This article was submitted to us by Kieran Begg of Torchlight Paranormal Investigations for our Ezine of September 2015. You can visit Kieran’s site HERE.
As a paranormal investigator, there is always one location which is the Holy Grail. One location that you would love to investigate, to try and find that one piece of evidence which could prove the existence of the paranormal. For me, as someone who has a strong passion for the paranormal, this would be The Ancient Ram Inn. A location steeped in history, paranormal tales and experiences that defy belief. In November 2011 I was lucky enough to take my team, Torchlight Paranormal Investigations along to the Ancient Ram Inn to conduct a paranormal investigation into the supposed hauntings that were taking place there.
In Wotton-under-Edge, a market town in the lush green country side of Gloucestershire, The Ancient Ram Inn sits on a winding country road that leads to the center of the town. As soon as you turn the corner you are greeted with a decrepit building adorning a faded sign painted on the side, which reads “Ram Inn 10th Century”. As you pass the windows of the building you are greeted with yellowing newspaper clippings, telling tales of demons and shadowy figures that reside behind the buckling walls of the old Inn. The dust covered windows fail to provide you with a glimpse inside as you make your way around the building into the large car park, which allows you to see the magnitude of the ancient structure in all of its glory. A small flimsy white door is the only thing that stops you from entering supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in the UK.
Our team arrived at the location at around five o’clock in the evening to be greeted by a frail looking Mr. John Humphries, owner of the wondrous building. He happily greeted us and bundled us into his cluttered kitchen eager to tell us everything he could about the location and to show us around. We began our walk around of the building with him telling us a detailed, but the elaborate history of the location. He starts by telling us a little bit about himself and his love for Christianity. He told us that he used to drive trains and had a very strong passion for them. He showed us pictures of the kind of trains he would drive, pride oozing out of him. He was very quick to tell a group of complete strangers that his life had fallen apart around him because of the paranormal occurrences that had happened within the Ram. He then began to regale us with the history of the building and the site the Ram was on.
According to John, the site of the Ancient Ram Inn supposedly sits on an ancient pagan burial ground and that there was evidence of human sacrifice and the sacrifice of children. This, he says accounts for a lot of the paranormal occurrences that happen within the walls of the building. He also stated that the Ram Inn sits on a crossing of ley lines that lead from London to Bath Abbey and even run under Stonehenge. He pointed out a large white cross that sits in his front garden, stating that was the area where the ley lines cross.
He then leads us into his living quarters which consisted of a sofa, which was used as a bed, and a wicker futon with a flimsy cushion on it. The air in the room was thick because of the electric heater he had blaring into the room to fight off the bitterly cold November air outside. The center piece of the room was the fifty-inch plasma TV which seemed very out of place in the rustic look of the living space. Covering the mustard coloured walls of the room were newspaper clippings and magazine articles that all referenced The Ram, some dating back as far as the eighties. On his bed side table sat a small lamp and a very battered copy of the holy bible. On the bookshelf behind his bed, books of the supernatural and demons made up the majority of his collection. He ushered us all to sit down in various areas of the room, some choosing the floor, some the wicker sofa, all avoiding his bed, choosing to stand instead, out of respect for the homeowner. He began to tell us about the experiences that he had in this room. He mentioned about hearing footsteps that would walk the length and breadth of the building above him, and even hearing doors slamming around him. He then reminded us that “I am a Christian, I don’t tell lies” before telling us about his experiences with an Incubus. An Incubus in mythological folklore is a demonic entity in male form, which often lies with women, its female counterpart is the Succubus. We were unsure if he meant the male form or in fact the female form. He pointed towards his bed and without conviction continued to tell us that he has had the Incubus in bed with him three times in the past two months wanting sex with him. This made everyone in the room who was standing take one step further away from the bed.
We were then led through a dust covered curtain into a little snug room that reminded me of a Turkish rumbas room, all that was missing was a Hookah. There was another flimsy wooden door that would lead to the main bar area of the Ram. A large room full of trinkets and treasures that adorned the walls and a whole corner of the room was full of furniture and objects. A stuffed crow hung from the ceiling and swayed in the breeze as we entered. To the right of the door was a bench with comfy red cushions on it surrounding a barrel. In the bottom left of the room by the door, was the infamous “Ancient Grave”. In the center of the room stood a barrel that was surrounded by chairs and long benches. The fire place was cluttered with statues and even a large stuffed ram head. A ship’s wheel was laying against the wall in the corner. John took his place in front of us, as if on stage and began to tell us the stories about the experiences that people had witnessed in this room. He drew our attention to the hole in the ground and told us that during renovations to the building, they had found bones of a child in the grave, along with daggers and other “sacrificial items”. He said to us that if we were to dig in the grave it would antagonize the spirits. No one did this. He told us that a spirit of a child has been seen in this area and has tried to make contact with several investigators. Underneath the fire place, he continued, there was apparently a tunnel that ran from the Ram to the church, which monks would use when they wanted to leave the abbey and come to the Ram.
The next stop was the barn area of the building. A run down room which was so choc a block of items and furniture that you could barely move. There was a path to follow through the debris that led to a large table surrounded by chairs. John managed to find a space and told us about the history of the room and experiences. He told us that the barn was the oldest part of the building and that there were several paranormal experiences. He told us that there had been bodies buried underneath the barn and continued to show us some bones that he had in a small glass case that he seemed to bring out to show anyone who would listen. Of course, there was no evidence to prove if these were, in fact, human bones. He told us that some investigators had reported to seeing bodies hanging from the rafters of the barn, which had frightened them so much that they fled the building. He went on to say that it was in the barn that when Most Haunted investigated the location one of the members was thrown to the ground by an invisible force. While it was a spooky part of the building, for me it certainly was not the most frightening.
