David Farrant's 'Exploring The Supernatural'




AN UNUSUAL ghost story with overtones of the macabre, if not incredulous, comes from a lady who recalls an even that happened in the late summer of 1968 - an experience, in fact, that was to leave a deep impression on her memory.

Sue, from Hatfield, in Middlesex, was at the time a struggling student living in a bed-sit in Dorchester, and one evening returned there with some friends after having been to a local disco. She was with her best friend, Susan, and their two boyfriends, Adrian, and John, who was Sue’s fiancee. They had all gone back for a coffee and a late night chat.

It was a miserable night, rain having fallen continuously, and after discussing various topics, the conversation somehow turned to ‘ghosts’. At first, the discussion was a somewhat light-hearted affair ( and was more than likely encouraged by the dismal conditions outside), but it was really Sue’s contribution that provoked most interest when she insisted that there was an old deserted house called Bloxworth Manor near a small village where she lived, some ten miles or so away from Bere Regis. Several sinister tales were connected to Bloxworth Manor and Sue emphasised that locals would never venture near the place at night..

Whilst listening to this story with a fair amount of ‘scoffing’, Susan and the two boys nevertheless insisted that they should pay a visit to the old manor house; if for no other reason but to satisfy their curiosity and prove such things did not really exist.

Sue shrank back from this proposal and argued that there could be some substance to the local stories that had given the manor-house its fearful reputation. But she was outvoted by the others and a little while later, determined to explore the place, they persuaded Sue to go and they set off in John’s car.

They arrived at Bloxworth Manor just before 1 a.m. and somehow managed to scale the wrought iron gates, which were topped by rusty Barbed wire and ‘guarded’ the long tree-lined drive, that led to the house. The night was overcast and very dark, and although it had stopped raining, the ground was very muddy and intermittent splashes of water were still dripping heavily from the trees.

Cautiously, they felt their way forward along the muddy drive, unable to see more than a few feet ahead - even a pair of brilliant white trousers worn by Susan were barely distinguishable in the darkness.

Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of stumbling down the drive, the oblique outline of the house came into view, looming menacingly against the dark skyline, a sky so dark, in fact, that no stars were visible to affair any semblance of normality.

A large lawn was scarcely visible in front of the mansion, the darkness making it appear like some foreboding swamp that warned against the intrusion of any human foot.

Suddenly, Sue exclaimed that she had seen a flash of light in one of the darkened windows. The others reasoned this must be a tramp sheltering in the building, but mounting apprehension coupled by a growing sense of unease about their surroundings, persuaded them to return to the entrance.

They started back, Sue last, but after a few yards something compelled Sue to look back, and another flash of light from the darkened mansion caught her eye. She stood transfixed to the spot, and the next moment, a ‘shimmering light’ glided from the mansion and a quivering column of fluorescent light appeared in front of her on the lawn.

In her own words:

“I can see it to this day. It was a tall phosphoric light that moved across the lawn from the mansion and ’stood’ in front of me. It was over seven feet tall taking the shape of a man of sorts, but rippling and trembling, its head seeming to move back and I don’t know how long I stood mesmerised with fear, but I remember calling out… ’John’, ’John’, and he was suddenly at my side.”​

In fact, alerted by Sue’s cries, the others had run back to go to Sue’s aid, and although Susan and Adrian had not actually seen the ’shimmering apparition’, an overbearing ’sense of evil’ seemed to have descended on the surrounding area, and none were in any doubt that whatever it was, possessed some kind of ’demonic intelligence’, and was intent on making them quickly leave.

Without second thoughts, the group ran back up the dark driveway, desperate to reach the relative safety of the car. As they drove off, anxiously glancing into the retreating darkness, any previous scepticism was replaced by a relieved sensation that they had all had a lucky escape.

But Sue was the one who was worse affected. In fact, by this time, she was shaking and crying, unable to come to terms with her encounter with this unearthly spectre. In an attempt to reassure herself that the whole thing had not been her imagination she said to John… “You did see it, didn’t you?” “Yes”, he replied, trying to steady his voice, “ I wish I hadn’t. What on earth was it?”

This question, of course, remained unanswered, but the whole episode left a vivid impression upon the group especially upon Sue and John who slept with the light on for a long time afterwards, unwilling or unable, to face the dark.

