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Fort Luton - Chatham, Kent

24th January 2015
   
 
 

Fort Luton was built between 1876 and 1892 on a site overlooking the Luton Valley near Chatham. It was the smallest one of five ‘Outer Ring’ forts that were built to defend the landward approaches to Chatham Dockyard. It was built using convict labour with the materials being transported up from a jetty on Borstal Creek via a light railway. Built too late for service it was never armed or manned permanently but was used for siege trials, the last being in 1907.

During WWI the fort was used as a transit barracks for troops en-route to Europe and after the war it was used as a store. In 1938 work commenced on converting the fort into a Gun Operations Room (G.O.R.) and in August 1939 it opened as G.O.R. for the 27th AA Brigade covering the Thames & Medway South Area.

To our knowledge there have been no reports of paranormal activity at Fort Luton and as such we would treat it as a blank canvas. We believe we are the first people to conduct an investigation on this site.

  The Investigation
To investigate the possibility of paranormal phenomena at this location and establish any causes for any events encountered.

Edited from the 1990's Tourist Map
Investigation:

Due to the fact that it is being restored there were only certain areas open to us on this investigation. We set out with the intention of covering as much of the internal structures as possible in the evening.

Session One:

The team used the furthest magazine accessible from the left tunnel to commence a séance however due to the noises encountered would move out to the tunnel to continue this experiment. During this Dave moved to the main entrance end of the tunnel after Ian had walked the length of it to research noises that appeared to come from the tunnel.

Session Two:

The team located to the one restored casemate that is accessible.

Session Three:

The team returned to the same positions within the tunnel as at the end of session one but Dave positioned half way along the tunnel.

Results

Session One:
Graham had the impression of someone standing between himself and Dave opposite him within the small magazine.

The team initially heard a number of noises emanate from the tunnel. As this wasn't visible from the teams location Ian walked the length of the tunnel. The noises did not repeat themselves during this time as would be expected. Ian did manage to replicate something similar to the tone of the noise heard when he stepped on a loose brick within the the structure of the steps leading up to the main entrance from the tunnel itself.

It was observed that communication could be had between the team easily at normal volume and without much echo. This we found surprising given the normal acoustics of tunnel structures we have investigated.

Given this, Dave moved towards the further end of the tunnel in order to try and establish a source for the noise for sure by physical observation.

Further noises were heard between Dave and the team within the tunnel. None of these were repeated on request although some were close.

Dave had a song come into his head later identified as 'Mademoiselle From Armentières' and questioned the age of this song and its origins. The team did not know and it was decided to research this later.

Dean had thoughts of a hot air balloon crashing and described it as red and white striped. He did not tell us about this until the break.

With little else occurring the team took a break.

Later recordings of this session would reveal voices unheard by the team at the time and one which clearly says “Allo Dean”.

The recordings of session one can be viewed on our video below:

 

 

Break:
Mention is made of this now as we left a camcorder running in the tunnel during the break and all of the team being evidenced to be out of the tunnel and would have been seen to have entered it again on the very camera that was recording.

During the time of this recording various 'light anomalies' can be seen on the footage and noises within the tunnel can be heard including bangs and crashes and sounds very close to the camcorder that may sound like someone walking around.

Similarly audio recordings were made in the refreshment area of an old dormitory casemate. Later analysis of these recordings would highlight what sounds like a high pitched female voice in some distress.

The recordings of the events in the break can be viewed on our video below:

 


Session Two:
The team took to a second accessible casemate for the next investigation. The team spread out in this cavernous space that was divided from the neighbouring one by an inserted wall. There were large paint tubs stored in the alcove by this wall.

During the time in this casemate the team heard various noises and some even seemed to respond to asked repetition. These were investigated.

Session Three:
The team relocated to the tunnel again but spread out more within the tunnel. There was little repeat of noises experienced during session one and the session was concluded.

Recordings made during this session would again reveal possible vocals that were not heard by the team at the time.

The recordings of sessions two and three can be viewed on our video below:



 

Conclusions

Fort Luton has been closed to public access for several years and during that time has fallen into disrepair. We were lucky to be invited here during its restoration. A lot has been done to make it accessible and there is so much more to be done.

Would anything stir to tell us of its feeling of this positive step forward or want to show us its history?

The tunnel is open at its main entrance and had a locked and secured metal gate with mesh covering at the other.

