• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

David Farrant's 'Exploring The Supernatural'

Yes, I'll happily move posts to the relevant threads this evening, and will PM you with the details (providing PMs play ball this time)...
Could it be an idea to just make a link to the relevant posts in the relevant threads? That way you can keep them together and still have them easily found.

Just an idea


Isolated Cadbury Castle, sight of the ruined hillfort, has long since been surrounded with tales of "ghosts" and other mysterious phenomena. This author also visited the fort one Autumn's day in 1985. The ghostly tales surrounding Cadbury would not, it would appear be only confined to legend and other speculation. Locals live in genuine dread of the place, and many tell of unexplicable drops in temperature and a strange wailing noise that seems to permeate various spots on the hilltop intermittently. Such reports were from local people who had occasionally visited the ruined fortress by day. Certainly, none of them would venture near the place by night ...


THERE IS PERHAPS NOTHING nowadays too spectacular about the ancient hilltop known as Cadbury Castle an expansive Iron Age settlement overlooking the tiny village of South Cadbury in the heart of Somerset. Today, there is virtually nothing left of the site's former significance, except overgrown mounds and earthen trenches; although there is a magnificent view of Glastonbury Tor some ten miles distant to the north west across tree-lined vales and dipping valleys so typical of Somerset.

But the absence of outward remains should not, perhaps be taken as an indication of the relative unimportance of Cadbury Castle, for if legend is to be believed, it was once the site of Camelot, home of the legendary King Arthur.

Of course, there are in existence countless romantic legends about the great King and his knights, but possible verification of this particular one, may have been literally uncovered in 1967 when the extensive remains of an early Christian church were discovered dating back to around 500 AD, suggesting the fortress of a great Christian warrior.

Naturally, Arthur would fir this role; though whether this legend was based on actual fact and it is possible to link it with the modern evidence, is not so easy to determine; especially, when facts about Arthur (if indeed he ever existed), have become hopelessly intermingled with myth and have long since disappeared into the mists of prehistory.

The only remaining modern day 'evidence' that could be seen to support the Camelot legend, is an old well lying below the site of the castle, named, perhaps appropriately, "Arthur's Well". Lying below in the valley, leading directly to Glastonbury, there is also an old trackway still known today as "King Arthur's Hunting Causeway". This track has now all but virtually disappeared beneath farmland, but then, so have many other ancient trackways which ultimately converge at Cadbury, but which can be traced quite easily with a little determination and the aid of a good map.

King Arthur aside, it is known that Cadbury Castle was an important fortification at the time of the Roman invasion - probably due to its strategic position. In 1922, a hoard of Roman coins was discovered there and nearby, buried in a trench were a mass of ancient skeletons which, according to theory, were the bones of Britons who defended the site against later Saxon invaders.

This may bring us no nearer to establishing the existence of the legendary King Arthur, but there are positive indications to show that since the Iron Age - and possibly before - a variety of cultures have occupied the site, some perhaps being bound by some long forgotten religious denomination. Glastonbury, after all, abounds with myth and secret magical traditions, not least with its said connection with the Holy Grail, and it might not be coincidence that the two sites lie in such close proximity.

Perhaps it is understandable, taking into account the mystical prestige of Arthur and his White Knights whose exploits have come to represent eternal good triumphing over evil, that Cadbury has become associated with stories of 'ghosts' and ethereal phantoms of knights whose gallant escapades are sometimes replayed for the nocturnal observer. Sometimes, it is rumoured, a fleet of warrior knights have been seen patrolling the hilltop, and the ghost of Arthur himself has supposedly seen wandering the castle ruins.

Other legends seem to indicate that Cadbury Hill itself, is hollow, perhaps echoing a belief that it houses the underground burial chamber of mighty warriors who will one day remerge to fight worldly evil. Such myth, in fact, may conceal one of even greater significance; that of a 'hollow earth' or 'Underworld' that symbolically implies that 'another world' may lay concealed behind the limitations of everyday understanding.

More recently, accounts relate to mysterious 'flashing lights' seen to land on the hilltop - the inference being that UFO's have some definite interest in Cadbury's ancient heritage.

Of course, archaeological or 'material' facts and unproven myth, may not be so easy to bring together; but it should be remembered that archaeological investigations often begin on only the evidence of scant rumour and unqualified legend, the two often being inseparable from each other.

King Arthur may, or may not, have existed. But if the Dark Ages can herald nothing more, Cadbury Castle remains an important monument to a civilisation - lost or otherwise - that must surely warrant further investigation.

