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Canterbury Tales - Canterbury, Kent

12th July 2014

The Canterbury Tales has been a major tourist attraction in Canterbury in Kent since the mid 1980's when it was constructed within the shell of St Margaret's Church. At this time the opportunity was taken to remove the floor and conduct an archaeological dig. Fortunately this has enabled us to know exactly what the history of the land was and what has been constructed on it.

The remains of a Roman bath house were found on top of which were constructed the earliest stages of the church. It is believed there was a Saxon church on the site although evidence has not been found. It is certainly early Norman with the first recorded reference being in 1153. It was rebuilt and enlarged around this time and altered again in the 14th Century. It remained pretty much as is until 1770 when the road was widened and the east end truncated to allow this. In 1850 it was restored and the east end rebuilt into the short apse we see today.

Other than damage to the tower it was largely unaffected by the severe bombing that Canterbury suffered during the Second World War. In 1958 it was opened as a church and institute for the deaf and closed in 1983. Interestingly it is still owned by the Diocese of Canterbury and behind all the fabric of the Canterbury Tales exhibits it remains a church.

There are reports of paranormal activity within the venue but Ghost Connections were not privy to them prior to investigating.

The Canterbury Ghost Tour provides a tale or two associated with the church and its crypt and in 2008 two evenings of Electronic Voice Phenomena experiments were conducted. There have been no other known investigations like ours on the site that we are aware of.

It is worth noting that despite the tales of a crypt no such structure was found in the 1986 excavations although some burial vaults were found.

Following submission of this report to The Canterbury Tales we will hope to receive some of the accounts from this building so that they can be added as all we were told was that it was haunted. Read on to see what we experienced on a night alone with the mannequins.



  The Investigation
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 S1600
Fuji Fine Pix S5500
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-38 X 2
Fujifilm f47 fd

Voice recorder:
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus DM20
Olympus LS-11

Tripods, Torches, Video tapes (MiniDV)

Investigators: Ian, Kim, Paddy, Dave, Graham and Dean.

Using our normal visual, audible and scientific methods we were to investigate this venue and attempt to record any events of paranormal activity at this venue. .


Session one – Vigil Pardoners Tale
The team sat themselves the ground floor area and up the stairs of the street scene. Camcorders and voice recorders were running whilst the team listened and adjusted to the ambient natural noises before starting to call out asking for evidence and activity.

Session two – Vigil Wife Of Bath and Millers Tale

The team set up and separated into three groups of two spreading themselves along the various displays in the middle section of the attraction. Dave and Ian in the Millers Tale, Kim and Graham in the Wife Of Bath Tale and Paddy and Dean further around. Kim and Graham joined hands to create a small circle.
Later in the session Ian suggests opening the small door to the rear of the Wife Of Bath Tale that leads to the east end of what was the nave, this may expose the team to some of the original area of the church, may be promoting some activity. Dave and Ian join Kim and Graham in the central Wife Of Bath area near this door. With Dave and Ian joining them Kim suggested a séance between the four of them. Towards the end of this the team attempted an EVP session before closing the session.

Session three – Becket's Shrine
For this session the team moved on further round the exhibition to the area depicting the tomb of a knight. We sat together around the area wherever we could make ourselves comfortable. Still photographs were taken and the normal camcorders and voice recorders were running. After we settled down Dave began calling out for some activity. Another EVP session was attempted. After half an hour, with our time here drawing to an end and with little happening we decided to move on and try elsewhere.

Session four – Return to the Pardoners Tale
The team returned to where they started the investigation given that they felt this area to be the most active, and with not much time left available to us it was thought this would be best to give us more chance of catching some activity before the end of the investigation. Camcorders, voice recorders and other equipment was deployed throughout the area as before.


Session one – Vigil Pardoners Tale
Some members of the team felt an air of anxiety at the start of the investigation. And after not long started to hear noises from within the building. After only five minutes Ian was startled by a scrapping noise directly beside him, this was heard by other members of the team.

Paddy thought he saw something move whilst looking in Ian’s direction.

A knock is heard as Kim calls aloud for a response. Following this further noises are heard from the upper gallery.

A loud knock is heard next to Paddy.

Kim hears what sounds like a foot step and shortly after thinks she sees a shadow.

Ian sees a floating light dart left to right across the door at the top of the lower street scene that leads to the next area.

Dave calls out, as he does so Kim and Ian hear a shuffling nearby.

Ian is startled by what he thinks is a figure looking down from the balcony above.

Dean, who had moved to the upper level of the Pardoners Tale, thought he heard something dragging. Some others heard this and compared it to the noise near Ian at the start of the session.

After video and audio recordings were reviewed in the following week some remarkable EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) was captured, not on camcorder audio, but only recorded on our digital voice recorders.

After session some of our camcorders and voice recorders were left running whilst we had a break, nothing unusual was recorded.

Session two. - Vigil in Wife Of Bath and Millers Tales
Dave comments on the odd acoustics in this area.

Dave and Ian hear a crack sound coming from the carpenters display near them.

Noises can be heard coming from the roof and music can be heard quite clearly.

Kim felt something touch her forehead and is also getting a nervous feeling in her chest.

Dave and Ian hear another noise or tap in their section so Ian asks for a repeat but nothing was forthcoming.

Some loud noises or knocking was heard and this time not coming from the roof, these were at floor level.

As Dave and Ian joined hands for the séance with Kim and Graham, there was an immediate repeated thump like foot falls heard. Dave began calling aloud for more of a response, a tap was heard behind Graham.

Dave comments on a creak then a tap is heard against Ian’s camcorder.

Kim feels a hot tight and sore sensation over her face followed by something touching her ankle. Kim could sense Paddy standing right behind her but Paddy then pointed out that he wasn’t that close to her, this startled Kim as she put him right behind her. Ian asked who was there and looked at this area and a faint noise was heard on the floor.
Various sensations were felt by some team members so Dave led an EVP session.

