On the way to Causeland Train Station, Cornwall Name: Causeland Train Station
Location: A stop on the Looe Valley Line, near Liskeard
Weather: Heavy, occasional, clouds, with a bright moon. Crisp & dry. Temp: 04°C
Investigators: Christopher, Jonathan, Matt, George
Map Ref: OS Map of Causeland Station.
orbs sounds manifestation moving objects infestation audible voices temperature changes
The phantom bride, a ghost train and an isolated station: Causeland is one of the few 'stops' on the Looe Valley Train Line, which runs between the seaside resort of Looe and the historic market town of Liskeard. (Some may be interested to know, that Liskeard train station was used to film the Arthur Askey supernatural comedy thriller "The Ghost Train"). This whimsical train journey provides a picturesque ride along the banks of the East Looe River, through the woodlands of Polvean, and also the valleys industrial past! It's almost invisible to the eyes of the tourists, but an occasional Lime Kiln or stout bridge reveals much of the heavy work and action this area has seen. The train line was originally used to transport granite and copper ore inland, to the main line at Moorswater.

Passengers board the train: By 1879 Looe was rapidly becoming the place to be, for fashionable young tourists and their retired elders. The Looe Valley Line was opened to the public, with a cosmetically pretty station at Liskeard. The line was terribly popular, and many of the small stops along the way found they had more visitors to accommodate than usual. One such stop would be St. Keyne.

Looe Valley Line, and Surrounding area

There is not a wife in the west country , But has heard of the Well of St. Keyne: The famous well of St. Keyne is located a few minutes walk (up hill) from the Looe Valley Line, and is delightfully set in a damp, ferny corner worthy of the film 'The Lord of the Rings'. It all feels very Celtic, and earthy, and has many a tale attached to it. Robert Southey (1774-1843) wrote his "The Well of St. Keyne" about it, and a quirky legend has formed around it:

Five hundred years before the Norman Conquest, St. Keyne spent her life performing good deeds in the West Country, where she is remembered by the well bearing her name. She planted four trees around this well- an oak, an elm, a willow and an ash - and as she was dying, she imparted to its waters a strange power. Whichever of a married couple should drink of them first, he or she would have the mastery in their wedded life.

The Victorians adored romantic nonsense, so St. Keynes Well was most popular during this period. Newly wed beauties would leap from the train, and run up the steep hill, in a desperate race with their husbands, to gain supremacy of the household. This is where our investigation begins.

On a cold, and deserted night in The Salutation Inn: While passing the time in Looe, we got chatting to a man from Bristol, called Elliot Luxstowe. He knew a great deal about the Looe Valley Line, the St.Keyne legend and other lesser known stories. One of which concerned the death of a young lady, after falling from the train at St.Keyne, in a rush to reach the sacred water. Elliot's storytelling was convincing, and potent enough to inspire a night on the train line. So, some 3 weeks later we were walking the dark country lanes, on a bitterly cold December night:
the tracks The station sign The payphone The shelter
The investigation: December 17th, 2004. From 22:15 to 01:15.

Walking to Causeland Station that night, we're myself, Matt, George (who likes trains) and Christopher (whose knowledge of industrial archaeology is impressive). While descending the hill, down to the track, Christopher asks the obvious question:

Why Causeland, and not St.Keyne for the investigation?

Elliot Luxstowe's information was surprisingly specific, given the age and nature of the story. Commuters, tourists and locals have reported a few 'strange events' while waiting at Causeland Station, or while passing in cars, or the train itself:

The Phantom Bride: A cliché, I know, but it is how the story goes. The unfortunate young bride, mentioned above, fell from the train at St. Keyne while clambering to be the first from the train. Hitting the uneven earth below, her neck was broken in an instant. The Looe Valley Line, like many rural services, features 'request stops', so unless you state otherwise, the train will not stop at your desired station.