But this was not quite the end of the nocturnal adventure … The next day, under the reassuring safety of daylight, the four returned to the mansion to look for any clue that could have shed light on the previous nights events.

The mansion still lay gloomy and foreboding, although daylight revealed that the house was securely locked and bolted, and would not have offered easy access to any nightly visitors, such as tramps.

But ’clues’, there were none; and although their footprints were still quite visible on the muddy drive (especially where they had ’ran for their lives’, the grass where the ’thing’ had appeared was completely undisturbed. It seemed that the ’mansion mystery’ would go unresolved, although one further factor in the story was to add a peculiar twist, if not dimension, to the events …

Later that day, when they visited Sue’s home in Bloxworth, her mother said (without knowing about the night’s events), that a strange occurrence had taken place the previous night. At about 2.am all the dogs in the village had started howling and barking, a crescendo so prolonged that it had been remarked upon by many people in the village,. No explanation for ’the dogs’ ’mass howling’ had been forthcoming. But it was a strange coincidence that this had occurred at virtually the same time that the intrepid group had encountered the ghostly apparition in the grounds of Bloxworth Manor.

Above posting by David Farrant, President of The British Psychic and Occult Society
Good story! It's very full of detail - was it you who took the statement from the witness?
No, really -

Which book of local ghosts did you get this 'un from?

It can't be a personal account and doesn't sound like you recounting a story from a friend/aquaintance since your version sounds more like a verbatim quote from a guide book.

Unless you write in such a formalised and yet ambiguous manner, fair enough.
We have started a new thread

For readers who are interested, we have started a brand new thread on exploring genuine cases of supernatural phenomena.

This can be found in the Ghosts section of the forum under the title of Exploring The Supernatural.

Posted by Catherine Fearnley

(yes, it's this one. I've merged them together, to keep things tidy. Just wanted to clear that up :). Stu )
Because this new thread is exploring genuine cases of supernatural phenomena. And here was us wasting our time exploring fake cases. :rolleyes:

Helen said:
Because this new thread is exploring genuine cases of supernatural phenomena. And here was us wasting our time exploring fake cases. :rolleyes:


My thoughts too Helen.
you hit a bit of a regress problem (or a server problem ) when you start a new thread for every new thread you start...

That's easy for you to say. :D

Would you like to start a thread about it? Don't forget to start a thread about the thread you're starting about the thread you're starting....

Oh....I've gone dizzy! I think I need to lie down in a darkened room. Catch you later! :D
Coo... that deja vu stuff really knocks you for six, doesn't it?

I do hope it's not a case of where one leads, another follows.

Sorry to disappoint you, “Stormkhan”, but you won’t be able to find my account in any guide books (or any other books), simply because it is not there!

The information I accumulated for this particular case, was given to me by independent witnesses and, obviously, I obtained their permission to ‘write this up’.

Unlike some people, perhaps, I do not plagiarise other peoples’ material. That would not be not way to conduct serious psychic investigations; in fact, to adopt such an approach (and I personally never have) would be to bring this whole subject into disrepute. I may not be an ‘expert’, but at least the information I provide is accurate and the subject of serious research. If I am not satisfied that any account I publish is not strictly authentic (at least, from the point of view of particular witnesses) it would not be published. It is really as simple as that!

Helen said:
Dealt with. Have merged the announcement with the actual thread, now. Keeps it all together.

Now, everyone kindly calm down :). Let Cath and David share their research with us - kindly afford them the courtesy you would any other poster(s).
I fully apologise for any misunderstanding that allowed Mr David Farrant to think I was accusing him of plagiarism.

It was the style of writing that made me wonder of this accounts origin.

As far as disrepute is concerned, there's enough trashy, pseudo-goth media and internet sites on the subject of the paranormal without adding to it and I'd accept that Mr Farrant wouldn't be party to making the paranormal a subject of comedy, ridicule or insensitivity.

You have not disappointed me, David.
'The Old Spaniards Inn'

SPANIARDS INN, Hampstead Heath.

An ancient, mostly unmodernised pub, reputedly haunted by the ghost of the legendary Dick Turpin whose cloaked spectre has been sighted riding noiselessly across the adjacent Heath. His shadowy figure has also been reported in the upper rooms of the pub which he seems to prefer in preference to the bar area downstairs.

