Ghosts without Parole

Gloucester prisonMaking ourselves unpopular, debunking the paranormal and failing to find ghosts. Calamityville Horror are back!

After a long, long LONG hiatus, we were finally back together for a ghost at Gloucester Prison. Neen’s mum Elaine booked it. It’s been over a year since we’ve investigated together so we were excited but also apprehensive as we’re not keen on public events. Usually because stuff is faked or there’s one guest there that really rattles our coconuts. And we went with this company to Newsham Park. You can read our thoughts on them here. Neen and Elaine assured us that on the past two events with this company, everyone was lovely and the team had different members. You’d think that now we’re a lot more socialised, our tolerance for people would have grown. In fact, it’s shrunk. And we now crave solitude.Gloucester prison

Gloucester Prison was a category B men’s prison that was built in 1792, designed by William Blackburn. It was rebuilt in 1840 by Thomas Fuljames, who created the flanking brick wings. In 1971, a new young offenders prison was built there, as was C Wing. A new gate, block and visits centre was added in 1987. In 2003 it was listed as one of the 20 most overcrowded prisons in Britain. The next day, prisoners staged a 3 ½ hour siege by locking themselves in a cell. Really? Climb on the roof like other protesting prisoners. They want you in the cell. In 2007 it was criticised for overcrowding, poor dining provisions and cramped cells. A month later, the ground floor flooded and 100 prisoners were moved to other jails. The following month, it was criticised for its woeful training and education facilities. It finally closed in 2013.

Gloucester prisonThere are over 100 unmarked graves in the grounds, not all of them prisoners. Some executed prisoners were claimed by relatives, but murderers weren’t allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. Before 1792, executions took place in the nearby village of Over (where we helped to build a Halloween attraction), and prisoners were taken there in carts, sitting in their own coffins. Oh that is cold. Why not make them dig their own graves too? Between 1792-1932, 123 prisoners were executed there. After 1792, hangings were carried out using a New Drop style gallows which was erected on the roof of the prison gatehouse in 1826. In the years 1792-1864, 102 prisoners were hanged in public – 94 men and 8 women. There were no executions between William Davis on 20th April 1839 and John Butt in July 1864. The last public execution took place on 27th August 1864 when 55 year old Lewis Gough was executed for murdering Mary Curtis.

The first private hanging took place on a raised scaffold in the prison yard on 8th January 1874 when 20 year old Frederick Jones was executed by William Calcraft (a hangman famed for bungling hangings, resulting in him swinging on the condemneds’ legs) on a raised scaffold in the prison yard. Jones killed his girlfriend, Emily Gardener. On 12th January 1874, the hangman, Robert Anderson, asked for a pit to be dug under the gallows for the triple hanging of Edward Butt, Mary Ann Barry and Edwin Bailey. Butt had killed his girlfriend. Mary and Edwin had poisoned Edwin’s illegitimate baby girl, who they considered a nuisance. Mary was the last woman to suffer the short drop hanging and struggled for three minutes.

A new gallows was built on the end wall of A Wing in 1912. It had double doors that separated it from the condemned cell. 6 people were hanged here, including Herbert Armstrong in 1922. The last hanging was in 1939, but the execution chamber wasn’t demolished until 1966, after the abolition of the death penalty. Herbert was the only solicitor in the UK to be hanged for murder. In May 1919, his wife, Kitty’s health weakened, but her doctor, Thomas Hincks diagnosed her with brachial neuritis. She recovered but in August 1920, her health deteriorated again. Hincks said she showed signs of a mental collapse and admitted her to Barnwood, a private asylum. She improved and was discharged on 22nd January 1921. She became ill and died exactly a month later. All the servants closed the curtains as a sign of respect. Armstrong opened them as soon as he came home.Gloucester prison

On 26th October 1921, Armstrong invited a rival solicitor, Oswald Martin over for tea. They were on opposing sides of a property dispute. As Armstrong handed Martin a scone, he said “excuse fingers.” Later that night, Martin became violently ill. A few weeks before, chocolates had been sent to his home. His sister in law ate some and became violently ill. Martin’s father in law, John Davies, had sold Armstrong arsenic for killing dandelion. Hincks noticed Martin’s symptoms were similar to Kitty’s and warned Martin not to accept gifts from Armstrong. Martin’s urine contained arsenic, yet Armstrong kept inviting him around for tea. Martin found it hard to make up excuses not to go. “Sorry, but I don’t want to be poisoned” would’ve alerted Armstrong that he knew. Kitty was exhumed and they found large amounts of arsenic in her body. Some people believe he was framed, as the prosecution witnesses were his rival and his rival’s father in law. He was found guilty and hanged by John Ellis on 31st May 1922. His last words were “I am innocent of the crimes for which I have been condemned to die.”

