in any of the images that I took.

The Sally Port
Immediately to the right of the stairway, was the entrance tunnel into the bowls of the Fort, the Sally Port.

The tunnel ran through the outer defensive walls and allowing access to the casemates and powder rooms, a crucial component of the 18th Century fortification.

Again, within a minute of us entering the sally port, I noticed that something was up - Laura was clutching her leg and walking stiffly, with a limp.

Laura, indicating where the pain in her
leg was located.

Any questions that were beginning to form in my head were answered by Laura, who told me that she was experiencing a severe pain in Laura’s right groin, affecting her ability to walk normally.

With Laura attempting to walk the pain off, we made our way to the magazines. As we approached the entry barrier, Laura raised her hand to her left shoulder and neck and grimaced, she was feeling a sharp pain from what she thought was a wound, a wound to the left shoulder.

A couple minutes later, we later found that we’d recorded our second EVP, a chid asking “What’s down there?”, swiftly followed by a third, a couple of minutes later, answering Laura’s (general) question with “Yeah”

After completing our exploration of the lower level, we re-entered the courtyard and decided to walk through the secondary gateway, to the inner courtyard, where we found ourselves within an enclosed muster yard, or parade ground, with a two story crescent of what we assumed to be Victorian living quarters and related facilities now immediately behind us.

In the lower level of rooms, we spotted a shop and cafeteria, but finding the attendant preoccupied with customers, we took the nearest staircase to the upper level and explored each room, one by one.

The Upper Level
We found the rooms, as expected, to be very small, some with additional rooms, that could best be described as walk in cupboards.

The first room we visited was F7, which was nearest to the stairs that we’d just climbed up.

Hardly left impressed after being
told to "fuck off".....

This room which, along with F6, formed part of pair of rooms used as Fire Officers Quarters, had an adjoining bathroom. Entering the bathroom, Laura was immediately told to ‘Fuck off’ loudly by a male. She also picked up a symbol, possibly a badge (military), that we’ve yet to identify.

Moving onto the next room, F6, which could be entered by a short connecting passage, Laura picked up ‘Kirkaldy’, which she took to be a place. I assumed that this referred to Kirkcaldy, a coastal town in Scotland, which Laura had not heard of before. They’ll be dancing in the streets of Raith tonight......

We could only assume that this possibly related to an unknown serviceman, but with no further information forthcoming, we had no way of knowing.

Have you seen this badge before?

As we continued along the upper levels, we found ourselves on the opposite side of the inner keep, in what could be described as more functional rooms, related to World War 2, including an Operations Room, that was only rediscovered relatively recently, in August 1995, complete with large oval table, that had been sealed up when the Army vacated the Fort almost 40 years earlier (3).

In a gun bastion, occupied by a replica, 12 ½ inch, 38-ton cannon, reported feeling ‘heady’, perhaps an echo from the past, replicating the experience of a former WW2 gunner suffering from the fumes that emitted from the original gun.

In room 10, the radio room, inexplicably, Laura was given the phrase ‘Duke of Canterbury’ – a nonsensical name we knew, but could it have related to a code name used at the location in WW2? Subsequent research has revealed nothing unfortunately.

The Radio Room - no sign of the Duke of Canterbury here.

With the Sun getting lower we decided that it would be time to depart, but not before we’d visited the upper level above the gatehouse.

As we made our way along the battlements, towards Chapel Bastion, the breeze from the North Sea finally began to bite and the chill sunk in. It was at this point began to pick up some more information – “Rook”, “Lathwaite”, with the name “Daniel” possibly connected to the name Lathwaite. Again, I’ve found no reference to these names since but, with the number of people passing through the Fort other the centuries, information like this can be like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Just before we got to the Bastion, Laura asked to be left alone as someone had been trying to get her attention and she felt compelled to immediately sit down, so I left her sitting on a set of robust concrete steps that allowed you to look over the battlements.

It was here that Laura picked up the image of a man, together with the name “Toby Jarvis”, but no other information came through and Laura eventually rejoined me back down in the outer courtyard, where we made our way back to the car.

Laura, in the distance, sat alone to the right of Chapel Bastion, making notes of her impressions and, a sketch of 'Toby Jarvis'

Both Laura and I were pleasantly surprised by the condition of the Fort and could thoroughly recommend it to anyone who was looking for somewhere historical to visit for a day out at little cost.

From a paranormal perspective, Laura felt that there was more that she could tap into under more favourable conditions and that it would be a different proposition at night.

For myself, subsequent research revealed how significant to british history this location was and, how undervalued it was by the public, which I thought was a shame but, at the same time, I was looking forward to our next visit.

However, the question remains, what did ‘Toby Jarvis’ want? Will we ever find out?

Toby Jarvis

Footnote: The alleged ghosts of Landguard Fort
Over the last 15 years or so, with the ever growing popularity of paranormal groups sprouting up at a drop of a hat, complete with an army of mediums, the haunted history of the Fort has become very muddy indeed, resulting in what Laura and I generally refer to as two distinct categories of hauntings, namely ‘traditional’ - historically documented cases of hauntings and, ‘contemporary’ – those that have originated since the advent of the internet and social media.

