When it comes to the paranormal, I am still undecided. I’m open minded and would love to see something to give me definitive proof, however I’m yet to see it. The paranormal has always fascinated me especially when it comes to ghosts. So what better place to look for one than the Ancient Ram Inn.
Just a warning, this post contains an image of a mummified cat. You have been warned…
This is Wotton-under-Edge’s oldest building and dates all the way back to 1145. Equally rich in history as it is in mystery, this Inn has a dark past and is arguably one of the most haunted places in the world. Previous to its construction, the land was used as a multi millennia pagan burial ground, which directly intersects two Ley lines, one of which traces directly to the mysterious Stone Henge.
Listed as a Grade II building and found in the Doomsday book, The Ancient Ram Inn has served many purposes throughout its life. It’s earliest known was as a slave, builders and masons house for those building the St. Mary’s Church. During the construction of the church, the stream needed to be diverted and in doing so, the pagans believed this opened a portal for dark energy.
In 1154 The Ancient Ram Inn became home to its first and supposedly only Vicar, Gerinus. There are no other records of any Vicars or Reverends living at the Inn, so it is believed the Vicarage was built shortly after Gerinus’ stay. After this, the Inn belonged to series of wool merchants and private dwellers, finally becoming an Inn and public house in 1820.
Today it is owned by Catherine Humphries, daughter of John Humphries who unfortunately passed in 2017. John became the proud owner of the Inn in 1967, rescuing it from demolition which was planned to widen the road. He claimed he discovered it was haunted on the first night he and his family stayed there. He said that as he was laying in bed, a dark force pulled him across the room by his wrists. Over the next 50 years, John had countless encounters with ghostly entities and claimed that a succubus visited him at least twice every month. Over the course of his residence, he found evidence of devil worship, witch craft and sadly the skeletal remains of many children including that of a baby.
John believed these skeletal remains were from ritual sacrifices as amongst the skeletons he would find broken daggers. The daggers would be broken during rituals and buried with the bodies, to ensure they were never used again.
Over the years, there have been many ghost sightings by guests. Some even fleeing in the middle of the night, not returning until the morning to retrieve their belongings.
From the stories I’ve been told and read, I’ve compiled a list of some of the ghostly residents that have been mentioned:
- A thirteen year old girl who was killed by highway men in the attic
- A young boy called Peter
- A child that waves from the Witch’s window
- A groom who was in a motorcycle accident and died at the roadside outside of the Inn on his wedding day
- The Witch who was thought to seek refuge in an upstairs bedroom before being found and burned at the steak, hence the name the Witch’s room
- Many, many children. When the group I was with did a Ouija board apparently there were 7 present.
- A cat
- A dog
- A bishop
- A monk
- An incubus and a succubus
- And of course, John himself
I have to say I didn’t see any ghosts but I did manage to capture some strange orbs in the attic, which I have inserted at the end of this post.
The group did a ouija board in the room with the well/child’s grave. I have watched enough horror films to know ouija boards are not to be messed with, so I sat this one out and just observed. Not much happened except the planchet circled number 7, which answered the question of how many spirits were there. A taxidermy crow on a string also began to spin around but with it being such an old building, I’m going to put that one out to a draft… Sorry to be a party pooper!
Amongst the skeletal remains, John also found other evidence of witch craft including a mummified cat. The cat was found behind a chimney along with a Bible. This was common practice in pagan times to ward off evil spirits. It was believed that cats have a sixth sense and in offering the cat as a sacrifice in the walls/behind fire places, the cat would go on to protect the home in its after life.
Stroud museum have studied the cat and have said that it was dead before its mummification and is roughly 4500 years old.
Along with cats in the walls, people would also use old shoes to ward off demons, ghosts, familiars and witches. It was believed that witches would have a strong connection to the shoe and upon entering one, would be unable to escape becoming trapped in there forever.
The room said to be the most haunted is the Bishop’s room. John was so spooked by this room, he would avoid going in there and when he did, he would knock three times before entering. This room has a history of many possessions and ten exorcisms have been held in there. There were also artefacts of devil worship found in the fire place.
This room originally hid a Priest hole which has unfortunately been covered up. These are concealed spots/rooms created especially for priests to hide in during a time when Catholics were being persecuted. When Queen Elizabeth I reined, catholic priests were often captured, tortured and killed.
The room I found the most spooky was the Witch’s room. We were given a cat’s ball which lit up when moved, which we placed on the Witch’s bed. This kept moving slightly and lighting up by itself which was quite creepy. We then put it under a glass where it kept moving and eventually flung itself an inch off the table. I can’t say I’m a strong believer now but I was spooked. If it was a trick it’s a good one and difficult to debunk seeing as no one could of touched it.
A couple of the girls in the group sat in front of the mirror and said that their faces were morphing and changing shape. I quickly sat in front of the mirror desperate to see it for myself, but as you can see from the photos below, my face looks relatively normal.
A photo I did find odd was of my sister’s shadow. The nose changed much larger with everything else still in proportion, then it changed shape completely. The chin also started to point. The group we were with pointed out the resemblance to John Humphries and I have to agree, it does look quite similar! Maybe he had popped back to his beloved Inn to say hello?
Although a bit scary at times, this tour was brilliant and the women who run it were fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed researching and writing this post and hope you’ve enjoyed reading it (if you’ve made it this far!). I can’t say I’m now a firm believer but I have been left with some odd experiences I can’t quite get my head around.
As promised, here are the photos from the attic with the strange orbs. There is one in particular that gives off a brighter light, could it possibly be a ghost? Let me know what you think in the comments 👻
If anyone is interested in going on a ghost hunt at the Ancient Ram Inn, you can find their Facebook page here which has the investigations that are being held listed.