Colston Bassett -  Nottinghamshire


On Saturday 23 September 2006 Derwent Paranormal members, Paul James, Chris and Eleanor Thompson, joined Notts. Paranormal Investigators for an overnight investigation at Colston Bassett. The location of the investigation was the ruined St Marys Church, a religious site which can be traced back to the early 12th century. As the church has been no more than a ruin since the 18th century we were dependant on the weather which fortunately was very kind to us with just a light cloud covering with the occasional star twinkling through keeping in some of the heat from what had been a warm autumn day..



(1) After a tour of the area a “Yes No” board was set in the Tower with six of the team participating. With no results having been achieved two of the participants were swapped randomly but still the glass failed to move. Each of the participants took their fingers off the glass in turn but still no movement was detected.

(2) In order to try the same experiment again we moved to the opposite end of the church, after all, it could have been possible that the gargoyles that adorned the tower could have been doing their job and warding off the spirits. On this occasion we were able to get some occasional movement from a couple of spirits, one of which seemed to be an animal, but this seemed to be quickly suppressed. Neither of our contacts seemed willing to tell us who they were or why they were there, glass divination just didn’t seem to be working!

(3) Whilst carrying out an investigation at a monastic site a couple of months earlier we had had some success with our own style of automatic writing. This involves two of the team sat with the writing implements whilst the rest of the team encircle them and mentally project a commonly known question which the two artists have no knowledge of. The first question asked was “How old are you?”. For some strange reason one of the participants, who was unaware of what she was writing, couldn’t get “4 + 4” out of her head. Sure enough, at the end of the session, the figure 8 was written on her board.


To record the results we normally use an infrared camera to photograph the boards. On this occasion though we had accidentally used a red pen which didn’t show up under infrared so we were forced to use flash photography and then change the pen before starting a second session with new sitters. We selected a brand new black marker pen which we placed on the Northern seat and set about asking the second question, “Who are you?”. Both of the sitters could be heard to be writing or drawing and after a while we closed the current session. The person on the northern seat had a blank board even though they were perfectly aware that the pen had been moving on the board. We assumed that even though the pen was brand new and sealed it must have been faulty. The person sat on the southern side however, had a singular word on there board which appeared to say “No”. This once again seemed to show the spirits unwillingness to let us know who they were.


As we intended to try the session once more we once again replaced the pen with yet another one. With the previous result recorded and two new sitters in place the encircling people asked the question “What day is it?” and once again the pens could be heard moving across the boards. At the close of the session the boards were once again inspected and inexplicably, the board on the northern side was once again blank, even though they had been using the pen that had worked perfectly on the last two occasions on the southern side. The board on the southern side seemed to have little else but scribble on it although it seems to start with an “S”.


(4) At three locations around the site there are information boards which give various details of the history of the church. During a walkabout, Paul and Chris noted that the surrounding village had possibly moved to its current location after the plague, but there had been no archaeological evidence found to pinpoint where it had originally existed. We decided to try an impromptu experiment where eight members of the team would create a human compass by making an inverted circle (facing outwards), representing eight points on the compass, whilst four others stood at the North, South, East and West points. After a short time one of the members of the circle reacted so the human compass was requested to rotate around the circle by 90 degrees clockwise. Shortly, the new person stood at the same compass point reacted and the circle was rotated once again. Again, at the same point we had reaction for both this and the next rotation and some of the team even reported being pulled backwards in that direction whilst at the opposite compass point. As it would be interesting to try the same experiment again with different people we will not at this stage divulge the direction we feel the original village used to be. After all we cannot guarantee that people were influenced by the first result obtained or by a natural occurrence such as a breeze.

(5) For our final experiment we tried a talking board session and as in the previous glass divination sessions found that in this case the planchette was none to keen to move. Although at one point we were able to get it to respond positively by moving, on no occasion were we able to get it to move to anything specific on the board.


Although we suspect that most of the team will have been deeply disappointed with the results from the vigil, we ourselves were particularly pleased with the results as they would seem to substantiate some of our theories.

It would appear that even though St Marys is no more than a ruin it still stands on consecrated ground as the surrounding graveyard is still in use. Despite what most people may think, not many graveyards are haunted. After all, when you die, would you really choose a graveyard to spend the rest of eternity? Of course not! You would go somewhere where you were happy during your life. Many believers say that graveyards are only haunted by the first body to be buried there and just in case many graveyards and cemeteries bury an animal first to act as guardian for the rest of eternity. This could be substantiated by the animal that we appeared to come in contact with during the glass divination (2) Also, since this location is not a monastic settlement where people would have lived their lives, why should anyone choose to spend the rest of eternity in a lonely church in the middle of nowhere? Perhaps in retrospect, the investigation would have been a little less credible had there been continual activity throughout the night.

Is it any more than just a coincidence that nothing seemed too keen to communicate with us when we were asking the questions out loud but when questions were asked mentally we received some compelling results? After all we were in a house of God where normally a little reverence is shown. Perhaps there is a necessity to tailor the experiments we try specifically to the type of location we are investigating; after all we have noted similar results at a similar location in the past.

Although there was little in the way of activity within the remains of the church and graveyard itself on numerous occasions the team members not directly involved in various sessions were constantly being distracted by movements and sounds just outside the perimeter. It would be easy for the more sceptical amongst us to dismiss this activity as the local wildlife but it would be an interesting experiment to see if we could attract increased paranormal activity just outside the church grounds on a future visit.