Of course, it is sometimes easy to confuse many ghostly figures with local legends and assume them to be one and the same as a character in question, but it remains a fact that some shadowy form - or figure - has been reported at the pub down through the centuries.

As recently as the autumn of 2003, for example, live-in bar staff reported outbreaks of ghostly activity upstairs and, although no figure was actually witnessed, sudden drops of temperature accompanied by the sound of 'invisible' footsteps and the mysterious - yet deliberate - movement of objects, seemed to suggest that some presence was active there. One girl, 26-year-old Manila Murad from San Palo, actually swore that some 'invisible force' walked around her bedroom early on morning and eventually 'immobilised her' in the bed; she was unable to move, though equally, too afraid to open her eyes to search for some explanation in the darkness.

It was following these recent accounts that this author was called in by the pub management to see if he could offer any explanation to these fresh outbreaks of ghostly activity.

I arrived at the pub one Sunday evening in September around 9 p.m., and before long was listening to the accounts of two of the barmaids in a communal living room upstairs. Manila Murad was present, as also Aleksandra Rydzynska, the assistant manager who also lived on the premises. Basically, they both related accounts of the sound of unexplainable footsteps in their rooms at night, of objects being mysteriously moved or disturbed, (two pictures hanging on Manila's wall had been 'de-centralised' on their hooks while a towel - and she saw this happen - lifted from its rail and fell to the floor, as if dislodged by some unseen hand), and being awoken by sudden drops of temperature in their rooms whilst simultaneously, 'something' shook their beds. Invariably, on the occasions that this happened, both women had an overbearing impression that some 'sinister intelligence' was actually visiting their respective rooms, and each snuggled up beneath the bedclothes to save perhaps having to witness their unwelcome nightly visitor.

Around 11.30 p.m., after having taken detailed noted of both girls' experiences, it was arranged that I spend a nightly vigil in Aleksandra's room, a place where the psychic activity had been especially potent.

After inspecting the room and taking thermal readings, I laid back on a covered but comfortable large bed, camera and wits at the ready, to await any developments.

Nothing untoward happened until 1.12 a.m. when, for no apparent reason, one of the candles I was using for light 'flared up' and in a matter of moments, in the absence of any apparent draught, went out completely. Then, at exactly 1.38. the lampshade on the central room light began to swing quite violently, but again, investigation revealed no apparent cause for this strange anomaly.

It was at 3.23 that an event occurred that seemed to defy any plausible explanation …

From my position on the bed, I could clearly see the bedroom door and the light from a dimly lit corridor outside that illumed a small gap at its base. There was no sound, but at this time, this light was briefly - but definitely - 'blacked out', as though something, or something, had walked past it. A quick check of the corridor revealed nothing, and enquires over breakfast the next morning revealed that nobody in the pub owned either a dog or a cat.

Casual coincidence, or the possible continuation of some ghostly activity?

It is unlikely that the Spaniards Inn, after so many years, will be quickly forthcoming in giving up its ghostly secrets …

LOCATION: Approx. 2 miles west of Highgate Village, North London.

This article is copyrighted (c) David Farrant 2004
The Spaniards Inn is a lovely, small pub and well worth a visit even without any "paranormal" links. Crossing the busy road that it's on - since it's a bit of a "pinch point" - can be somewhat nervewracking.

Kenwood House (opposite) is also worth a visit, especially for it's collection of cameos and snuffboxes.

Further south on Spaniards Road is a recently "refurbished" Jack Straws Castle pub which, in the past, played host to an informal gathering of anti-Nazi protesters who were readying themselves for the battle against Moseleys Black Shirts down in Cable Street.

A FEW YEARS AGO an acquaintance of mine had a frightening experience while journeying towards Salisbury late at night.

My friend, with three other people and his wife and small daughter, was en route for London, but the van broke down and they became hopelessly lost. To make matters worse they were on a B-road and there was no sign of human habitation.

After a while my friend decided to seek help and it was then that he experienced his frightening ordeal. Due to lack of any street lighting they seemed even more ‘lost’; the only significant sound coming from a horse in a nearby field whose agitated wailings seemed to fill the night air.

