Southwest ghosthunting team Paranormal Site Investigators recently visited Bodmin Gaol in Cornwall in their search for paranormal phenomena.
Bodmin Jail dates back to 1776 and was the site of many public executions.
The last hanging took place in 1909 and the Crown Jewels and Doomsday Book were stored at the jail during the First World War.
Read this exclusive report written by the team's Dave Wood, then let us know your thoughts and feelings about the old jail.
"Built in 1777, completed in 1860, Bodmin Gaol housed over 150 prisoners, with 55 executed through hanging. The Gaol has several claims to historical importance, including being the location of the last public hanging in Britain and as the location of treasures such as the Crown Jewels and the Domesday Book in times of national crisis.
Since the Gaol’s doors shut in 1922 the site has been used as a nightclub, and later a restored public house and museum.
Bodmin Gaol is also famed for its alleged hauntings, attracting the attention of visitors, TV cameras and paranormal investigation organisations. Reported phenomena include apparitions of apparent former prisoners, the hearing of voices and other unexplained noises, light anomalies seen by eye, temperature fluctuations, touching sensations and the sense of oppression.
Eight researchers from PSI, along with a camera-person from BBC TV, recently conducted an overnight investigation of the Gaol.
During vigils held throughout the night, PSI monitored environmental fluctuations, recorded empirically perceived phenomena and attempted to capture evidence through stills cameras, video cameras and audio recorders.
Environmental fluctuations measured included ambient and spot temperature, electro-magnetic frequency, humidity and air pressure. There were no statistically significant deviations from the baseline norm throughout the night that could not be attributed to natural factors.
Audio footage was taped during EVP (electro-voice phenomena) experiments. A ‘grunt’ was taped during the experiment. Whilst of interest the evidence was discarded due to large number of uncontrollable variables that could have caused the noise, and the inevitable fallibility of human recollection surrounding the event.
Audio and visual footage provided inconclusive results. Dozens of ‘orbs’ and light anomalies were identified at the first stage of analysis. Most were ruled out on closer inspection as dust, moisture, airborne particles or insects. For the remainder, the possibility of natural causes could still not be ruled out.
A large number of perceived events were recorded including seeing explained figures, cold spots, oppressive atmospheres and unusual sounds. Whilst of lay interest, all such experiences must be discounted on a scientific basis. Not all factors can be controlled during investigations, and the causes could conceivably be psychological, psychological or due to natural factors not identified.
The only significant incident during the investigation was a number of small stones hitting investigators and pieces of equipment. A structural analysis of the rooms was conducted following the events, and material of the ceilings and walls, as well as the speed and trajectory made a ‘natural’ cause less likely. Additionally the spot temperature of the stones was twice that of the atmosphere and similar stones, suggesting heat or energy behind the stone.
The heat factor raises the possibility of non-human or human interference. It was verified that no winged animals reside within the Gaol, and that smaller animals could not have caused the effect. The possibility, however, of cause by a non-human animal cannot be ruled out due to the uncontrolled environment.
The possible cause by human intervention outside the group was effectively ruled out, due to the structurally isolated nature of the rooms, and visual equipment trained on the door to the room.
The cause of these stones being thrown is at present unknown, but as not all natural possibilities could be ruled out it cannot be concluded that the events were paranormal in nature.
This report was produced by Dave Wood from the PSI team which spent a night at Bodmin's old jail recently. The views expressed in this report are those of the PSI members who were present on the night.