Saturday, 1 August 2009

Woodchester Mansion....


From The Archives.....

On October the 14th, 2005, 2 W.M.G.C. group members attend an overnight investigation of Woodchester Mansion in Stroud, Gloucestershire. The overall event was organised by an ASSAP affiliated society, with the attending W.M. Ghost Club members making up teams put together by (our very good friends) the Black Country Paranormal Society.

As many visitors to this site will already know, Woodchester Mansion currently stands as one of the most famous, allegedly ‘haunted’ properties in Great Britain. While the site itself has a considerable, long standing haunted reputation, it’s fame as a place of ghostly interest has only been a comparatively recent development thanks to such T.V. programmes as ‘Most Haunted’ and ‘Scream Team’. At the time of the investigation in question, the site has previously been visited by the W.M.G.C.’s Steve Chew and investigated by Kev Wallace.

With regards to our investigation itself, the visit of the 14th passed relatively quietly, with a handful of people from the overall assembly reporting potential ‘strange’ happenings. The only matter of possible significance to our particular group – headed by Wayne Pickrell (of the B.C.P.S. - shown right in pic above) – was when researcher Anne Brown claimed to have felt someone ‘breathe’ in her ear in the cellar of the building and Wayne himself heard a sequence of footsteps coming from a firmly locked room…

Personal Investigation Notes: Woodchester Mansion – Gloucestershire

Date Of Visit: 14th / 15th October 2005.
Duration Of Visit: Approx. 11 – 11.5 hours.
Time of Arrival: Approx. 8.00 p.m.

Present:

21 people drawn from a number of investigative groups, including: Melton Paranormal, Black Country Paranormal Society, West Midlands Ghost Club and assorted A.S.S.A.P. personnel (including Mike White).

For the duration of the visit, both myself and Kevin Wallace (W.M.G.C. Members) were acting representatives in the Black Country Paranormal Research Group.

The assembly was split up into 4 groups for the duration of the visit. Each group moved around the property – working on a 1 hr. vigil followed by 20 mins. break time rota – following directions from a schedule planned by our host society - the Melton Paranormal Group.

Brief Vigil Notes.

*VIGIL ONE – 2nd Floor Corridor – 9.30 pm till 10.30 pm.

Group present: Nick Duffy, Wayne Pickrell, Kevin Wallace, Rob Tudge and Anne Brown.

During vigil – night shot video camera utilised in the filming of different aspects of the corridor concerned.

10.06 pm – Strange noise (?) heard, probably originating outside building. Also noted: sporadic talking from group downstairs; people taking photographs using flash; shining torches around, etc.

10.11 pm – distant ‘explosion’ sound heard evidently originating from outside building.

10.13 pm – Distant ‘explosion’ again. This closely followed by the sound of someone – probably in the group situated downstairs – clearing their throat quite loudly.

10.19 pm – Distant ‘explosion’ again.

10.33 pm – ‘Explosion’ again.

During this vigil, Rob Tudge mentions that he can hear the sound of movement coming from above him in the roof. Others present investigate and a number of people also hear the sound concerned. Lights are shone into the roof space and it is noticed that a number of nests have been built in this area. Also, we are aware that a colony of bats live in the property. Having heard the sound, I question whether there is any plastic sheeting or tarpaulin possibly utilised in the covering of holes in the mansion roof? Being new to the property, we cannot say for sure at this point, but a quick check later reveals that the scaffolding that surrounds this particular wing of the building is protected with masses of plastic sheeting. It is deduced that the sound heard originated with the sheeting concerned.


*VIGIL TWO – Cellar Area – 10.50 pm till 11.50 pm. (Same group members present).

During vigil, 2 night shot camera’s utilised in the filming of cellar passage, and two ante-rooms. Wooden Mannequin placed in one ante-room with camera facing it.

11.29 pm – Anne Brown reports having felt sensation akin to ‘breathing’ down her neck in the cellar corridor.

At the stairs end of the corridor, a rough wooden partition (and door) contain designs in the shape of a (poorly drawn) ‘pentagram’ and some letters from an ‘occult’ alphabet. The designs concerned were photographed – and later copied down by hand in a notebook – for later research / deciphering. The cellar is pointed out as one of the main points within the building utilised by Occultists and / or Satanists in a number of unsanctioned visits to the property over past decades.

**During the following ‘Break Period’, I accompany Kevin Wallace as he goes to set up an inpromptu video recording session in the Sacristy Area of the Chapel. A video camera is subsequently attached to an unfinished ‘gargoyle’ carving in the centre of the room, facing a wooden mannequin placed in an alcove in the Sacristy wall. (Recording made utilising night shot capacity).


