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Rye Castle, Rye, East Sussex

10th April 2010
 

 

 

 

Background:
The Ypres Tower is thought to have been built in 1249 as part of the town’s defences. The Tower has had a chequered history first serving the town as a fort before being sold for use as a private residence in 1439.


The tower changed hands until in 1494 it was put to use as the town gaol housing many prisoners such as vagrants, debtors, beggars, and even those awaiting execution. In 1837 laws were passed requiring the segregation of male and female prisoners so the Women's Tower was built in the south east corner of the exercise yard, along with four more cells against the main towers east wall.


In 1865 the tower was downgraded to a simple lock up until in 1891 a new police station, with cells, was built to serve the town. This was the end of the towers 400 years as a prison. The basement of the tower was later used as the town mortuary.


In 1954 Rye Museum opened the tower using only the ground and first floor, acquiring the basement in 1959 when the mortuary was closed.


The tower is now part of Rye Castle Museum, and along with the associations other building at 3 High Street, it offers a fascinating insight into the history of the town and its castle.

To our knowledge the castle sight has never been investigated so given its history, and the feelings and emotions that would have been felt within its walls, we were very much looking forward to this investigation.

  The Investigation
 

Aim:
To investigate the possibility of paranormal phenomena at this location and to record evidence of possible paranormal activity.

Apparatus:
Camcorders:
Sony DCR HC-62 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 X 2
Pentax K-100D Digital SLR
Voice recorder:
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus DM20
HNSAT DVR958

Other:
Tripods, Torches, Video tapes (MiniDV).

Investigators: Ian, Kim, Paddy and Dave.

Guests: Peter Varley, Vice-Chairman, Rye Museum Association


Method:
Using visual and scientific methods combined with spiritual theory, we had decided to adopt a method of simple vigils but on this occasion separating into two groups, swapping areas in order to compare results and experiences only after all vigils had been completed.

Ian and Kim would start in the women's tower whilst Dave and Paddy dealt with the main tower, and swap after an hour. Then change pairs and locations so Paddy and Ian were in the basement of the main tower, whilst Kim and Dave took first floor, again swapping after an hour. This would provide us with full coverage of the premises over a 4/5 hour period, with the option of returning as a group to the area with the most activity. We also did not rule out the possibility of conducting a séance if we felt this was appropriate. Our guest, Peter Varley, would be invited to join any of these vigils. All the normal equipment as above was deployed around the vicinity of the vigil areas.

Investigation:
First vigil


Women's Tower – Ian and Kim
Ian and Kim had allotted to sit up on the first floor as the ground floor was too cluttered to accommodate this. After taking their seats and allowing time to adjust to the ambient noises in the area both Ian and Kim took turns calling out asking for activity.

Womens Tower - Disused

 


Ypres Tower – Dave, Paddy and Peter

Dave and Paddy decided to spend some time on the ground floor of the tower, being central to the building. Peter decided to accompany them. As with Kim and Ian they spent time adjusting to their surrounding before calling out for activity.


After a period Dave radioed Ian and Kim suggesting it was time for a break and to swap locations, Ian and Kim asked for little while longer and stayed for another ten minuets before we all stopped for a brief break and swapping.


Second Vigil
Women's Tower – Dave Paddy and Peter
Paddy Dave and Peter went to the tower and took up seats in the same location used by Ian and Kim and conducted a vigil in the same manner.


Ypres Tower – Ian and Kim

Kim and Ian moved the ground floor of the tower following in Dave and Paddy's footsteps but rather than sit in the open central area, they felt the urge so sit in the south west corner cell, they took their seats facing out through the door onto the open central area. From here they conducted a vigil in the usual manner. It is known that this cell was possibly once padded and used to house the more difficult prisoners or “lunatics”. Towards the end of the session they decided to leave the cell and spend some time in the main floor area.


Third Vigil
Basement (Mortuary), Ypres Tower– Dave and Paddy
In a change to our plan we stayed in our original pairs. Dave and Paddy went to the basement of the tower, which was known to be the former town mortuary and began conducting their vigil.

 
First Floor, Ypres Tower– Ian, Kim and Peter
Kim and Ian, this time accompanied by Peter, took their place up on the first floor of the tower. Kim sat in the south west cell on this floor whilst Ian and guest, Peter, sat in the open floor area.


