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Bradbourne House, East Malling

21st November 2009
 

 

Background:
Built in the vicinity of Roman Cemeteries and Prehistoric Sites it is known that a manor house has existed at Bradbourne since at least 1411. The current Queen Anne facade hides a Tudor manor house where the cellars, the now covered courtyard, and some interior paneling remains. Originally owned by the Manningham's it passed to the Twisden family of Roydon Hall around 1656. Thomas Twisden was a judge who received his knighthood at the restoration of the monarchy and was on the panel of judges who oversaw the trials of those responsible for the execution of Charles I. His bedroom still exists and the Judges Passage leading to this room is believed to be haunted by him.

A later Sir Roger Twisden disinherited one of his sons and started a family history of quarrels. A hundred years after his death he is reputed to have taken offense at the cutting down of trees in the park and was seen angrily driving his 'coach and six' around the park. Bradbourne House remained with the family until 1937. East Malling Trust purchased it at auction and it is now a respected wedding and conference venue as well as being the centre of administration of the trust. The house retains many original and respectfully restored features including a secret door behind a bookcase used by the judge along with a large collection of original portraits of the family, and an original piano and long-case clock.

To our knowledge no previous paranormal investigation had been conducted at this venue although some accounts were passed onto us. These were the sounds of children playing being heard in what is now referred to as the breakfast room and the uncomfortable feelings felt, especially by women, in the area of the rear service staircase and corridor. We should also mention the infamous Judges Passage where it has been said for many years that Judge Twisden himself still walks. The first two accounts were more recent, the latter being much older and appearing to have become more part of the folklore attached to the house. However old these accounts may be they gave us a basis on which to start the investigation. In investigative terms this venue was a blank canvass, uninvestigated, our favorite type!

 

Aim:
To investigate the possibility of paranormal phenomena at this historic location, to examine personal accounts of such that had been passed on to us and to record evidence of what is suggested paranormal activity.

  The Investigation
  Apparatus:
Camcorders:
Samsung VP-D351 with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light
Sony DCR HC-62 with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light
Sony DCR-HC19 with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light
Sony DCR-DVD110E with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light

Digital Camera:
Fuji Fine Pix S5000
Fuji Fine Pix S5500
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-38

Voice recorder:
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus DM20
HNSAT DVR958

Other:
Tripods, Torches, Video tapes (MiniDV), DVD-RW's

Investigators: Ian, Kim, Paddy and Dave.

Method:
Using visual and scientific methods combined with spiritual theory we were to investigate the alleged paranormal phenomena at this venue. As two of the team were not able to attend the pre-investigation visit we decided to start by introducing them to the venue before deciding on a format for the investigation. However, once the walk about was concluded it was decided to conduct either vigils or séances based upon our understanding of the venue, the background passed on to us. The usual equipment was to be deployed as above.


Investigation:
Pre-investigation walk around
We commenced a tour of the areas available to us for the duration of the investigation. This included the majority of the ground floor, the basement and the two main stair cases, as well as limited access to the area in the top of the house referred to as The Judges Passage. Having completed this and after a brief break we reconvened for our first session.

Session one – Judges Passage – vigil.

We settled and spread ourselves along the length of the passageway with Ian at the west end, then Kim, Paddy and ending with Dave at the east end. We had four camcorders running, two digital voice recorders and three stills cameras in use. The wind and now rain continued to be heard outside and the noise levels rise and fall randomly.

Dave began calling out aloud, introducing ourselves and asking if anyone else present wished to make themselves known.

Paddy remarks on the creaks and groans that he thinks are naturally occurring given the buildings age and the weather outside. Kim and Ian notice the wind had dropped. The team continue to listen to their surroundings and comment on anything that occurs or is heard. And have reason to move their individual locations several times during the session.

Dave continued calling aloud asking for some evidence, but after a period with little or no occurrences to comment on it was decided to end the session.

Session two – Rear service stairs and corridor – vigil.
The team spread themselves along the passage way, Kim and Paddy seated either side of the large dresser, Dave sat at the top of the service stairs looking down on events and Ian stood with his camcorder hand held by the back entrance to the kitchens.

We sat as we do to adjust to the ambient noises of the area and after a few minutes Dave began to call aloud explaining why we had decided to stage a vigil in the area. Dave continued calling for a response.

Kim started to cough and is feeling uncomfortable.

Dave asks again for a response referring to the uncomfortable feelings felt by women in the area.

Dave pursues the line questioning suggesting moving one of the door latches

Dave continues the requests and begins asking a string of question, name, age, birth date, connection with the house etc to try to provoke a verbal response that could be recorded.
The team relocates to the kitchen in response to what they think was a noise, and after a while return to their original places and continued for a short while longer before deciding to break.

