MAPIT

Chingle Hall - Alleged Most Haunted Building in England

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The above pictures show Chingle Hall in Preston an alleged apparition on the staircase and the strange wooden beam. The mystery regarding the wooden beam has never been solved. A number of years back, the beam suddenly burst into flames and the local fire department rushed out to save the ceiling of Chingle Hall’s Chapel. Fire services took the beam away with them for analysis because no one knew how it had caught fire. Their analysis was very unusual. Apparently, the wooden ceiling beam had combusted from the inside out and no rational explanation was found. As for the photograph of the alleged apparition on the stairs. The photographer claimed to have seen the apparition heading up the staircase, however we only have their word for it. Our own analysts believe the photograph depicts a hair in front of and close to lens which was illuminated by the camera flash. But... you never know....

Chingle Hall is a small moated manor house which was built in 1260, if not a little later. Birthplace, in 1620, of John Wall, one of the Catholic martyrs in Britain, executed at Worcester in 1679. Chingle Hall belonged to the Wall family from 1588. From 1794 to 1959 it was owned by the Farington family. It was then purchased by George and Mayard Howarth and in 1986 the house was bought by John Copplestone-Bruce; in recent years it has changed hands several times and the current owners are Trevor and Judy Kirkham. Chingle Hall lies on the outskirts of Preston (Priest-Town) in Lancashire UK, within the small Viking village of Goosnargh.

In 1066 or 1067, Ughtred Singleton was apparently given the land Chingle now stands upon, for his devoted services in battle alongside King Harold, who had just defeated his brother, Tostig, and Harold Hardrada of Norway. The battle took place in the North of England. Ughtred decided that with a piece of land so large, he could now better his name, and became known as Ughtred de Singleton, the 'de' meaning a proclamation of a well-to-do man and his family. Ughtred did not build on the land, but passed it on through the de Singleton family line. It was only almost 200 years later, that a young knight known as Adam de Singleton, built a small moated house on the land. The house, now known as Chingle Hall was once known as Singleton Hall and faces South from the drawbridge position. The de Singletons and their relations, the Wall family, were strong followers of the Catholic faith, and because of this, a small chapel was constructed inside the Hall for private use.

Chingle Hall has a magnificent original 13th century studded solid oak front door, with its rugged wrought ironwork, is still as fuctional as the day it was made by a medieval carpenter. A small drawbridge built of wood originally lay across the moat. A bridge built of brick replaced the drawbridge in the 16th century. Today this much repaired old bridge spanning the now almost dry moat is still very much in evidence. Inside the main porch there is a lovely Victorian tiled floor. The original floor is believed to be some 15 to 18 inches below this and would more than likely been stone. Another feature of the main porch is a small square window with Tudor glass still intact. An identical window was once directly opposite but was blocked up to evade the Window Tax of 1696.

In the chapel a wooden cross was discovered behing a plastered wall during the 1960s. The cross is very old and is thought to have been used in Cladestine Mass services in the days of the religious persecution. Also, the chapel has a secret floor hide together with an adjacent chimney hide that was discovered in the 1970s when the then owner, a Mrs. Howarth, noticed smoke coming from a wooden beam. It was noticed that the beam was burning unusually from the inside out. The local fire department were called. The fire department still have the case on record and could not explain how the fire started nor the way the beam combusted. The kitchen of Chingle Hall has recently been modernised and is very much like a modern day kitchen. In the Great Hall which is rather small for such a big name is ancient oak beams, Tudor fireplace and original flagged floor combined to create the timeless atmosphere of the Great Hall.

The windows around Chingle Hall are leaded in a diagonal formation. Apart from being dark, some of the glass is slightly warped. The dim lighting and the way the glass is manufactured can cause many photographic anomalies to appear in their relfections. Of course, most are wrongly misidentified. On leaving the Great Hall, the staircase is beautifully wide, which replaced a crude ladder used in earlier times. Again, taking photographs in this location can cause camera flash to bounce of the walls and hanging pictures, causing a wonderful display of unusual light formations. Upstairs, in the priests room, which is situated at the side of Chingle Hall, is a priest hide that was discovered and the bricked up old stone mullioned windows. This priest hide is the largest at Chingle and was built during the reformation by devout Catholic and master carpenter, Nicholas Owen, who became well known in the area for his skilled construction of concealed hides. Eventually he was caught and placed on a rack in the Tower of London. There is also exposed parts of the timber construction of the walls. In reality they are short lengths of removable wooden panels behind which are cavities in which were once concealed various small Catholic artifacts and documents.

