Our third investigation for Paranormal Tours has been another fort, on this occasion it was Coalhouse Fort at East Tilbury in Essex. By reputation, a proverbial hot bed of paranormal activity! So what would we find?
On this investigation we were joined by Maureen, a friend of ours and as the venue was outside of our area, we drove up on Friday evening to stay in a guest house a few miles away from the fort. This proved to be an experience in itself, not paranormal and not one we could commit to print!
Now how would you expect Marlene to prepare for the following days investigation? A long meditation with candles and new age music perhaps? A session communing with her guides? No way, Marlene and Mo had a steak at the local Beefeater and several pints of Guinness, followed by a retail therapy session in Southend on Saturday morning!
This part of Essex has some great history and Coalhouse Fort was the last fortification to be built on the site between 1861 and 1874, along with its sister at Tilbury, as a first line of defence for London's Docks from seaborne attack. It has mighty granite walls and housed huge, rifled guns within armoured gun ports. The ammunition for which was stored below in ground level vaults connected by circular tunnels, which were the focus for our investigation. Although soon obsolete, the fort was continually used until after WW2, when new guns where added to the roof to defend against sea and air attack. The fort is now owned by Thurrock Borough Council and administered by a group of volunteers, under the banner of the 'Coalhouse Fort Project,' who aim to completely restore the site eventually. Many of them are enthusiastic paranormal investigators themselves and have experienced much of the activity the location has to offer. Including, a child that runs along the derelict roof and the very real apparition of a man in the tunnels.
This investigation was slightly unusual, as it was a charity fund raising event in aid of 'Help a London Child' hosted by Capital FM Radio (95.8fm), organised by Experiences Direct and facilitated by Paranormal Tours. Late night DJ, Tim Lichfield, led a group of some twenty listeners for the event and threw himself into the spirit of the occasion and participated in all of the activities, including Marlene's Psychometry Workshop (doing very well) and even serving the teas. So, well done Tim.
Marlene had linked into the site in the week before our arrival at the location and provided Paranormal Tours with several pages of information, much of which was confirmed by one of the volunteers at the fort, including the awareness of giant bats! This proved to be particularly amusing as we found that Coalhouse Fort had recently been used as a location for scenes in the film 'Batman Begins'.
Before the guests arrived, Marlene toured the areas available to the investigation with the Paranormal Tours crew and provided her impressions of the location. During the walk around they felt as if they were being followed and several audible whistles heard. This was understood by Malcolm from the Coalhouse team along with other information that Marlene provided.
After the usual health and safety talk, the guests were led on a tour by one of the Coalhouse team. Unfortunately, this proved overly long and, although the Coalhouse team fully understood the need to keep information to themselves, the Health and Safety official chose to give historically driven lectures, robbing the guests of both time and information they could have picked up for themselves. The presence of Capital Radio perhaps? Hopefully, this will not happen again at any subsequent Paranormal Tours investigations.
As the Paranormal Tours team finished setting up, Marlene led the assembled group in a Psychometry based workshop. Once again a number of the guests did particularly well and Marlene identified several that could easily go on to develop their potential if they wished. Perhaps this is an area that we should do some statistical research? Martin of Paranormal Tours then introduced the equipment to be used, after which a short refreshment break was taken before the vigils began.
A full report of the vigils will be posted on the Paranormal Tours web site. However, one of the guests was startled by a sigh directly behind him and his video camera turning off when he asked for some a sign of activity. Once again this had been reported before in this area and it should be noted that this gentleman was one of those who did well in the Psychometry workshop. Several people became aware of presences in the atmosphere and certain areas were very chill despite having digital thermometer readings of around 20 deg. C. We have also noticed that Marlene's trousers stick to the front of her lower legs, as if by static electricity, when a spirit presence draws close to her on these investigations, so we will be keeping an eye on these phenomena and seeing if it shows up on the EMF meter readings next time. It is interesting to note that the late Michael Bentine reported this effect, although on the hair, during table sťances that his family conducted in the 1930's. (See recommended reading section on this site)
Marlene allowed a communicator through when in trance during the planchette session and he introduced himself as Jim "the shuffler" (sounds like) Cousins. (Jim Collins is a name that has been previously picked up) It seems that he worked at the fort with the powder some 65 years earlier, although the time reference is not correct, powder is an important reference. It is significant, that 'Jim' had just been written with the planchette, Marlene also wrote the name beside the first impression (whilst using the planchette) and one of the other teams picked up the name 'Jim' simultaneously in the tunnels and heard shuffling behind them. Another group of three, who were using the other planchette set in the same room also wrote 'James,' all of this was in the dark and only found when the light was turned back on! As the trance continued, Jim was forced out by another very dominant character, known to the Coalhouse Fort team as the 'Captain' who insisted that the writer should "stand to attention" when being addressed. Needless to say, Marlene did not allow this character reign and her spirit team brought her quickly back to full consciousness.
A table tilting experiment was conducted in room off of the tunnels and a little movement was recorded when one side did lift for a moment. Most people involved could also feel an energy building up in the table top along with slight, but audible knocks. The table itself was of solid construction, with metal frame and wooden top and when tested, proved not to be an easy object to move or rock.
After the table had lifted, the energy was felt to quickly dissipate and our investigation drew to a close at first light on some very tired participants. Despite a few hiccups this was another interesting investigation and a site that we are sure has plenty more to offer the paranormal investigator.Tim Lichfield at Capital FM has a report and some further pictures on his diary page on the stations web site: http://capitalfm.co.uk/Article.asp?id=38938
The full tour programme and investigation results can be found at http://www.paranormaltours.com or by telephoning: 0871-2884026