Kim recounted the name “Crispin”.

Dave senses a draught.

As with after session one we left our camcorders and voice recorders were left running whilst we had a break, sadly again nothing unusual was recorded.

Session three – Becket's Shrine area
At one point a loud series of footfalls was heard by the team and recorded on video audio.

Another EVP session was attempted. Some movement was heard as Dave started this EVP session.

Later into this session the loud sound of a door shutting was heard by the team, this definitely came from inside the building.

Session four - Return to the Pardoners Tale
We spent our last half hour of our time here continuing to ask for activity that could be recorded. During a brief conversation between the team members some of wines and noises were picked up on the camcorder audio that were not heard by the team at the time. Nothing else occurred.


Session one – Vigil Pardoners Tale
The scrapping noise heard by the team was recorded on audio and video, but despite discussion at the time and more since we cannot identify what this was, and it remains unexplained. It was not repeated on request.

The movement Paddy thought he saw was tested as he asked Ian at the time if he had moved, Ian moved about to eliminate this possibility and Paddy was satisfied that what he saw was not caused by Ian.

The knock heard by the team as Kim was calling out was recorded but not repeated, this could have had any number of natural causes, therefore, we cannot conclude this was paranormal. The further noises were later identified as possibly seagulls walking on the roof although some were convinced the noise of movement was across the upper floor.

The foot step heard by Kim was not recorded, the shadow she thought she saw was tested by asking Dean and Dave to move to see if it was them causing this, it was not and we cannot explain how Kim saw this.

No conclusions can be drawn about the light Ian thought he saw as with camcorders pointing the other way there is no footage to scrutinise.

The figure Ian thought he saw on the balcony was later thought to be an illusion caused by its construction.

The EVP recorded has been proven not to have been one of the team, and it is perplexing that it was only recorded on digital voice recorder. This may have been due to the placement of the devices around the area. We are convinced this noise is a vocalisation, it consists of at least six syllables, and one or two of the words spoken are clearly distinguishable. We have no logical explanation for how this and we are certain this was from in the building with us, so have concluded it is a genuine example of EVP. This can be heard in the investigation video that accompanies this report and is worth a listen!

Session two - Vigil in Wife Of Bath and Millers Tales
The odd acoustics that Dave referred to in this area would have certainly played a part in some of the noises heard. The odd taps heard by Dave and Ian had had no immediate explanation, but were not repeated on request so were probably naturally occurring.

The noises coming from the roof were attributed to the seagulls we knew were walking on the roof, and the music was easily explained as the club next door was hosting a live band.

Kim experienced a lot of personal sensations during this session. Her forehead being touched and later on, tighter, hotter sensations over her face. She was also adamant that there was someone directly behind her when there wasn’t. We cannot explain or draw any conclusions from why she felt these sensations. Some would say this it is possible that a spirit may have been close to and attempting to affect her. We can never prove or disprove this so for now will have to rely on solely Kim’s testimony as to what she experienced.

The repeated thumps or possible footfalls heard just as the séance started were recorded on audio and camcorder footage. We are certain these were at floor level and not another noise from the seagulls. At this time we cannot explain what caused these.

Kim's recounting of the name Crispin is of interest given the early history of the site.

Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the French Christian patron saints of cobblers, curriers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, ending up at Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls whilst making shoes by night.

Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones around their necks. Though they survived, they were beheaded by the Emperor c. 286.

An alternative account gives them to be sons of a noble Romano-Briton family which lived at Canterbury, following their father's murder for displeasing the Roman Emperor. As they were approaching maturity their mother sent them to London to seek apprenticeship and to avoid coming to the attention of their father's killer. Travelling there, the brothers came across a shoemaker's workshop at Faversham and decided to travel no further and stayed in Faversham where there is a plaque commemorating their association with the town. They are also commemorated in the name of the ancient pub "Crispin and Crispianus" at Strood. This account fails to explain how the brothers came to be venerated and martyred.

We would have to conclude that any other odd noise heard during this session was naturally occurring and there was nothing definitive heard over the contaminating noise from outside.

There were no results from the EVP session conducted.

Session three – Becket's Shrine area
The first noises heard in this session, heavy footfalls, were thought to be from the pavement outside, we were now at ground level and there were a lot of people passing by in the street.

The sound of movement heard as Dave started the EVP session was possibly from within the building but given we had just heard footfalls from outside we cannot discount that this sound of movement was also from the same source.

The sound of a door closing within the building was checked at the time. All the team were accounted for so Dave radioed, Callum, the only member of staff left on the premises, for confirmation that it was not him, he confirmed that he had not moved from the office and had not shut any doors. It was recorded but currently we cannot give an explanation as to what caused this as it was elsewhere in the building. But this is very interesting.

Session four - Return to the Pardoners Tale
We have to say that by this point the noise contamination from outside the building caused by either passers by, seagulls on the roof or the band playing in the adjacent building make it very difficult to form any conclusions about any odd sounds that we heard or recorded. Because of this any subtle noises we think we may have recorded can only be attributed to a natural source.


A good night was had and it was great to be able to investigate a new venue. We were at the venue from 20.00 hrs to 24.00 hrs and from those four hours it would be fair to say the only piece of remarkable evidence we collected was the EVP in the first session, however, it was worth four hours of our time to have recorded this and we are very happy with this result. Watch the video, have a listen and let us know what you think it is saying.

As Ghost Connections conducts scientifically based investigations we do not publish information of a clairvoyant nature, 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, or the contents of this report please email us

We are extremely grateful to Heritage Projects and Canterbury Tales for the opportunity to explore this historic site.
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