Bacon’s Castle – 3/1/14

Project Report

465 Bacon’s Castle Trail
Surry, VA 23883

Bacon’s Castle Contacts:
Joanna Braswell,
Todd Balance,

CPRI Contact:
Brad Bradley,


The Center for Paranormal Research and Investigation (CPRI) was given permission to perform research at Bacon’s Castle, a Preservation Virginia site on 3/1/14. Staff, volunteers and tour attendees have reported disembodied voices, moving furniture, the sound of footsteps and other noises throughout the main building. These were also detected by CPRI during a previous visit.


The main building sits on a large property parcel with many outbuildings dating from several eras (see Figure 1). It is divided into two sections. One side of the building was built in 1665 while the other side was built in 1854. Most of the previously detected activity originated from the 1665 side of the building, so it was decided to focus efforts there again, though a camera was placed outside for security purposes.

Base of operations was setup on the 1854 side of the building, on the first floor in the south meeting room area. All research activities were staged from there. CPRI was physically onsite from 3pm until 6:45pm and then 8:30pm until 7:30am 3/2/14.

On the 1665 side of the building, 10 wired infrared cameras were setup in the basement, first, second and third floors. On the first floor, one camera was placed in the eastern room while two cameras were placed in the western room focusing on a chair that was placed in that room to test for movement. Spike tape was placed around two of the chair legs to mark its original location in case of movement. Two cameras were placed in the basement, one facing the door separating the 1665 section from the 1854 section, and one pointing into the west storage area. A camera was placed in each of the second floor rooms and the second floor hallway. Finally, a camera was placed in the basement connecting area between the 1854 and 1665 sections facing the door separating the 1854 section from the 1665 section. Video and audio from all 10 cameras was recorded on a DVR system located in the base of operations. A wireless infrared camera was setup in the front yard facing the house. Video only was recorded from that camera on a computer located in the base of operations.

A voice recorder (TASCAM DR-05 set to auto attenuate) was placed in the 1665 section in the third floor hallway just at the top of the stairs. The recorder was monitored in real time in the base of operations using a 100’ cable attached to a sound amplifier and speakers. A temperature/humidity datalogger was also placed next to the recorder. Finally, a Trifield meter was placed next to the recorder and was set to detect radio frequencies and to alert audibly if any were detected. In the west room on the first floor, another Trifield meter was placed near the chair placed there. This one was set to detect electromagnetic fields (EMF) and to alarm audibly if any were detected above background noise. A vibration alarm was also placed on the chair and several small battery operated tea lights were placed on and around it. These lights were adjusted so that the smallest movement near them would turn them on.

A voice recorder was placed in the south room on the second floor of the 1854 section. About halfway through the night, the wireless infrared camera was moved to this same room from outside.

Teams of two or three were periodically sent into the 1665 section from the base of operations. These teams used various voice recorders, electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors, portable video cameras and other instrumentation.

Evidence/Data Collected

The wireless infrared camera placed on the front lawn detected a ball of light moving east from west of the house, disappearing behind the house. It was determined during background investigation that the light was actually a searchlight mounted on a passing helicopter.

When a team of three went to the third floor hallway of the 1665 section to setup the remote monitoring recorder, an audible voice was detected at 8:51pm by all three team members and recorded. This was also detected by those remotely monitoring the recorder and on the video shot by the production company that was following the team. The Trifield meter was not setup at this time, so an Oscilloscope with a magnetic pickup was being used to see if any appreciable radio frequency noise was present. None was found. Also, no deflections in temperature and humidity were detected when the voice was heard.

Link to audio of voice:

Link to video of voice detection:

Thumps, bangs, footsteps and other sounds of movement were detected audibly throughout the night either by teams within the 1665 section or via the remotely monitored recorder. Below are some examples, including a knock pattern similar to the old “shave and a haircut” rhythm and one with a sort of “grunt” as if someone was struggling with something. All three of these happened within one minute of each other.

Link to furniture moving sound at 12:33am:

Link to movement and “grunt” at 4:04am:

Link to thumps and bangs at 4:05am:

Link to “shave and a haircut” knock series at 4:06am:

Link to footsteps coming from above while on first floor at 4:30am:

All of these were recorded on the remote monitoring recorder on the third floor of 1665 section and on a handheld device of the same model. Upon hearing the 4:06am knock series via remote monitoring, two team members searched the outside perimeter for intruders and checked that all entrances were secured. No intruders were found. Two team members also went to the 1665 section of the house and tried to duplicate the knocks for comparison. The tonal qualities of these tests did not match the original detected knock series.

Please note that between 8pm and 9:30pm, two different trespassing vehicles were detected on the property. These left with no incident when confronted.

Around 11:38pm on the first floor of the 1665 section, another team captured a distant scream on a handheld recorder. This was not detected audibly, nor was it detected by static recorder on the third floor.

Link to audio of scream (this one is very subtle and occurs twice, once after each time we speak):

Around 11:41pm on the first floor of the 1665 section, another team captured a voice on a handheld recorder that was also detected audibly. This was detected by the static recorder on the third floor, though at a much lower volume.

Link to audio of voice:

At around 1:01am, a distant scream was detected audibly by those in the command area on the first floor of the 1854 side of the house. This was also recorded by a handheld recorder by those same team members:

Link to audio of scream:

At around 2:02am, the static recorder in the south room of the 2nd floor of the 1854 side detected a distant scream.

Link to audio of scream (in background):

At around 2:05am, the 2nd floor recorder detected a loud pop as if someone stepped into the room. You can hear us react to it in the command center directly beneath this room.

Link to audio of pop:

At around 2:40am, two team members in the command area thought they detected movement coming from the second floor of the 1854 section. Recorders up there did not detect this movement. While inspecting the second floor, the door to the north room unlatched and opened on its own. The two team members investigating on that floor immediately tried to replicate the incident, but could not make the door open by any other means except turning the door handle.

Link to video of the door opening:


Multiple audible anomalies were detected. The music detected via the remote recorder on 11/9/13 was not detected this time. The animals detected in the attic on 11/9/13 were not detected this time.

The chair placed in the west room of the first floor of the 1665 section did not move throughout the night and no anomalous readings were detected around it. Some of the tea lights did occasionally turn on, but that can be attributed to environmental factors.

The audible voice detected on the third floor of the 1665 section remains unexplained, as do the various knocks, bangs, footsteps, screams and the grunt detected. The “shave and a haircut” knock pattern detected on the recorder on the third floor of the 1665 side of the house was determined to have been restricted to the just the 1665 side.

Further research is needed onsite to determine the cause of the detected anomalies and to disprove any interference. More environmental data needs to be collected beyond audio and video as it is possible that environmental sensors were not positioned in the correct spot to collect data on the anomalies. Further research into surrounding out buildings is also warranted due to continuous reports of anomalies at those locations.

Plantation Layout of Bacon's Castle
Figure 1 – Plantation Layout
Third Floor Bacon's Castle
Figure 2 – Third Floor

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