Cell 25 in A Wing, landing 3 is haunted by Jenny Godfrey. Furniture in that cell gets moved and pots, pans and books were thrown around the cell. In 1969, the occupant, Robert Gore, made a Ouija board out of scraps of paper and an upturned glass. The glass moved by itself, spelling Jenny’s name. A few days later, a disembodied hand appeared and pointed at Gore. Some say she was held in the cells of the nearby Abbey and now appears in the jail to mock the prisoners. Others say she was killed by an inmate and returns to search for him. Then another story says she was murdered by a drunk man in the 15th C and points to the spot where she died. She spelled out several events that were about to happen. Some prisoners scoffed, but some of them came true. Staff hear knocking and cells doors slamming. In C Wing, shadowy figures have been seen and a sceptical guard was locked in a cell that has no lock on the door.

We set out and parked outside the gates. A man came to tell us that the gates would open at half eight. At 8:50, they finally opened. Our time was spent with all of us moaning about how much we needed to pee. It’s all not all glamour and fun on Calamityville. As soon as the gates were open, we parked up and rushed in to pee. The other guests were more…polite about their need for bladder relievement so they had to queue. Sorry, but it’s a case of speak now or forever hold your pee.

There were about 50 guests and 10 team members. People. Urgh . Just what we don’t want on a ghost hunt. We did a group tour of the prison first. We were told prisoners had scratched their names into the wall of the debtors’ prison, including Fred West. We doubted this. Fred West couldn’t write his name and signed his legal documents with an X. Trust us. Serial killers would be our Mastermind speciality. It’s also said he was held on remand here, but he was held on remand in Birmingham, where he killed himself.

Gloucester prisonThe debtors’ prison was unexciting with empty rooms downstairs. Upstairs there were sort of beds. We were called back but we’d only just got upstairs so ignored the call and kept exploring. As we were prowling the top floor, Cat suddenly found it difficult to breathe. It felt like she was having a panic attack. We started suffering panic attacks twenty years ago so know how they feel and how to control them. But we haven’t had one for a while. We’ve since been told that there is a suicide watch cell upstairs. This feeling continued as we headed into the main wing and worsened when she entered the first cell in B Wing. In this cell, Neen could taste mould. There was mould all over the walls and the smell was quite strong. Lynx gave her a chocolate coin to take the taste away.

We went into the chapel to do a séance and had to imagine the white light going through us. Neen kept changing her light to red. Cat’s kept going out. Lynx couldn’t concentrate because the right side of her face was hurting. Not from anything paranormal, just sinusitis. Then we had to picture ourselves wearing a cloak. We gave ourselves fancy cloaks. When we were told to picture tree roots from our feet grounding us, the temptation to call out “I am Groot” was overwhelming. But we are professionals. Neen thought she saw a small man in the doorway watching us.Gloucester prison

We were split into five groups of ten and our group went to C wing. This was built in the 1970s so visually, was the least interesting part of the prison. We did some calling out in the corridor. Elaine stood in the doorway of cell 13 with us three opposite her. At one point, we all saw a light hovering by her knee. As though someone switched a torch on and directed a ball of light toward her. But no-one had a torch on. Neen switched hers on to try and recreate it but it didn’t. Lynx, Neen and one of the organisers then heard whispering.

The organiser set up a Ouija board so us four and another woman used it. The planchette moved slightly. Were we finally about to have a board actually work for us and let us communicate with a spirit without someone faking it?

Were we bollocks.

Gloucester prisonIt became clear that the woman was moving it. Each time it moved, ours, Neen’s and Elaine’s fingers would come off it or hover just above the planchette. The woman’s fingers remained on it. When they did lift off, it stopped. Cat and Neen tested their suspicions by holding down the planchette. When Cat did it, the woman’s finger strained as she tried to pull it towards herself. When Neen did it, the plachette stopped but the woman’s finger kept moving. Busted. We have no time or tolerance for fakers and refused to participate in a Ouija board after that.