Here follows therefore, a selection of hauntings at the Fort, for both categories:

1.       Traditional Hauntings
a.       Ghostly Footsteps
b.      The ghost of Nathaniel Darell, Governor of the Fort during the Dutch invasion; and
c.       The ghost of the Earl of Holland, first Governor of the original Landguard Fort, riding a white horse.

2.       Contemporary Hauntings
a.      The ghost of John Lowes, a clergyman, tried and executed for an act of alleged witchcraft at the Fort by Matthew Hopkins (the so-called Witch finder Genera), in the Holland Bastion.
b.     The ghost of a musketeer, the sole English casualty (at the Fort itself) of the 1667 engagement with the Dutch, patrolling the upper battlements in the area of the Holland Bastion.
c.      The ghost of a Portuguese lady, Maria, wife of a paymaster sergeant serving at the Fort, who threw herself from the battlements following the unjust execution of her husband, who allegedly haunts the areas of the Chapel Bastian from where she jumped.
d.     The spirit of a plague victim, in the ground floor of the Chapel Bastion, where he had been kept, in isolation, until his eventual death
e.      The spirit of a drowning victim, accidental or otherwise, in the wash suite
f.       The ghost of a suicide, full of remorse due to his involvement in the drowning in the wash suite, in the magazine corridor
g.      The ghost of a horse, witnessed in the area outside the Fort, during World War Two. It’s unclear if this horse in linked to the traditional ghost listed in 3. of ‘Traditional Hauntings’ above
h.     The sound of marching troops approaching the Fort, again reported by a guard during the Second World War; and
i.       The sound of workmen, accompanied by a possible time slip, in the 1960’s, after the Fort had been abandoned.

1.       ‘Suffolk Invasion’ – Frank Hussey (pub. 1983)
2.       ‘An Update on Landguard Fort’ – Doreen Rayner (pub. 1995)
3.       ‘Things that go bump in the Fort’ – Richard Bradshaw (pub. 2009)

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Remote Viewing Exercise – Update

Just your ordinary memorial....

More than a few months have passed since the remote viewing exercise that we undertook back in July and we suspect that many may be curious as to how (if at all) this has developed in the ensuing months.

Our original article relating to the remote viewing exercise can be found HERE

In truth, since we last updated the blog, things continue to tick along and, along with other projects that we’re working on, we were able to get an update on the situation regarding one particular piece of information that Laura picked up upon, which had intrigued everyone involved at the time – the symbol that was suggested to be found on the back of a stone memorial in the grounds of the location.

The visit
A couple of months after the exercise,  Jason, who had kindly provided the images for the remote viewing session, was able to return and visit the location for the first time since July and was keen to examine the memorial, a Celtic Cross, to establish whether there was anything etched onto the reverse of the memorial.

The Celtic Cross

Upon entering the grounds, Jason advised that he approached the area of the church yard where the Celtic Cross was located and went straight to the cross.

He examined the reverse of the Cross carefully, but could find nothing of interest. Jason found that the reverse of the Cross was textured and appeared unsuitable for any symbol to be left there, etched or otherwise.

The symbol
Casting the net further afield, Jason approached the gravestone immediately behind the Cross and examined its reverse.

                 The discovery of the symbol, by Jason

The reverse of the memorial immediately behind the |Celtic Cross

Beneath the moss he could make out a faint symbol scratched into the stonework. Scraping the accumulated moss and lichen away revealed a circle, intersected by two lines.


Whilst there appeared to be a connection with what Laura had originally picked up remotely, it was not a ‘direct’ hit – there was indeed a symbol, but it wasn't on the gravestone that had originally indicated by Laura.

A close up of the reverse of the cross, showing the symbol.

Nevertheless, Jason found himself face to face with a symbol, found as a direct result of the suggestion made by Laura as part of the remote viewing experiment.

This also begged the question as to what the symbol meant?

Jason informed us that he felt that the symbol had actually been there for quite some time and was not a recent addition – he had to remove the moss and lichen to view the symbol fully and for him to be able to photograph it adequately.

Apart from this, there were no other clues as to its origin.

What does the symbol represent?

To be brutally honest, at the time of writing, we have absolutely no idea – our research and that of several contacts with knowledge of the Occult that we have been in touch with regarding the symbol, have found no reference to this design, nor had anyone encountered anything like it previously.

The location does have a history of occult use, with some unsavory incidents being noted in the past that may still continue to occur to this present day. However we believe that the symbol relates to the historic use of the location, not that of more contemporary times.

So let us take a closer look at the symbol itself.

The circle, also referred to as a sun disc, sacred hoop or indeed a ring, is a widely recognised symbol within the Occult world, representing ‘Protection’. However, it does hold other meanings, not all good, such as a serpent (forming a circle as it eats its own tail) or as a representation of the Fire element.

However, with our symbol, this has clearly been modified slightly by the addition of two lines. Furthermore, it then looks like a couple of further rough lines have been added, in an effort to strike the symbol else – either by the originator of the symbol or, someone else who had encountered it afterwards.

The Red lines represent what we feel was the original etching, whilst the lines in Blue is an attempt to strike out the symbol.

Of course, we do have a couple of theories relating to its meaning but, until we have something more concrete to present, we will leave it at that, unsatisfactory as it is.

Its important to stress that we would welcome any information or suggestions as to what the symbol represents, so feel free to leave any comments or thoughts that you may have below.

We will obviously post updates to this development as and when they occur.