*VIGIL THREE – Scullery / Kitchen Area – 12.10 am till 1.10 am. (Same group members present).

12.48 am – Wayne Pickrell hears a series of brief footsteps coming from the First Aid Room. (Area concerned locked and in darkness). He stands near to the door to the room, but can now only hear sounds of movement from the group situated on the landing directly above us. Noting the sound of footsteps now coming from that direction, he deduces that the steps he’d initially heard possibly originated from that region too. As he begins to move away, he then clearly hears more – brief – footsteps from inside the First Aid Room. Wayne is certain that the footsteps are definitely coming from the area concerned and calls me through from the Scullery. The footsteps have ceased by the time I get to him, but we check that the room is locked and take a cursory look along the corridor.

At many points during this particular vigil, I cannot help but notice - through the courtyard window - that a group opposite (probably situated around the first floor bathroom / corridor area) appear to be taking an exceptionally large amount of flash photographs. The ensuing flashes light up a lot of the building and courtyard area.

Towards the end of the vigil, Anne Brown reports having had something fly past her face in the Scullery doorway to the Kitchen Area(?) A few minutes later, I am standing looking at the impressive cooking range, when a bat skims past my head and vanishes up the chimney!!

**During the following ‘Break Period’, myself and K. Wallace retrieve the video camera from the Sacristy Area.

*VIGIL FOUR – 1st Floor corridor Area – 1.30 am till 2.30 am. (Same group members present).

Video camera (night shot) covering different sections of the corridor throughout the vigil.

Nothing to report, save for evidence – talking, camera flashes, etc – of other groups in the surrounding vicinity. (Especially a group situated directly below our position in the Library / Dining Room area).

*VIGIL FIVE – Bathroom / 1st Floor Corridor – 2.50 am till 3.50 am. (Same group members present).

Nothing to report, save for seeing flashing torchlight from another group covering the 1st Floor Corridor Area up the flight of steps from our position. (Only noticed towards end of vigil).

*VIGIL SIX – Chapel / Chapel Corridor Area – 4.10 am till 5.10 am. (Same group members present, except for Wayne Pickrell, who, as a designated driver, has to sleep prior to the return journey home).

Mike White has – at the beginning of the evening – set up two security camera’s and an infra-red device in the Chapel Corridor. Two monitors and VHS video recorders (linked to the aforementioned camera’s) are set up at the foot of the scaffolding inside the Chapel itself.

Nothing to report, except for the group situated on upper floor of wing of building directly opposite Chapel (across courtyard) utilising flash photography to considerable extent. Also, group situated in Scullery / Kitchen area heard talking on many occasions and using flash photography.

The Chapel is also pointed out as one of the main area’s targeted by Occultists in their visits. (For obvious reasons!)


*VIGIL SEVEN – Library and Dining Room Area – 5.30 am till 6.30 am. (Same group members present, except for Wayne Pickrell).

Nothing to report.

*DE-BRIEFING – Approx. 7.00 am – in Drawing Room, followed by our exiting Woodchester at around 7.30 am.

*Brief Conclusions And Observations

Fantastic / atmospheric site – which may well influence the minds of any visitors to a considerable extent.

I couldn’t help but notice that – at the de-briefing – much of what was reported as potential paranormal activity by those present, actually coincided to a great extent with stories already commonly associated with the building: i.e. shadowy figures seen in the Scullery doorway – also, same in Cellar area, etc). I believe that this in itself is suggestive…. even more so when considering that all such accounts seemed to be reported by investigators who had visited the site more than once (and therefore knew of the associated ghost-lore).

Also, from a psychological angle, it was evident that a small amount of ‘feeding’ and ‘prompting’ went on between researchers during the period in which they recounted their experiences.

Apart from Wayne Pickrells experience (Vigil Three) and that of Anne Brown (Vigil Two), none of the ‘1st timers’ experienced anything worthy of mention. (Which I found also suggestive).

The underlying attitude of many of the (repeat visit) researchers present would seem to have been aptly summed up in the words of one such investigator: “How can you come to a place like Woodchester and not experience anything?” It has to be said – hardly the sentiments of an objective researcher……

Having mentioned the above, the visit turned out to be a very enjoyable experience and the company concerned most amiable indeed.

My only real complaint about the investigation – echoed by many – was the fact that the activities of one group (during vigils) would often interfere with those of another. (Talking, flash photography, etc). This was the one mildly negative point in a very enjoyable investigation.

Regards,

The W.M.G.C.

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