In the upstairs corridoors the floor boards beneath your feet have slight gaps in which reveal the downstairs rooms. This causes the slightest sound to be heard downstairs and sometimes confusing investigators. In St. John Walls room there are devotional niches in the wall where once windows were. In the beam above the the niches are 12 holes in which wooden Apostles were once pegged for the purpose of prayer. These niches know house four beautiful paintings of the saints. There are also two wall cupboards, which once housed the mechanism for the raising and lowering of the drawbridge. All in all, a beautiful house which has been kept to its original layout. If you ever visit Chingle Hall, note the front door knocker and hindges. The knocker is referred to as 'The Sanctuary Knocker' or 'Trinity Knocker' which was once used to escape persecution. Apparently, anyone using it had to be given shelter for up to nine days. The hindges are said to purposely resemble a swan upon water and its relection. Most beautiful.

Chingle Hall would have been a lot smaller than it appears today as well as cold and draughty. The hall would have had an open floor fire in what is now called the Great Hall and a hole left open in the roof structure would have let out the billowing smoke. During this period the Great Hall would have been used for sheltering the animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, hens and geese. All the family meals would have been cooked within this complex. It was not until the 16th century that people began to rearrange their living quarters; during the Tudor period the hall was made larger, making Chingle crossed shaped. when viewed from above.

Strange Occurrences :

Many who visit Chingle Hall claim to have witnessed apparitions of monks, glowing balls of lights, strange knocking sounds and even a scream has been heard, one cannot help thinking that those who visit Chingle Hall are filled with prior knowledge of paranormal activity and have the expectation of something about to happen. These two factors combined create a cocktail of misidentifications. There are hundreds of photographs that depict energy formings or vortex's, (call them what you will). Almost every visit photographers capture something allegedly odd on film. Swinging lights and object movement is rare but it has been known to happen time to time. MAPIT have visited Chingle Hall over 27 times and all but three visits have been sucssesful in recording possible alleged anomalies. Of course, I personally believe the halls historical value is much more intereting.

A team of investigators staying at Chingle Hall on July 18th 1995 managed to capture a horrific scream on their dictaphone (voice activated recorder) at around 5.36am. The dictaphone was situated on the window-sill on the landing, at the top of the staircase. The strange and abrupt scream was heard by all four investigators. They explained how the sound seemed to emanate from every direction. The sound had obviously caught them by surprise and was so loud that the two female investigators can also be heard screaming on the audio recording. The two sounds, (the paranormal sound) and the (screams from the two female investigators) were able to be separated through analysis carried out by Manchester University. A spectrogram from the audio analysis can be seen below. It was concluded that the analysis was nothing like what you would expect from a signle voice. The widely spread pattern of acoustic energy prior to the two spikes suggests a large number of voices all screaming simultaneously with the odd few entering and leaving the scream in different places and that the vocals did not match that of humans...

The 'Scream' is available on You Tube to hear. Please clink on the link......................

MAPIT investigations of Chingle Hall - Documented & TV Productions.

March 1994 / May 1994 / September 1994 / November 1994 / July 1995 / September 1995 / October 1995 / December 1995 / April 1996 / June 1996 / June 1996 / September 1996 / November 1996 / January 1997 / May 1997 / July 1997 / September 1997 / March 1998 / May 1998 / July 1998 / October 1998 /
December 1998 / May 1999 / May 1999 / June 1999 / August 1999 / November 1999 / February 2000 /
& June 2000.

On June 8th 1996 visit to Chingle Hall, MAPIT investigators captured what sounds like vocies on yet another dictaphone. The audio tape was analysed by Dave Dimelow R.A.E with the assistance of Steve Yarwood. The results are as follows...

Dear Mr. Mera,

The tape recording has an introduction at the beginning that consists of several voices in conversation in what sounds like a small to midium sized room. The tape is probably a second or third generation copy, signal to noise ratio it rather bad, with room reflections and noise echo that masks some of the speech. Unfortunately because this is not the original tape the accumulation of noise that is present, and re-recorded every time a copy is made is well up into the wanted signal, this means that to completely eliminate the interfering signal is impossible. Filtering out too much of the noise will also take a lot of the wanted signal away, because wanted signal, and noise share the same frequencies.