It was found soon after starting this second set of vigils that the each group could hear the other, something were not previously aware of. This would have the effect of invalidating any possible recorded results, so it was decided to merge into one group vigil returning to the ground floor.


Fourth Vigil
Ground Floor, Ypres Tower – whole group
This was the chosen location as any noise that had thus far been heard could be heard from anywhere in the tower, so we decided to stay in a central location. Kim and Ian sat themselves in the south west cell where they had sat for their earlier vigil. Paddy and Dave sat by and in the south east cell and Peter sat in the centre of the main floor. Time was spent calling for activity and watching for results.


Fifth Vigil
Ground floor, Ypres Tower – 2nd group team vigil
After a break we decided to have one last attempt at gathering some evidence so chose to return as a group to the ground floor, This time with Paddy and Dave in the south west cell, swapping locations with Ian and Kim, Peter returned to the centre of the main room.
After spending some more time calling for activity in this location it was decided that the late hour and the cold had beaten us so with agreement from Peter it was decided to end the investigation.

  Results
 

First vigil
First floor women's Tower – Ian and Kim
The odd taps and knocks seem to have started as soon as Ian and Kim began asking for activity, a lot of these were captured, albeit faintly, on the camcorder footage, the more audible of these, as well other can be seen in the video that accompanies this report.


Kim noticed a light shine against the south wall.


Odd taps continued but although some were on the camcorder footage Kim and Ian seem not to notice these or comment. Other noises are also heard some in response to asking for the same.


Ian hears what he thinks is a moan.


Whilst Kim was calling out both she and Ian are astounded by the sounds of footfalls within the room moving across the floor, the vibration caused by these was felt through their feet. This event was recorded on camcorder as was the heavy breath that occurred a few seconds later, the latter was not heard by Ian or Kim as they make no comment on it. Kim then feels a buzzing against her right ear.


Kim then said her vision of the room “shifted” like the jumping of an old movie.


As Ian continues to call allowed a faint sound of whistling can be heard on the camcorder footage but again was not heard by Ian and Kim at the time.
Ian and Kim both comment on what appears to be a display of flashing pinpricks of light against the south wall.


Feeling convinced they were not alone Kim asks for a physical touch and Ian immediately feels a cold gust of air across his right ear.
Ian feels a touch on his chest.


Ian Kim and Ian discuss the possible age of the people imprisoned, possibly as young as twelve or thirteen years old, a tap followed by another is heard and recorded.
After an hour the other group radioed to call an end to the first vigil but Kim and Ian asked for further time before they left the location.


After a couple of minutes more calling for activity a series of loud thumps followed by a female whine was heard by both Kim and Ian, the thumps were recorded but sadly the whine was not.


It was later found on the footage 50 minutes and 40 seconds into the vigil Ian's camcorder stopped recording but instantly restarted again creating a second video file on the memory card that was in use. Only a few seconds of the vigil appear to have been lost.

Ypres Tower – Dave, Paddy and Peter
Paddy and Dave chose to seat themselves within the main room as opposed to the corner cells and conduct their vigil from there. Peter remained with them throughout this session.

There were intermittent noises emanating from two areas of the room at much dispersed intervals. These sounded as though something metallic was being hit
A slight tap or breath noise was heard. Co-incidentally this was at a similar time as Dave noted that the right side of his face was suddenly warmer than the rest of him almost like being touched and feeling the warmth of another's hand.

Immediately prior to the conclusion of this session a loud tap was heard coming from an area of the west wall of the tower at around head height on the wall. This was immediately in response to a question from Dave.

Second Vigil
First floor women's Tower – Dave Paddy and Peter
Paddy, Dave and Peter took up positions in the first floor area where Kim and Ian had been.

Dave immediately had a sensation of a ringing in the ears which eventually cleared.

In response to questioning there were a number of very faint noises in the area of a metal shelving unit by the east wall. They were also produced louder on request.

Dave was sat by the door to the top of the stairs, which they had closed upon entry into the room.

Dave then felt a touch on his left upper leg which he could only describe as a finger tips being run from the top of his leg towards his knee.
A run of approximately 5 taps were heard on the floor between Paddy and Dave. Dave then made a sequence of three taps himself and asked for them to be repeated. A further two were forthcoming although faint.

A further sequence of odd taps was heard around the room without repetition.

A sequence of footfalls was heard between Dave and the door itself.