Session three – Return to rear service stairs and corridor (with séance).

Given the earlier part of the last session we decided to return to the passage way but this time to conduct a formal séance. Although we are scientific in our approach and not spiritual like other groups, we have found that by doing this the amount of recordable evidence can increase.

Once seated Dave began to call aloud asking for a response and continued to do so for the duration of the session, apart from for a period when Paddy took the chair and decided to see if a different person making the requests produced a different reaction.

Very little occurred for the duration but we continued none the less, however, after some considerable time it was decided to close the session.

Session four – Great Hall – vigil.
We set out cameras and other equipment around the hall and sat around its edges facing into the room, Dave by the main door to the hallway, Kim and Ian along the north wall and Paddy against the south wall by the fire place.

All four of our camcorders are running as well as our voice recorders. The wind and weather outside had calmed down by now.

The team decide to sit in silence for a while to adjust to the surroundings, after a while Dave takes the lead to ask aloud for anyone in the building to join us in the great hall, and he continues calling aloud referring to the families that have lived in the house and in doing so tried to provoke a recordable response.

Paddy moves location within the room as he felt is was possible that a noise that was heard could be as a result of his leaning against the paneling on the wall.

Dave urges anyone with us to try to communicate with us.

Dave asks for any noises to be loud and definite, shortly after this Dave decides to move to the area around the door to the breakfast room, then explains aloud the reason for his move, and asks aloud if anyone is in the breakfast room.

A considerable amount of time passes during which the questioning continued and the team discussed what was occurring.

After a while it is decided that the breakfast room required further investigation so we decide to have a break and move there.

Session five – Breakfast room – vigil.
Given the results of the last session in the great hall we moved into this room wondering what we might find. We sat around one end of the long table, Dave opposite Ian and Paddy opposite Kim. Dave and Ian's camcorders were running as were Kim and Dave's Voice recorders.


Again we started in silence listening to what was around us before Dave began the traditional calling out.

Dave continues to ask for responses as a few noises are heard (see results section)

Paddy asks for some chains against the wall to be moved as an alternative gesture.

Dave asks if anyone there wants to join us.

It all goes quiet and there seems to be no noises for some time.

Paddy comments on how the atmosphere in the room has changed and it “feels different” to the first part of this session.

Ian takes a turn calling and asks for a sign someone was with us.

After a period of activity ensued all became quiet again. The late hour of the morning was taking its toll on some of us but be carried on for a short while longer until it became apparent tiredness had set in. We decided to call an end to our night’s investigation.

Results
Pre-investigation walk around
It was noticed during our walk around that whilst in the Great Hall and moving into the Breakfast Room that there were a number of sounds heard behind us. Being the last to leave the room it was Dave who heard these, Ian verified that he had heard something but could not fully identify what it was. Dave likened it to the faint sound of foot falls and the swish of fabric, like a long dress in motion.

Session one – Judges Passage – vigil.

No soon as we has sat down there were two large knocks followed by a third that all came from the west end of the passage by the large window. Paddy left his seat to be closer to the window to try to confirm these. After a while Paddy had confirmed the cause of the noise so he returned to his seat.

Dave commented on a flashing light above him.

Kim and Paddy hear repeated taps and knocks from the wooden wall paneling opposite them.

Dave and Paddy comment on being able to hear faint voices. Dave compares them to two male voices having a conversation. Paddy relocates to sit closer to Dave to hear better but unfortunately cannot.

The noise of a floor board is heard to creak towards the west end of the passage by the window.

Ian moves to where Paddy had been seated to try to hear the repeated taps heard earlier by Kim and Paddy and possibly the voices heard by Dave and Paddy but cannot.

Dave's request for a sign that someone was with us was immediately met by some loud knocks from the west window. These were ignored as we had already established this was the wind. The noises repeated themselves again and again.

The noises from the paneling in the centre of the passage start up again, this time Ian hears them too. The wind drops and so do the knocks from the west end, confirming our theory. The taps from the paneling continue and a discussion ensues as to what could be causing them. As we were in the eaves of the roof we thought it could be rain falling on the roof on the outer side. But it was soon established that the other side of the paneling was within a roof void and not exposed to the elements.

Kim then said she can smell a sickly almost sweaty floral smell.

More noise is heard from the paneling.

Kim and Ian notice the wind had dropped some time ago but there had still been noises from around the window, so are less convinced that this was the cause of the knocking before. They decide that we could have been overlooking and ignoring something that was potentially paranormal in nature. The window continues to knock so Dave and Paddy join them to observe and quietly listen to this. It is odd that from this point on the noise from the window stopped, was this because of the attention it was receiving?

