Investigation Report – 29th of August – 2009
Cultybraggan lies in the western area of Perthshire, some 2 miles (3 km) south of the village of Comrie. It is entrance to Glenartney, an ancient Royal deer forest that supplied venison to the Sovereigns of Scotland at Holyrood, Dunfermline and Falkland. Steeped in history and natural beauty, it has been a favourite of many Scottish Royal Houses and Sir Walter Scott immortalized it in The Lady of the Lake. The site is home to a number of facilities and was first used during World War II as a Prisoner of War (PoW) camp.
Built in 1941, PoW camp No 21 at Cultybraggan was designed to hold some 4,000 Category A prisoners. Considered to be the toughest, most committed and fanatical Nazi PoWs, these men had been classified as ‘Black’ by the British authorities. Many had been captured from the SS and the Afrika Korps. The camp had five separate compounds; one each for the Army, Navy, Air Force and SS prisoners, and one for officers. There was an associated camp two miles away at Cowden, now a housing development in Comrie.
After the end of the war, five of the prisoners were hanged at Pentonville Prison, the largest multiple executions in 20th century Britain, after Wolfgang Rosterg, a German PoW known to be unsympathetic to the Nazi regime in Germany, was lynched there. The reason is not completely clear; some sources say he was killed because he was suspected of being a British spy, while others simply claim that he demonstrated insufficient zeal in his support for the Nazi Party, and was punished accordingly.
Cultybraggan represents one of the most complete PoW camps remaining in the UK, with the many Nissen huts there having changed little since their original construction. This has led to part of the original camp being scheduled as an Ancient Monument.
In August 1960, an underground Royal Observer Corps (ROC) monitoring post was installed in the north east corner of the camp site, and can be seen to the east of a nearby antenna mast. Closed in September, 1991, the post still remains on the site, locked since the ROC was stood down in the same year.
In 1990, an underground Regional Government Headquarters bunker was completed in the north east corner of the camp site. This followed the closure of the Scottish North Zone Headquarters bunker at Troywood (Anstruther); it would have housed the Secretary of State for Scotland, the BBC, BT and other important organisations had a major conflict erupted. Almost as soon as the bunker was completed, the Cold War threat was considered to have receded, and the £3.6 million, two storey, underground structure was declared obsolete, and closed. The bunker was subsequently sold to the Army, and used to provide classrooms and other facilities for military training. The camp ceased to be used by the military in 2004, when villagers in Comrie began a campaign to buy part of the camp in order to preserve it as a heritage attraction.
On Friday 6th July 2007 the Comrie Development Trust signed the legal documentation to purchase the old Cultybraggan Training Camp from the MOD for the benefit of the community. This historic and major community buyout of land was effected under the Land Reform legislation and the deal involves the purchase of 90 acres of land for the benefit of the people of Comrie.
Lorraine, James, Billy, Anna and Kim
There have been no previous official reports of paranormal activity , however it seems no member of staff/security would even set foot on the site when it was dark. On speaking to staff, it seems that security has witnessed strange figures seen on location at night. The GPI are the first paranormal group to carry out an investigation.
Pre-investigation visit of location
Kim and Lorraine went for a pre-investigation of the location. The GPI try to do this before any investigation, so we know exactly what we are dealing with and also what are the best areas to target for all our equipment. Lorraine, as well as being an investigator is also an excellent psychic and helps in locating the areas where the most activity will be found and names of energies that are possibly still wandering the camp. Lorraine and Kim informed the host of the names picked up and most of these names were German. This information from Lorraine had to be checked with his colleague. All the names mentioned were confirmed as actual people that were present when it was operational as a Prisoner War Camp. Photos were also taken of the areas that Kim and Lorraine visited and initially nothing was picked up as being negative. However, Lorraine then went on to report that she picked up residual energy from a past incident where someone was accused of being a spy and had been murdered . Again this is when it was a prisoner of war camp. The bunker was another location that was visited. Compared to the camp itself, it is a recent build, so they did not expect anything to be at this location. Lorraine did advise however, that it is not the building that one should consider but the land it was built on. Nothing was picked up in the bunker, although photos Kim had taken showed a large black shadow and this was located in just the one room. Kim noticed the shadow straight away when she took the photo, and so took a few after this. The shadow seemed to be moving and then disappeared. Kim could not explain it logically and suspecting her own shadow, re-traced her steps to see what could have caused this but could not find anything. The dark shadow had vanished and Kim could not re-create it.
The team arrived at location around 21:00hrs to be greeted by our host, who kindly indicated where our base camp would be set up. Base camp was the only building on site that actually had working source of electricity.
The GPI were now locked down in the complex for the night, feeling the location a very daunting and dark place…possibly just as the POWs had felt during their incarceration.
On entering the base camp, GPI sensitive Lorraine, picked up on many energies, to the point that it was very overwhelming. At this stage, no negative energies were reported, but the team carried out a protection circle immediately anyway.