In the future it would be advisable to use the best recording equipment available, ie, a resonable quality machine that has hed the heads clearned, and the use of a powered condenser microphone of the boundary or plate type that is omnidirectional, as well as reflection ignorant. A number of specifications follow:

■ For future on site investigations acquisition of better recording equipment is necessary.
■ Powered condenser microphones of the boundary or plate type to be acquired.
■ The possibility that future analysis is carried out on the original tape.
■ Said equipment must use standard format tapes to aid in analysis.

The target voice appears to be that of a little girl saying the word's 'I'M FRIGHTENED'. After cutting the section, and running it through a noise gate to clear it of ambient noise, a parametric equilizer was used to boost the frequencies around 1Khz, and cut the unwanted signal either side. This was then filtered again with both low and high band stop filters to take out any noise made by the parametric. The voice was then duplicated three times, the first part with just filtering, the second part uses anti alias to stretch the high points, and the third part cut by 6db. The first run through (wave 445) is as explained, the second run through (wave 446) is above but with the pitch dropped by 3 semitones, the tempo is unaltered. The third run through (wave 447) is as the first but with the speed slowed down by 23% and the pitch is unaltered.

The voice appears to consist of a single almost pure sinewave with no modulation and no harmonics save for a very small signal level of third harmonics appearing as a parasitic on the negative excursion of the sine wave, this would not be consistent with a wave form of the human voice, which has a great many harmonics and makes a voice as distinctive as a fingerprint, however if the wave form is looked at on an oscilloscope it does indeed trace the pattern that a human voice would make.

I would like to have worked with the original tape, this would yield better results simply because of the noise factor involved, however put simply, I do not believe the sound was made by a human voice. It could have been made by something trying to approximate a human voice. An analogy would be electronic. An electronic voice has something missing, the timbre is wrong, its the same with this voice. It sounds like a real voice to the human ear but electronically its incorrect. EVP recordings may be the product of an approximation of a human voice.

Many Thanks.
Dave Dimelow R.A.E.
Assisted by Steve Yarwood.

Reported Anomalies during MAPIT Investigations:

■ Objects found to have been moved or small items thrown.
■ Objects found to be swinging.
■ Audible disturbances such as bangs, scratching sounds, knocking sounds, the sound of the
  drawbridge being closed, voices and humming.
■ Odours such as Lavender and Insence.
■ Temperature fluctuations & Stray Electromagnetic Energy.
■ Disorientation & Unusual Emotions.
■ Claims of being touched or clothing tugged.
■ Sudden drainage of battery power & other faulting equipment.

Their are a couple of occasions that are rather profound that MAPIT investigators cannot rationalise.

1. On particular investigator was suddenly jolted back as if he had been hit in the face. On lifting his head
  his nose was bleeding heavily.

2. On another occasion an investigator was placing new batteries into his camera whe they seemed to
  expload in his hands. The investigator required treament for severe burns.

A much more vigorous analysis of events should take place, however Chingle Hall is no closed to the public thus ending our opportunity to recreate the scene...

Some details can be seen in a number of TV productions or read...

Strangle But True - Chingle Hall.
Ghosthunters (UK Version) - Chingle Hall.
Sally Wallbank's Book - Chingle Hall.

Many organisation, scientists, radio and tv production crews have visited Chingle Hall over the years and all together recieved far more media coverage than Borley Rectory in its time. People have claimed bizarre experiences from seeing the devil to their hair turning grey overnight. The sightings of monks, balls of light, strange creatures, experiencing time slips etc etc... the list goes on.

MAPIT can comfortablly say they have not witnessed any of these bizarre incidents...But there are a number of reported incidents that constitute a raised eye-brow or two.

Many years ago a couple visiting Mr. Howarth spent the afternoon have tea in the grounds at the front of Chingle Hall which at that time was just grassed and not a car park as it is today. Mrs. Howarth was having a local dog show. They sat and chatted and took in the afternoon sun watching the compertition, but when the couple came to leave and thank Mrs. Howarth for her hospitality they asked her where was the monastery was, because they would like to visit it. Mrs. Howarth said, 'there is no monastery around here'. The couple were confuseed and said 'Well, where are the monks from then?' 'What monks?' replied Mr. Howarth. 'The ones we saw in the garden'... Apparently the couple had spent sometime watching hooded monks walking backwards and forwards during the afternoon, yet no monastery had been around for hundereds of years and no one else had seen the monks...

