Redoubt Fort Harwich
By Sam Lawrence.
First please let me apologise for the lateness of getting this report typed and put up, but as I’m sure you will all appreciate that we at E.A.P.I. also have our own home and work life’s that we have to balance and we do these investigations because it’s a paranormal passion we all share on the team
Harwich Redoubt is a circular fort built in 1808 to defend the port of Harwich, Essex from Napoleonic invasion.
The Redoubt was built between 1808 and 1810 to protect the port of Harwich against the threat of Napoleonic invasion. It was part of the scheme that included the construction of 29 Martello Towers on the East Anglian coast. The Redoubt is of circular shape, approximately 200ft in diameter, with a central parade ground of 85ft diameter. Hoists lifted shells from the lower level to the gun emplacements. It is similar in design to earlier redoubts at Dymchurch and Eastbourne.
Though difficult to imagine as it is now surrounded by houses, when the Redoubt was built it was on a hill top with free views in all directions. A house was demolished to make way for the Redoubt, and a large elm tree – used by ships as a navigational mark – was also removed. It is said that French prisoners of war were made to help in the construction
Originally armed with ten 24-pounder cannon, the Redoubt was remodelled in order to accommodate increasingly heavy guns, as technology and the perceived threat changed. In 1861-2, work was carried out to accommodate 68-pounder cannon, and the emplacements were strengthened (by adding granite facing) to withstand improved enemy artillery. Only a decade later in
1872, three of the emplacements were altered to take enormous 12 ton RML(Rifled Muzzle Loading) guns. In 1903, three emplacements received 12 pounder QF(quick firing) guns.
Despite this ongoing modernisation, the Redoubt never fired a shot in anger. It is also probable that its strategic importance declined towards the end of the 19th century with the construction of the more powerful Beacon Hill Battery just to the south. In the 1920s the area around the Redoubt – previously kept clear to provide fields of fire – was bought by the Town Council. This land is used for allotments. The Redoubt itself was allowed to fall into disrepair.
The Redoubt was briefly taken back into military service during World War II, when it served as a detention centre for British troops awaiting trial. Examples of the graffiti left by the soldiers can still be seen in some of the rooms.
Following World War II the Redoubt was used by the British Civil defence organisation who used it until they were disbanded. That was the end of the Redoubt’s military service.
Following a listing as an Ancient Monument, the restoration of the Harwich Redoubt began in July 1969 and has continued until the present day. When restoration began, one of the 9-inch 12 ton RML guns was discovered buried in the (dry) moat – it had been pushed in when it became obsolete, as they were too large and solidly constructed to be broken up for scrap.
Currently open as a museum, the Redoubt is the largest ancient monument in the UK being restored by a voluntary group. In addition to some of the original guns that armed the Redoubt, including the 9-inch RML, there are a number of other guns on display. Around the parade ground on the lower level, the various rooms are either fitted out in reconstruction of how they might have looked, or are used as display rooms for other exhibitions. Exhibitions include
a large number of replica firearms. Battle re-enactments and other events are held during the summer months.
So that’s the history of the fort (thanks to Wikipedia)
Once we were all set up we took the guest on a walk around the fort while it was still light so they could get a feel for the place and also get their bearings plus tack in the great views from the top of the fort.
As we only had a small number of special guests on this visit to the fort we decided that we would all stay together and work as one team.
So off we went to the Garden/Tool room.
This is a room the has an exhibit of old garden tools and other sundries and has a very strange small room to right of it which narrows at one end.
As we had had some strange things happen last time we were here Sharon and I kept this information to our self’s. J
So as we all stood at the bottom and widest part of the very dark windowless room looking towards the narrow end where its only just wide enough for someone to stand with their back against the wall, we asked if one of the guest wanted to stand in the narrow part facing the rest of us, one of our special guests happily obliged and off she trotted to the far end, holding her torch around waste high and covering the top so there was just a lovely warm glow illuminating her face and upper body. Once she was settled and comfortable (as she could be in a small damp dark cramped space) Sharon asked everyone else to just watch her and call out if they saw anything or felt anything.
Well the guest in the narrow part could see eyes watching her above or heads, and another guest could see a face above her grimacing at her. We change guest in the narrow part and put a male in the damp dark space, it was almost instant that the clean shaven guest had facial hair and his shadow changed to become very large and very broad, and his face was juddering up and down even though his body was as still as a mouse. He also came over all funny and he seemed to drift of some where several of us felt really uncomfortable in the room around this time so it was decided that we should leave and take 10 minutes to get our breath.
After we all regained our senses we went into the cells…… the sand pendulum had been set up in there and when we went in we checked to see if had moved… it had there was a pattern in the sand J.
