Real Or Otherside Paranormal Research travelled to St. Briavels Castle in Lydney, Gloucestershire on Friday 17th June 2011 to take part in Ghostfest Southwest 2011, a 2 day event hosted by BSPRI in aid of Muscular Dystrophy. This was the first time we had attended an event of this nature as it combined talks from such prominent paranormal figures as Ciaran O'Keefe, Richard Jones, CJ Romer and ASSAP as well as 2 nights of investigation at one of the most reportedly haunted locations in the United Kingdom.
We had access to the castle, and its' plethora of rooms, for 2 nights and it soon became apparent this was going to be our biggest evidence review to date. In total we captured approximately 8 hours of video and 8 hours of audio and, after our initial review process, recorded a total of 22 potential 'hits.' After secondary analysis / enhancement this was reduced to 6 'hits' which we believe to be of interest and are presenting here.
We have classified each piece of evidence, or 'hit,' against our R.O.O. SCALE to determine how paranormal, in our opinion, the 'hit' is. More details on how we analyze, review and present evidence can be found in the How Do We section of our blog.
INVESTIGATION TEASER VIDEO
If you missed it first time round, you can view the 'Teaser Trailer' for St Briavels below:
EVIDENCE SUMMARY VIDEO
After the success of our evidence video from the London Tombs we have decided, moving forward, to retain the format of posting a single video containing all visual and audio 'hits' that we capture. We believe this form of posting makes the evidence more accessible and more immersive for you, the reader?
The evidence you see/hear in the video is as it happened on location. The only modification, or enhancement, we have made are volume increases on some of the audio and some scene edits/cuts to provide context or a compressed version of events.
After watching the video – headphones recommended – continue down the page for an in-depth explanation of each 'hit', along with our personal thoughts about the location.
… is it Real Or Otherside?
FULL EVIDENCE REVIEW
PRISON ROOM: TAPS (R.O.O.4 – UNLIKELY)
This capture occurred in the Prison Room on night one of the investigation where Rick (ROOPR) and Mike (ROOPR) were joined by Rachel, Jo (BSPRI) and Hayley (BSPRI).
While Rachel is in the process of calling out to any spirits – including a little bit of provoking – we clearly hear two taps which sound like they are from within the room and which are flagged by members of the group. As we have listened to all of the audio from the Prison Room any outside contamination is easily distinguishable from noises within the room itself.
However, with all of the above in mind we have been ruthless with this piece of evidence and only rated it as R.O.O.4 (Unlikely) as Rachel is the only person who can clearly be seen on camera and we cannot entirely rule out it was not someone behind the camera accidentally making the noises?
PORTERS LODGE: VOICES (R.O.O.3 – POSSIBLE)
During our vigil in the Porters Lodge, again on night one of the investigation, we captured 4 occurrences of what sounds like the voice of a little girl. In the room at the time were Rick (ROOPR), Mike (ROOPR), Rachel, Jo (BSPRI) and Hayley (BSPRI).
- The first 'hit' occurs when Jo says she thinks there is a shadow by the chair in the room. Rachel asks any spirits in the room to knock on the table which is followed by what we believe to be the voice of the 'little girl' saying "I can't."
11 seconds later Jo is talking and as she finishes her sentence with "… go on, it'd be dead easy" you can hear what we believe to be the voice of the 'little girl' saying "No it's not."
The third 'hit' occurs 10 seconds after the second 'hit' as Jo finishes her sentence with "… always remember your manners." There are no words or sentences this time but you can hear, in the same tone, a sigh as if the spirit is agreeing with what Jo is saying.
Another 6 seconds passes before we capture 6 seconds of inaudible background noises as we talk amongst ourselves. Again, all of the inaudible noises appear to be in the same tone as the voice we captured saying "I can't", "No it's not" and who made the sighing noise.
There were no noises from the floor above (Prison Room) as these would have been picked up by the voice recorder and, as we were on the ground floor at the farthest part of the castle, there was no-one below and no-one in the Old Kitchen adjacent to the Porters Lodge.
CONSTABLES ROOM: TORCH (R.O.O.3 – POSSIBLE)
After our "success" with the Maglite torch experiment on previous investigations we decided to try it again in the Constables Room on night two of our investigation. Present in the room were Rick (ROOPR), Mike (ROOPR) and Hayley (BSPRI).
All 3 of us were sat down to minimize the chance of us, or a floorboard, moving which in turn might inadvertently cause the torch to display activity. There was a slight draft in the room but, as with our debunking experiments at Brean Down Fort, we do not believe this would have had an effect on the torch.
After about 5 minutes of inactivity the torch turns itself on, flickers and then goes off all within 35 seconds. The torch then does nothing for over 7 minutes before it turns itself back on and we have a flurry of activity for around 1 minute and 40 seconds. At the time all 3 of us comment on the randomness of the torch but, on reviewing the evidence, it does appear as though a spirit could be using the torch to communicate in response to Ricks' requests for it to move away from the torch or when he asks if the spirit is shy?