Laura and Mark.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Remote viewing exercise, 26th July 2016

The focus of our remote viewing experiment
 For a number of years now, we’ve been aware that photographic images can be a form of stimuli for Laura, especially with focused concentration.

Initially, in the past, this has led others to contact us for Laura to view images and report back, where the feedback on her output has been positive but, until recently, we have never examined or utilised this aspect in any great detail, mainly due to other areas of focus for us rather than any disinterest.

When our paths initially crossed, a number of years ago, we briefly visited a location, a disused church on the Suffolk / Essex border, not far from Borley, with Jason, a friend of ours who we have mentioned in previous writings.

The visit, on a clear, crisp February evening, proved relatively uneventful, although Laura, at the time, reported that she was ‘drawn’ to a particular corner of the location, with perhaps a ‘connection to children’.

Neither Laura nor I have been back to the location since, although it must be noted that I was relatively familiar with the site, but with no in depth knowledge of the history connected to it.

In recent weeks, over general conversation, Jason casually made us aware that he was organising another visit to the location, he himself having not visited for some time. Sadly, whilst we were unable to join him, he kindly offered to provide some photographs of the location, which we could use for what would be effectively be a remote viewing experiment.

Jason visited the location on the 25th July, a Monday, kindly providing a set of eight images the following evening, to enable us to undertake the exercise a couple of hours later, when the house would be quiet.

The images themselves covered three areas of the location.

No further details of his visit were provided, other than the comment ‘it was a quiet evening’ and, at that point in proceedings, he hadn’t analysed any of the media output from his time there.

As for the location itself, as previously mentioned, I was relatively familiar with the spot itself, but not the surrounding area and, had general knowledge of certain features and alleged history of the location, which I had never discussed with Laura.

Laura knew nothing about the location, other than she had previously had a brief visit and that it was near Borley presuming, correctly, that it was in Suffolk.

Finally, we have not provided any references in this article, although they are available privately. This is to help prevent the location from being easily identified by what follows.

The experiment
At 10pm the following evening, we sat down in from of the computer, where Laura was able to view the images for the first time.

We were apprehensive, it must be said, as with previous attempts not all images provided stimuli, therefore the whole exercise could have turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.

However, as it was, this turned out far from being the case and Laura got the strongest reaction to the set of images that she had ever had to date.

As we alluded to previously, some of the images were of the same scenes, taken from different angles, so the summary below condenses these to four main images, to avoid the risk of over complication.

In addition, Laura was able to pick up some names, which have not been provided in the summary below, to allow further research and avoid influencing any future visitors to the location, that could possibly occur should they read this.

Jason and I have subsequently had some private correspondence on some points, to provide additional clarity

Image 1

From this photograph, Laura picked up a male’s name (both first name and possible surname) and the compass point ‘East’

Laura also sensed in her right arm, some elbow pain and associated muscular spasms.

In the top far distance of the image, a tree trunk can be seen. In all of the images that featured this scene, she sensed ‘shadows’ watching / observing, from behind the tree trunk.

The first name of a female was also picked up.

Image 2

Laura immediately picked up a female forename, followed by what could only be described as a bad reaction to the image, she felt her heart racing, together with the sense edginess, and she described it as not a pleasant feeling.

She also felt that there were headstones or similar low stones amongst the undergrowth in the trees show in the background.

By now, Laura’s scribbling on the note pad was not keeping up with the information that she was relating to me, so I decided to switch on the audio recorder so that we were able to capture everything and avoid the risk of missing any details.

This recording also, inadvertently, captured the context and emotions of what Laura was experiencing, which proved very useful when documenting the experiment and will therefore be something that we will continue to do in any future experiments, where practical.

Original image, with the 'face' circled.
At this point, Laura drew my attention to a face of a male that she could see in the trees at the rear of the image. The face had a beard and was on the right hand side of the photograph, which you can see highlighted in the image below.

'Face' enlarged

Laura acknowledges that this is pareidolia caused by the foliage of the tree, but stated regardless, that this is the way that the male chooses to reveal himself.

Laura then started to feel nauseas and picked up upon on a young boy, who she felt was involved in a hit and run accident nearby.  She advised that he probably died as a consequence of the accident, but at this point she couldn’t be entirely certain.

After spending more time dwelling on this point further, she felt that the male (face) could have had something to do with this and perhaps this wasn’t an accident.

Image 3

Again, within seconds of viewing the photograph, Laura related to me that she felt that she should be kneeling down at the gravestone on the right, at the foot of the tower, looking up towards the top of the tower, at a male looking down at her. She got the impression that he, the male, was wondering what she was doing there.

She then picked up on a female forename and surname.

This was accompanied by sharp violent pains to her abdomen, possibly originating from being stabbed, but at the same time she was also sensing a forced abortion related to the female, linked to the church somehow, either a direct link or via a family linked to the church.

It was this, Laura advised, that was causing her to kneel at the gravestone.

After a couple of minute’s silence, Laura asked me if there was a lake nearby? I advised that I wasn’t aware of one – I was not aware of the geography of the local area and I had only previously visited the location in the dark and, in all this time had never noticed a lake.

Laura went on to explain that she had got a view of a lake from the top of the tower, in a northerly direction towards the rear of the church. She also picked up upon an arch, but she couldn’t explain any further.

Later, Laura advised that the man on top the tower was looking towards the direction of the lake, to see if anyone was approaching the church.