He walked a mile or so in the bright moonlight when, in the distance, he spotted a large old house. Leading to this was a tree lined drive at least 200 yards long and consisting of loose gravel.

Something in the distance suddenly caught my friend's attention and, staring into the darkness amidst the trees, he could make out a black shape which seemed to be coming down the path towards him. The figure made no noise but disappeared into the trees at respective intervals, each time emerging further down the path.

Thinking the shape to be that of a dog or some large animal, my friend watched it with interest, but as it drew closer, its shape appeared to be that of a large bear, and it made no sound upon the loose gravel. To add to this, the thing had no discernible features, appearing to be a black mass without identifiable form.

By now more than a little perturbed, my friend turned back towards the van taking cautious glances over his shoulder to check the distance of his 'advancing adversary'.

He didn't run, sensing it would be dangerous to show fear; although he felt like doing so as the thing was getting uncomfortably close.

All the time he was aware of an overbearing sense of evil which seemed to radiate from the creature (or whatever it was) and he felt he was being drawn back by some malevolent force. On reaching the van he took one final glance over his shoulder and noticed to his horror that the thing was less than 25 feet behind.

Once inside the van, my friend told the others what had happened and, seeing that he was in a state of genuine shock, they went outside to investigate. If they had any doubts, these were soon dispelled when the thing suddenly reappeared and went 'straight through' a privet hedge into a nearby field. It then reappeared further down the road and seemed to be circling the parked van.

It was not spotted again, although the horse in the nearby field had fallen quiet, while, in all, a deathly silence had descended on the area.

Eventually help was found, and the AA service man who arrived at the vehicle remarked that there had been numerous reports of this phenomenon over the years, and that it was known locally as “The Dowdsman” (or something like that). It was often spotted by solitary motorists on lonely Dorset roads at night, only to disappear in the glare of the headlights. One of its favourite haunts was apparently in an area around the old "Roman Crossing" - although he did not say exactly where this was.

I recently returned to the area but, although receiving some useful information, I have been unable to locate the exact spot where the phenomenon was sighted on this occasion.

I would be interested to learn if any FT readers have any information about this, or a similar, phenomenon? I have investigated many cases of ‘black dogs’; but this one seems strangely different as it almost appeared to be ‘stalking’ the person in question.

David Farrant, President,
British Psychic and Occult Society.

PS Thank you for reply Stormkhan. I did not know that about Jack Straw’s Castle pub further along Hampstead Lane.
The Ancient Ram Inn

The Haunting of the Ancient Ram Inn (Part 1)
- by David Farrant -

SITUATED ON THE INCLINE of a steep hill in Wotton-under-Edge, the bottom of the building partially submerged at the side of the modern road, the Ancient Ram Inn plays host to a variety of ghosts.

Originally an 13th century inn, the earlier building was damaged by a fire that swept through much of the village at that time, but it was rebuilt as a tavern in the 14th century and catered to locals and lonely travelers until into the early part of the 19th century.

The present owner is John Humphries. He brought the dilapidated building (which none the less retained its ancient design and structural character) in 1967 and moved in with his wife and two young daughters. It was only soon afterwards that he learned about a compulsory purchase order that had been put upon the building by the local council. They wanted to demolish it to widen the road, apparently unconcerned about its ancient charm or rural antiquity. But John had other ideas and, backed by a determined campaign that had the support of the local people, eventually succeeded in overturning the council's order and getting the Ram Inn registered as a grade two listed building.

There was a lot to be done, but John decided to stagger the work - a necessity perhaps as at this time he was working nights as a goods train driver. But before too long, he had turned the Ram into a comfortable home for himself and his family, and certainly discouraged the rats and mice that had long since made their home there undisturbed.

My first experiences with the RAM INN and its associated phenomena took place in October 1998. I had been contacted by Ross Gage, of the Sheffield some months earlier about other cases of unexplained psychic activity, and we had finally got around to discussing the Ancient Ram Inn.

She had expressed her interest in conducting a nightly vigil there with other members of her group, and explained that she already had the permission of the owner, so it was just a question of arranging a date.

I was invited to attend once arrangements were finalised, and the date was eventually set for October 31 that year. But although originally intending to hold the vigil with four other members of the her group, at the last moment, three of them dropped out due to unforeseen circumstances.