The GPI decided to cover 3 areas; the Sergeants mess, the cells and the bunker. Lorraine, Kim and Anna started to set up a trigger object in the backroom of base camp, while taking photos. The trigger object consisted of motion detectors set up at the back doors of the building. While setting the objects up in the Sergeants Mess, all three investigators could hear low voices and due to this a Dictaphone was left in this location. They kept hearing whispering and this was confirmed from the Dictaphone recordings that was kept running throughout the night. It included a man’s voice in English, asking for help and then getting agitated because we could not hear him. At this point you can hear him swearing at the group on the Dictaphone. This was all quite overwhelming, as the investigation had hardly begun at this point. The other two investigators James and Billy were setting up cameras, digital recorders and other equipment in the main hall of base camp ready for our investigation of the site. On request Lorraine and Kim went into the back area of base camp once again for a table. They were surprised and excited to find doors opening up in front of them and more voices. Unfortunately no recording of this was carried out, so this paranormal experience could not be fully collaborated. Another strange occurrence was that our equipment’s batteries were quickly losing power
The team then moved on to the cells, but did not spend a long time in this area. They did however leave a trigger object of a crucifix to see if it could be affected in anyway. On checking this at the end of the night, the crucifix had been moved considerably. Bearing in mind that our group are the only ones in the camp and the gates are both padlocked by security. All five group members kept together at all times, as the only power source was in one building. The rest of the place was in complete darkness.
When they moved to the bunker, the team all noted they had a really bad feeling about it. The whole feeling of the place had changed for Lorraine, who felt that there was a large negative energy present that had built up over time. Before we entered the bunker you could hear someone calling out James on the Dictaphone a couple of times and this is the name of an investigator. When entering the bunker, the Dictaphone evidence was just incredible. On listening back, we could hear a clear voice of someone asking for help, but it did not sound like a pleasant nor friendly voice. This voice continued being picked up throughout the night on the Dictaphone and also a couple of the team members heard it with their own ears. When they went by the room where Kim saw the shadow on the pre-investigation, one of the team members thought they heard a voice coming from it. No other member knew where Kim saw the shadow, so it was quite strange that someone heard a voice in the exact same room. Lorraine at this point felt it was best if we left, due to a large negative force that was present. According to Lorraine, this was not spirit energy, but just a large negative mass and to psychics that is not a good thing as there is so little information about this type of energy. Our group is made up of sceptics, as well as believers and this meant that we carried on with the investigation despite Lorraine’s increasing concerns. It would take a lot of evidence to prove to the sceptics, that there was something negative there, despite even their increasing fear of the location. But they put this down to the camps unpleasant past and also it had been abandoned some time with no power etc so this would obviously create an unpleasant, unwelcoming atmosphere.
GPI investigator James walked to the end of the corridor of the bunker on the main level. He could hear conversations on the stairwell below. All GPI team members followed and listened. They all fully confirmed that they could hear voices talking very clearly. James stormed down the stairs and peered into the room below, with Kim and another colleague behind. The conversations had stopped and they just stood there in silence and started asking out questions. Billy and Lorraine were both on the stairwell further up and Lorraine at this point was becoming very ill. For a sensitive/psychic, this is a clear sign of something negative threatening the team. James asked “Where are you?” and Lorraine and Billy heard very clearly “I am here”. On the video footage you see their reaction and also the voice is picked up on the Dictaphone as well as the video camera too. At this point Lorraine was so drained, that she was physically shaking. For safety purposes, the team decided to call it a night. They went back up to the main level and stood and discussed what had occurred. Three massive bangs came from downstairs and at this point, they decided it best to leave. Spiritually speaking, with Lorraine being drained and feeling extremely unwell, the team had no protection if something negative was present. Our team safety is of the upmost importance.
The team were all a bit shaken up and to be honest, this is a first for all of the GPI. When heading back to base camp, the lights of the huts that had no power were inexplicably switching on as the team went by them. The team realise that this sounds somewhat unbelievable but each member witnessed it, except for Lorraine who was being physically sick at the time. This was a turning point for the sceptics in the team, as they began to question their beliefs. The team were extremely frustrated as at this point, as no video cameras were running to capture this amazing event. However, it is a lesson learnt and the GPI now try to carry video cameras and digital stills cameras everywhere during investigations now. It is now a GPI golden rule. Hindsight is a great thing, but in retrospect, due to the team all being anxious and afraid, this is probably why they never had the cameras running to catch the lights coming on.
There were various interesting examples of EVP (Electrical Voice Phenomenon) including whispers, sighs, voices and inexplicable noises. The team also heard 3 clear loud bangs at end of investigation which they cannot explain and various other taps and bangs during the night also. There were also some personal experiences such as Lorraine feeling the team extremely threatened, being physically sick and various other team members feeling fearful. Battery power in equipment also seemed to deplete quickly also.
The team feel it was fantastic night for capturing activity and personal experiences. We would have loved to have gone back there to carry out a further investigation but take more investigators due to it being such a huge location. Due to it being for commercial use now, no further investigations can be carried out and so it seems that the GPI carried out the first and last paranormal investigation of Cultybraggan POW Camp. Maybe it is for the best that the camp will not be investigated again in its current state and we leave the souls that still wander the camp in peace and let the Comrie Trust take this former camp into a new development and hopefully a happier era in its existence.
The GPI wish to say a huge thank you to Comrie Development Trust and also a special mention to Isla Valenti, Office Manager for making this investigation possible and entrusting us with the camp for the night.