Laura then picked up a male forename and surname, a French one, before exclaiming that there was something structurally missing from the church, as you view this image today.

Before we moved to the next photograph, Laura stated that she didn’t like the feeling she got from the lower right hand side of the image.

After a pause, Laura mentioned that she felt that there was also a chapel, nearby.

There was then a long pause before Laura announced that it felt like, to her, that the church was funded, or had benefactors from one family, that helped support the church. In return, the church had to suffer, or remain silent about what that family wanted, the deeds that it did, for fear of losing this funding.

Laura then clarified that this was not necessarily the church itself, but the church people that ran it. She also added that there were five family members, three being brothers, who were the ‘main’ members.

Changing key, Laura felt that someone fell from top of the tower, straight down over the edge, but with the emphasis that someone was accused of pushing them.

Nothing further was forthcoming on this point.

Image 4

Laura straight away picked up upon children, particularly that of a young boy, aged around 7 or 8 years old, who was sat near the small pile of broken stones / headstone that can on the left hand side of the image.

She felt that the boy was sat there all of the time, watching.

Not necessarily watching the three gentlemen that we can see in the image, but watching and observing, looking on.

I asked if the boy was a site guardian, but Laura responded categorically no!

She also picked up a forename for this boy, as well as what she presumed could be his surname. However, she couldn’t be entirely sure if the surname was connected with the boy.

She then got the forename of a young girl, who was associated with the area of the crooked cross gravestone visible on the right hand side of the photograph.

After a pause, Laura asked about a ring of graves, or even possibly trees. I advised unlikely, but she was repeatedly getting the phrase ‘within a ring’.

For clarity, I asked if this was why the boy was watching, but Laura never directly answered, simply stating that he was outside of the ring.  

Laura then asked me if there was a carving, or something etched, scored into the rear of the Celtic cross gravestone in the centre of the image, which I obviously couldn’t answer.

Laura then went on to tell me that she felt that there were grave stones missing in front of the three gentlemen - there were more buried, but not acknowledged.

Finally, Laura asked if there were houses in the back ground of the image (which, if you look very carefully, you can just make our small areas of brickwork through the foliage, to which I advised that there were indeed offices / business units on the other side of the trees.

Laura pressed on and commented that there was nothing there originally, the church was isolated.

This final statement effectively brought the experiment to an end.

The work begins......
As always, Laura’s output potentially provided many areas of research.

Names are always problematic, even with the access to genealogy records that I had, it was a very difficult task – there is no guarantee that a name you get was born or lived in a particular area, so to some extent names can be a lottery.

There was a family associated with the location, who’s name did not come up with the information that Laura got, but I will cover this below.

Events are also tricky to navigate, often we are dealing with the minute details of an event in someone’s life centuries ago, interesting as it may be.

Unless we are dealing with something of the magnitude of the assignation of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, most events rely on them being recorded in local folklore and history, if deemed important enough.

Finally, we have geographical features that may be described. Sometimes these can also be difficult to research, but fundamentally, this area is often the one that you are able to quickly validate when commencing research.

Looking back at Laura’s output from the session, we therefore chose to commence research in the following areas:

1.       Death:
a.       Did anyone die (or was badly injured) as a result of a fall from the church tower, or indeed a road traffic accident nearby?; and
b.      Was there any history of abortions associated with, or someone (presumably female) being stabbed at the location?

2.       The physical features and history of the location:
a.       Was there a lake or body of water nearby and, if so would it have been visible from the church tower when looking north?
b.      Is there a record of an Arch, that no longer exists, being in the vicinity of the water (or indeed the church itself, at a stretch)?
c.       Is there a chapel (or similar place of worship) nearby?
d.      Was the church, in former times, isolated from other habitations in the past?
e.      Was there a single family with strong connections to the location / church?
f.        Was there now something structurally missing from the church, as we see it today? ; and
g.       Was something carved or etched into the rear of the Celtic cross gravestone?

3.       Optimistically, do any of the names that Laura picked up, check out?

Results of my initial research
Having decided on the areas upon which to focus our research, the quest was soon underway, which I can summarise as follows:

1.       Death
To date, we have not been able to find any record of a road traffic accident or death at the church. This aspect of the information that Laura picked up was inclusive and, perhaps it should not be a surprise in view of the implied clandestine nature of the events.

2.       The physical features and history of the location:

a.       Lake / body of water to the north of the church
This was quickly verified, looking at an ordinance survey map of the area, we found a 16th Century Manor House, complete with moat and two lakes, believed to have been originally medieval fish ponds, approximately three quarters of a  kilometre away.

Today, the lake(s) are not visible from the tower, a direct view being obscured by a small wood, which was planted in the 1930’s. Searching further, I found that the area to the north of the church, today which are fields, was previously parkland containing a herd of deer, a deer park, that were used as a source of fresh meat and for sport by the occupants of the house.

Therefore it was clear that there was a lake (which still exists) that would have been viewable from the church tower prior to the 1930’s.

b.      An arch, no longer in existence, in the vicinity of the lake
Again this was easily verified.

Although no longer present, it was recorded that historically, there was a fine archway over the brick bridge across the moat to the Manor House. This was demolished a long time ago, leaving only the brick bridge that still stands today.

