On Saturday 11th April 2009, Twilight Shadows Paranormal joined Paranormal Devon at an overnight investigation at Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire.
Woodchester Mansion is situated in rural Gloucestershire, in a secluded spot within 400 acres of beautiful countryside. It is a Victorian Gothic Mansion and has 27 rooms, all unfinished apart from one room - the drawing room. In 1868, after 12 years of hard work constructing the mansion, the workmen mysteriously downed their tools and 'walked out' leaving the mansion in its unfinished state. Woodchester Mansion was a dream of William Leigh who decided to build his Gothic Mansion at the site of a previous house. Reclaimed stone was used from the original Spring Park House so it is uncertain whether the ghosts of Woodchester are all from this mansion or are connected to the reclaimed stone of Spring Park.
The site of the Gothic Mansion has extensive history and was previously used over 2500 years ago by the Anglo Saxons. The Romans also used it and there are stories of Roman soldiers marching up the driveway towards where the mansion is now situated. The site of the mansion was visited by several Kings and Queens of England.
This spot was the site of bloody battles and it is thought that satanic worship was practised here.
Woodchester Mansion is home to a rare species of bat. The Lesser and Greater Horseshoe bats live here.
Sightings of a hooded Monk figure
A headless horseman
Strange blue lights
Unexplained banging sounds
Apparition of a man in military uniform
Voices (including children's voices and laughter)
Voice saying "I want to go home"
Sound of woman sobbing
Hair pulling and touching of people
Large black dog growling in the cellar
Electrical equipment being switched off
Poltergeist activity (things being thrown)
Sightings of a ragged dwarf-like creature
We drove down the seemingly never-ending lane to the Mansion. As I saw the Mansion for the first time I was taken aback by its sheer beauty. The huge windows and stone masonry were awesome, with beautiful (I thought so) gargoyles. Some which looked like wolves were probably hunting dogs as the mansion stands upon the site of an old hunting lodge.
We gathered in the drawing room (the only room that was finished) and left our belongings. This is a beautiful room with magnificent windows and an open fire which had been lit. As tempting as it was to spend time in this room we were eager to explore the rest of the mansion. Gloucestershire Paranormal were also there and gave us a tour round the building advising us on safety as there are sheer drops with no floor in places (luckily barricaded across). We were informed of many interesting facts as well as ghostly tales upon our tour. Unfortunately we were told of the cave spiders which dwell in the cellar which made Loretta determined not to go into the cellar again!
We split into small groups and my team started in an upstairs corridor. There were two wooden coffins in this hallway which had been left there by ITV from when they filmed Dracula, approximately two years ago. (Loretta and I have since watched this production of Dracula and it is strange to watch, recognising the building where we spent the night). The ceiling of the corridor was amazing with majestic archways. We settled down and eventually started to 'call out.' There were several flashes of light but I was unsure that the flashes had a paranormal origin as I wondered if they could be attributed to camera flashes somehow reflecting off walls from other teams' cameras elsewhere in the building. Some people said that they could see blue pin-pricks of light darting about on the walls. I did not see this but I have since read that these strange, tiny, blue lights are recorded paranormal phenomena connected with Woodchester.
We could hear owls hooting and sheep bleating outside through the glassless window. Someone from another team radioed on the walkie-talkie and asked if we had heard a woman scream as they thought that the scream had originated from upstairs where we were. There is a record of a young servant girl who was strangled in this corridor. Nobody from my team had heard a scream but a second earlier we had all heard a lamb bleating loudly outside. We wondered if the other team had heard the lamb or perhaps an owl screeching.
After a while we heard a door slamming. We went towards the noise but all the doors were shut with nobody near them. They had been shut firmly when we first entered the corridor. This happened several times. We wondered if the sound originated from doors on a different level being slammed (although it definitely sounded like they were the doors near us). We radioed the other teams and asked if doors downstairs were being slammed by the teams or even by unseen hands. The answer was "No!" It really did sound like the doors were in our vicinity but we could not work it out.
At one point we were standing near the top of the stone stairway and we heard a stone (or some small object) being thrown down the stairs away from us. It bounced down the stairs until it reached the bottom. I was going to run downstairs and see if I could find this object but someone from another team ran towards the bottom of the stairs and shouted up to us "Did you just throw that, down the stairs?" I can honestly say that nobody from my team had done this as I was standing nearest to the stairs. This happened again a little while later but this time the downstairs team were not close enough to acknowledge this occurrence.
One thing we all agreed on, we all felt as if we were being closely watched in this corridor, something (I later learned) that most people experience in this area.
This was an interesting room and apparently very paranormally active. There have been sightings of a man in military uniform here which is not surprising as this room was used by the American armed forces in WW2 for training purposes. Twenty of the soldiers stationed here were killed in a doomed D-Day exercise, when a pontoon bridge collapsed drowning the soldiers.