We moved on to an engineering workshop. The team leader put the SB11 spirit box on. Yes. That device that scans through radio stations and only seems to speak when it can get a signal. When Cat had it, it only played music. Cat “are you trying to rap your answer? It’s communicating through the top 40!” The woman who faked the Ouija board was convinced there was a spirit called David around. Next we tried a human pendulum. Cat volunteered Lynx to be the pendulum so we would know it wasn’t faked. Nothing happened. So then Fake It volunteered. Guess what? She was being pushed and pulled like a swinging door. We rolled our eyes so hard they were like the spinning pictures in a fruit machine.Gloucester prison

We had a break then so ranted to the camera about this woman’s fakery. See? We said there would be one person who irritated us. We were right. And we were stuck with her until free time at 2 a.m. The night suddenly seemed like a ten year stretch.

We went into the laundry rooms next and the leader switched on the Banshee Box. We’d not heard of one of these but man this was fun. Apparently, it has words in its database that are broken, so spirits have to put the words back together to speak. Not sure how spirits would know how to do this. We hope that if we become ghosts, we don’t have to do this. We can just about master our MP3 Players. It spat our broken words in a voice that Lynx said sounded suspiciously like the Mysterons. Luckily Lynx was in a burgundy skirt and Cat was wearing a red tartan coat so Captains Scarlet were on hand to fight them. It rambled gibberish in its creepy voice while Fake Away mentioned she sensed someone called David. Cat “half the prison population were probably called Dave.” The leader laughed and said that’s probably true as everyone knows a Dave. Cat “It’s like there was always one called William. I know about five Daves.” We’re related to two. David wasn’t mentioned again. The woman thought it said “zozo”. This thing wasn’t speaking English. It certainly wasn’t spitting out fictional demon names.

Gloucester prisonThere was an interesting response on the rem pod though. It started buzzing and at one point lit up and when the leader asked it to switch out the blue light, switched out. But it wasn’t responsive to other commands and just kept buzzing to itself like an angry mechanical bee.

We were then taken to the kitchens. The two guys in there kept saying how active it had been, how four people got affected, fleeing the kitchen retching and the fifth one had to be removed. Uh huh. Their activity was about to die because the ghost busters (aka Calamityville Horror) showed up. Sure enough, not much happened. There were some light responses on the K2 to people’s questions but the guys kept saying there were people there but they were too scared to come into the circle. Prisoners too scared to enter a circle of women? Three of whom are midget sized? The team kept talking about how active it was with all the other groups. No doubt they would be saying that about our group too. One guy said he could smell sulphur. Fake Off said “don’t say that. First we had Zozo, now sulphur.” Sulphur smells are associated with demonic entities. And landfill sites. The guy asked the significance of the sulphur, but Fake and Bake just said “don’t say that.” Lynx told him it meant demons. The guy asked who was Zozo. Lynx “he’s the latest paranormal craze.” Cat “Think Zak Bagans started it.” The woman said “actually it started with Zeppelin.” But when she tried to explain who Zozo was, she couldn’t and shut up. Yes. Pipe down with your fakery and your demonic bullshit.Gloucester prison

We could hear water dripping but the team said there were no working taps. When we returned to the kitchens alone at the end of the night, we could still hear the dripping. Lynx and Neen went to investigate and found…a leaking tap! Thought they said there were no working taps. This was an easy one to debunk but they didn’t seem interested in that.

We moved to A wing with the medium. Apparently the other teams had doors slamming. And guess what our team got? Bugger all. The other members of our group were now commenting on how our group were getting nothing. We kept quiet about this always happening to us. We’d made ourselves unpopular enough. The medium said there were about five spirits around us and kept going on about a dark negative energy in B wing. We asked if we could go there instead. In the end, she sent Cat there with one of the team. Nothing. Not a door slam, no footsteps, no voices, no evil energy. All we could hear was one of the other groups being incredibly noisy. Way to ruin our vigils!