Ypres Tower – Ian and Kim
It wasn't long till Ian complained heavy headed.


A couple of taps are heard on Ian's camcorder footage whilst they discuss the use of the cell, these were not heard by either of them at the time.


Ian complained of a tight cramp in his stomach, which combined with his “heady” feeling led him to the conclusion that it was unpleasant sitting in this location.
Despite being a fairly mild night Kim complained of feeling cold.


Both Kim and Ian hear a creaking or rustling sound next to them in the cell so Kim asked if anyone was with them in the cell. No response.
Ian tried calling aloud, this was met by the faint sound of a grunt within the cell, and a loud crack outside the cell and a fainter tap shortly after, these were recorded on Ian's camcorder audio.


A further noise was heard within the cell but this was not recorded on our equipment.


Kim was still feeling cold.


Kim called aloud like a screaming prisoner “oi” this was followed by another crack and a thump, both recorded on camcorder audio but it appears only the first heard by the both of them. An icy blast into the cell through the door soon followed.


Kim began to cough and to feel unwell but then asked for more noises , this was followed by more taps. Ian called out after this, a loud crack was heard again, these events were captured on our footage.


Kim s coughing became worse and painful before subsiding leaving her throat hurting. She also complained of sore pain over her neck that was not there before.
Ian hears movement from the room outside the cell, this is followed by a couple of taps recorded on camcorder.


Voices were then heard from outside as a group of young people but at the same time Ian and Kim heard a series of loud thumps from the main room, all this was also recorded.


Towards the end of the session more questioning took place and more noises were heard and recorded.

Third vigil
Basement (Mortuary), Ypres Tower– Dave and Paddy
No recognisable results were forthcoming during this vigil


First Floor, Ypres Tower– Ian, Kim and Peter
The noise of the town and passing cars was more noticeable.
As Ian began calling aloud for activity a tap is heard in response but this was not repeated on request. Further odd noises were also heard and recorded on camcorder. Ian continued to call out for a response, explaining what responses we needed and why, as he did so further of taps were heard. More single taps were heard some in direct response to Ian's request for such, but none were repeated when requested.


Further into this vigil another request from Ian was met by a tap from the area of the staircase. Ian asked for a repeat that was forthcoming. When Ian asked for two taps, this also happened. Unfortunately these were not all recorded on the camcorder footage as, although the initial noise was recorded the following multiple taps that Ian requested were not.


Dave radioed from the basement to ask if the group had heard the same couple of noises that had been experienced in the basement, and had they emanate from the upper areas? It was concluded that these were possibly the same as those recently witnessed by Ian and Peter.


Mumblings were also heard but it became obvious that Dave and Paddy could be heard in the basement through the ventilation grills in the floor. They in turn moved up to the ground floor for a short while.


After Dave and Paddy returned to the basement Ian continued his requests for activity. At one point referring to the odd noises that had been heard and that two were needed when requested, he asked for two again and two immediate clicks are heard on the camcorder footage, but these appear not to have been heard by them at the time as they are not commented on. They did sound metallic, a noise that was again caught by the camcorders audio a few minutes later, accompanied by the sound of shuffling. Again none of this appears to have been noticed by the team at the time.

Fourth Vigil
Ground floor, Ypres Tower – Group team vigil
Some odd taps were heard as Dave began calling out. After a period with nothing to comment on Ian took this over after Dave suggested a repeat of what Ian and Kim had done in a previous vigil, which had seemed to provoke responses.

As Ian did this some taps and the sound of movement can be heard on the video footage but as the team do not comment we can assume that these were not heard at the time.

As Ian persisted he and Kim comment on a sound heard within the south west cell.

Kim began coughing, this seemed to worsen as Ian continued. The vigil progressed to the point that Kim became very uncomfortable and unwell, ultimately giving us reason to end the vigil.

Fifth Vigil
Ground floor, Ypres Tower – 2nd group team vigil
Despite calling for some activity there were little or no results recorded during this vigil. Two taps are heard at the start of the footage that were not heard by the team at the time, the whole group also witnessed a loud “crack”. A further one was also heard after the point was made that we would be leaving soon , and this was anyone's last chance to communicate with us. At one point Kim and Ian thought they heard movement within the south east cell where Kim was seated. Ian also reported seeing a flash of light across a post card stand.