(c)David Farrant taken from Dark Journey 1999

Photograph is copyrighted by Dave Milner and also The British Psychic and Occult Society
What 'locals' told you such stories about the place being avoided by night? And Cadbury is hardly in the heart of Somerset - it's not far from the south-eastern edge of the county. You obviously don't seem to know much about the prelevance of hillforts in the area - none of which have any links to Glastonbury (as they all predate any major ocupation of the Glastonbury area) - so it would be unwise to infer such things. In fact the only connection between to the two sites is that you can see one from the other. The site itself has come under pretty heavy archaeological scrutiny, so much so that AFAIK English Heritage have published a book which surveys the site and it's possible historical phases of it's use.

If you're going to take the time to write out all of this stuff, at least take the time to do some research first :rolleyes:
Cadbury Castle continued

I have found this information on a site which does indeed suggest that Cadbury Castle is connected to Glastonbury and this has been known for centuries:

'A great wealth of legend and folklore links Arthur's name with Cadbury. An ancient causeway that runs from the hillfort to Glastonbury was known variously as King Arthur's Lane or Arthur's Hunting Causeway for centuries';

As for the other points I'm sure that David will answer those later.

Catherine Fearnley
Secretary for The British Psychic and Occult Society

For: Jerry B

Thanks for your reply. Firstly, I should point out that I am NOT an historical expert (and have never claimed to be). If anything, I suppose, I am just a psychic investigator; but having said that, I do believe in the importance of investigating events in the immediate present and not merely being reliant on ancient myths and legends; although I will mention these should or when they appear, if only to allow people to make of them what they want. Of course, some events might have possible CAUSES in the past; but I am mainly concerned with the EFFECTS as these might appear in the present.

You will have to forgive my terminology about my use of the words ‘heart of’. I merely meant this to infer that it was in the ‘heart of’ the countryside, which in fact, it is. I am well aware of the exact location of all the places I have visited. In the case of Cadbury Castle, we in fact spent three days (and nights) there camping out in the immediate area, and much of this time involved fairly extensive exploration of the area, as also speaking to many local residents.

I made many detailed notes at the time. But you cannot surely expect me to give peoples’ names and addresses without their prior permission. That is just not the way I work; indeed, I am very careful to obtain consent if I intend - or want - to use anybody’s name in one or other of my books (and I usually send them a written copy of the piece - or account - beforehand for possible correction or approval.

Myths and legends at Cadbury abound (as at Glastonbury and other ancient sites), but, as I pointed out, my main concern is getting potential results in the present, not speculating about long since past events, many of which are now virtually unprovable. It is really that simple!

If some archaeological/historical details are speculative, I think it would be wise not to commit them to any sort of written form. Otherwise it tends to detract from whatever point you are trying to make.

A link to the site that mentions the causeway may also be helpful - although, again, I would urge caution about any info you give out. After all, web sources can also be unreliable.
Hmm - thanks for the link, but it's not all that good. To say things like 'Archaeology concurrs that an extraordinary and powerful king occupied Cadbury in Arthur's time; his refortification of the hillfort is unrivalled in Britain.' is a bit wide of the mark.
In response to JerryB

For JerryB

I'm afraid that is something you'll have to take up with the webmaster and not with us. I'm sure that the webmaster of that particular site will have done their own research on the matter.

As a matter of interest, it was myself not David, who wanted to check out the legend after I saw your reply. I believe David was told all about the legends when he visited down there in 85. I know for a fact that David does not rely on website information when he is doing his ghost research. He does it in person , usually in direct relation to private reports about unexplained phenomena, although often, certain legends or stories connected with a particular place, come to light afterwards.

Many ghost stories are based on folklore and legend rather than historical facts, such as Robin Hood’s Grave in Kirklees which is supposed be haunted by the ghost of the prioress who killed Robin, which in turn became ‘The Kirklees Vampire’. I’m sure that many of the Fortean Times readers will be able to come up with others.

David answered JerryB’s previous remarks in an earlier post so there is no need to repeat them here.

Thanks again,
Catherine Fearnley
Secretary for The British Psychic and Occult Society
Maybe so, but if you weave in various elements into your work in order to enhance it, you should check that it is indeed correct. To use this to enhance the overall effect on the reader WRT the alleged paranormal phenomena is dressing up things up bit too much than is necessary. If you've ever read Third Stone magazine, you can see that you can tell a good tale about any given site without recourse to ricketty embellishments.
I have spoken to David about your views, and he absolutely agrees with you. But you have to remember these various legends were already in existence and David did not copy or invent them (which is not to say, he believes them). David asked me to clarify that he and some other people spent an entire night on the summit of the hill, suitably equipped, to gain some evidence of psychic activity that could have - or could not have as the case may be - verified all the local stories. Nothing happened. David says they saw a few shooting stars and heard some weird noises in the surrounding undergrowth (almost certainly animals, he thinks!) But other than this nothing untoward happened - if it had, he would have logged this accordingly. The point is, that, at the risk of boring everyone with such an anti - climax, David decided to just report the local facts. He could easily have embellished the shooting stars (UFO's!) or 'turned' the animals into something they were not, so left with little else to say about it, he merely reported the local rumour and supposition, and added the legend/s for anyone interested in the history of the place.