At 2 a.m we headed back to the break room then at 2:25, set off alone. We went to B wing first. So did a lot of other people. We couldn’t do any vigils due to the noise. So we did a cool silhouette photo against a giant window and selfie on a bunk bed. Then we moved to the kitchens where Lynx and Neen debunked the dripping water. We headed back to C wing to see if the light would return but it didn’t. So we headed to A Wing, where Jenny is supposed to haunt A3 25. You can’t get up to A3 and none of the doors have numbers on. We did a vigil in the corridor and eventually, the other guests started to leave so the prison quietened down. Neen and Elaine retired to the break room at 3:35 so it was just us two left. By now, the other guests had left. We had the entire prison block to ourselves. Finally. But it didn’t feel creepy. Without everyone else there, it was quiet. It was incredibly windy and the building next door had plastic sheeting which made a lot of noise. We suspect the wind was responsible for a lot of noise activity heard through the night. And there were broken windows, which would explain banging noises that sounded like they were coming from upstairs. Or maybe it was Zozo the famous demon running amok and slamming doors because terrorising guests in Gloucester was the best use of his time that night. We may never know.Gloucester prison

 

Long Live the King

Berkeley castleWhen most people visit a castle, it’s to see the building or to absorb the history. We went to hear a king’s dying screams.

On September 21st in 1327, King Edward II was murdered in Berkeley Castle, and on the anniversary of his death, his screams are said to echo around the room. His murder would not be out of place in Game of Thrones and would probably be the plot had Cersei married Renly instead of Robert. Edward married Isabella in 1308 when he was 24 and she was 13. Edward was known to have male lovers, known as his ‘favourites’. One of these was Piers Gaveston. Edward’s father disliked Gaveston and had him exiled but when Edward II took the throne in 1307, he recalled him to England. Gaveston had too much influence over Edward and was exiled again. He disobeyed the order, believing Edward would help him. In 1312, Edward’s cousin, the Earl of Lancaster kidnapped Gaveston in Scarborough Castle and took him to Warwick Castle. He was marched to Blacklow Hill, run through with a sword then beheaded. His ghost haunts Scarborough Castle and lures people off the battlements.

Edward found a new favourite – Hugh Despenser the younger. There’s no evidence to suggest theirs was a homosexual relationship, but he had as much influence over Edward as Gaveston had. Isabella hated Despenser and it’s rumoured he tried to rape her. In 1321, Lancaster seized Despenser’s lands and forced Edward to exile the Despenser family. In retaliation, Edward led a short military campaign against Lancaster and executed him before calling Despenser back to England.Berkeley castle

In 1325, Isabella went to France on a diplomatic mission and fell in love with Roger Mortimer, an exiled opponent of Edward’s. Mortimer’s grandfather had killed Despenser’s grandfather and Despenser vowed revenge against him. In 1326, Isabella and Mortimer invaded England with an army of 1500 and the English nobility’s support. Edward’s habit of taking people’s lands to give to his favourites made him unpopular. Edward and Despenser were captured in Neath. Despenser was ordered to be hanged as a thief, drawn and quartered as a traitor, disemboweled for procuring discord between the king and queen, and beheaded for returning to England.

Edward was imprisoned at Kenilworth Castle before being moved to Berkeley. Any nobles who were wanted dead but not murdered were kept in a windowless cell next to a 28ft deep dungeon where animal carcasses, excrement and the occasional peasant’s corpse were thrown. It was hoped the smell would kill him. Although Edward fell ill, he recovered. Eventually the order was given to kill Edward but leave no marks. He was taken to a bedroom and pinned face down to the bed. A horn or funnel was inserted into his anus, followed by a red hot poker. It was a common execution for homosexuals.

Calamityville Horror at Berkeley castleNeen is still working on the film set, so we took our mate, Tom. He’s never been ghost hunting. We texted him saying we were running late as we’d been in our grampy’s attic looking for squirrels. He said from anyone else it would sound like a fake excuse. From us, he knows it’s real. The trip started badly when our tablet malfunctioned and our documents disappeared. It took several panicky minutes of checking every folder until we found them. Strangely, we didn’t get lost, even though Tom is worse with directions than we are, despite living in Gloucester for most of his life. This wasn’t looking hopeful, especially as we’d left our directions in the boot. We rocked up to the castle and immediately spotted a dressing up area. We probably should’ve warned him a day out with us is like herding cats. We spot something exciting and go running off, usually in different directions. We rushed over and dressed up – Lynx as a knight with a card crown and Cat donning a fancy gown. We did our filming piece about the ghosts whilst wearing these costumes. You have to look smart when you meet royalty. Then Tom dressed as a knight for our group photo. Coming out with Calamityville means you get sucked into the crazy whether you want to or not.Berkeley castle

We weren’t allowed to wear the dressing up clothes inside the castle. Probably just as well because Cat’s gown was proving very dangerous. We told one of the volunteers we were there because it was Edward’s anniversary and we wanted to hear his dying screams. She revealed that every year on his anniversary, somebody would leave a red rose outside his cell and also at his tomb at Gloucester cathedral. They never knew who did it until one day it stopped. She warned us and a couple that the steps leading up to the castle were deliberately different heights to trip invaders. We made the couple go first and told them we would be watching. Sadly, they didn’t trip. However we did on several occasions.Berkeley castle

We entered the Keep where Edward was held and spent a long time doing an EVP session at the dungeon. Then Tom spotted Edward’s cell. Unfortunately we couldn’t get inside it as the room was sealed and we’d forgotten to bring our grappling hooks to enter from the outside. (Note to selves, always pack a grappling hook). We asked Edward to scream for us. He refused. He had the opportunity to star on Calamityville and he turned it down. One tortured scream, that’s all we asked for. Guess our reputations have reached the spirit world.

dungeon at Berkeley castleWe eventually explored the rest of the castle, which is beautiful then we headed into the gardens. Tom found a narrow passageway in the wall so went in – already adopting the Calamityville attitude of exploring away from prying eyes. We followed then there was a right angle turn and the passage narrowed. Cat went on ahead in the dark and said “I can’t see what I’m standing on.” Then she fell down a drain. We all made it to the end to find we were under the castle. Tom picked up his first Calamityville injury by bashing his shoulder on a low piece of wall and Lynx also fell down the drain. In the garden was a small stone building that we intend to use as a writing shed when we conquer the castle. There were also cool trees so we climbed them, even though our long skirts were not practical for tree climbing. There was also what we all dubbed ‘the evil tree’ as it was all twisted and set in a circular ditch, clearly having crawled its way out of hell. Cat swung off it and hurt her wrist, verifying our belief in its evil. Then we remembered we’d forgotten to use our new Ghost Radar Legacy app on our Nexus by Edward’s cell. Cursing, we switched it on and were discussing the tree. The Ghost Radar said “branch.” We returned to the castle and Edward’s cell and Lynx filmed the Nexus. The Ghost Radar said “camera.” Other than that it had nothing to say.Berkeley castle

cell where Edward II died

Edward II’s cell

We hung out near the dungeon while a guide gave a tour. She said there were 3 versions of the story – the poker, he was smothered or he escaped and lived happily ever after. We glowered like Gorgons. No. He got the poker treatment. We refuse to accept any other version. We didn’t come to listen to muffles. The Radar was showing coloured blobs in the dungeon, which apparently means a ghost is near. When we moved back to Edward’s cell, we offered Tom as a gift to Edward. We’d Google imaged Edward’s ‘favourites’ and Tom didn’t look like them (they were unattractive with ridiculous hair) but we thought it was worth a try. A red blob glowed on the radar, which meant a strong presence. Clearly Edward was pleased with our offering. Probably should’ve warned Tom he would be offered as a gift to a murdered ghost. But that’s what happens when you’re a guest on Calamityville: there is a strong possibility you will be sacrificed.

We drove to Gloucester cathedral, again without getting lost or nearly dying. We happened to show up when there was an art exhibition on. This type of thing always happens to us. Though we usually turn up at someone’s wedding.  We bought filming and photography permits then dashed through the cathedral to join the crypt tour. We’d imagined the crypts to be filled with cobwebs, winding passageways and mummified corpses just waiting for us to awaken them and unleash them on the unsuspecting our guests. Like our tomb will be.

Gloucester cathedral

Gloucester cathedral

There were lots of statues from the exhibition. One of them looked like a Targaryen dragon egg. We wanted to sneak it out and hatch it in a fire. We’ve never owned a dragon and setting fire to our enemies would be a great party trick. We tracked down Edward II’s tomb and got out the Ghost Radar. We couldn’t do an EVP session as the organ was deafening, but the Ghost Radar helpfully supplied us with words such as “coal” and “cotton.” We think it was a bit confused. We found amazing skull sculptures and a wheel made of broken metal skeletons that we wanted to buy. However there’s no way we could ever afford to buy something that come from an exhibition and getting it home in the Mini would be tricky.

