Investigated on August 28th, 2007
With a history dating back
nearly a thousand years, Torre Abbey and the Spanish Barn
have seen almost a millennia of history - the barn in particular
witnessing death and imprisonment. Built way back in 1196,
what secrets would it offer when Hidden Realms spent the night
The Spanish Barn is one of the finest surviving examples of
an early medieval English barn in the country and is a grade
I listed building. The tithe barn was built in 1196 and was
built by the Canons of Torre Abbey at the same time of the
abbey itself. A church was also built but today it is little
more than a ruin comprising of just the West and South sides
of the Cloister still standing. The barn was built to store
produce from the Abbey lands and wagons would have been drawn
in to unload, with the threshing taking place between the
two large doors allowing a fresh sea breeze to circulate.
In 1450 the roof as we see it today was constructed.
The barns most famous story
explains how the building gots its name. In July 1588 the
galleon 'Nuestra Señora del Rosario' from the Spanish
Armada crashed and 397 members of the crew were captured.
Because many locals knew that their family and friends had
fallen foul of the Spaniards and the Spanish Inquisition,
they imprisoned them in the barn for a fortnight. After this
the prisoners were moved to Exeter and Dartmouth prisons.
In 1662 the Cary family purchased the barn (which, even then,
was still being used for its original purpose). A photo of
the barn from around 1865 is shown on the left. During the
1870's the surrounding farmland was developed and the barn
eventually became a stable for the Cary's family horses. Colonel
Lucius Cary, who owned the Abbey and barn from 1906 to 1916
stored his Daimler car in the barn.
In 1930 the Abbey and barn
were bought by Torquay Borough Council. they laid the floor
and removed all post-medieval additions. During WW2 the Royal
Air Force commissioned the barn and used it as a gymnasium.
Today the Barn stands as a museum to Torre Abbey and is used
during the summer months for exhibitions, plays and concerts.
To our knowledge there are
no paranormal stories attributed to the Spanish Barn. If you
know of any then please feel free to get in touch via either
email or the message forum.
Equipment We Used
The group used the following equipment during our investigation:
Both the coin and cross
trigger object experiments were set up over in a corner
of the barn just alongside to the stone sarcophagus
lid. A camcorder was left recording these and a Passive
IR motion detector was set facing towards the set-up.
|The Beam-Break motion detector was
placed waist-high to cover a smaller side-entrance to
the barn that was not in use.
|Three billiard balls were delicately
aligned along a surface just off from the centre of the
barn. This was so that if a trigger object moved but these
didn't then a natural reason, such as an Earth tremor,
could be effectively ruled out as a possible cause.
|The sensitives in the group
were given the image of a man on horse-back who entered
through the large doors on the Abbey side of the barn.
He was warning people inside to keep back as he entered.
He seemed to be someone who had an air of authority and
command about them. He had a long pole in his hand with
which he 'prodded' people out of the way. There was a
stench of decay and disease which was quite intense. Unfortunately
a gentlemen of this description has not been down during
|'There was a woman who was laid out
on the floor on what looked like old rags and a young
child who sat on the floor beside her who was crying.
There were other people in the barn but they kept away.
It was felt that the woman had a disease of some kind
and the others were too scared to go near her. It was
felt that the woman and child were left without any help
or comfort. Sadly this is too vague to be able to research
fully although nothing can be found historically that
suggests that the barn ever housed the sick. This, of
course, doesn't mean that what was picked up on was in
Whilst the group were sat round
a table in 'circle' near the main doorway a male presence
made himself known to the sensitives. He did not give
his name at first and seemed quite agitated at the group
being there and wanted to get past and go into the barn.
It was as though there was something inside the barn
that he wanted kept secret and he didnt want anyone
to find out about it. Mike asked out to this gentleman
what the year was and Chris was given a year from the
1580's that she then relayed to him. When Mike then
asked who the current reigning monarch was he was answered,
in the same way, 'King Henry'. This, obviously, is wrong
- King Henry VIII reigned from 1509 to 1547. It was
his daughter Elizabeth that was in reign during the
1580's. When Mike pointed this out he started to get
angry and called him various names such as Buffoon*,
Jabberwocker** and Chitterling***. One of the female
members was called a wench****. We asked out for the
mans name again and one person was given the name Tranter,
whilst another was told Sir Robert Tranter'. A dog was
walking backwards and forwards near the man.
