The Woodman - Otford

Kim, Dave, Ian, Paddy and Sarah, accompanied by Paul and Shelley, the owners, and Karly and Jamie.

To investigate recent press and personal reports of paranormal activity.


In the small town of Otford, just a couple of miles north of Sevenoaks, visitors will find The Woodman, located on the main street near to the village green. The pub dates back to the 18th century when it was built as a wheelwright's business. There are reputed to be tunnels which lead from under the pub to the parish church and other buildings in the village, though these have never been found. Like many old buildings, it is reputed to also have a resident ghost which has been seen by a number of customers and members of staff over the years.

Our hosts, Paul and Shelley Wills, have been the at The Woodman for a year now and they say that they and their staff and friends have experienced some occurrences. A vase of flowers has been repeatedly found on the floor in the morning, always the same vase from the same window ledge, in fact the landlord has actually seen it move and falling to the floor! Also in the morning the candles in the bars are found lit! Footsteps are heard above walking across the second floor attic and items up there have been moved. On one occasion all the doors exiting the building had been found bolted when no one had done so. There has also been odd shuffling and movement heard in the bottom front bar when no one is there. Coughing has been heard and a figure of a woman has been seen on the cctv screen sitting in the rear bar and when investigated she’s gone. This might be the same woman that one member of staff saw for herself approximately 18 months ago?
This venue has not been investigated before by GCUK or by any other group, although we have been told that friends and family who have visited the venue have acknowledged that there is a presence in The Woodman. Some of these people claim to have a degree psychic ability and are reputed to have identified and contacted some individuals during a séance held using an upturned glass. This glass, we are told, was subjected to a lot of violent movement around the table.

Needless to say with this information in hand GCUK felt that The Woodman certainly warranted a full investigation.

Cameras: Nikon Coolpix 3100 digital camera, Fuji Finepix 4900 digital camera, Kodak Easyshare cx7310 digital camera, Olympus Camedia C160 digital camera, Fuji Finepix S550 digital camera.

Camcorders: Sony DCR- HC30E with Sony IR Emitter HVL-IRM, Sony DCR-HC19 with Sony IR Emitter HVL-IRM, Samsung VP-D351 Mini DV with night vision.

CCTV: IR Nightvision Wireless CCTV Cameras (x2), Monitor / Receiver (x2)
VCR’s (x2).

EMF: Gauss EMF Meter.

EVP: Olympus DM-20 voice recorder.

Other: Data Logger EL-USB2, Torches, Tripods, Tapes (VHS/DVD/Cassette)
Trigger object (vase of Chrysanthemums).

The plan was to arrive at the venue at 23.30 and have a have a walk about the venue to acquaint ourselves with it and taking photo's as we went before setting up our static equipment. This was EVP and data logger to be set up in the second floor attic, an attempted linkup of our DVD recorder to the venue's own cctv, and setting up two of our own cctv cameras, one in the front bar and one in the rear bar focused on the trigger object (vase of Chrysanthemums on a window ledge).

The remainder of the investigation was to take the form of two groups carrying out silent vigils in both the front and rear bar areas, both groups to spend time in each location swapping after an hour. All sessions to be recorded on camcorder. This was to be followed by an experimental séance with a glass, again to be recorded on camcorder. We felt it may prove interesting given that this had reportedly produced results before. This was to be with the GCUK team only at first but our guests were to be invited to join half way through.

Before the end of the investigation it was intended (with the owners permission) to take time to investigate the fabric of the building to see if we could find evidence of the existence of the tunnels.

We deviated from this during the investigation due to a late start, and decided to conducted the séance in between the proposed vigils instead of after, and we were unable to carry out the proposed structural investigation of the building, but this did not cause a problem because this counteracted our later start. Also it was not possible to link Paddy’s DVD recorder to the venues CCTV.

The Investigation:
After setting up the equipment we started the investigation at 1.00am with the first of our vigils, Ian, Paddy and Sarah in the front bar with Kim, Dave and guests in the rear bar. There was a lot of traffic noise and lights from the road. Each group could hear the other and there was a degree of noise from the appliances behind the bars. Ian, Paddy and Sarah heard some noise from the archway and dart board area. Ian and paddy also heard another “click” in the front bar but each heard it from opposite directions, a shuffling noise was also heard from an indistinguishable direction. Both teams tried calling for spirit activity but none was forthcoming.

At 2.40am, after a break, the group tried the séance with an upturned glass. Ian, Kim, Dave and Sarah started this with Paddy filming on camcorder. Despite numerous requests nothing happened, apart from Sarah began to feel decidedly unwell in the head and stomach so decided to leave the table, she returned only to experience the same feelings so left the session permanently. Shelley joined but still there was no movement of the glass. We do not normally use a Ouijia Board but decided to do so because of the lack of results. Still there was no movement so we decided to end this unproductive session.

After a further break (3.50am) the whole group held a vigil in the front bar. Sarah thought she saw a movement on the venues own CCTV monitors but after a while there were still no results to speak of, so the group moved to the small alcove table. Whilst here Dave commented on a drop in the temperature even though there wasn’t one according to our equipment. There was also multiple knocks heard around the alcove. Paddy got the impression of movement from across the lower front bar, but there was no real reason for this, he described it as more of a “feeling“. there were further knocks heard within the alcove some most certainly to be attributed to the central heating which by now had been on for a while, others were more ambiguous. At 4.40am we decided to close the investigation.

Regrettably nothing happened during our investigation that would enable us to firmly say that there is paranormal activity at The Woodman. However the reported phenomena have occurred over a period of a year so there would be no reason for such phenomena to have occurred during the brief time we were there. No evidence was captured by any of our equipment but we did receive a certain amount of psychic information. Although this cannot be treated as evidence it at least gives you food for thought, GCUK will look further into this and try to validate some of the information that was presented. Any developments will be reported at a later date. Ghost Connections conducts scientifically based investigations and does not publish any psychic or clairvoyant observations. However, this information is held on a separate database. Should you wish to see this information please email us

Sadly we did not achieve our aim, being to substantiate the existence of paranormal phenomena at this location, and on the evidence obtained during our investigation we can only say that our findings were inconclusive at best.

Thanks to:

We would like to thank Shelley and Paul for their hospitality and for allowing us to investigate The Woodman.




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