Crucially, from the perspective that Laura gave, the arch would have been visible from the tower.

c.       A chapel nearby
When Laura initially came up with this, I racked my brains to see if I could think of the building that she was referring to.

Whilst I couldn’t think of any suitable places of worship, current or otherwise, I surmised that the nearest town / villages were a couple of miles away, where logically such a building could / could have existed.

Would either of these locations qualify as ‘nearby’? Probably not, to my reckoning.

However, upon commencing my research on this point, I found that the answer was staring me right in my face.

The small oblong extension attached to the north side of the church, was actually the private chapel of the occupants of the Manor House, constructed in the 16th Century, contemporary with the building of the remaining parts of the current House that we see today.

The church itself dates from the 15th Century.

Three positive results so far.

d.      The physical isolation of the church in comparison to other habitations.
Whilst the nearby town has encroached within yards of the church in recent years, the tiny hamlet in which the church is located actually pre-dates its more illustrious and famous neighbour by centuries and indeed was referred to until relatively recently (within the last 30 years or so), as the church in the fields, a lonely and isolated place.

Another piece of the jigsaw that Laura had picked up that yet again had proved accurate.

e.      A single, powerful family connected to the church?
This was indeed true and whilst at the time Laura came out with this I could not recall who, exactly, the family were, I knew they were important.

Whilst I shall refrain from naming the family at present, as Laura is still not aware of them and, they could crop up again in any experiments that we do.

The Manor House that they built was, at one time, said to be the most important in the County of Suffolk and the family has included Members of Parliament and the Grand Mother of Britain’s first Prime Minister.

It could not be ever said that the family was without influence.

At the time of writing, I have not researched that greatly into the family, so I have no comment on the other information that Laura came up with in a historical context, but this information clearly remains a possibility.

f.        There is something structurally that is now missing from the church, as we see it now, today.
This is problematic, as students of the development of religious buildings though the ages would be aware that the vast majority of churches went through periods of restoration over the centuries – the older the church, the more restorations that took place.

This church was no different.

Structurally, windows have been moved or even blocked, as can be seen in image 3 and walls rebuilt and the church possibly even extended at both ends.

However, for me, there are two possible candidates for what Laura was referring to.

The first is that is it’s suspected, via the positioning and unusual shapes of some of 15th / 16th Century windows, that the church originally contained a stairway or gallery, that has not been documented and is no longer present.

The second is that two of the large tomb chests in the chapel, contain the bodies of two prominent members of the family referred to by Laura, originally stood under canopies. These were destroyed in 1868 as part of one of the restorations of the church.

It is also thought that something else is missing, but I’ve rejected this as a possibly candidate for now.

g.       Something carved / etched into the rear of the Celtic Cross styled grave stone
This is something that will require a physical examination of the cross. Jason has suggested that he may be revisiting the location soon and has offered to investigate this for us.

3.       Do any of the names that Laura picked up check out?
My least favourite part of the research, but ultimately one that must be undertaken.

Whilst at least hopeful for the French name that Laura mentioned, a quick online search uncovered nothing of note that could be specifically linked to the names.

Overall, the exercise proved both interesting and rewarding for us.

When I (Mark) undertake research following exercises like this, I have no expectations either way although, if I’m honest, in the back of my mind I don’t believe that I will be able to confirm any of the information that Laura obtains.

However, Laura, once again, came up with several pieces of information that was not known to us and, which could be considered obscure.

In particular, with the seven pieces of information linked to the physical and historical side of things, I was able to confirm all but one of the points, the seventh remaining elusive and will only be confirmed or otherwise by a location visit.

Are these just fortunate guesses that could be applied to any location blindly, or is there something else involved?

However, ultimately, only you can be the judge of what I’ve written. For us, our role is to simply observe, record and document the process, as it happened, along with any subsequent research.

As mentioned at the start of the article, we do have audio for most of the session and it is possible that we may post a video of the experiment on our YouTube channel, if we get enough time.

For the future, there is always the opportunity to undertake further research or even a location visit, but for now, we’re simply filing our papers and turning our focus back to other projects.

Perhaps we will return to this case at a later date.

Needless to say, if you have any comments to make, feel free to let us know and perhaps we could discuss further.


(All original images courtesy of J.T. Duke)

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Media Update - Peterborough Museum, Cambridgeshire

Further to our Peterborough Museum update a couple of weeks ago, Marq English, of Spiral Paranormal and MEV Productions, has recently re-posted his video episode of the event that we attended at the museum, which will provide another view of proceedings, as well as some of the events described in our article.

Many thanks to Marq English for his kind permission in allowing us to post the link to his video, very much appreciated.

Peterborough Museum - Spiral Paranormal / MEV Productions

Laura & Mark.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Peterborough Museum, Cambridgeshire

Back in the day, when Laura and I first started to work together, one of the things that we decided to do was to take a different approach to what we had previously done as individuals previously and cast our net wide to widen our experience, including participating in a couple of organised ghost hunt events. Please don’t judge us on this.

One such event that attracted my attention was held at Peterborough Museum, in Cambridgeshire. Whilst now relatively well known as a ‘paranormal venue’ on the well-trodden event circuit, originally, at that time, had a far lesser reputation.

It appeared to offer an exciting nights experience. It allegedly was haunted by at least four ghosts, probably the best known of which was that of a young Australian Soldier, from the First World War, Sergeant Thomas Hunter.

Hunter passed away at the building, which was being used as a hospital at the time, having succumbed to serious injuries, incurred whilst fighting on the Western Front.

However, as this was an event situation as opposed to a proper investigation, I didn’t bother to research the history of the building, paranormal or otherwise, so we could enjoy the evening for what it was, as well as observed how such events were organised.

Laura, as always, knew nothing about the building, other than it was in Peterborough.

And it was a Museum.

The Museum had only just recently made itself available for hire overnight, thanks mainly to a sympathetic liaison officer in Stuart Orme and its stock was rising on the paranormal event circuit, with mainly positive feedback.

In addition, as a bonus, it also represented a relatively short drive for us so, with our immediate schedule relatively free, we found ourselves on the road heading towards deepest Cambridgeshire, with hopefully an interesting evening ahead.

We arrived at the museum at around 8pm, fashionably late as always, only to find that all the other guests had already arrived and were settled inside the building.

Announcing our arrival by knocking loudly on the main doors, we were quickly guided to a group of 25 people or so that were gathered in a large room, where the briefing had already started.
Being the last to arrive really felt just like back at school and arriving late for morning assembly.

This room was a large room (or a small hall) that was being used as the hub for the investigation. Somewhere where we could stow our belongings and act a meeting point between sessions.

After about 10 minutes or so, where a short resume of the history of the building was given (and perhaps priming the expectations of the assembled ‘ghosthunters’), we were told that before we commenced the ‘investigation’, we would tour the building first with Stuart, who obviously had a wealth of knowledge of the location.

At this point, Laura commented to me that the group was larger than she had expected and didn’t think that she would be able to pick anything up tonight as she found such a large gathering of people distracting and off-putting.

Strange how things turn out.

A few minutes later, without any warning and, having just said that she felt the size of the group unsettling, Laura whispered to me that a guy a couple of rows in front of us, in a red t-shirt (who we subsequently learnt was Marq English, of MEV Productions / Spiral Paranormal), “had something" – implying some kind of psychic skill, although she wasn’t sure what.

Laura felt that it was possibly healing, but left it at that and thought no more about it.

We then left the hall for our tour of the building, which, despite the exhibits, had the feel of a large family home rather than the Museum that it now was.

In the former operating theatre later in the evening. Whilst everyone's
attention is focused on the glass, one sneaky team member decided to rummage
through the contents of Laura's bag....

The Tour
During the tour, we quietly listened to Stuart as he told us about the history of the building, its original purpose as a large family home, to its subsequent uses as a hospital, offices and now, in its role as Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, that it had served since 1931.

Our tour stopped in the cellar, where we stood in the dim light listening to Stuart winding up his narrative.

To access the cellar we had to leave the building and go down a flight of stone steps outside the Museum. At the foot of the stairs we were greeted by a wooden door, which allowed entry to the cellar, which was really a complex of small storage rooms, arranged along a single passageway.

As we shuffled around the side rooms forming the cellar, whilst in the room at the far end opposite the entrance staircase, Laura told me that she thought that there used to be a tunnel leading from the cellar to a local Church. She later explained that It appeared to her that the cellar now was just ‘too small’. (1) 

It was at this point that we were stood in the doorway of this room with 1 other person and Stuart, where I made an interesting observation out of the corner of my eye.

I looked across to Laura, who had a distant look in her eyes and not really listening to what Stuart was saying.

As we filed out from the cellar, Laura told me that, as we were stood in the doorway, she had suddenly become distracted by what she could only describe as shadow-like mist, in human form, in the corridor leading back to the entry staircase.

The shadow had moved back towards the stairs, getting smaller as it moved further away.

Laura advised that it could have been her imagination, but it would be interesting to see if we experienced anything further when it was our turn to return to the cellar later during the vigil placements.

Now, I found what Laura had said very interesting, as at the same time as Laura’s sighting, I also thought that I’d observed a shadow of human form where no one was standing at the time, at the end of the entrance corridor. 

This suggested that we had both observed the same phenomena, the only difference being that I saw it more as a misty brown shadow as opposed to a darker version as seen by Laura.

However, the issues for us with this shadow is that, with all the people and stray lights present, was this actually a shadow cast by a real person as to genuine phenomena? (2)

The Fun Begins
Once we had got back to the hall, we had another short debrief, during which Laura pointed out another guest, a female just in front of us, wearing a red and white top. This female, Laura advised would pick up something during the evening.

To explain, as strange and improbable as it seems, Laura has always felt that she could tell from people’s eyes if they had psychic abilities and she had just seen something in the female’s eyes that indicated that she had.

Briefing over, we were split into a couple of small groups by one of the event staff.

Laura and I soon found ourselves in a group of 7 people – ourselves, a father and daughter, two females (one of whom was the female in the red and white top) and Marq English, the guy in the red t-shirt.
Sometimes it’s amusing how things work out.

Laura told me that she felt comfortable with this group of people whilst I just found myself wondering how long it would be until the first coffee break.

1st Vigil – Cellar Dwellers
For the first vigil, we found ourselves back in the cellar, where we spent most of our time in silence, recording and listening for any odd sounds to announce the arrival of an obliging ghost.

Laura, in the cellar.

Towards the end of the vigil Laura picked up upon a Male, a porter, with the first name of ‘Harry’, but nothing else.