Another interesting incident that is said to have taken place is when curious visitors had knocked at Chingle Hall asking if they could arrange a visit took look around. The frail woman introduced herself as Mrs. Howarth and said that she would gladly show them around now. The couple agreed and Mrs. Howarth gave them a brief showing around. Sometime later the couple returned to the all with friends for a second visit. This time a young woman aswered the door. The couple explained that they had a look around last month and hoped their friends could do the same. The young woman looked puzzled. 'Who shown you around'? she replied. 'Mrs. Howarth did' came the response.... The young woman told the couple that this was impossible as Mrs. Howarth died years ago....

One visitor to Chingle Hall had left late one night and was driving down the private lane that led to the main road when suddenly a large brown dog ran out in front of him. He slammed on his brakes as he heard a thud. He jumped out of his car expecting to find a wounded animal at the front of his vehicle but when he got there, nothing could be seen. There was no dog to be found and no damage to his vehicle. Just as he was inspecting the front of his car a large speeding truck shot past on the main road. He quickly realised that if he had not have stopped he would have certainly been involved in an accidnt. The dog was never seen again...

Whilst Chingle Hall was going under modifications with its windows and heating system in the Great Hall, a rather unusual incident took place. The plumber they had was fitting a large metal tube up the chimney so to vent the new open heater they were having installed. Numerous pieces or pipe work was clearly visible. The plumber had gone off to his car to get something. He had only been a couple of minutes but when he returned he could not believe his eyes. Every piece of pipework was missing and was knowhere to be seen. He stood there confused and thought, someone must be having a joke with him. He decided to go into the lounge and get the owner so to show them what had happened, but on returning with the owner a couple of minutes later, everything was back as it was. The plumber has never been able to explain what happened and was seen being interviews on the Ghosthunters (UK Version) TV Show. There is even talk of a radio show being presented live from Chingle Halls kitchen that ended abruptly. The presenters suddenly heard loud bells being rung in the kitchen. When they realised there were no bells in Chingle Hall, they fled the seen rather quickly...

Time Slips are occasionally reported at Chingle Hall, but the most documented involved a couple that had visited the Hall to drop in a deposit. They knocked and got no reply so they had decided to push the letter through the gaps in the front door as they could clearly see the stone floor in the hallway. When the owners arrived back they found the letter a good ten foot into the hall and wondered how it had got there. They decided to contact the couple that had dropped of the letter and asked how they managed to get the letter so far into the hallway. When they replied that they pushed it through one of the gaps in the wooden front door, they were puzzled. There were no gaps in the front door, nor was there a stone floor. At the time the hallway floor was Tudor tiled. A number of months later the owners were having some work done in the hallway and a small part of the floor was taken up, only to reveal a much older stone floor underneath. Many years ago the stone floor would have been the one used and there may have been at that time gaps in the wooden front door as most doors had at that time, only to be sealed up in years to come with tar...

My final account is one I had somehow been privy to at the time. A group of people decided to have a seance at Chingle Hall. One of them was ranada Reports presenter Paul Crone. They sat round the table in the Great Hall and joined hands. They enquired as to whether there was anyone on the other side who wanted to contact them... (Funny, sounds like something straight out of a spooky 60s movie)... Anyhow... Some of the group felt a sudden pressure on their backs as if pushed down onto the table. For some reason, all those that felt the pressure were left in tears. No one knew why they were crying but could not stop. One of the group decided to take a photograph and as the flash suddenly filled the room they saw a young standing in the corner of the room. Then suddenly another member of the group shouted out, 'Oh God... I can feel them'. A couple of the group members then said that they could see a monk stood behind Paul Crone... (Well.. as you can imagine, Paul jumped up and ran for the door). He refused to set foot back inside Chingle Hall and the consequence of his actions led him to leaving numerous pieces of equipment at the Hall for months which were later utilised by an organisation... Say No More! To this day, Paul refuses to go into Chingle Hall, he will only go as far as the Front Door...

There are many many incidents that have been reported to have taken place at Chingle Hall. If any of them are true, then maybe Chingle Hall is living up to its claim of being England's Most Haunted House...

Chingle Hall Scream Analysis carried out by NARO at Manchester University.
Compiled by Steve Mera.

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