Investigations Forum The Team Fakery Contact Us

 

 

Tonbridge Castle - Kent. Revisited
Aim:
To investigate and further our studies into possible paranormal activity at this location.

Background:
Tonbridge has been a market town since the Middle Ages when the Normans chose it for their splendid mote and bailey castle, which dominates the town. Tonbridge Castle is an 11th century earthwork mote and bailey fortress, founded by Richard fitz Gilbert, and is one of the finest remaining examples in England.

The original wooden keep shown in the artists impression above was built by fitz Gilbert and was burnt down in 1088. In the 12th century, the de Clare family founded the stone castle and added a northern outer bailey, encased by a wooden palisade. The mote, which supports the foundations of a shell keep, is defended on its outer edge by a wet ditch. Standing on the north bank of the River Medway, are the remains of the inner bailey curtain wall but sadly the towers which flanked the angles are missing.

 
Adjacent to the mote, stands Gilbert de Clare, magnificent 13th century five storey gatehouse. The defences were badly damaged after the Civil War and it was further demolished in the 1730's although the lower part of the southern walls are still visible along the river.

The house adjoining the gatehouse was built with stone from the walls in 1793. The castle underwent extensive renovation work in the summer of 2003 culminating in the roof being installed on the castle. This work was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. As part of the renovation, dramatic lighting effects have been created as well as a new audio tour guiding visitors around the castle and bringing history to life. www.tonbridgecastle.org

Staff had previously reported seeing an unexplained red light from outside the castle through the first floor privy window, as well as odd feeling as though not alone whilst locking up for the night. No other phenomena are known to be reported here although on our previous investigation some EVP evidence (Electronic Voice Phenomena) was recorded

 

 

 

 

 

The Investigation
Apparatus:

Video camera:
Sony DCR HC-24E with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light
Sony DCR-HC30E with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light
Sony DCR-HC19E with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light
Samsung VP-D351 with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light

Digital Camera:
Fuji Fine Pix S5000
Fuji Fine Pix S5500 x 2
Nikon Coolpix 3100

Voice recorder:
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus DM20

Thermometer:
Calibrated thermometer with probe

EMF:
Gauss EMF Meter
Spectral Electronics 2G EMF Meter

Other:
Environment Meter
Active IR Beam Doorway Sensors x 2
Tripods
Torches
Tapes (MiniDV)


Investigators:
Kim, Ian, Paddy, Dave


Method:
Our methods this time were to be simple, a mixture of simply sitting quietly conducting vigils in different locations whilst asking for communication as well as the occasional experimental séance to see if the different format would produce results. We had no preset plan for the evening, but once we arrived we decided on a couple of locations within the gatehouse to do this. And for the first time we decided to expand the investigation to include part of the basement of the adjacent 17th century manor house.

The Investigation:
The team arrived at Tonbridge Castle and proceeded to the obligatory pre-investigation feast at the local KFC, as has become the norm when we are at this venue. We returned to the castle at 8.30 pm when we set up base camp in the basement of the adjacent manor house and discussed ideas for the night ahead.

The manor house has stairs that run from the basement to the ground floor that would have been used by the servants and will have been a hive of activity, so Kim placed her motion sensors across these. Ian placed his across the top of the east stairs in the gatehouse, these would have lead to what’s known as the great hall all be it there is no floor at this level any more. The rest of the kit used that night, ie: cameras, camcorders and digital voice recorders moved with us from location to location.

We started at the east end of the main hall with a vigil, silent at first to allow us time to adjust to the natural noises to be heard. It was early and street noise and passers by could be clearly heard as well as the wind knocking the flag pole on top of the eastern stair well. The area was draughty and there was an amount of dust in the air that had to be borne in mind when we reviewed our photographs and footage. The temperature was 14.3 degrees centigrade, EMF registered 0. Kim’s camcorder was facing the doorway into the hall from the eastern stairwell, Dave’s was facing up to the higher level doorway into the hall from the western stairwell, Paddy and Ian’s camcorders were facing into the area where the team were assembled. Paddy, Kim and Dave’s voice recorders were all running.

Unlike previously the team were feeling a little disturbed by something around them, Kim and Paddy both commented on some movement suggesting a figure in the upper doorway/landing where Dave’s camcorder was facing. Dave also saw a dim light source in the same area which appeared to move out then back into the darkness of the stairwell. Kim felt very conscious of someone in the castle with us that was loitering around the eastern entrance to the hall from the staircase, someone who was watching us. She is very drawn to this area and was expecting someone to run up the stairs and join us. The temperature had now dropped to 13.7 degrees centigrade, which was not unusual.