  Conclusions
 

First vigil
First floor women's Tower – Ian and Kim
It is worth pointing out that the tower is made of stone and has very little timber in its construction, therefore, there was little or no movement of the building that could contribute towards the amount of odd taps and knocks heard during this vigil. Some appeared to be responsive to a request for this others appeared random, some were louder than others and only few of them were substantial enough to have been recorded by our equipment. Although it is possible that temperature, building movement and exterior sources can contribute to these we cannot explain all of them.


The two louder occurrences of what appeared to be both footfalls and a repeated thumping against the south east corner of the room defy explanation. These can be clearly heard on our video footage. The former was also felt through the soles of Kim and Ian's feet so they can testify that these were against the floor in an open area of the room where nothing can be seen to have caused them, therefore, with no explanation to the contrary, we have to conclude that this was a paranormal occurrence. The same can be said of the series of thumps against the corner of the room. The exterior of the building was later checked and found not to be adjoining another property and the area in question was at least twenty feet in the air, therefore, could not have been caused by someone outside the building. Sadly the whine Ian and Kim heard immediately after the second series of thumps was not recorded so cannot be analysed further.


The light Kim saw against the south wall may well have been an exterior light source shinning in through the window that was behind us.


The moan heard by Ian was recorded on our footage but has been analysed and is now believed to be the noise of a car in the town below.


Both Ian and Kim felt as though they had been touched at some point, it would be possible to misinterpret a draft from a window or an unseen passing insect as paranormal phenomena, especially given Ian and Kim's heightened sense of excitement given what they thought was occurring, unfortunately we have no evidence to support what they thought they experienced other than their personal testimony, so cannot comment further on this.


Kim's comment that the room appeared to “shift” like the jumping of an old movie was certainly an odd unexplained occurrence according to Kim herself, but this was not experience by Ian neither was it recorded as the camcorder face the opposite direction. This may have been the effect of the shadows, poor lighting and/or tired eyes, unfortunately we shall never know. This may also explain why Ian and Kim thought they saw a series of flashing pinpricks of light against the south wall. Again sadly the camcorder was not pointing in the right direction to capture this.


The sound of whistling was not commented on by Ian or Kim so was not heard at the time, the recording is very faint but amplified this can just be heard, however, there is nothing to exclude that this may have been someone outside passing by, therefore, is not conclusive evidence.


The fact that the camcorder appeared to stop then start recording again is interesting as interference with electrical equipment is a documented phenomena. However, we can never rule out that the equipment itself was at fault.


Ypres Tower – Dave, Paddy and Peter
The repeated noise was to be identified as coming from two distinct areas where there were radiators on the wall. The museum has to be kept as close as possible to a constant temperature to prevent damp and therefore these cannot turn off. As the temperature remained fairly constant throughout the night it is believed that this ignition of the radiator was responsible for the metallic noise which was likely to have been caused by the expansion of the metal casing causing it to make this noise.

The slight noise mentioned was not recorded and neither was it identified. It remains unaccounted for.

The sensation felt by Dave is unexplained. He was not seated near to the radiator and so this is unlikely to be the source of heat. When he placed his own hand upon his face it felt no warmer than the other side.

The loud tap was clearly sounding and was recorded on the footage. The area of the wall that everyone present identified it as coming from was examined and there was nothing mounted in that area. There was no immediately obvious source for the noise and it remains unexplained.


Second Vigil
First floor women's Tower – Dave Paddy and Peter
The ringing in Dave's ears is difficult to explain although the team have, individually and as a group experienced the same phenomena at other locations. We have yet to find any particular cause or explanation for its occurrence.

It is possible there were rodents within this part of the building as there appeared to be no rodent repellent devices. These may have been responsible for these noises although none were seen or heard to make other noises. The production of louder noises may be entirely co-incidental. These noises were unfortunately not caught on the footage due to their faint nature.

Whilst having to take Dave's word for this sensation we can say that we know he was not near any objects which could have touched his leg by any involuntary movement of himself or any movement of any objects.

It is not certain what caused the 5 initial noises but it seemed an opportune moment to see if by request and example the sequence given could be repeated. Two returned is better than none although three would have given us more cause to investigate the phenomena and draw a more accurate conclusion. We do not know if the repetition of only two is merely co-incidental or whether this was a genuine attempt at some kind of communication.

No conclusion can be drawn from the odd noises heard.