We all stayed in cell 1 and done some calling out no one felt anything so we decided to go to the bottom cell (I hate the bottom cell) as soon as we were all in and the door was closed I could smell a really musty damp smell which I though could possibly be the room its self but the Sharon and some of the others also smelt it and it got really strong and pungent as soon as it came the smell soon disappeared. We had a EMF meter in the room with us and the lights kept changing to indicate that someone else was in the room with us, there was also a strong sense from the guest that we were not alone, one of the male guests got a very light tickling feeling on his arm but not much else apart from me and my intense twitching…..
So we decided that it would be good to split up the girls all stayed in the bottom cell the men went into the middle cell Gary was in the 1st cell at the top, Sharon went out into the corridor and started calling out. We all sensed something was watching us, our special female guest asked if the spirit present could make our cell go colder and ‘by god’ did our cell go cold the other female in our cell could see a shadow standing right beside her and move round us like they were checking us out, someone or thing stroked my leg from my ankle up to my knee and it was ice cold the feeling was just like a hand rubbing my leg and I can honestly say I was scared it was with such gentle pressure I could still feel it after it had happened and the cold was very intense and lasted a while.
We all could hear mumbles in the cell and I got a very intense pain in my collar bone. Sharon felt very un-easy out in the corridor on her own, the men all heard sounds of mumbles.
We decided it was time for a nice hot cup of coffee and had a break.
We all headed to the bunk room where they had two sets of bunk beds set up and a couple of single beds, some of the guest laid on the beds (one fell asleep apparently he can sleep anywhere!!)
We all settled down and Sharon called out again for any sprits to come and join us there was a connecting door to the next room, as the calling out started the door rattled so we asked that they do it again and the door did not rattle this time but someone or thing banged on the door.. to make sure this was not wind blowing into the next room mark went and checked that the door to the outside was closed and that there were no other drafts about that could cause the door to rattle or bang, even though it was not a windy night. Mark came back and gave the all clear nothing that could make the door rattle, so we called out again and again the door banged and it banged every time we asked. This was all that happened in this room, so we decided to move to another room in the fort this room had an exhibit of old household items toys and other bits , we decided to do some glass work but we got nothing and nobody was feeling anything in this room, so again we moved to another room this time the laboratory.. a male guest sat in an old wheel chair and we tried the glass again, we didn’t get anything again ,we called out and again invited the spirits to join us, the male guest in the wheel chair was talking away and said that the chair had just rolled forward a bit, he was fine and normal then went all quiet said he felt all fuzzy that he can hear muffled voices and then was drifting off into like a trance, so mark got him out of the chair and took him outside, the male guest soon returned to his normal self once outside and explained that he could not really explained it, it was like he was there but not and the voices were really muffled .
While the guest had been taken outside another male guest sat in the chair again the chair moved forward so after a bit of investigating we found the chair to be on a slight slope, so the male put his feet in front of the wheels which stopped the chair moving but he could not explained or de-bunk the feeling of the chair being pushed from behind to be moved causing it to rock back and forth against his feet.
Gary took some of the guests to do the Ganzfield experiment in the bunk bed room
A male guest felt Drained and like in a tunnel.
A female guest saw a silhouette of a face and when she was doing the experiment the door started to rattle again.
When another male done the experiment he had the feeling of choking an lots of water everywhere, like he was drowning, then the sound changed and the feeling went to be replaced with the sound of marching and the feeling that he was marching with soldiers and rushing water was very close to him.
While they were in the bunk room doing the experiment a light came on in one of the rooms where we had a camera set up camera 3,there was no one in that room or on that side of the fort as those who were not doing the experiment were in the green room. The light is on a sensor and mark and another guest went over to investigate, they could not give any reason why the light had come on and could not de-bunk it from being paranormal as you have to be a certain high to get the sensor to work so this ruled out small critters.
Once every one had done the experiment we decided to go into the room where the light had come on, this room had a horrible feel to it there is a large cabinet with two dummies dressed up as soldiers two of the guest stood in front of the cabinet and looked through the dummies a bit like you do when you scrying in a mirror, they soon lost their senses and felt as if they were being drawn into the cabinet with the soldiers.
We then went into another part of the room with more artefact’s in waist high cabinets , this part of the room felt very heavy and not nice, we called out and one of our special guests had a temperature gun and was checking the temperature on one of the walls, she started to ask the spirits to make the temperature go down, the temperature dropped to 11.09 and Sharon started to feel very uncomfortable and horrible. One of the male guest saw someone go across the other side of the room so he and mark went to check it out and check where Alex was they came back a while later but had not seen anyone and Alex was in the green room doing a live feed, so unless Usain Bolt had popped in to see what was going on and then decided he was to scared and run for his life it is very possible that the guest may have seen a spirit.
We set up the spirit board in cell 3 towards the end of the night but it was very weak and we did not get much response.
Our time was up at Redoubt Fort, it had been an interesting night but not as eventful as it has been in the past when we have paid a visit to the grand old building. All the guests had had some experiences and all were very happy with the investigation.
The night proved you can never tell what is going to happen on an investigation even at locations you have been to before and you have experienced lots of different things on previous visits.
If the spirits want to come out and play they will if they don’t they won’t……