I did not learn about this until the morning upon the intended day, although she told me, one other member of her group, David Holland, was still able to go and would be taking her in his car.

We agreed to meet at the RAM around 6pm. I decided to make my own way there by train. Ironically perhaps, I too, had been let down at the last minute by two local members of the BPOS who had supposed to have been arranging a car. Though I managed to take the matter philosophically, having learned of the unexpected twists and turns that can accompany psychic investigations.
It was already dark when my train had pulled into the station. It was barely 5.15, but the last bus had already left for Wotten-under-Edge, so I was forced to look for a taxi to cover the last twelve miles or so.

On first impressions, the building certainly lived up to its various descriptions. Mostly in darkness due to the absence of adequate street lights and the sunken shades in which it lay, one could just make out the antique timbered outline of its forlorn walls merging almost menacingly with the black sky. The sun - if ever it came out there - could surely never penetrate such inpentrateable blackness; certainly not then, but you were only left to wonder whether the place would still maintain its black gloom in bright daylight.

It was hard to imagine any light being cast upon this formidable place. But then I knew that, imagination, when applied to fields of the Unknown, should not be allowed to stray into the realms of fantasy or supposition, thereby clouding direct perception into things which were not reliant on "normal" visual images or everyday impressions.

I arrived at the Ram Inn, to find that Ross Gage and Dave Holland had only just arrived. John Humphries was not quite as I had expected. I Judged him to be around seventy - and I was actually right as far as that turned out. From first impressions, he looked mildly eccentric, wearing a black leather cap and a ‘Hell’s-Angels-type’ jacket with leather tassels across the chest, and tight blue jeans. He certainly wasn't well dressed. He spoke with a distinct Devonshire accent, but at the same time, was quite softly spoken and cordial.

He offered us all tea, and almost from the onset he started describing experiences that he'd had in the Ram Inn itself. We learned, for example, that he lived mainly in a converted garage at one end of the Inn which he'd converted into a living room-cum kitchen with a sleeping area upstairs. This was actually an extension to the original Inn, and the reason he'd done that was, because he wouldn't enter the Ram Inn at night on his own, and he felt more secure in this little self-contained living-quarters he'd constructed. But he told us, that even when he was alone in this little self-built 'house', if you like, he'd often experienced drops of temperature and he frequently heard strange noises during the night; for instance, distinct "tapping sounds" or the sound of footsteps walking around in the main part of the Inn. And, needless to say, when he was on his own, he never went into the Inn itself to check them out. But as well as that, he told us about experiences which other people had had, who had visited the Ram Inn. For example, a visitor there had once been
"pushed over" in the main part of the Inn. He had been pushed to the ground with some quite considerable force for no apparent reason. Another interesting thing he told us, was that he often saw strange orbs of light floating around the Inn after dark, but he'd seen these so often that he'd become quite accustomed to them, so these didn't really worry him unlike some of the effects caused by the other ghosts - or whatever they were - that haunted the place.

Another interesting fact that we learned from John Humphries about the alleged psychic activity at the Inn, seemed to bear out that the alleged psychic phenomena ‘at work’ there seemed to be definitely malevolent by nature. It may be recalled that, in his younger days, John Humphries had serious considered the possibility of becoming a Methodist preacher. In the event, this never happened, but John had acquired a ‘prize’ portrait of John Wesley which, in his early days in residence at the Ram, he kept hanging on the stairs. But almost from the first moment he hung this portrait on the wall, 'something' kept removing it and throwing it down to the floor. He kept replacing it but systematically, the portrait kept being removed after he had replaced it on the wall. In the end he gave up. He wouldn't throw the painting out, obviously, but was eventually forced to secure it behind other objects in a corner.

After having explained the basic history of the Inn and bring us up to date with the psychic goings-on there, we decided to go out and get something to eat and come back after ten (it was now about half past eight in the evening) and set up the equipment up to start the nightly vigil for around midnight.

In fact, we later set up most of the equipment we had in The Bishop’s Room upstairs - supposedly the most haunted room in the Inn. (Because the other people hadn’t been able to attend, we had to make without some items, such as the night-vision video cameras).

Ancient Ram Inn article


In Part 1 of my article The Haunting of the Ancient Ram Inn, I realise that I missed out the full reference to Ross Gage who is President of the Sheffield “Paranormal Society”. Sorry Ross, this was due to a printing error . . . Well ,all right, a typing error!

I also neglected to mention earlier on that, in his younger days, John Humpheries abandoned a vocation he thought he had to be trained as a Methodist Minister. The facts are still accurate, but maybe this point was not clarified adequately.

David Farrant.
I found the story of the "Dowdsman" most interesting. A quick Google, however, doesn't turn anything up for "Dowdsman" :(

Any further information regarding this phenomena would be gratefully accepted. Likewise, if I find anything out, I will reciprocate, if people wish.
Dunno. The link doesn't work. :(

Googling for Downsman doesn't seem to bring up anything eldritch.
Ah. Not particularly eldritch either! :D

Still, I kept finding links to a pub called the Downsman, so plenty of spirits there.

Badum-TISH! Thank you! I'm here all week! Try the veal!

Coat? Thanks.

door closes quietly
I'm not getting very far with this one. On a road around Salisbury suggests Wiltshire, but "dowdsman" is apparently something to do with Dorset.

My geography is crap, but I don't think you go through Dorset to get to London via Salisbury. Not on the best route anyway.

Is there any chance of a better indication of the place the incident took place?
The Haunting of the Ancient Ram Inn (Part 2)

IT WAS A VERY COLD NIGHT and there was absolutely no heating upstairs where we were. There was light, although we preferred to work by candlelight instead and use torches. An exception to this was a light that John Humpheries had insisted that we left on in in the attic. There had been some partial renovation work done there and he did not want to be responsible if anybody went up there and injured themselves by falling over the rubble. In fact, the attic was lit only by a small table lamp with a dim 40 watt bulb, and ghosts aside, it was easy to see how physical injury might have occurred in the dark It was still very gloomy and hazardous being strewn with discarded furniture and scarcely visible on the floor, and the numerous cobwebs clinging tenaciously to your face did nothing to help you keep balance. The Bishop’s Room, in fact, lay right beneath a part of the attic, which itself ran across most of the main building.

Ross Gage set up an electronic thermometer up in The Bishop's Room and, interestingly enough, even before that was actually used, there were distinct ‘cold spots‘ throughout that particular room. We actually sensed these ‘cold spots’ before we used the thermometer itself; the thermometer merely confirming this later by its electronic readings. In fact, it was possible to ‘walk through‘ these cold spots, which were about two feet in diameter, and you could actually stand outside them and put your hand inside the invisible space and feel the distinct drop in temperature. And this wasn't just imagination.

The main vigil was spent within The Bishop’s Room, which, after all, was supposed to be the most haunted room in the building. Ross Gage spent most of her time here recording temperature variations and taking other measurements whilst Dave Holland and myself ‘moved around’ a little more; in particular spending some time in another supposedly haunted room by candlelight (near to The Bishop’s Room) and in the attic - obviously, with cameras at the ready. We also had small tape recorders with us, just in case!

We spent about an hour in that particular room, but apart from the odd strange noise such as ‘creaking sounds‘ bangs or thuds which could have happened in any old building and which were are not necessarily supernatural, at one stage we did actually hear a distinct ‘knocking sound’ up above in the attic. Its hard to say if these could have been rats knocking something over or whether it was of supernatural origin. But we decided to go up into the attic and spend and spend a couple of hours there to see if we could witness anything.

David Holland positioned himself at one end of the attic, while I was at the other. I took two or three pictures at random before noticing that the built-in light meter in my camera had ceased to register, despite the fact I was using an ultra sensitive 1500 ASA film.. Now, even in that very low light it should have picked up some sort of reading; but the needle just remained ‘dead’. I checked the camera but found nothing untoward so focused it directly on the table light itself, but still a zero reading. The needle would not budge.

This apparent malfunctioning of the camera did not unduly surprise me. For on past occasions this had happened at other supposedly haunted places. Indeed, I recall once at supposedly haunted Whittington Castle in Shropshire, the camera had acted in a similar manner when I was trying to take some photographs at the top of one of the ruined towers. It was a bright sunlit afternoon but the camera's meter refused to register within an area of about six feet but if you stepped outside the diameter of this 'invisible circle', the needle registered as normal.

After spending a good hour in the attic, we went back downstairs to The Bishop's Room and it was then that Ross Gage confirmed to us that every fifteen minutes the temperature dropped quickly and distinctly by four degrees (she was taking all these readings down in concise detail). It remained that way for five minutes or so and then it returned to normal. But then precisely fifteen minutes later, the same thing would happen again following a consistent pattern.

Apart from these the drops in temperature, she hadn't actually witnessed anything, other than claiming to have heard some unusual sounds in the an adjacent room. She'd gone outside to look but apparently, there wasn't any apparent cause for it. By this time it was about three o'clock in the morning, so we thought we might as well lie down in the Bishop's room, obviously with tape recorders, cameras and torches at the ready, and spend some time there to see if anything happened. The Bishop's room, I should add, was still very well furnished; there was a large four-poster bed in there with two antique single beds either side so there was no lack of space for people to lie down. John Humphries had supplied us with ample blankets to keep warm, so we thought we might as well relax for awhile for this part of the vigil - so we settled down and just lay in silence for some time.

It was about an hour after that, we all heard a distinct tapping noise coming from the ceiling, obviously caused by something knocking on the floor in the attic. In fact, I was lying in the end bed nearest the window, and this sound occurred right above my head; but everyone could hear it, it was that distinct. It was rather like hearing somebody knocking purposely on a door, to let you know they were there and that they wanted to come in; distinct, and almost ‘deliberate. This happened twice with a gap of about half a minute in-between. There were five or six knocks each time; not pounding, not soft either, rather like somebody using their knuckles knocking sharply on wood.

Needless to say, leaving Ross down in The Bishop's Room in case the sounds occurred again, Dave Holland and myself went back to the attic and located the spot these knocks would have come from, because you could tell roughly where the beds were underneath. But there was nothing there to account for the sounds them and it was very hard to contemplate such sounds being made by rats or mice, even had they knocked something over.

Apart from these occurrences, not least the regular drops in temperature which went on until daybreak, the rest of the night was seemingly uneventful. But these relatively small things that did occur, were certainly not the result of fanciful imagination, nor did there appear to be any logical cause to explain them. It could be added here - and this cannot be taken as any sort of ‘psychic proof’ - there was a very strange atmosphere that seemed to permeate The Bishop's Room and the attic. you'd have to actually be there to experience this precisely. But everything was deathly quiet. Perhaps that in itself is not so surprising because there was little or no traffic that time of night and the Inn lay isolated at the edge of the village. But quite apart from the quietness, there was a sort of overbearing sense - and I'm not trying to sound sensationalistic - sense that somebody was watching you. You really felt that everywhere you went, whether walking around lying down or sitting in a chair, ‘somebody‘ was aware of your presence. I can't really describe it any better than that, because this it was more of a sensation that could only be picked up by the senses, not by any sort of physical means.

But it was not just in The Bishop’s Room or in the attic that this ‘atmosphere’ prevailed. The Inn itself was very atmospheric throughout, maybe partly due to its construction and layout. It was filled with antique furniture, and had extremely old fireplaces which had remained unchanged for centuries, with strange symbols engraved in the stone hearths of some of them, which were most likely symbols of protection against evil spirits. Indeed, a huge fireplace downstairs was strongly rumoured to have concealed a secret passageway leading from it to the church which lay a couple of hundred yards away. Near this, in the same room in fact, there was a deep hole in the stone floor where the floor had been dug up to a depth of about five feet. It was explained to us later, that on an earlier occasion, John Humphries had called in some dowsers who'd expressed an interest in the place, and they were looking for any other underground passages, covered-over wells, or anything of the kind, and one of these dowsers told him that there was something lying beneath the foundations. He'd got a violent reaction with the dowsing stick at this part of the floor. So they eventually dug down (and this was obviously a few years before we visited), and they actually discovered a lot of children's bones and a couple of sacrificial daggers. Obviously, this was reported to the police, but there was nothing much that the police could do after they'd deduced that the age of the skeletons were several centuries old.

I believe these bones were forensically examined and it was confirmed that they were hundreds of years old. But obviously the conclusion by John Humphries and many other people was., that human sacrifice had taken place in the actual Inn itself at a much earlier date.

