On Friday I had the chance to visit one of my favorite haunts down in Devon. Having not been since 2007 it was like going to visit an old friend. It was sporadically raining and overcast so made for a dark and gloomy atmosphere for an August afternoon.
I was keen to try the EchoVox app again after having interesting experiences with it so far and also seeing what other people have been capturing over on the Facebook page. So where better a place to test it other than at the supposedly the most haunted castle in England.
I started with a walk around the castle soaking up the atmosphere (and the rain) before climbing the steps up to the remaining curtain wall (seen above on the right of the gate house) and making my way to the chapel area above the main gates. In here is a very old and faded painting on the wall which is protected but can still be seen.
Leading off from the chapel area is a small door which always looks like it has either been gnawed at by giant mice or been blown open with dynamite.
My first stop was the first guard room, to the left of the gatehouse as you look at the castle from the front.
I laid out the EchoVox app, Power Supply and external speaker as seen in the picture. It took a lot of tinkering with the settings to stop the feedback from being over powering. I don’t like to reduce the mic gain as it tends to induce a hiss on the recording so I adjust the volume and increase the distance between the speaker and the mic which seems to do the trick.
It may have been due to the acoustics in such a small room but I did keep getting a sound or tone which was was quite annoying. It wasn’t the usual feedback where it gets quite “whiney and tinny” sounding this was more of flat continuous sound. After a couple of restarts this seemed to cease.
After a good 15 minutes or so of asking some questions and making adjustments and allowing for the occasional pause as I heard people walk through the gates I felt I was done in the first guard room.
As I returned to the chapel area I spotted the Swallows below in their nest (see picture)
Next stop was the right hand guard room (as you look at the castle from the front). Again after a bit of adjustment I spent about 15 minutes asking some questions and allowing a good pause in between each to allow for a response.
Having finished in the guard room I returned to the adjoining chapel room which bridges the gate house.
I don’t own a selfie stick but couldn’t resist doing one anyway seeing as there was no one with me.
The noise of the nesting swallows can be heard quite clearly on the recordings in this area so not ideal but in some respects added to the soup of sounds being captured so will be interesting to see what impact this has on the end result.
I left the chapel area and headed across the curtain wall and down the dark and slipper steps to the base of St Margarets Tower,
To give an idea of how dark it was I took a picture below of EchoVox twinkling in the dark below.
As you can see there wasn’t many areas I could set up due to the damp and dripping conditions. I managed to find a dry patch here in what must have originally been some kind of storage area,
From what I have heard so far the recordings made hear sound the most promising. I had the issues with the odd continuous tone again as well in this room.
As I don’t get here often I took the picture above with the steps down to the tower behind me. (The steps that poor old Margaret is supposedly seen ascending before she walks along the castle wall)
The picture above shows the tower on the right and the wall stretching out to the left towards the gate house. I was situated at the very bottom of the tower.
I visited the kitchen area (another area known to be active) and also the Elizabethan hall. Due to the poor weather I had to stand in fire places and alcoves where I could to try and keep the equipment dry.
In all I must have captured about 30 to 45 minutes of audio on the app which is probably way too much to sift through but I couldn’t resist just letting it run.
After a spot of lunch and a coffee I took a little walk around the outskirts of the castle.
Looking at the road leading down to the castle reminded me of our visit there in 2004 when Paul and I walked in the dark from the gate on the road down to the castle in the middle of the night. Quite a long walk that time of night.
My ride arrived and I set off again after a very enjoyable time with my favorite castle. I definitely felt a presence with me the whole time I was there and in some areas it was pleasant enough and in others it was a little chilling but not enough to ever stop me going back again. As I have already mentioned I have had a listen to the results and some of it sounds promising but needs cleaning up, slowing down and amplifying etc but I hope to be able to stick something up here soon.