It was not the 'other way round' at all. After all, David is only a psychic investigator, not a story teller!

Catherine Fearnley
Secretary for The British Psychic and Occult Society
CathandDavid said:
After all, David is only a psychic investigator, not a story teller!

Point taken. Any investigation should take local legends and rumours into account but not just recount them without comment on their veracity or possible basis. To do so makes someone a ... story teller.

Research in such areas is incredibly difficult, involving several disciplines such as archaeology, geology and sociology. However, even asking locals for their views, tales and memories isn't investigation as a whole. After all, their particular stories or opinions might influence the investigators approach or even experiences themselves.
Just because some locals recount various tales, this doesn't mean you can re-tell them without any form of checking of any physical evidence on either supporting or refuting evidence. They do, however, supply clues as to where to look...

As far as using research from another source then when the material is questioned, merely stating that it was the sources error and not yours isn't really good form, is it? If you can't check the sources facts then say so. If you use another source then acknowledge it. If, by your own research, a source proves accurate or the conclusions quite reasonable then by all means credit the source as well as your own work in checking the facts.

I admire the fact that on Davids vigil, he admits to nothing much happened - these things happen! It certainly adds credibility to anyone for it shows refreshing honesty.
For Stormkhan

"As far as using research from another source then when the material is questioned, merely stating that it was the sources error and not yours isn't really good form, is it? If you can't check the sources facts then say so. If you use another source then acknowledge it. If, by your own research, a source proves accurate or the conclusions quite reasonable then by all means credit the source as well as your own work in checking the facts."

I appreciate your comments but seeing as I did use another source I did acknowledge it. I am NOT a researcher nor am I a author.

I merely wanted to check out the legends behind David's investigation into Cadbury Castle and came up with the weblink that I found. I could probably provide a couple of hundred on the subject. To research each and every one would take a long time which is time I have not got.

The link provided was just meant as a general background into King Arthur and to provide evidence for the piece that I quoted from it, which JerryB requested. That is all.

Catherine Fearnley
Secretary for The British Psychic and Occult Society
The Waltham Abbey Mystery

It is perhaps strange, how many ghostly apparitions appear to have a strange finity with stone and the element of water. Waltham Abbey would seem to be no exception to this 'unwritten law' ...

THE ANCIENT RUINS of Waltham Abbey, like nearby Minsden Chapel, have for long been reputed by a ghostly monk, a shrouded figure that has been reported in the scant ruins. Its main haunt is an old stone archway, one of the few relics still left standing in the grounds.

Diana Dean, Parish Clerk to the magnificent church of Waltham Holy Cross and St. Lawrence (just adjacent to the ruins, confirms that this ghostly figure has been sighted by many people, although she points out that the rector clad in his clerical make-up on his way to choir practice, could account for some of the sightings.

Other local residents remain unconvinced, however, that the ghostly figure is of human origin, and relate tales of 'ethereal music' heard in the grounds late at night and of a black-clad figure that mysteriously disappears as it walks past witnesses, leaving in its wake a lingering smell of incense.

But ghostly stories and legends connected with Waltham Abbey, are by no means of recent origin.

One legend has it that towards the end of the 18th century, a local maiden committed suicide in the nearby river Lea after being rejected by her suitor. Her ghost is supposed to haunt the Abbey ruins, a sad wraith that beckons to people and then just disappears.

But back to monks; there is another story which, if true, could well give these reports some authenticity, bearing in mind that many psychic occurrences could have as their cause events of great tragedy.

According to legend, at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, several monks were murdered at the Abbey by soldiers of the king. It amounted to a futile resistance; leastwise made martyrs of an unnamed few who were buried in a mass grave within the Abbey precincts …

Whatever the truth behind this tale, it is unlikely that we shall ever know. Truth here, would appear to be as evasive as the elusive phantoms that reputedly haunt Waltham Abbey.

(c) David Farrant 1994
Anyone Got Any Ideas?


During a nightly vigil at The Ancient Ram Inn, near Bristol, a photo taken by one of the team Dave Milner, in a supposedly haunted fireplace, when developed, seemed to show an inexplicable "ball of light" that appeared to come down the chimney stack. Interestingly enough, witnesses present can verify that when this particular photograph was taken, the flash on Dave Milner's camera failed to go off. No explanation has since been forthcoming to explain this mysterious light.

Other photographs taken in and around the inn at the time, however, did have on them much smaller orbs of light that were not visible when the photographs were taken.