For myself, I used the session to sit in quiet contemplation of the potential quality of the coffee available in the forthcoming refreshment break.

The time duly arrived and, when I look back, I like to think that my deep contemplation hastened its arrival. It was most welcome in any case.

2nd Vigil - Ground Floor
We started this vigil in the ‘shop’ at the main entrance area.

Once again, we sat in silence for around twenty minutes or so, with nothing of note occurring, I just hoped that the audio that I was recording was picking up some EVP for us to review later.

Eventually, we all mutually agreed to move to another area.

We walked up the hallway, towards the main staircase, quickly exploring the side rooms as we passed, until we got to the stairs, where a couple of the group sat down, allowing the rest of us to take some photographs.

At this point in the proceedings, Laura starting pacing back and forth before leaving the area and exploring some of the side rooms on her own.

Laura later reported that she felt nothing in the rooms, apart from the kitchen, where she got a smell similar to that you would experience in a butchers, complete with ‘sawdust and everything’.

Laura eventually returned to the group at the foot of the stairs and stood there for a couple of minutes, before stating that she’d heard a someone say, in a female voice, the name ‘Ann’, which she felt was in connection to the stairs.

At this point, the group above on the first floor started to get a little loud, which Laura found distracting and she was unable to pick anything else up.

After several minutes had passed, we all decided to split up and do our own thing and meet back up for the last 30 minutes or so of the session to do something as a group again.

1st Floor
Separating from the others, Laura and I found ourselves in the area set up as little shops, as an illustration of life in Peterborough, in the last century.

We sat there alone for a while, to see if we could experience anything.

After about five minutes we were joined by Marq English, whereupon we tried calling out to see if we could get anything.

This session was commenced by Marq calling out unexpectedly in a broad Australian accent, which Laura found very amusing, to try and extract a response from the Australian Serviceman that was believed to haunt the building.

Once again, we were met with silence.

After a short while, Laura suggested to me that we move to another area. She advised that the only thing that she’d picked up from our time in this area was that it should be more open and that this area of the Museum had been changed structurally.

From here Laura and I moved to what she now refers to as the ‘Children’s Room’. As soon as we entered Laura picked up on the presence of several children in the room with us. (3)

After a short while we were again joined by Marq, whereupon we decided to sit down behind some dividing screens.

Whilst there, Laura advised that she could not get the idea of the children out of her head, even seeing in her mind the image of several children in the room playing.

We tried calling out and asking questions for responses that we hoped we could capture as EVP when we reviewed the audio later, but alas, upon checking the recording later we found that we had received no responses.

Laura then started searching the room and soon returned with a Pritt Stick (a glue stick for the uninitiated), which was the only suitable object that she could find. Laura then proceeded to ask ‘the spirits’ to attempt to move the Pritt Stick for us.

We tried this for a while, with again no response. I can only surmise that the Pritt Stick had stuck to the table, making the object unmovable for the spirits......

We were eventually joined by one of the organisers, who asked if the three of us wanted to join the rest of the group, who were now gathered on the other side of the screens, for a séance, to which we agreed and rejoined with the rest of our group, near the cabinet containing a sword.

We soon learnt that several of the people in our group had never taken part in a séance before, which, upon reflection, should probably not have been a surprise to ourselves.

Having formed a circle, with some of the group linking hands, the séance commenced.

Laura felt that the people that she had picked up upon earlier, in the other areas of the Museum, especially in the cellar area, were connected to the spirits attempting to communicate with us during the séance.

Two females amongst our group came over very emotional throughout the séance, including the female in the red and white top and there were cold and tingly feelings felt by Laura, that was also reported by the others taking part.

Things were starting to become interesting and we wondered how the rest of our evening would map out.

3rd Floor
After a short break for refreshments, we commenced our session of the top floor of the Museum, starting in the room containing a coffin.

Initially, Laura and myself sat alone in this room for a while, as the group had again agreed to split and do their one thing, meeting up later near the end of the session for another group vigil.

Again, from my perspective, I observed nothing of note, although Laura commented at one point that her hair was being played with, along with the word ‘April’.

Laura could not be certain if this was the name of a female, although it was a female that she received the word from, or whether ‘April’ was significant as in an anniversary related to the female herself.

The search for the lost contact lens........
Eventually we were joined by one of the organisers, who sat with us for a while.

During this time Laura continued to attempt to get a connection with the female, but despite endless calling out, she wasn’t able to manage it.

Unlike the other sessions, time seemed to pass quickly and soon the rest of our group rejoined us for the last vigil, seemingly scuppering Laura’s intention to go out onto the stairway to see if she could pick up anything there.

However, the rest of the group threw themselves into a séance, so Laura and I left the room and went out onto the stairway to see what we could observe, if anything, there.

We sat on the stairs for about five minutes, with nothing of interest occurring, so we decided to rejoin the rest of the group back in the room for the end of the session.

As we retraced our steps back up the stairs, with myself leading, Laura suddenly stumbled at the doorway to the coffin room.

Laura later advised that she’d thought that there was another step to climb and started to feel confused, wondering where the step had gone. At the same time she felt as if a male had put his hands around her neck.

