Pontefract Castle

December 2012

LOCATION – Pontefract Castle

TEAM MEMBERS – 5

GUEST INVESTIGATORS – 3

We contacted the curator at Pontefract Castle to inquire about the possibility of doing an investigation there and we were very pleasantly surprised to be told we could book the castle grounds, including the underground magazine between the hours of 6pm to 10pm. So this we jumped at. Unfortunately the dungeons where off limits due to health and safety but with the amount of history connected with the castle we were sure we were in for an interesting night none the less.

We arrived at the castle gates around 5.45 and were greeted by the 2 security staff on sight who would be chaperoning us around the grounds throughout the evening. We took refuge from the cold night in the visitors centre for a few minutes while the security staff went through the health and safety rules and regulations. With this done we headed for the magazine.

This underground cavern was used as a military store from medieval times right up to the English civil war period. The civil war prisoners names are carved into the stone walls down there by their very hands.

As this investigation was mainly based outdoors we brought only our camcorders instead of our usual static cams. We had, as always, our audio recorders and k2 meters. After a brief history from the staff member with us we each took a spot in the many different alcoves around the magazine and went lights out. Sitting for a while in the dense darkness of the magazine certainly gives you an insight into the atmosphere the civil war prisoners would have faced! It was so dark you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face and your eyes never adjusted to it so it was constant blackness! We remained silent for a while hoping to pick up any unusual sounds but with so many of us in there all at one time it was hard going. Our co- founder Andrea had re-joined us for this investigation and suggested we split into two groups, one to go wait up top and one to stay in and then swap. With the staff’s agreement investigators Lindsey ,Janice, Jaqueline and Andrea remained in the depths of the magazine whilst investigators Vicky and Kirsty took the slightly higher level and investigator Daisey and our newest member, our history researcher John, waited outside. Again we each took a spot and made ourselves comfortable. It wasn’t long before the atmosphere changed and began to feel very oppressive, we all heard a strange thudding sound which seemed to all of us to be internal but with no pin pointed location.

Co- founder and investigator Andrea began to feel very uneasy as if someone was stood right next to her staring at her and also thought she heard the name James whispered. Unfortunately no evidence of this was picked up on our audio. Also investigator Lindsey, who was sat alone in an alcove, began to feel as if there where people surrounding her and leaning over her staring. At the time of this the temperature dropped enough for our breath to be seen when previously we had all been fairly warm down there. We also captured these interesting photos of a bright ‘orb’ and a strange mist.

mist orb

We gained no responses to our questions or any k2 activity.

We then swapped places sending investigators Vicky, Kirsty, Daisey and John into the lower cavity whist the rest made their way outside. During their vigil, as John thought he had captured an orb on camera we picked up this strange audio. It seems to be a voice saying “can’t take a breath” see what you think!

Whilst waiting at the entrance to the magazine investigators Lindsey and Andrea both spotted a white mass across the grassed centre of the castle grounds but struggled to make out if it could have been an object, perhaps a bench or sign post.

No other significant activity was taking place so we decided to break to the visitors centre for a hot drink and to discuss events so far.

We then set out on our tour of the main grounds as one group lead by the security staff. We started towards the remains of the Norman chapel with what would have been the constable tower and swillington tower (kings and queens towers) on either side and the royal apartments in between. Our audio recorders where running throughout. As we reached the chapel both Lindsey and Andrea concluded there was nothing at this side of the grassed area that could have caused the white mass they had seen from the opposite side earlier. As we continued through the area of the royal apartments many team members reported seeing figures running back and forth through the trees which now line this area. According to the security staff this was a regular occurrence!

We then continued on to the remains of the kitchens and Gascoigne tower. Here investigator Vicky reported to see the apparition of a pair of legs marching on the spot in the centre of the grassed area! Visibility was poor to none on the camcorders so unfortunately we have no proof of this which is always frustrating!

We then headed up to the top of the keep pausing a while to get a glimpse of the steps leading down to the dungeons, which is sealed off by metal barriers. The security staff informed us that of all the places in the castle, down there is one they do not relish going as the atmosphere is horrendous! Apparently this is not an underground dungeon it is in the remains of the tower and consists of two alcoves and a well in between. Prisoners where led across a plank to one of the two alcoves and then the plank would be removed leaving the prisoners with no way out except down the well to drown! We were informed that given enough funding in the future the dungeons will be made safe and available for visitation…this will be a definite on our ‘to do’ list.

After another short break we proceeded to the back of the keep and Gascoigne tower at ground level where we got an upward view of the steps leading to the dungeons which was very eerie! We gathered nothing of interest in this area. With all areas complete we decided to call it a night, I feel we picked the wrong month for a outdoor investigation as we were all frozen to the bone.

We picked up nothing of significance on our camcorders ,had no k2 activity anywhere in the magazine or grounds and gained no further evps on our tour. We did however get these orb pictures in the toilet facilities.

toilet orb (2) toilet orb (3) toilet orb

It just leaves us to say a big thank you to the curator of Pontefract Castle for allowing the night to take place and also to the two security staff who stayed out in the cold with us for the night and provided us with a great insight into the history of the castle.

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