We then headed to the staircase, creaking up the stairs, our footsteps muffled by a worn and dusty beige flowery carpet that ran the length of the staircase. It was here that John told people, including newspapers that he had been thrown up the stairs by an invisible force. The walls of the staircase supported newspapers clippings of a spirit that had been captured in a photo, a white mist, which John told us has even been seen to the naked eye. At the top of the stairs, we were greeted with the face of yet another stuffed ram, its eyes piercing us as we climbed the stairs. To the right was a bed room that he called “The Witches Room”. To the left was a landing that led to another bed room and the attic area. Pictures of the surrounding area and a large grandfather clock filled the landing. He told us that a people had seen a face in the glass of the grandfather clock. We would later work out that it could easily have been a reflection of people coming from The Bishops room. He then led us to The Bishops room “Britain’s most haunted room”
We walked down a small tight corridor that led to the dark wooden door, a face etched into the wood. A black sign with gold calligraphy reading “The Bishops Room”. John turned to us and said “There is a ritual that I have to perform before we have to enter” he picked up a shepherds crook that was sitting by the door and began to bang on the weathered door with the crook creating a loud bang to emanate through the building. He told us that if we wanted to take some pictures as soon as we opened the door we would surely catch a glimpse of a spirit, as people have caught flurries of orbs as soon as he opens the door. He pushed the door open and a cloud of dust exploded into the air. The room was dank and dark, sunlight barely peeking through the curtains. Two beds filled the room, each covered in moth eaten blankets. Two armchairs faced into the room, a bureau covered in statues and a dusty mirror sat in the corner of the room. In the top right corner stood an old spinning wheel, gathering dust. The center piece of the room was a large fireplace that took up a majority of the wall. In front of the fireplace was a kneeling stool that looked very out of place in the room and would have been better suited in a church. He explained that this room was home to a cavalier that would appear to people in the window and that an old woman would appear in one of the arm chairs. It was also said that investigators had been thrown on the beds by an invisible force. When the building was used as a B&B, people would complain to him about someone trying to get into bed with them, John believes this to be the Incubus. John continued to tell us that they managed to find “The Hoof of the Devil himself” in a hole in the fireplace, as well as items used in black magic rituals. He showed us the ‘hoof’, to us it appeared just to be a horse shoe. As I knelt down to the kneeling stool, my knees creaking I looked up to find some of the brick work missing in the fire place. This is where the “Devil’s” footwear was found.
We were then led upstairs to the attic area of the house, an extremely run down room, where we were only allowed to stay on one side of it. On the stairs leading up to the attic, there was a hand written sign stating that the stairs were very rickety and broken, which made us all very nervous as we made our way up, each step filling us with more nerves. In the room, which John told us was his daughter’s bedroom, was a sofa and a couple of creaky wooden chairs. He told us that this area was where people were made to feel extremely nauseous and dizzy and that there had been sightings of a man seen in the area of the room where public we advised not to go, due to unstable and rotten floorboards. A dusty moth infested carpet adorned the floor and the floor creaked with every step. We later worked out as to why people would feel dizzy in this area and this was due to an extremely high level of EMF (or Electromagnetic field) given off by the power cable that ran the length of the house, extremely close to the roof. It is thought that a high level of EMF can make people feel nauseous, dizzy and sometimes even hallucinate.
Once we were finally down from the attic and standing on the relatively safe wood of the landing we were led into our final location that we would be allowed to investigate and that was the last bedroom, The Witches Room. On the left, as you went into the room was a bed covered in a green blanket with a very suspect stain in the center, which John claims to be the urine of the ghost cat or a dog that was said to haunt the room. On the bed were a group of cuddly toys that are said to move on their own. To the right of the door was a large dinner table that stood by a cracked, spider web ridden window, that light struggled to break through. Candle sticks and more trinkets covered the table obscuring the window even more. An arm chair was placed in front of another fire place, which was covered in more statues. John told us that a witch was said to haunt this room, who was extremely vicious and wanted to hurt people. He was very excited to tell us that he got a local priest to come into the house and try and cleanse it of evil and it was in the Witches Room that he had his experience. It is said that he was attacked and refused to enter the building and still refuses to, to this day. He also told us that a paranormal investigator took a picture from the outside of the building up to the window of the Witches Room and captured what looks like a child looking out of the window. I am yet to see a copy of this picture to verify it for myself. With the tour and stories finished we were able to begin our investigation.
Prior to the investigation, we conducted a vast amount of research into the Ram Inn to make sure we knew exactly what kind of things we were dealing with, within the building. A lot of the information that we found on the internet pointed us towards the history of the area and the paranormal experiences encountered within the building as well as other paranormal groups experiences. We decided that we would contact someone at Bristol University Archaeological department to ask them about the bones that were found on the site. They told us that the bones that were found, were not human bones, but that of an animal, possibly live stock. They also mentioned that the site of the pagan burial ground was more likely to be underneath the house next door and not underneath the Ram. We also spoke to a couple of members of the Wotton-under-Edge Historical Society and I asked them about the supposed tunnel that ran from the main bar fireplace to the church in town, and they told me that there was not a tunnel that ran from the Ram to the church. While the Ancient Ram Inn is an incredible building and is one of the oldest buildings in Wotton-under-Edge, there is a lot of information that has either been fabricated, elaborated or just mixed up.
As a paranormal investigator who is quite skeptical of a lot of things, following our investigation which did not yield any substantial evidence, it would be very difficult for me to say that the Ram is haunted. It is, however, a lovely old building that is steeped in history and well deserving of its Grade II title.
Photo’s courtesy of Torchlight Paranormal