Laura continued to explain that then she felt as if she’d taken a blow to her forehead, as if she’d been head butted. This was the only way that she was able to describe it to me. (4)

Laura and my leg, sat on the back staircase.
Entering the room we found that the rest of the group had their séance well under way. I then realised that I’d left my torch back at the staircase, so I immediately left to retrieve it, leaving Laura to join the circle.

Once I’d reached the stairs, I set upon making as much noise as I could by proving that it wasn’t wise to walk around unfamiliar buildings in the pitch black by throwing myself downstairs. Laura later did ask me what I was doing when I went to get the torch.

Dusting myself off, I retrieved the torch and I can confirm that I found it much easier to move around the building by torchlight........

Back at the séance, Laura was starting to pick up on some information relating to former occupants of the Museum that were still in residence.

Drawing the séance to a close, Laura started to summarise what she had picked up to the rest of the group and tried to clarify who she though the occupants were.

For Laura, whilst the séance was interesting, the room never really held any attraction for her.

Once we’d finished, we all made our way down to base camp in the hall on the lower floor, where we took another break before having a final hour of free time where we were able to investigate wherever we liked in the Museum.

Free time
During this time, no organisers were present, as we were pretty much given free rein to do as we pleased for the final session, as promised.

During this time we worked our way through different rooms in the building, over different floors, to try and pick something up, but it was to no avail.

We finished the night up on the top floor, joined by one of the organisers, who we shall refer to as ‘D’, who had joined us earlier whilst we were attempting to make contact with spirit using a glass (glass divination).

When Laura spotted ‘D’, she started to relate to him some of the things that she had picked up upon previously throughout the evening, to see if, maybe, this would help with contact.

Whilst Laura did this, ‘D’ appeared surprised at some of the things that he was being told and asked Laura if she had been to the location before, to which she confirmed that she hadn’t.

‘D’ went on to confirm that most of what Laura had told him was correct, which appeared to pique his interest, so he decided to accompany us for the remainder of the session.

From here, we moved to the back staircase area to try once again with the glass, but as before, no ‘response’ was obtained.

We then all agreed that we would try one last attempt with the glass in the cold fan room, opposite the coffin room.

Once settled, we tried sitting for a short while before attempting the glass divination experiment, to see if perhaps we could build up the ‘energy’ any more.

Again we tried making contact via the glass and nothing happened, although Laura picked up some personal information connected to one of the other members of the group. However, she kept this information to herself, trying to make sense of it.

The excitement of glass divination.....

This was the first time that Laura had ever had been given information to pass onto someone before and she wasn’t what she should do with the information.

She felt that, if she was right, it was all well and good, but she was wrong she could be setting herself up for an embarrassing fall and that at that point Laura didn’t trust myself enough to do so.

Therefore, if Laura did pass on the information and it was wrong, she feared that her trust in whatever information she picked up in the future, would be gone.

With this dilemma, Laura kept going over and over the information in her head, until she finally decided that she needed to pass on the information whatever and simply just see what happens from there.

Approaching the other member of the group when he was alone, Laura passed on the information that she had been given. To her shock, the person accepted all of the information that she gave. Laura was genuinely surprised by this, whilst the person remained silent and looked almost upset.

With time running out, we soon called back to the hall for the final de-brief, effectively bringing our time at the Museum to an end.

Post Investigation
In conversation several days later Laura advised that she thought that the Museum was a great location for many reasons, the main one being that fact that it didn’t feel like a Museum at all during the whole time that she was there, but more of a grand house or home.

Laura appreciated the layout of the building and felt very relaxed there, which was the reason why, she felt, that she managed to open up and obtain some verifiable information during our time there.

With everything that she had experienced at the building, it was the final piece of very personal information that she was able to pass on to the other person that stood out and, with them able to accept this information gave her great confidence going forward and she felt that the location, in the scheme of things, was a key milestone in the development of her ‘sensitive’ abilities, if this was the correct term to use.

Overall, a very interesting evening at historic building that, in addition to what Laura picked up, a lot of which the Museum Liaison Officer, Stuart Orme confirmed was correct on the night, provided us with over six hours of audio for analysis, along with numerous photographs and video footage.


1.      A tunnel leading from the Cellar to a nearby Church
There were references to local tradition of there being tunnels in the area. However, the Museum Liaison Officer, Stuart Orme, himself has pointed out that this would be most unlikely due to Peterborough being on the edge of the Fens and the geology being totally unsuitable to house any tunnels.

However, checking the ordinance survey maps, the Museum was in close proximity to a Church and the Cathedral and, there was an account from an elderly witness, who allegedly found a tunnel in the vaults of the Cathedral and was even able to explore them for a distance when they were a child.

Was this the tunnel that Laura was referring to?

2.      Shadow figure in the Cellar
I quickly found reference to a dark hooded figure that haunted the corridor, although few actual witness accounts. Was this what both Laura and I had witnessed whilst down in the cellar?

It seemed to fit the bill perfectly, but it’s important not to jump to any conclusions.

3.      ‘Children’s Room’
I found that this area was allegedly haunted by a young girl, whilst Laura picked up on several children.

4.      The Back Staircase
This area is not accessible to the public in everyday use and is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a Maid, who was said to have lost her life on the staircase.

It isn’t known if she fell, was pushed or lost her life through some other means, but witnesses have previously reported being pushed from behind by unseen hands.

How did this compare with Laura’s experience of having hands placed around her throat and the sensation of stumbling at the top of the stairs?