(Photograph copyright Dave Milner)
U’m… looks like a light-bulb. It’d explain why the flash didn’t go off. Hmmm… it’s all I can think of .:|

Cath and David, has there been much evidence at all of anything paranormal in The Ancient Ram Inn? Considering it’s meant to be notoriously haunted it doesn’t seem to give much evidence when people spend a vigils there. And now that we have to pay for the privilege (and in many places)… is it worth the money? :)

Size of Photograph

Diabolik said:
That picture is tiny! Could we have a bigger one? :)

Hi Diabolik. I tried to upload a larger size photograph but the Fortean Times photo system was not letting me have it.


PS If you'd like me to email you a copy please email me at [email protected]

Catherine Fearnley
Secretary for David Farrant
Ancient Ram Inn


Ancient Ram Inn owner, John Humpheries, does not in fact charge people who may wish to spend a night in the allegedly haunted Inn, although he does veto people beforehand and make sure of their intent and credentials before he will give permission.

The only ‘charge’ he makes is really a voluntary one in that he keeps a donation box inside so if anybody wishes to contribute anything, they can do so.

On the question of ‘proof’ of ghostly activity, I would not imagine that the Ram is no different from any other allegedly haunted buildings or sites when it comes to that. Psychic investigators and mediums are forever trying to provide ‘proof’ of ‘life beyond’ and the nature of such ‘proof’ can vary. But its possible authenticity is, of course, a completely different story.

Thanks David, i've sent you a PM containing my email address.
Whatever this 'orb' is, it's apparently casting light, as there is a lens flare in the lower right-hand side of the image. It looks very much like a photo of a flash being reflected off of something like a mirror (or a similar surface). As for 'orbs' themselves, we've discussed them here. There isn't anything mysterious about them.

Thank you to Diabolik for uploading the photograph from Dave Milner at least people can now see the photograph in its original format.

Cath and Dave.
A pleasure, it's an interesting pic! :)

I'll write more later, but right now i'm a little drunk.. ;)

Re. Ram Inn Photograph

I felt that I should add to our last reply, that when the ‘orb’ photograph (I put ‘orb’ in quotes deliberately because personally I’m very sceptical about them) was taken, I was with Dave Milner (as were others), and the flash on his camera definitely didn’t go off. I remember distinctly because we were wandering around the building taking photos for the record using flash because it was badly lit and I remember him remarking . . . “That’s funny. The flash didn’t go off.”

Having said that, there was nothing else visible (except the fireplace itself) when the photograph was taken.

Strangely, when he (Dave Milner) took some more photographs shortly afterwards of others and myself (when the flash was working as normally), some of these showed distinct ‘orbs’ in the background; but nothing like the light recorded when the flash did not function.

I can offer no explanation for this mysterious light or the ‘orb’ photographs taken afterwards; other than to say I do not in any think these are ‘supernatural’ images, rather some nebulous energy otherwise invisible to the human eye, that can sometimes be picked up on camera.


Thanks for the clarification. Sorry if I came across overly sceptical. I’ve heard stories of many places charging investigators to do vigils in such places. It comes to mind that these people (owners of the “haunted houses”) are just trying to capitalise on the big Ghost Hunt thang at the moment… what with many TV channels jumping on the Most Haunted bandwagon.

That said, I can understand why John Humpheries would take donations. He’s having a hard time doing up the Inn and what with all the people who want to look around it... he might as well try and get some funds. If I had loads of people wanting to stake my house out I’d probably do the same.

It will be nice to get rid of all these TV programs and let the Grays take back the imaginations of the public.

I may well be completely wrong here, after all I wasn't there when the photo was taken, but I'm certain there is a light bulb or some other light source "up the chimney" in the fireplace in the Bishops Room at the Ram Inn. At the left hand side of the fireplace is the switch for the attic light, which John says must only be left on for a short time, due to the house's dodgy electrics.
When this switch is on, the fireplace is lit up by a light source from up inside the fireplace, as a reminder to you that the attic lights are on.
By the way, John Humphries does now have a minimum charge of £20.00 to stay the night, he made this quite clear when he got quite shirty when we offered a "donation" of a tenner per person.

Yes. Thank you both for your observations - easier to reply to you both together, hope you don’t mind.

It will be two years ago this month (I think!) when we last visited the Ram Inn. John did not make any compulsory charge then, but then, things change I suppose.

As a matter of fact, the fire-place was not in the Bishop’s Room, but downstairs, near the so-called haunted grave. I can only say again, that there was no light (like that) coming down the chimney or near it (at least, visible to the naked eye) and we did not even realise the ‘existence’ of it until it was seen on the developed photographs. In fact, we assumed that shot wouldn’t come out at all because of the absence of any proper light.

My apologies, wrong fireplace! That's a very odd photo then.

I must admit, from my own experiences at the Ram, I tend to think there is nothing going on there outside of the owners imagination. None of the newspaper cuttings on the walls indicate any "ghostly" claims made for the site until about a decade ago, when it suddenly becomes "haunted". Certainly for alledgedly one of the most haunted houses in Britain not a lot seems to happen.... :hmm: