Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Ancient Ram Inn

Last weekend I was staying with some friends in Bristol and we spent Saturday evening watching 'The Conjuring' and thought it'd be great to go and visit a real haunted location the following day.
We decided to visit the Ancient Ram Inn at Wotton-under-edge, Gloucestershire, due to my interest in the darker side of History I had heard some stories of this infamous place and was excited to see it for myself.

We pulled into the drive of this incredibly dilapidated ex inn/farmhouse built in 1145, it was a very interesting site, the yard and garden strewn with interesting old objects, a jungle of plants and tiny windows almost concealed by plant growth. built on an ancient site, which has some evidence of once being used for pagan worship.

One of our party had visited before so he knocked on the door and the owner John Humphries eventually answered after much shuffling about inside. John is a lovely old man of 90 who bought the Inn 50 years ago to save it from demolition. It was very dark and dingy inside with an overpowering musty smell. The first room we went through was the small room where it appears John spends most of his time, it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the darkness but I could make out the sofa/bed where John sleeps surrounded by his books, religious images, bibles and crosses. The walls in this room were covered with clothing, mainly old leather biker jackets.

                                           John, Photo by Rich S Photography

John took us through into the first downstairs room, a large room, which I think would have been the main bar room. This room was just as dark and so cold, It was full of all kinds of objects, from antiques to cuddly toys and 90's VHS's. John pointed out a part of the floor to our left which had been taken up to reveal a hole in the ground below, on the wall next to this hole were propped a shovel, an old gate and a large homemade cross, it was marked 'The Ancient Grave' John told us that the bones of children had been discovered buried here, along with the broken remains of ceremonial daggers, he said there were many more buried under this room. Unfortunately I only had my phone on me and it was too dark to get a good picture without the horrible flash effect, but here it is!

We asked John if he still had strange experiences in the house, he told us there is regular poltergeist activity and he hears footsteps and voices in the house on an almost daily basis, the thing that disturbs him most is an entity getting into bed with him. He believes these entities to be Incubus and Succubus. John is a religious man, this is very evident from the objects around the house, framed bible verses and prayers, even a blessing from the Bishop is on the wall at the bottom of the stairs, blessing all who dwell in and visit the house.

We were shown a hole in the fireplace that goes down into what appears to be a passageway underground, it is thought this links up with St Mary's church nearby, as the building was first used to house masons, slaves and workers who were working on building the church.

John showed us the barn, apparently the oldest part of the building. This was a large dark room stacked partially full with piles of chairs and a chandelier hung from the ceiling. 
At this point John left us to look around the rest of the house, we didn't get the impression he wanted to go any further, he said he is very frightened living here alone.

                                             Photo by Rich S Photography

We ventured up the tiny, very rickety wooden staircase, lined with newspaper articles about the building spanning the past 20 years, and religious items, at the top was a mounted Rams head looking straight at us with pretty menacing eyes.

The first room we went into was called 'The Witches Room', a nice big room with a bed on one side and dining table on the other. The story is that a Woman took refuge in this room before being captured and burned at the stake for Witchcraft in the 1500's, There are some signs on the windowsill telling visitors about the ghostly sightings related to this room.

                                             Photographs by Rich S Photography

We ventured up into the attic space where some parts of the floor have become unsafe to walk on, there is a story that a young woman was murdered up in this room by highway men, Johns daughter and her partner used to sleep up in this room and often heard the sound of heavy furniture being dragged across the floor.

The final room we explored was the infamous Bishops room, we had been weary of this room and left it till last, I'd felt reasonably comfortable in the house, until now.
The Bishops room is considered to be the most haunted room in the house, various apparitions have been seen here, including a Cavalier, a young woman seen hanging from the ceiling, monks and nuns, Johns has reported hearing the door to this room violently shaking in its frame in the night

My friend went to open the door but it wouldn't budge, It seemed to be stuck, we thought we weren't going to get to see this room after all! So I stepped up to try the handle and the door seemed to shake slightly in it's frame before I even touched it, brushing this off as nothing more than the old building being abit shaky I tried the door, still not budging, I kept trying until eventually it just opened with ease!
We cautiously went inside the room which had an ominous red glow to it from the light pouring through red curtains. there were two beds and a dresser covered in flowers and religious statues, there were paintings on the walls and a wardrobe in the corner, John had said that there was once a priest hole in this room which was removed during renovations.

                                            Photo by Rich S Photography

As we stood huddled together by the door a small object flew across the room and hit the wall next to us, with a metallic sound. Once we'd gotten over the shock of this we explored the room and took some photographs, we also had a little play with the Ouija board on the bed. My friend opened the wardrobe which had nothing inside, locking it closed after him.
There was a painted portrait of a priest on the wall above the bed which made me feel really uneasy for some reason, as my friend lifted his camera to take a photograph, I turned around just in time to see the previously locked wardrobe doors slowly opening behind us, with that we got out of there pretty fast!

Taking refuge back in the witches room we found balled up socks and headphones laid out across the floor, these had not been there 10 minuted before or we would have trodden on them!

                                              Photo by Rich S Photography

We decided it was best to retreat back downstairs at this point, feeling quite shaken up we headed down to the bar area and took a few more photos, mainly of the stuffed crow in mid flight which was now spinning round in the air above the hole in the floor, we spent some time reading the old newspaper articles about the house stuck all over the walls

                                            Photo by Rich S Photography

We had a final chat to John, I didn't feel very nice about leaving him alone there, although he's been there 50 years,
It was certainly an eventful day, and while I have no idea what caused our experiences, be it spirits of the dead or some kind of scientific phenomena, it was certainly an amazing experience.