The four move back to their original places but Dave decided to stay by the window, just in case. Whilst there he resumed calling aloud asking for some evidence, but after a period with little or no occurrences to comment on it was decided to end the session.

Session two – Rear service stairs and corridor – vigil.
During the previous break Kim chose to visit the lavatory in this rear passageway. On her return she told the rest of the team how she felt uncomfortable in the area and walked back quickly as she felt someone was there and following her. This was interesting as at this point she had no knowledge of the accounts of the uncomfortable feelings felt by women in this area. We enlightened her and then chose to go to this area to see what happened.

A few minutes into the session Kim began to complain that she suddenly felt a little unwell, Dave added that he also was feeling a bit “heady” and a little sick.

As Dave began explaining our reasons for being in the area Ian thought he heard a sharp intake of breath behind and too his left coming from the corridor behind him. initially thinking this was Dave. Quickly establishing it wasn't Ian moved out to the corridor but saw and heard nothing unusual.

Dave's continued calling for a response and his request is met by a tap.

Paddy thinks he sees some movement out of the corner of his eye.

Kim started to cough and is still feeling uncomfortable.

Dave further questioning and reference to the uncomfortable feelings felt in the area were met by another faint knock not heard by the team at the time but this was caught on our camcorder footage.

By now the team does not feel alone and the atmosphere seemed to have become an unpleasant one.

Dave's request for movement of a door latch was followed by Paddy hearing the door latch move on the door in front of him. A repeat was requested but was not forthcoming.

Kim's throat is now hurting.

A noise is heard behind Ian.

Kim became more distressed and unwell.

Another knock is heard.

An unexplained sound of running water is heard.

The questioning continues with no responses.

A distant tap is heard from the kitchen area. This then begins to repeat itself so we have to move from our location and investigate the source, we end up all standing by the kitchen door, the taps continue. The taps now seemed to be very regular and from the passageway itself. These could not be identified so we returned to our places and continued for a short while longer before ending the session.

Session three – Return to rear service stairs and corridor (with séance).
The sound of water could still be heard as before.

Whilst Paddy tried calling out he remarked on hearing some resultant foot falls in the distance.

Kim began to develop another cough and was feeling a little unwell again.

It is interesting that despite recovering and feeling fine during the preceding break Kim began to develop another cough and feel unwell, this cannot be explained and as mention before, Kim had been fine before the start of the investigation and during the breaks.

Some more noises were heard and remarked on occasionally during our periods of questioning but in general there was very little occurring for the duration of this session.

Session four – Great Hall – vigil.
Kim remarks on the sound of a clock.

A tap is heard coming from near Paddy, who confirmed that it came from the paneling on the wall beside him. Dave asked for a repeat that was not forthcoming. This is heard by the rest of the team.

Another tap is heard by Dave and at the same time Paddy says he heard a noise from the adjacent breakfast room.

As the team sit in silence two noises are heard one from each end of the great hall, both were heard by all four of us.

After a while a noise is heard behind Ian similar to others heard before. This was not repeated on request.

A loud thump is heard by the whole team as though coming from Paddy's direction. Paddy assured the rest of us that it was not him and he felt the vibration along the floor that the noise caused. Dave says he heard a couple of noises immediately before this loud one but the rest of the team did not.
Dave then hears a noise by Kim, not heard by the rest of us.


After a considerable time with no noise at all Dave hears a noise across the room, this is not repeated upon request.

Ian heard the sound of shuffling on floor boards from over by the door to the breakfast room, Dave concurs. It is difficult to place where the noises are from in such a large open room.

Dave's request that any noises be louder and more definite is met by a loud tap behind him possibly from the hallway, he asks for a repeat but this doesn't happen. Then Paddy hears the same shuffling noise previously heard by Ian from the doorway to the breakfast room. Dave moved to that area of the room for confirmation.


Some more noise is heard from the breakfast room so Dave asks aloud if anyone is in there but there is no response or further indication of anything happening in that room.


Session five – Breakfast room – vigil.

A repetitive noise could be heard outside, which Kim comments on, but this is soon ignored when another noise is heard from the bookcase.

A tap is then heard up towards the ceiling which then continues to repeat itself for some considerable length of time. This is briefly investigated.

Dave began to ask if this noise had been caused by someone and if so could they bring the noise closer. As he finished asking this the noise changed its tone and qualities and sounded different.