Gloucester cathedral crypt

the crypts

We walked to Blackfrairs Priory, which is rumoured to be haunted by monks. Monks are very keen on haunting places. Leading deprived, pious lives is clearly a one-way ticket to ghosthood. Unfortunately the priory was closed, despite the website telling us otherwise. So we found some big foam dominoes and spelled out C.A.T.S. to alert people to our visit. Though we couldn’t put the full stops in, so people won’t think ‘ooh C.A.T.S. Calamityville Horror have been here’, they’ll think ‘someone really likes cats’. And thus ended our first ghost hunting adventure since the beginning of August. We brought Tom home with us to meet the animal army though 3 cats were AWOL and the snake went into hiding but the others made an appearance.P1090542

It was so good to get back out there instead of just lurking in our writing shed like we’ve done all summer. It was a fantastic day and even better – Tom wants to come back out on more adventures! So you’ll be seeing a lot more of him on Calamityville. Though we probably won’t sacrifice him every episode.

Edward II tomb at Gloucester cathedral

us at Edward II tomb

The Ancient Ram Inn

The Ancient Ram InnLast night we stayed at what is the Mecca for ghost hunters – The Ancient Ram Inn. And we travelled there in style, in Calamityville Horror’s newest member’s camper van. Neen joined us on Calamityville’s Edinburgh adventure and has never left. And what was even better was her mum lent her a newer model of Sony Handycam with night vision. We spent two and a half series without night vision, and suddenly we have two cameras. We started off checking out St Mary’s church, which is apparently joined to the Ram via secret tunnels. We strutted in wearing our noisy cowboy boots, which echoed on the tiled floor. And found a group of children having choir practise. They all turned and stared. We explored the church trying to walk as quietly as possible but each footstep sounded like a gunshot. We left.

the Ancient Ram InnThe owner of the Ram, John, sadly has dementia so every time he saw us, he forgot who we were and why we there. Luckily, Neen’s uncle Rob has lived in Wootten-under-Edge for years and has even done several investigations at the Inn, so John remembered him. As we sat in the van, a loud THUD! hit the roof. We pulled the ladder down then Cat climbed onto the roof to check it out. There was nothing there. Then the motor for the camper step died. It has died before so this was just a coincidence.

We did a daylight walk through at 8 p.m. after visiting the pub. John told us not to come back sober 😀 But we did. The Ram is amazing. John’s a hoarder so the place was crammed with interesting objects and hasn’t been cleaned in probably over 30 years. The most dangerous thing in this place was the dust and the uneven stairs. It was built in 1145 on a 5000 year old pagan burial ground. In the bar area is an open grave where daggers and children’s bones were found.

The Ancient Ram Inn

the ancient grave in the bar

The University of Bristol has confirmed the age of the daggers, so it’s possible it was a ritualistic killing. As we passed through the curtains to the bar area, Cat’s head was swimming. It’s the same feeling you get when you put your arm into a fish tank full of water. Though we when we say that to people, they stare blankly at us. We can’t be the only ones who have done this. This feeling lasted until we left the Inn, but when we returned later, she didn’t have it. We attribute it to the dust, dim lighting and uneven floors.

After our uneventful walk through, we returned to the camper for food. John retired to bed, locked us out then forgot who we were. After Rob got him to open the door, we then left it on latch, otherwise we would have spent the night in the car park. Not exactly a glamorous haunted location. We returned inside at 10 p.m. There was no bulb in the light above the open grave so after we found a bulb lying around, Ryan climbed over a grate that blocked the area off and screwed the bulb in then we headed upstairs.

We set up base camp in the Bishop’s Room, which is reportedly the most haunted room in the Inn, with 5 ghosts plaguing it, including monks and a Cavalier. Yet we felt really comfortable here. It was our favourite room and the one where we felt most at home.

During a vigil in the Witch’s Room – so called because people have seen an old witch and her cat in there – we found a Ouija board on the table. Us and Ryan sat around it and asked questions but as usual, nothing came through, reinforcing our belief that Ouija boards are purely gimmicks. We moved up to the attic. The stairs are so bowed we could only go up one at a time.

The attic is rumoured to be haunted by William Crewe, a highwayman who hid there every time he returned to Wootten-under-Edge. On one occasion he received 300 lashes. Another time it was 200. He clearly doesn’t learn. He apparently robbed and killed an old woman and was executed in Gloucester in 1786. After we had been up there a while, the K2 meter started bleeping and the needle climbed to red. It bleeped faster so we did an EVP session. The K2 went silent so we played back the DVR.

We all heard a voice.

The Ancient Ram Inn

The Bishop’s Room

We replayed it. Rob thinks it said “I’ll kill her.” We need to put it on the laptop for proper analysis, but when we returned to the attic later in the night, the K2 was silent. Rob left at 12:45 a.m. so we all headed downstairs. The bulb above the grave was missing. It was on a barrel nearby so Ryan screwed it back in. The light switch was still in the on position. The bulb blew, shorting the electrics in the house. We found the fuse box and tripped the switch, which turned everything back on. We’re great at shorting electrics in Casa Raven. We suspect the bulb removing culprit was John, but he would have had to climb over the fire grate, and we have no idea why he would remove the bulb, rather than switch the light off, as the other light was left on. But we couldn’t ask him about it – he wouldn’t remember doing it even if he had. We stayed in the bar and did a vigil in the dark then we decided to split up for lone vigils. Neen and Ryan both wussed out so we headed upstairs with Neen’s night vision camera and Lynx’s Canon. Lynx stayed in the Witch’s Room with the Canon while Cat sat  in the Bishop’s Room with the Sony. The most frightening part wasn’t being alone in the dark in the two most haunted rooms but the drunks walking past our windows. The Inn is set lower than the road so the upper floors are level with the pavement, which is very unnerving. Evil ghost witches, murderous Highwaymen, Incubi and poltergeists while we’re sitting alone in the dark? Easy. Drunks passing outside our windows? Terrifying.

The Ancient Ram Inn

The Witch’s Room

Lynx heard footsteps clumping up and down the landing. She assumed it was Cat and called out to her. When she got no response, she went to the Bishop’s Room. And couldn’t open the door. The footsteps weren’t Cat – she was locked in. When Lynx finally opened the Bishop’s Room, Cat asked her if she’d been to the toilet, which was opposite the Bishop’s Room. Cat heard a door squeaking open. The only time Lynx left the Witch’s Room was to check where Cat was. We’ll have to play back the cameras to see what caused these noises. Downstairs in the bar, Neen and Ryan kept hearing footsteps walking around and assumed it was us pacing the rooms. It wasn’t.

We headed downstairs and regrouped. We set the JVC camcorder up as a static camera pointed at the light bulb to see if it was John who removed the bulb then headed to the barn. When the barn was partly excavated to build a new wall, posts found in the foundations were dated – they were 3000 years old. We returned upstairs and stayed in the Bishop’s Room for a while, eating cake and drinking Red Bull before asking questions using a crystal. Ryan didn’t get much response from the crystal. It behaved a bit better with Neen. As we were lounging in the Bishop’s Room in complete darkness, we decided to break out Ryan’s iOvilus, which is always good for a laugh. After sprouting a load of gibberish, at 1:26 a.m, three words came through in quick succession.

‘Demon. Hour. Run.’

The stairs in the Ram are way too dangerous to run down. It would have to better than that to scare us. Then something started flapping by Cat and Neen, landing on them then vanishing. The night vision  identified it as a butterfly. Knowing the butterfly would die if we left it, we captured it, put it in our empty food tub and went to every window to try and release it. None of the windows open. To get out of the Ram we’d have to pass John’s room, so we opened the tub slightly to give the butterfly enough air until we left.

So…all that happened in the demon hour was…the butterfly. We now suspect the butterfly to be the cause of all the paranormal and poltergeist activity. At 3 a.m., after an impromptu zumba session in the Witch’s Room (in keeping with our zumba moves in Edinburgh’s witches’ circle), we were all knackered and nothing else had happened for a long time, so we packed up and headed out to the camper. The bulb was still in above the grave. We released the butterfly and it flew off into the night. We fully expect all paranormal reports to now stop 😀 Then we can quote a line from The Simpsons. “It was the butterfly!”

We went to bed in the camper about 4 a.m. and weren’t attacked. We got up at 9 a.m., only to realise there was not an accessible toilet nearby and John was still asleep. There was only one way to save our kidneys – with a plastic cup. We then took more photos of the outside then returned home.

So our first solo overnight investigation started with what is considered the most haunted house in England and ended with peeing into a cup.

That’s how Calamityville rolls.

Calamityville Horror