The figure of a woman, dressed in a white dress, has been seen walking the train tracks, between St.Keyne and Causeland. It was at this point that I noticed a snigger from my fellow investigators. Very well. I must admit that I too find the story a little fanciful, but what's wrong with a little romance on a chilly winter's night? "The White Lady!" scoffs Matt. Oh dear. I feel this particular "ghost hunt" is not being taken as seriously as I would like. So, I shall leave the Phantom bride for now. The orange glow of the station is now visible through the trees, so I shall tell my fellow walkers about the station's payphone. It's not just any payphone. According to British Telecom, it is one of the busiest in the county for 'incoming calls'. Strange for a phone that accepts only cards, and is located in a deserted rural corner of the countryside.

The Public Telephone: A pay phone is located inside the shelter, on Causeland's one and only platform. It is surprising to find a phone here at all, yet this very phone has been heard 'ringing' morning, noon and night. A friend, from nearby Liskeard, has actually answered the telephone on one of these occasions. She described a clicking, or tapping sound, as the only sound from the earpiece. This small fact has silenced Matt, George and Christopher, and I feel they are now in a better frame of mind for tonight's investigation. By 22:15 we had unpacked the equipment (in silence) and taken our positions, with our ghosthunting weapon of choice….

Digital Camera: A favourite device of mine, the digital camera is well known for capturing "orbs", and I was very hopeful of catching some impressive visual anomalies this very night. My main focus would be the tracks (both directions), as George was covering the pay phone with both a nightvision video camera and his own digital camera.

Night-vision video camera: George has produced impressive footage in the past, using the night-vision feature, so he takes up position just outside the shelter. It isn't particularly picturesque, and could be described as downright ugly. There is an unpleasant atmosphere around the construction, which was mentioned by all. I find it hard to place the cause, but the bright tube lighting, and box like interior would be likely to evoke anxiety.

Digital Dictaphone: Christopher crosses the tracks, and takes up camp on the wooden footbridge which spans a small canal. There is flowing water on both sides of the station, something I feel should be mentioned and thought of as significant. Both train tracks, and manmade waterways are often linked to supernatural activity, and talk of ley-lines. Whether or not you believe in such things, ley-lines are fashionable, and popular among paranormal groups. So, given the benefit of the doubt, I thought I should mention them. The canal, itself, was built in 1827 (after many false starts dating from 1777) to transport goods along the Valley. The train eventually superseded the waterway, and it was closed for business. Much of the canal is overgrown, and is surprisingly pretty, given its industrial roots. This connection, is without doubt, the reason why Christopher has chosen this spot. You see, industrial archaeology is a favourite hobby of his. Leaning against the bridge railings, he positions the Dictaphone, and takes out his own digital camera.

a station surrounded by brambles the gate to the lane Matt sets up the trigger object

Trigger Object: This is Matt's field of expertise, he has a flair for picking cracking locations, and keeping the experiment closely guarded. No-one in the group has any interests in fabricating evidence, but accidents do happen. So, Matt always goes out of his way to make sure no such tampering can occur. We are a close group of friends, so trust comes naturally. I always wonder about the larger scale investigations featured on some websites, which appear to be manned by the paying public, with NO prior screening. This is madness. Thankfully, we are all focused on our aims, and have no agendas beyond the investigation. Matt has brought a chrome ring to place upon an A4 sheet, inside the shelter. A crisp circle is drawn around the outside (and inside!) of the ring. It is protected from the occasional wind by the sturdy breezeblock walls. After setting up the experiment, Matt joins me by the station entrance.


Findings and events:

Photographs: I am sorry to say that we captured little in the way of photographic evidence. There are orbs in this shot of the shelter, but apart from that, nothing too surprising was captured. Do not be too disappointed, the cameras do not always provide instant hits. Of note, both myself, and Christopher, experienced power drains with our cameras. The battery power cut out, but returned after a few moments. A change of battery was not necessary, which struck us as very odd.

Dictaphone: As well as the occasional hoot of an owl, and the constant running water, Christopher captured an unexplainable scraping sound, coming from the metal track. To our ears, it sounds very much like another metal object being dragged along the surface of the tracks. There are no night trains along this track, and the line terminates at Liskeard. So, we can give no explanation for this event. Listen to the sample, and decide for yourself.