More noises were heard as Dave continues to ask for responses, these came from different parts of the room and then from outside towards the hallway. Also during these moments a light anomaly can be clearly seen on our camcorder footage that is floating downwards near Ian.

More noises where heard, some seemingly responsive to our requests. Given the responsive nature and randomness of where the noises were coming from it became possible that some of these noises may not be naturally occurring and were quite possibly paranormal. However after a while with more and more noise from differently angles it became apparent that this unlikely, however we were unable to explain the cause of these noises. Just because we did not have a ready explanation for the noises it does not mean we should dismiss them.

Some more odd noises are heard, some caught on our camcorder footage.

The chains Paddy asked to be moved did not so we asked for tapping to start again, this was immediately followed by a noise from the corner of the room, and a repeat was asked for but was not forthcoming.

Ian heard a dull noise the other side of the door to the hallway, Dave asked if anyone there wanted to join us? This is followed by some more noises within the room.

Paddy hears movement almost like someone else is in the room. Dave concurred.

Ian reacts to what he thought was an image of the vague blurred disc of a persons face about head height at the other end of the room.

Ian's calling for a sign was followed shortly after by a rustling sound of movement heard by both he and Paddy, Paddy then thinks he heard an indistinguishable voice.

Ian again hears movement behind him, Paddy hears this too and feels it was from behind Ian the first time they heard it.

Towards the end of the session Ian and Paddy can still hear more movement around the room that sounds like gentle foot falls on the carpet.

Conclusions
Pre-investigation walk around
The sound Dave heard when exiting the great hall he described as similar to foot falls and the swish of fabric were not heard by Paddy and Kim, and only partially heard by Ian. It is possible that this was floor board movement caused by the team as they were just exiting the room at the time, however, Dave was adamant about what he thought he had heard. These noises were not picked up by the camcorder and voice recorders that were running as we walked around so unfortunately cannot be analysed further neither can any conclusions be drawn.

Session one – Judges Passage – vigil.
It was a windy night so we initially used this to account for the knocking heard by the window. Paddy investigated closer and was satisfied noise was caused by the rattling of the sash window in its frame and that this was caused by the wind outside. The fact that these knocks were heard after Dave had called for an indication of a presence could be coincidental. These were initially ignored as we had established the cause, especially as the noises repeated itself again and again.

Although this is a viable explanation it could be the case that these noises were potentially paranormal in nature but were dismissed as being naturally occurring. It is odd that when Dave and Paddy joined them to observe this closer the noises stopped. Unfortunately given the conditions we can only conclude that the wind was the cause. Some of these knocks were recorded on our camcorder and audio footage.

The light seen by Dave was identified as part of the buildings deactivated alarm system.

The noises heard from the paneling did cause some confusion. As we were in the eaves of the roof we thought it could be rain falling on the roof on the outer side. But it was soon established that the other side of the paneling was within a roof void and not exposed to the elements. With no way to inspect the other side of the paneling it was not possible to conclude the cause of these noises, and again we can only refer again to the weather conditions.

The faint voices heard by Dave and Paddy were not heard by the rest of the team nor were they recorded on our equipment, therefore, they cannot be analysed further. We can offer no explanation as to why this was thought to be the case, but cannot ignore the possibility of someone having been outside the building.

The noise of a floor board creaking was very clear at the time but sadly again was not recorded by our equipment. This is interesting as we know what we heard and were able to distinguish it from the other naturally occurring noises around us. None of the team were moving at this time and we can offer no explanation for this. The sickly almost sweaty floral smell smelt by Kim could not be identified.

Session two – Rear service stairs and corridor – vigil.
Kim and Dave were both feeling fine during the last session and the break. It should be noted that they also felt fine as soon as this session ended. The reason why they both felt unwell solely for the duration of this session could not be explained.

The sharp intake of breath Ian thought he heard was not recorded on his camcorder audio, therefore, having established it was not Dave no explanation can be offered for this.

All the faint knocks and taps heard during this session may have a rational natural explanation, but these are less likely to be caused by the elements outside given that we were on the ground floor and further away from the rain and wind on the roof unlike the last session. Some of these noises were recorded on our camcorder footage. We were unable to explain all of these noises and the timing of some did appear to be in response to our request for the same. Despite further analysis we cannot confirm the source of these noises.

The movement Paddy thought he saw could have been a trick of the shadows combined with the effects of tired eyes. Sadly as no one else witnessed this, and no motion was caught by our camcorders, we can offer no other explanation.

It is interesting that as soon as Dave asked for one of the door latches to be moved Paddy heard the door latch move on the door in front of him. This was witnessed by others although the sound was not caught on our video footage, and unfortunately no movement of the door latch was captured on camcorder as this area was not in shot at the time. Unfortunately this means this occurrence does little to provide any hard evidence, but this was a very interesting occurrence none the less.