*Buffoon: a clown, a noisy, clumsy , incompetant fool.
**Jabberwocker: Cant find a definition for this term.
***Chitterling: a section of the smaller intestines
****Wench: a farmyard working girl.
The name 'Robert Tranter / Trantor' cannot currently
be linked to either Torre Abbey or the barn itself.
|Another image that was 'sensed' was
that of a rotting cross, although it is not certain that
it was a cross but it was a 'tall, chunky, upright peice
of wood which had some type of carvings on it but at the
top it looked like it was rotting or melting away. It
was also 'sensed' that items from captured ships were
stored at the barn and that it came here under guard.
Whilst the group were stood near
the main doorway, two of the sensitives were given the
image of monks. These monks were entering the building
through the side door to the right of the main doors.
They walked silently at first into the building and
made their way to the North end of the barn where it
appeared some type of 'make-shift' alter stood. Various
latin words were heard, which appeared to be prayer
or chant. They wore their hoods up as they entered and
hands were clasped together as if in prayer. This would
obviously tie in with the Abbey that the barn is a part
Neither the billiard balls or cross moved during the night.
However, the coin experiment did seem to have something as
shown in the photo below:
Unfortunately, because this
apparent move was so slight the camera set recording at the
time did not pick up on it as it was focused on both the coins
and the cross. However, when the experiment was set all coins
were, as always, set in alignment to their borders. Since
nobody ever ventured down near the coins except for Mike this
movement is a bit of a mystery.
One incident that did occur
during the night that raised some questions was when Mike
was starting to pack up for the night and was walking past
the PIR Motion Detector as he was taking some items from the
Trigger Object experiments back to the table ready for packing.
As he walked past the Motion Detector, turned to face an empty,
inaccessible part of the barn a while before as to not set
it off, suddenly sounded in alarm. Mike, a little puzzled,
then walked back and faithfully retraced his route behind
the Motion Detector, moving back and forth over and over in
an attempt to set it back off again. This was to no avail
- it only ever sounded that one time and Mike could not recreate
it. Whatever set it off must have been in front in the inaccessible
part that nobody was anywhere near during the time.
A digital audio recorder was
left in the Barn for an entire night a few days before the
group conducted their investigation. Unfortunately a lot of
the noises recorded were of outside such as people walking
past and shouting or cars / bikes racing up along a nearby
road. There were, however, some interesting sounds that are
Recording 1: Footsteps
This was captured within an hour of the Barn being locked
up for the night. Yes, could well have been people walking
around outside, but these are hard footsteps on stone with
an echo that really does suggest that they were being made
inside the barn.
Recording 2: Voice saying 'Hello'
This does have a high probability that it was somebody outside
talking, but you can't hear any talking either directly before
or afterwards. There's no denying that the voice is saying
'hello' and it is a little unusual how it seems to just appear
out of nowhere. No footsteps outside or any pro or preceeding
chat. Plus, it also appears to have an echo to it.
Recording 3: Two knocks
These are two loud, distinctive knocks with echos to suggest
that they were being made inside the barn. What exactly is
causing them however we cannot say.
Recording 4: Harsh, grating sound.
Can anybody hazard a guess as to what could be making this
sound? It's too loud to be either a car or motorbike (and
sounds absolutely nothing like the many dozens of such vehicles
that drove past during the night) and we're currently at a
loss. Any guesses?
Recording 5: Footsteps and Voices
This was recorded at around 5am and sounds like someone is
talking through a walkie-talkie. However, that wouldn't explain
the quiet footsteps that're heard on the stone floor just
The Spanish Barn certainly was an interesting night with positive
results on both parts of the group as you can see above.
We had a lovely
time at the Spanish Barn, and would like to give a huge thanks
to everybody who helped make it happen!