The noises of footfalls are somewhat unique in nature and we know there were no animals within the room of adequate size. Nothing was seen in the area to be a likely cause and nothing further was repeated. They were faint and not recorded although were heard by all present. The cause is unknown.

Ypres Tower – Ian and Kim
Ian's tight stomach and heaviness of head may well have been caused by the confines of the cell, that or something he had eaten earlier, although this he refutes. Needless to say we cannot explain the reason for this but doubt it was paranormal in nature.


There was a lot of potential audible phenomena during this vigil, most of which was recorded on the camcorder's audio, some, however, was not. But it can be said that those not recorded were definitely heard by Kim and Ian as can be clearly seen in their reaction in the footage. We are at this time unable to explain the majority of these noises given that the building is constructed of stone and building movement would not account for this amount of audible phenomena.


Both Ian and Kim tried calling out for activity and in some cases the response seemed almost immediate. Its unfortunate that these noises were not then repeated when requested as we cannot eliminate the possibility that this is just coincidental natural noise.


The fact that Kim felt cold could be explained given that it was an old building and potentially draughty. However this has to be offset against the fact that Ian was feeling very warm.


We can offer no reason for why Kim became unwell and started to cough violently causing pain to her throat and neck. An inspection of her neck in the minuets after the vigil revealed to be what looks like a hand print across her neck. Although we know Kim had touched her neck whilst in discomfort it was only for a second at a time and certainly not long enough to have caused such a reaction on her skin, we do find this to be very interesting.

Third Vigil
Basement (Mortuary), Ypres Tower– Dave and Paddy
With no recorded results it is not possible to draw any conclusions from this vigil.


First Floor, Ypres Tower– Ian, Kim and Peter
Taps were heard but the source was unidentifiable. Some of these were seemingly in response to requests for this to happen, the fact that some of these noises were recorded give us the chance to analyse these further, but at this time we do not know the nature of these noises, therefore, cannot conclude that they are paranormal in nature.

Additionally some noises were heard at the time and repeated on request, even to the point that when multiple taps were requested these were heard shortly after. Unfortunately not all those involved heard these and neither were the multiple responses recorded by our equipment, so this is not evidential.

The most interesting evidence gathered on this vigil was only found after watching back the video footage. Unheard at the time Ian asked for two taps in response to a single tap he thought he had heard. This was followed by two very obvious metallic taps, like two pieces of metal being hit together. This was not heard or commented on at the time. A few seconds after this event the same noise is heard although in a more random way, like the jangling of keys! No explanation can be found for this noise, especially as it was not heard at the time and able to be investigated. We have no explanation for these events but the footage can be seen on the accompanying video.


Fourth Vigil
Ground floor, Ypres Tower – Group team vigil
By this time we felt that we had reasonable explanations for some of the noises we were hearing, but not all.


No source for the sound of movement heard by Ian and Kim in the south west cell could be found, neither can we explain the sounds that were not heard by them at the time, although we do appreciate this could have been caused by an unseen rodent.


We cannot explain why Kim began to cough eventually quite violently. What we do know is that she felt fine with no symptoms prior to being in this area. The area was not dusty or awkward to breathe in and no one else suffered from the same problem.

Fifth Vigil
Ground floor, Ypres Tower – 2nd group team vigil
The two Taps caught on the video footage are faint and the source cannot be identified at this time.


The loud crack heard by the whole team had been identified by Paddy as coming from a radiator, this was the same noise Ian and Kim, and also Peter when he accompanied them, had heard during vigils elsewhere in the Ypres Tower. Therefore, this provides an adequate explanation for what was previously heard. The fact that a moment later this noise was heard after Ian asked for communication could be simply coincidental, as were the previous occurrences that evening.

  Summary
  In all this was a great investigation at a fantastic venue. Early indications were that we were in for a very eventful night and indeed some of the experiences and results recorded were very interesting. It is, however, a shame that as can frequently happen the level of phenomena encountered dwindles during the course of the investigation. But we have been left with some good footage and some unexplainable occurrences, in particular the footsteps and other noises heard in the women's tower. The fact that these were experienced on two completely separate vigils by different people is of great interest, and we would very much like to return at some point to see if this occurs again.

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 Rye Museum Association for kindly allowing us to investigate the Ypres Tower. Please take time to visit their website , or better still, pop down and have a look for yourself
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