Christopher also heard a voice, coming from the deep pinewoods beyond the station. I have no information regarding any paths or tracks through those woods (very private land), so cannot rule out the presence of a living person(s) in the vicinity. The woods are home to pheasants and other game, so the voices could be those of poachers, or gamekeepers. The voices are not audible on the recording.

Trigger object: Movement! Definite movement! Way to go, Matt! This singular event was not noticed until the end of the investigation, as no one was allowed inside the shelter during our 3-hour stay. (The telephone was photographed through the windows). The chrome ring had moved a whole centimetre to the upper-left corner of the A4 sheet. I will also mention that the page of white paper was covered in baby spiders. It is impossible for the little critters to have moved the object, but their presence was a little disturbing. As far as I am aware, it is a strange season for spider eggs to be hatching.

Nightvision Video Camera: 2 and a half hours of footage was recorded. We have all reviewed the material, separately, and there is an event worth noting!

At around 23:30 the camera recorded a light shape, at the end of the platform. This was not noticed by George, as he made his way to the shelter. It remains for some time, but is not present on the still photographs of the same area.

The station does take on an eerie glow, in nightvision mode, but this is far from paranormal. Of note, we did experience a technical glitch with the camera at 23:55. The machine switches itself off automatically should it experience damp or humid conditions. The night was cold, dry and certainly not humid. There had been some rainfall before dusk, but nothing during the investigation. This 'fault' is unexplainable. We have never experienced this phenomenon before, or since.

Other findings: It was felt, and mentioned, by all that someone was watching our investigation at Causeland Station. The sound of something moving on shingle was heard by Matt and George (there is loose stone under the wooden sleepers which form the track). George was based at the far end of the platform, beyond the shelter, so was able to hear the sound clearer than anyone else. He didn't describe footsteps, instead he heard a dragging sound, as if a heavy object was being pulled over the tracks towards him.

George also heard what he described as "the phone handset rattled", as if "it was vibrating" at 00:25. He was nearest the shelter, and took photographs through the window upon hearing the sound.

I saw a figure moving along the tracks at 00:32. To be honest, I suspected it might be a local coming to moan. I was quite convinced that the figure was real, and George later collaborated my information. He too saw a figure further down the tracks, from the direction of St.Keyne. I was further away, but would describe the figure as male, around 6', and walking at a steady pace. George thought the movement was hesitant, but definitely towards us. Within a few moments the movement stopped, and the dark silhouette disappeared into the gloom. Photographs taken in that direction reveal nothing of interest, so our testimony is virtually useless.

Jonathan records an intro to camera Jonathan spots something on the tracks A wobbly shot of the station sign

You could say I wanted to see The Phantom Bride, in all her spectral glory, but it wasn't to be. Christopher mentioned, days later, that he feels we weren't the right group to expect the ghostly bride to appear. Being all male, and rather robust that evening, we may not have been "sympathetic". Obviously, this suggests the possible ghost is somehow aware of those around her. Perhaps a future investigation, including Lorraine or Patsy, would be a good idea.

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Lastly: I have saved the best for last. Beyond the trigger object, orbs and scraping sound, we were privileged to hear the payphone in action. At exactly 00:46 the phone rang 3 times. George was nearest, and was most alarmed by this sudden, and noisy, intrusion. I was tempted to run to the shelter and answer the call, but the call had ended as soon as it began. This left us all wide-eyed and speechless, but cannot be announced as 100% proof of supernatural activity. Beyond the off chance of someone dialling a wrong number, there are the endless "cold callers" to take into consideration. These commercial phone calls are made by automated machines, attempting to sell us trash from faceless companies across the globe. I am not saying this was the cause of the phone call, but it cannot be ruled out. Next time, I shall wait by the Causeland payphone, ready for the call. I may ask Patsy, Lorraine and Joanne to join me, as I am sure The Phantom Bride would appreciate their company far more than us boys, who by 01:15 were cold, hungry and in need of a warm bed.