We left The Ancient Ram Inn next morning after being given some tea by John Humphries. It was a Sunday and there were no buses running, but somebody kindly gave me a lift to the nearest railway station, at Stroud some twelve miles away. We said our good-byes to John Humphries and he invited us back again. And as we left he more-or -less apologised that nothing much had happened because, he said, that normally anybody that spent a vigil there usually experienced much more definite phenomena. He added that perhaps we had just picked a bad time …

In fact I was to return again to the Ram to hold another nightly vigil there. This occurred in the autumn of 2002 and was attended by members of the Black Country Paranormal Society. But that, of course, would have to be another story.



I am not sure where the exact location was, that was the whole point of my posting!

All I can tell you is that in 1968/69 my friend, his wife and daughter and a group of friends used to spend some weekends camping out near, or at, Lulworth Cove in Dorset. The night they broke down (or rather ran out of petrol) they had decided to take a short cut back to London along a B road but became hopelessly lost. I have described the rest.

In 1979, I made two trips to the area trying to find the exact location; and I remember contacting the AA in Salisbury to see if they had any record of their call up some ten years earlier, but they didn’t. They had not heard of the Old Roman Crossing but remarked that they could have been called out from Dorchester, and that maybe it was nearer to there.

In 1979, I spent an entire weekend viewing potential sites in the whole area. In fact, we camped out in one such area just North of Cranbourne overnight, but nothing happened. There were many stories about ‘black dogs’ there, but much of it turned out to be only repeated stories and legend or second-hand information. (Well, that’s nothing new in these investigations. Sometimes you can get information almost immediately; sometimes you have to wait years!)

I really do wish I could get some more precise information (especially the location of the house) as I would love to spend a night there (possibly at full moon again) to see if anything could be witnessed.

But if you do happen to find anything else out, please let me know.

Well, that at least narrows it down a bit. And makes sense, if you heading to Salisbury to get to London. :)

I'll certainly see what I can turn up. I find these sort of things far more interesting than haunted pub stories (no offence). They remind me of genii locus (sp? why can't I ever spell that?) type stories, which would suggest that, although the victims feel terror, it is not actually going to harm them, merely keep them away.

Reminds me of a story I heard a few years ago about how a young girl was lost one dark foggy night, and a black dog appeared walking along side her. She was scared of it, so kept as far as way as possible, on one side of the path. When the sun rose, the dog disappeared, and revealed that he had actually been between her and a sheer drop all the time. Thereby saving her.
The knocking noises could easily be changes in the wood in the ceiling. As it was dark by 5.15, I'm assuming it was winter. The change in temperature between day and night would easily affect old wooden timbers. Also, as the room had been unlived in, it's possible that 3 peoples body heat would make a big difference. Scary,especially at night, but easily explained.
Cheers, CathandDavid for your vigil posts. Interesting stuff.

Just wondering… What is the advantage with using candles in a vigil? Is it just a case of they are cheaper and don’t use batteries?

I’ll hopefully be doing some vigils in the future so am taking notes. :) I bought some glow sticks for backup light in case torches fail, as I’ve heard that they can during vigils.

I can picture it now. Sitting in an old darkened bedroom with an eerie green glow from a glow-stick…… and then, suddenly a ghosts appears and starts throwing shapes in the corner. :D

Ancient Ram Inn

Thank you again for looking out for any more information on the location of that haunting, Helen. I forgot to mention that was the date of the sighting was on June 21 1969. This might be significant as it was also a full moon that night as I said. The reason my friend remembered the date so precisely was that this was his birthday. I suspect that had this not ‘stuck in his mind’, the actual date might have been forgotten as time went on.

Regarding the two points MXHaunted and ‘Daft bugger’ made, I could perhaps say that we often work by candlelight (if this is practible) as this is really natural light, but we always carry torches as a back-up. Sometimes we make use of artificial light, but always try and keep this as low as possible.

I cannot say if some of the sounds we heard were due to subsidence; this could well have been the case. The two distince ‘knocking’ noises we all heard, however, were definitely not caused by anything of this nature. Although comparatively trivial, I suppose, it can be said that these were definite sounds that had no logical explanation. These were certainly very deliberate and distinct, and there was no question of mistaking these for other noises as they were close-by and the place was otherwise deathly quiet.

Sorry if this a bit of an anti-climatic reply, but I can only report on what actually occurred.