Some people actually experienced paranormal phenomenon in this room but I didn't experience anything. I actually liked the feeling of this room.
As soon as I walked into the cellar I became aware of a strange chemical smell. I was surprised to learn that the smell is actually from a chemical source. This room was used as a laboratory and was apparently connected to experiments with animals. The chemicals used have seeped into the stone flooring and can still be smelt distinctly.
There were some more coffin props in the cellar (also left by the makers of Dracula) and they looked far more eerie than they did in the upstairs corridor. I half expected them to slowly open revealing a vampire who wanted to come out to play. Wishing I had worn a scarf to cover my neck I sat upon a ledge and tuned in to the atmosphere. After a while I became aware of a gentleman spirit who was clearly a workman who liked to whistle while he worked. I think he said that his name was Joseph, (my interpretation as it was not clear and I could detect an accent). I asked him questions but instead of answering me I was given the impression that he would show me what had happened to him. I thought this meant that I would be shown in a clairvoyant manner, like a visual recording. But suddenly I got an excruciating pain in the left side of my head. I felt weak and dizzy and felt like I was going to collapse. I asked my spirit guide to make this spirit take these physical conditions from me which he did immediately. I asked my spirit guide if I was feeling physical symptoms akin to what this spirit man experienced and he said "Yes!" I assumed that he had collapsed due to natural medical causes but I later discovered that someone had been hit on the head with a large piece of stone. I wondered if this was accidental but was informed that a medium (previously at the mansion) had said that a spirit man had been murdered in the cellar. I am unsure if we had connected with the same man.
Someone thought that they felt the presence of a dog with us in the cellar. There is a legend that there is a dog connected to Woodchester which is a 'death portent.' Basically, anyone who sees the dog will die. Luckily the dog did not appear.
The cellar is reputed to have stones thrown and groans heard. It has a few chambers attached to it and although we investigated all areas of the cellar, we did not experience either groaning or stones thrown at us.
GROUND FLOOR CORRIDOR AND TOOL SHED
This was interesting as bats were flying around. Although I love bats, I must say it looked eerie, the way that they were flying around the corridor. It went along with the Dracula theme.
Mysterious lights on the walls are also experienced in this corridor but I didn't encounter anything on a psychic level.
We looked at the tool room. All the tools which were suddenly laid down and abandoned have been stored here. We all wondered what had happened to make the workmen suddenly abandon their tools and leave the mansion unfinished. Most people felt that it was connected to a murder. It has been said that the murdered man was a French Glassblower.
William Leigh had converted to Catholicism and the stonework inside the chapel illustrates this. That is apart from a Pagan, Green Man stone carving upon the ceiling.
Jacky, Dave, Loretta and I went to the chapel. This room has scaffolding insitu. I did not feel like we were alone in this room. There were no other team members anywhere near us but I felt as if we had been joined by another person just on the peripheral. We 'called out' for a while and although the atmosphere started to build we became distracted and started chatting about the stone masonry and the skill of the stone masons. We were looking upward to see if we could see the carving of the Green Man on the ceiling. when suddenly a stone was thrown near Jacky. We all jumped and although we were really shocked, we were very excited. It was thrown quite high up and Jacky actually saw it arc before it started to fall. It seemed to have been thrown from above our heads. We carried on chatting as it felt like the stone had been thrown to get our attention. Another stone was thrown from nowhere (there really was nobody there). It hit hard into the scaffolding and made a 'chinking' sound.
A previous medium has said that the spirit of a French man haunts this area. He was a French Glassblower and he is lonely. EVP's of French voices have been captured in the chapel but we did not capture any EVP. Mediums have said that this is a male spirit who is responsible for the throwing of stones etc., whether to scare people out of the chapel or to merely get their attention. I feel it is the latter and when Jacky said "Right, you have my attention," I felt mirth in the atmosphere as if he was laughing.
We told the spirit we were leaving the chapel and going into the kitchen.
The kitchen is reputed to be a very paranormally active area. Things are thrown and it used to contain a clock (which was originally moved from the main tower) which would start and stop by itself. The clock is no longer in the kitchen.
We walked into the kitchen and chatted to each other. It really felt like a male spirit had followed us in. We had not been in the kitchen very long when a small but significant stone was thrown at us (we feel mainly at Jacky). It was hilarious. I was filming with my Camcorder and Jacky fled from the room omitting a few choice but very funny words. In Jacky's panic, Loretta did not know what to do and she made a grab at me, nearly climbing on top of me. I think Dave went to see if Jacky was OK. I am sure the spirit who threw the stone found this whole spectacle extremely amusing.
We did not have any more phenomena occur and as it was morning we decided to end our investigation and start the long journey home.
We would like to thank Paranormal Devon for arranging this investigation and Gloucestershire Paranormal for the interesting information they provided.