We began to draw our time in this location to a close by trying some verbal communication which resulted in a few previously unheard noises and an amount of sudden coldness felt by all the team. Still we chose to close this session to have a break and discuss the night’s events so far.

After the break we returned to the main hall to see if what we had start to feel was still there. Dave had to change the tape in his camcorder so took time to investigate the cause of the light source he saw in the upper doorway during the last session, and found an arrow slit where light could have shone in through. He also saw a plaque on the wall that could have reflected any incoming light and he felt this could have explained what he thought he had saw earlier. He also changed the area he was filming to the lower western doorway into the main hall. The temperature and EMF readings remain unchanged from before. All other camcorders and voice recorders were again running. The effects lingered for a while there were a few further noises and both Dave and Paddy thought they saw a figure of a man hiding in the shadows, but as soon as he was observed he moved. There were two separate “thuds” heard from the eastern stairwell sounding as though they came from the basement area. Nothing more occurred in that area so after an hour we closed the second session.

After another brief break and discussion we stayed within the basement of the manor house and sat at the foot of the servant’s staircase. Paddy sat on the staircase, Dave in the doorway of an opposite room. Ian and Kim were seated in the area at the foot of the stairs. The temperature was 15.7 degrees centigrade, no EMF readings were taken in view of the interference caused by the large amount of electrical wiring throughout the basement. Again our camcorders covered the area we were in and voice recorders were on. At one point Paddy thought he saw something float down passed Dave and on to between Ian and Kim. Kim was very drawn to the area of the flight of stairs where Paddy was sitting but was unsure why. She then thought she saw what looked like someone’s head pop up from behind the pile of pallets by the staircase and situated behind Ian, she drew a picture what she thought she saw.


 

 

We reconvened the east basement area of the gate house currently used as a display area. Temperature was 14 degrees centigrade and EMF was again 0. Tiredness was setting in as was Dave’s nasty cold, which seemed to be spreading to Paddy, Kim had had an upset stomach and for a change Ian was feeling fine if a little tired and fidgety. But despite this we decided not to give up just yet. We sat in this are for sometime again adjusting to our surroundings then continued the silence listening for anything out of the ordinary, but nothing was heard. Given all our ailments and tiredness we had to call it a night left the area and returned to base camp. It didn’t take long to collect and pack away our kit and left the venue after putting in a solid six hours of investigating.

 

 

Results
Results were few and far between.

- Our motion sensors were not triggered.

- The movement up in the west stairwell seen by Kim, Dave and Paddy (Ian was facing the other way) could possibly be explained light shinning in through an arrow slit and then possible reflecting of the plaque on the wall, but then this may not have been the cause at all.

- The apparent nervousness, apprehension and sense of being watched felt by some of the team at the outset of the investigation cannot be explained. We have been her before and felt perfectly comfortable all night so why was this occasion different?

- The figure thought to have been seen by Paddy and Dave could have been an effect of tired cold filled eyes playing tricks with the shadows, but again this cannot be truly explained.

- The two distinct thuds hear coming up the stairs, may well have been from an exterior source given the proximity of the castle to the High Street and the potential for late night passers by. However, there was no sound of anyone outside the building leading up to this moment and all the team heard and agreed at that moment that the noise came from the stairs and basement rather than outside. These remain unexplained.

- What Paddy saw floating in the basement could well be explained as dust, cobwebs or other light debris in the air.

- The head that Kim saw pop up behind the pallets could well have been the effects of shadows playing on tired eyes, but again this is something we will never truly know for sure.

Further scrutiny of all the video and audio footage is needed but so far nothing out of the ordinary was recorded, should anything be found later this report will be updated.


 
Conclusions
Tonbridge castle always proves to be a difficult place to investigate. There is always very little to be heard or seen to help you remain focused while you are investigating there. The place almost seems to be virtually empty of any paranormal activity, which is odd given its age and everything that has happened there during its 900 year history. Because of this we have had very few results and are once again unable to draw any firm conclusions about the place. What little we have at least goes to prove one thing, being that this place is worthy of further investigation, and hopefully one day whoever is still resident there may choose that moment to reveal themselves.

There was an amount of information forthcoming of a clairvoyant/psychic kind, but this cannot be validated. 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 to -
  Once again we pass on our thanks to the owners of this magnificent venue, for allowing us access for the night, and also for their trust.

12th May 2007

 
2004/2007 Ghost Connections UK