Our visit to Woodchester Mansion was one of adventure and intrigue. The snow had fallen during the night and drifting snow blocked the track leading down to the mansion. We had travelled far and not to be beaten we decided to visit a local inn for food and warmth before setting off on foot with all our equipment carried by hand on the one mile journey down through the dark unlit track into the depths of the valley. After one mile we turned a corner in the woods and the uninhabited Mansion appeared before us from out of the darkness, shrouded in mist.
Woodchester Mansion is a masterpiece of a building hidden in a secluded Cotswold valley, untouched by time and the modern world. In 1868 after 16 years of building the workers stopped and walked out leaving many of the 27 room's unfinished. Doors still lead to no where and upper corridors end suddenly at ledges with views to the ground floors far below. Grotesque gargoyles leer from great heights with each sinister figure-giving rise to curiosity and apprehension.
Weather. Good ground cover of snow; mist in the valley, persistent light rain
Geomagnetic storm conditions for 6pm to 6am was Quiet 3 hour Kp index 27,30,33,20,43
Moon Phase last quarter
C.P.S activity rating at Level 3 (due to direct similar sounds observed by more than one witness at different times)
E.M.F no abnormal Electrical Magnetic Fields observed
Equipment used on investigationDigital Stills and night shot video cameras, Digital voice recorders, EMF meters, Anemometers, Thermometers, Barometer, Infra red CCTV, motion recording software, Temp Data logger.
Martin, Paul and Dave walked around the building with Wendy and noted the areas of previous activity that had been observed over time. The purpose was to locate the possible areas of activity to concentrate the vigil on. It was decided to split the group in to four teams of three. With each taking approx. 45min observation posts in the cellar, on the ground floor first corridor area, first floor back corridor area and the first and second floors. Each team was to choose rooms and areas of these locations for observation.
Infra red CCTV and data logging equipment was restricted to the cellar area for convenience of power points. No one else in the group was informed of any history of activity that had taken place in the areas.
Vigil Observation notes
Most of the group felt very little in this area during the night with the following exceptions. Gyles reported feeling very tied in this area alone. Justine noted a movement of dark images in her peripheral vision. Martin noted that on two occasions approx. 1 minute in between he felt a knock on his left elbow (possible natural cause)
The ground floor is the area of most activity reported by members of the team during the vigil.Children?
At 11.30pm Gyles (group D) who was in the area of the chapel and Anthony (group C) who was in the area of the kitchen both reported hearing the distant sound of children playing and talking. Their reports are independent of each other. 11.40 p.m. Gyles had the impression of two girls 10 and 16 years of age 11.50 p.m. Angela had the feeling of a child behind her 3.03 a.m. Angela had the impression of a small girl tugging on her hand and thigh felt they where from the 19th century and 3 to 4 years old. No names given but the visual impression of a purple flower. 1.45 a.m. Beth while in the kitchen area thought she heard children talking. Martin went to check and for a brief second thought he also heard children but too far away to make a clear judgement.
Dragging Sounds? Paul, James and Justine all heard the sound of dragging while in the kitchen area it appeared to come from the tool area. Paul was aware of the reports that Wendy had told us about but said nothing to the others. James who was closest to the tool area said it sounded like furniture being dragged along.
Gyles reported hearing the sound of dragging near the scaffold in the chapel area. At around 4.30am
During an all-quiet 10-minute silent period Martin was conducting an E.V.P recording in the kitchen. During this period the sound of something similar to a large wooden door can be heard slamming shut and the sound of footsteps on wood (no one in the team was moving during this time, but the caretaker can not be ruled out) interestingly though as this was an all silent period no one seemed to notice this bang and footsteps by normal audible means.
First and Second Floors
Not much picked up in these areas with the exception of Gyles and Angela reporting hearing the sound of a baby crying. Angela did report that she heard an owl at around the same time but that the crying sound was different.
Martin felt that during the earlier walk around that the back off his coat was pushed in on two occasions like a gentle prod with light pressure.
Woodchester mansion is a fascinating place full of many secrets to be explored. The sound of the children was interesting from the point of view that no one in the group was aware of any similar stories being reported and that each person who heard the sounds had no idea until the debrief at the end of the vigil that the other had heard similar noises. As the house had never been lived in the sounds may date back to a previous occupation of the site. Further investigation will be required to rule out any possible natural causes. I.e. animal sounds etc. in surrounding valley
The dragging sound heard by group B was similar to a story reported to us by Wendy during the preliminary walk around. Only the team co-ordinators had been aware of this information. As the building is empty of interior furniture and in places has windows open to the outside elements the natural acoustics of the house are very strange and will require further verification.
Almost every member of the team reported problems with equipment, cameras malfunctioning, battery drain etc. Dave Graham reported that his equipment showed that the building was actually moving. Further information is required to verify this statement.
As this was our first investigation at Woodchester Mansion it is too early to draw any firm conclusions and we look forward to the next one to conduct further research.
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