The sound of running water could be explained by the fact that it was still raining, and we became aware that there may have been a water course running under that part of the house. We deduced this as there is an old water pump in the kitchen which was obviously once fed by a supply of sorts, especially as the area we were in was once an open court yard.

The repetitive taps heard towards the end of the session were later put down to the rain water and potential drainage system of the house., the above mentioned water course was assumed to also be playing a part in this.

Session three – Return to rear service stairs and corridor (with séance).
We had already decided that the sound of water was not of any relevance as this had already been investigated.

The foot falls heard by Paddy during his period of questioning were described by him as faint and not recorded on our equipment. Whilst this does not disprove what Paddy heard we are unable to confirm this hence we also have to consider that, as they were faint, there may have been someone outside the building.

It is interesting that despite recovering and feeling fine during the preceding break Kim began to develop another cough and feel unwell again, as in the previous session in this location. It is worth noting again than in the breaks and before the start of the investigation she felt fine. We can offer no explanation for why Kim only began to feel unwell whilst in this area of the building.

Some of the further odd random noises that were heard occasionally and remarked on were caught on our footage but they are most probably naturally occurring, therefore, not evidence of any paranormal activity.

Session four – Great Hall – vigil.
The clock heard by Kim was confirmed as being the large wall clock in the main entrance hall.

There was a selection of taps and other noises heard during this session, many of them heard by the whole team, others may be by only one of us. Some of these noises were caught on our camcorder footage. Unfortunately none of these sounds were repeated when requested and so do not appear to be responsive. Because of this and with no evidence to the contrary we have to conclude that they were naturally occurring.

The loud thump near Paddy was heard by the whole team. This is more of interest because, through Paddy's testimony, this also had a physical effect of causing vibration through the floor. This would suggest an object coming into contact with the floor to create the noise and vibration, clearly there was no such object witnessed by us to cause this. This sound was caught on camcorder as well as Paddy's reaction to what he felt. At this point we can offer no explanation for as there was no one else physically with us in the room at the time.

The shuffling heard from the area of the door to the breakfast room is also of interest as this was different to the other taps and creaks we had heard thus far, and also for the fact that it was first heard by Ian then separately by Paddy. Unfortunately these noises were subtle and not picked up by our audio or video equipment, so sadly we have no firm evidence of these events and cannot offer any explanation.

Session five – Breakfast room – vigil.
Some taps and other random noises were heard during this session, some seemingly simply random others appearing to be more responsive, some recorded and some not. It is possible to consider that some of these noises may not have been naturally occurring and were quite possibly paranormal. After a while with more and more noise from differently angles it became apparent that this was unlikely, even though we were unable to explain the cause of these noises. However, just because we did not have an explanation for the noises it does not mean we should dismiss them.

The repeating tap heard up towards the ceiling was investigated. This appeared to sound like an inconsistent drip above the corner of the room, this may have been possible given that we were in a very old house and it had been raining. We could not be certain of this but the possibility meant that we could not conclude this noise had a paranormal origin. It is odd, however, that when Dave asked if this noise had been caused by someone its tone and sound qualities changed. Unfortunately we shall never know the true explanation for this..

The light anomaly caught by Ian's camcorder, despite initially appearing interesting, is most likely to have been a dust particle illuminated by the infra red lamp of the camcorder.

The image Ian had thought was a person's face was briefly checked at the time and may well have been some light reflecting from a wall mounted light switch.

Toward the end of the session Paddy, Dave and Ian all commented on the sound of rustling, light foot falls and movement across the carpet of the room. To the persons in the room at the time there was no doubt that this was the noise that would be caused by someone walking lightly about the room. Unfortunately only a very faint and small amount of this was recorded by our camcorders, therefore, we cannot say conclusively or show evidence to prove that this is what was heard. On a positive note you can tell by the team’s reactions that their testimony is genuine.
During these events Paddy also thought he heard an indistinguishable voice. Sadly as interesting as this is it was not recorded so no comment can be made about this.

During our stay a certain amount of other information was forthcoming to the team of a clairvoyant nature. As Ghost Connections conducts scientifically based investigations we do not publish such observations, however, this information is held on a separate database and may prove interesting when compared to other peoples experiences. Should you wish to discuss this information please email us

Thanks
Many thanks to the Chief Executive and staff of the East Malling Trust for Horticultural Research for kindly allowing us to carry out this investigation. This was a very worth while night and one we hope to repeat
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