As a group we are still undecided about how much credibility can be gathered from the Maglite torch experiment. There is no doubt it is fascinating and is definitely the most obvious piece of evidence where you decide … is it Real Or Otherside?
As a group Real Or Otherside took another giant step forward with the investigation at St. Briavels Castle and it gave us the opportunity to show more established groups/people what we are capable of as paranormal investigators. Our Facebook page 'likes' rocketed after the event and we hope this is because people saw we could bring something worthwhile to the paranormal community? We are extremely passionate about what we do but we also like to have a bit of a laugh during the down time and can't help ourselves on camera if something tickles us!!!
As always there is evidence we can present and other moments that have to be put down as personal experiences. Here are some of our personal thoughts on our time at St. Briavels Castle:
I had big expectations for St Briavels Castle. If there is such a thing as a 'haunted building' – and that's a big 'IF' – then this is it. Steeped in history, it is your a-typical 'spooky castle' straight out of Scoobydoo. All we needed was Mr McGee, the suspicious caretaker to make the illusion complete! Alas all we got was Bruce )
I guess it goes to show how looks can be deceiving. Racking up 48 hours on location and capturing 16 hours of audio/video footage, this was our longest investigation to date by far … and alas it was also one of our quietest.
Now I hear you saying "but you're a sceptic, I didn't think you believed anyway?" and you'd be right (in the main…). But for a reason I can't explain, at some locations you just know you are going to get 'hits' and this wasn't one of them. Not saying the 'hits' we present are paranormal in nature, but they are 'unusual' occurrences that we present to you and allow you to form your own opinion.
So we present some knocks – which can be explained away as a 'settling' building. Another example of torch interaction – which whilst 'seemingly' intelligent is actually making us grow more sceptical the more it happens (hence it's been downgraded to a R.O.O.3 pending further review). We now have a replacement torch and will be running both alongside each other for future investigations … will be interesting to see what happens. Finally, we have the EVP's – which I actually find harder to explain, especially the second which, to me, is quite clear and wasn't heard at the time.
From a personal experience perspective, really the only experience I had was the feeling of being tapped on the back of the head at one point. Other than that, then Mikes' personal experience is definitely worthy of note. I won't explain it again, as it is detailed below, but I will say two things:
I have never seen Mike act that way on any investigation to date. You could tell he was mentally trying to justify the experience as normal, but couldn't. Because of this, I actually saw genuine fear in his eyes and demeanour, which just isn't Mike!
Mike also described a 'static' feel to his experience and sure enough a few seconds after he said this, I too felt a static charged hit my right hand and travel up my arm and into my upper torso… I can only describe it like the feeling you get when you rub a balloon on your head and hold it over a part of your body.
The power of suggestion or proof of the paranormal? … only you can decide if it's Real Or Otherside!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wendy Isaacs of BSPRI for organizing the event and to say thank you to everyone else we met who made the two days so enjoyable including Ciaran O'Keefe (Most Haunted), Richard Jones (Most Haunted & Jack The Ripper historian) and the rest of the BSPRI team.
I enjoyed all of the talks that were given on the paranormal, each having their own highlights, but I think anyone who was there will never forget their reaction to Richard Jones cries of "MURDER!!!" during his Jack The Ripper talk!!!
The investigation as a whole proved to be relatively quiet although we did capture a few pieces of evidence that are interesting. My stand out experiences were personal but, unfortunately, we have no evidence to back them up:
While in the Prison Room, which was to be our bedroom for the evening, I felt as if something walked through me. I have always wondered when people say this how they actually know but, having experienced those feelings, it is the only way I can describe it. The top half of my body went numb, freezing cold and felt as though it was statically charged. As Rick will attest I have never reacted in the way I did and it really freaked me out for a while. Thanks to Rick for getting – or was it making – me stand back in the same spot to see if it happened again, which it did, as it is something I would have regretted not doing. At the time Rick and I were perfectly calm and not in a state of panic or suspense so that was definitely not a contributing factor …
…. is it Real Or Otherside? My skeptical side will always reason that there was a logical explanation for it but I have never had that same feeling in 33 years – I know I look good for it don't I!!! – and that is what makes me question if what I experienced was of a paranormal origin? As this is a personal experience with no evidence to back it up it cannot be rated on our R.O.O. SCALE but if I could it would most definitely be R.O.O.2 (Likely)
My other experience came shortly after the Prison Room. Rick and I were walking through the main corridor when I am certain I heard Rick say/hum a melody. I asked Rick whether he made a noise and he said he didn't. We then went in to the Old Kitchen and, shortly after being in there, I heard Rick say "You are shitting me!!!" even though he confirmed again he had not said anything!!! I am certain it was Ricks' voice as it had the same pitch and tone. Was it something mocking or mimicking me/us or was it a side effect of a lack of sleep?
We forged new friendships during our time at St. Briavels and I hope we will be able to meet up with them again on future investigations.
If you have any questions, or comments, on the above analysis or the methodology used please feel free to post below or contact Real Or Otherside Paranormal Research via email by clicking here.