The noises encountered in the tunnel in session one were investigated. Ian walked the full length of the tunnel and when he walked over some of the brick formed steps a similar sound was identified.

When the team relocated into the tunnel Dave positioned himself nearer the entrance and similar noises were heard between him and the team. This meant the steps were not the cause but there was nothing else between that could have been responsible. Cellophane on the ceiling around one of the light fittings was a possible cause but again standing near it did not reveal it to be the source.

Reviews of the footage revealed a voice. This voice can be heard on footage recorded at both ends of the tunnel and is not subject to the slight distortion of the voices when recorded from the opposite ends of the tunnel to the voice in question. This is shown to good effect on the footage. We cannot suppose who would say the words that we believe it said among the team and therefore this remains unexplained.

Dave also recounted a song on his mind. This was identified as Mademoiselle From Armentières- Parlez Vous'. Research was conducted on this title and the following was found -

"Mademoiselle from Armentieres" was a song that was sung during World War I. It is also known by its ersatz French line, Hinky Dinky Parlez-vous (variant: Parley voo). It was considered a risque song.

It is also the third part (the first two being "Has Anyone Seen The Colonel” and “It's A Long Way To Tipperary”of the regimental march of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

The tune of the song was believed to be popular in the French army in the 1830s, and the original words told of the encounter of an inn-keeper's daughter, named Mademoiselle de Bar le Luc, with two German officers. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the tune was resurrected, and again in 1914 when the British Expeditionary Force got to know of it.

The PPCLI was the first Canadian infantry unit to enter World War I arriving in France on December 21, 1914.

During the break a number of different noises can be heard on the recording. The team were in an adjacent room separated by a brick and earthen wall. Their voices can be heard to be deadened by this on the footage. The noises heard are clearer and sound closer. The presence of no solid barrier at either end does not preclude the possibility that some sound from outside the fort caused the recording of it on the footage to sound as though it were in the tunnel yet there are noises which seem to be that of movement around the camcorder itself. It is possible that a rodent entered the tunnel unseen and was around the camcorder but again no evidence of rodent infestation was seen during the investigation and the sounds of movement are not those we have encountered before from rodents.

The 'light anomalies' on the footage during this period have been analysed and appear to be falling dust or debris and / or insects moving within the view of the infra-red lamp attached to the camcorder. These are not believed to be paranormal in nature and have been encountered and explained on other investigations by Ghost Connections.

The audio recordings during the break, whilst containing the conversations of the team and Kyn can also be shown to have a female vocal on them. The only females present were Kim and Kyn. Both have confirmed that they did not make any such noises during this time. The vocal seems almost to be upset and on the point of being hysterical. We cannot explain this.

Dean had described an event involving a hot air balloon. He could not have known or subconsciously recounted an event he had read although we later established the following reproduced from Kyns research on the site -

Tuesday, 4th October, 1892 – The Bury and Norwich Post, and Suffolk Standard.

On Wednesday, three officers, who had traveled in a military balloon for Aldershot, had a narrow escape. They endeavored to descend at Luton Fort, near Chatham, and the grappling iron caught in the roof of a small factory, but the balloon broke away, and the roof was damaged and a portion of the factory chimney demolished. The jerk was such that the officers retained their seats with difficulty. Eventually the grapnel held to a neighbouring tree, by climbing down which the aeronauts reached terra firma.

Back into the investigation proper and session two in the casemate. These were used as accommodation when manned. The noises heard were identified to be drips of water falling from the ceiling onto the paint tubs. This said there were a couple of other noises that were not in the same location and are not explained as the same theory could not be employed due to lack of damp areas where the noises were.

Session three saw us move back into the tunnel. Nothing was reported but the footage again held what seems like human vocals that the team did not make or recall, They were, however, indistinct unlike session one. The source is not known and the content cannot be researched. They remain unexplained if indeed they are unidentified vocals.

Fort Luton appeared quiet on the surface but held some surprising results.

During our time here there was no information forthcoming to the team of a clairvoyant nature. As Ghost Connections conducts scientifically based investigations we would not publish such observations, however, previous information is held on a separate database, which may prove interesting when compared to other peoples experiences. Should you wish to discuss this information please email us.

Thanks
We would like to thank Kyn for her invitation and wish her and her team well with the restoration. We hope to visit again in the near future to continue our study.
         
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