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The Mirage Mansion | Unexplained Cases (2023)

Written by: Jim Birchall
Case Filed: 10/31/23
Executive Producer: Rick Garner


There is something unworldly going on in the northeast of England. After a few days of exploring London's paranormal highlights I hopped on a train from St Pancras station, and before long I was in Bury St Edmunds. The town, located in the ancient county of Suffolk's history is littered with stories of spectral monks appearing to startled eyewitnesses, witchcraft and rumours of an energy superhighway of leylines. The town's namesake abbey attracts ghost hunters from far and wide. I started my investigation by walking around the town's cobbled streets and the ruins of the abbey that was the centre of monastic society in years gone by. While tales of phantom monks and a headless horseman dominate, the bizarre case of an entire spectral house that haunts a nearby small village called Rougham is something truly extraordinary. The ghostly phenomenon of a Georgian-style mansion that appears in an empty field Rougham has been reported by at least 20 people over the last 150 years. Explanations for the mirage encompass Time Slips, Dimensional rips, and the 'Stone tape' Theory. When the opportunity arose for me to investigate this unique and frankly baffling mystery, and met up with Simon Nunn, a documentary filmmaker, who is currently collating eyewitness sightings, interviewed a key witness, and soaked up the mysterious energy that seems to cloak the towns of England's North East. Being a bit of a ghost geek, on the way to Rougham, I persuaded my hosts to swing by the eire church of Bradfield St George where local legend says a hooded monk from centuries past can sometimes be seen amongst the gravestones buried in the long grass. The church was suitably spooky and even came complete with gargoyles and a gurney used to ferry the dead. With the atmosphere heightened, we headed to the source of the Rougham disappearing house phenomenon- a non-descript wheat field bordered my a tree-lined area known as Colville's Grove. My local guides informed me Christian Martyr and Bury St Edmunds's namesake Edmund the Martyr may have met his end, killed by somewhere close by, in the 9th century by the marauding great heathen army. Edmund's remains were translated from an unidentified location in East Anglia to modern-day bury St Edmunds. However this is open to debate, but the location of the mysterious field is on the aptly named Kingshall St. We entered the area adjacent to Colville's Grove and made our way through the field where the apparition is said to appear. Eyewitnesses from all walks of life over the past century and a half report seeing a grand red-brick Georgian-style mansion, highlighted by white pillars, sitting in the field- and on eyewitnesses's return, the house has simply vanished into thin air. The accounts of the apparition are remarkable for their consistency and have been seen by people as diverse as local villagers to tourists. A large power pylon sits smack bang in the middle of the field, possibly advancing a theory that electricity is needed for replays of the past to manifest into this dimension. An account by a local oral historian of him being startled by an ominous noisy whirlwind or vortex while metal detecting the site some years ago propagated this theory. A 20th-century account of the mirage tells of eyewitnesses, hearing a 'wooshing' sound before the house manifested in front of them. I must admit to having some trepidation upon entering Colville's grove, a sinister-looking wood in the past used by a group of modern druids and today frequented by people from a local traveller camp who tell stories of mysterious goings on. Ryan, who was accompanying us on the trip told a story of seeing mysterious lights in the wood while on an overnight investigation with Simon. A local rumour tells that a man who lives across the road from the field used red bricks, that he sourced from within the grove to lay out his driveway. Could the red bricks have been evidence that a house once stood on the site? Frustratingly local records show no evidence such a structure existed, at least during the period of Georgian architecture. halls of trees in the Grove have been suggested by some as avenues leading to a formerly opulent estate. Rougham researcher Carl Grove, who has produced a definitive guide to the mystery said that there can be no doubt about the tree's significance "Nobody would consider planting two substantial avenues of trees leading just to a piece of derelict woodland. There must at one time have been a large building at that location." After making our way into the grove, and fending our way past bracken nettle and bramble, intent on snagging our clothes, it was remarked how quiet and bereft of birds and animal life the woods seemed. On examining the claims of an avenue of trees lining the grove, that may or may not have once led to a grand estate, some symmetry was observed. Poplars were interspersed with several old oak trees that seemed to form an irregular pattern. Aside from the bones of a couple of dead badgers and a field full of ominous-sounding crows we experienced no timeslips, clamorous vortexes or apparitions of a mansion house. Jean Batram claims to have seen the Rougham Mirage in 2007. Jean is in her 80s, lives locally and has the distinction of being the only recorded eyewitness of the house being seen on the opposite side of Kingshall Street. Sadly, my time in Rougham was at an end, after being charmed by Jean and her story and visiting Colville's Grove I couldn't help but think the apparition of a house as bizarre as that sounds- could have some truth to it. Whilst not claiming to have applied the scientific method to my pseudo-investigation, the sheer number of eyewitnesses, many of whom are unconnected does give plausibility to this mystery. Hopefully, I can return in the future and commit more time to interviewing eyewitnesses, examining contemporary sightings and trawling through old newspaper clippings. The burden of proof in any paranormal investigation remains with the researcher. My colleague Simon Nunn is looking towards setting up trail cameras at the Rougham site in the hope of capturing a manifestation from another dimension. In an age where everyone has a cell phone in their pocket poised to capture life's unusual events, proof of the Rougham Mirage may lie with someone simply being in the right place at the right time. For Unexplained Cases, I'm Jim Birchall.
ABOUT UNEXPLAINED CASES: The Unexplained Cases team is focused on preserving history while documenting the strange, paranormal and unexplained. What separates Unexplained Cases from other paranormal groups is that Darren Dedo and Rick Garner, who today are recognized as early pioneers of the “ghost hunting”genre, have over 35 years in broadcast radio and television news and have won a Southeast Regional Emmy and Associated Press awards. Over the past few years, the UC team has grown to add Michael Chinn as Lead Investigator and Researcher in addition to having the privilege to collaborate with several renowned paranormal investigators, including A&E’s Ghost Hunters Daryl Marston, Mustafa Gatollari, Brandon Alvis, Brian Murray, and Richel Stratton, as well as Malia Miglino from YouTube’s “Macabre Mondays” and “Grave Hunter”. SUPPORT US: Paypal | Patreon | Channel Member | GET MERCH: Teespring | GET EQUIPMENT: Spirit Box SB7 | SBox Ghost Box | K2 EMF Meter | Mel Meter | REM Pod | EDI+ Meter | Laser Grid and Tripod | CONNECT WITH US: Youtube | TikTok | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn |
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