On Friday 27th February 2009, Twilight Shadows Paranormal was invited to join Phoenix of Wessex Paranormal to stay the night at the George Inn at Norton St. Philip.
It had been decided to split into three teams. Twilight Shadows Paranormal was Team 3. Dave suggested that we start off in the Coach Room. To get to this room you have to go outside to the hotel front. The room was up a few steps and seemed completely separate from the rest of the hotel. I loved this idea.
THE COACH ROOM
This room was beautiful and we all stepped back in time. It was difficult not to imagine everyone in Olde Worlde clothing. The room had a definite strange atmosphere, we all thought so. We decided to sit for a while and then 'call out.' After a while we heard the latch on the outer door lift and rattle. We were locked in but Matt leapt up and went to investigate. There was nobody there. We were all quite excited about this. We all sat down again and quietly focussed.
We all felt an energy building and the atmosphere became quite intense. We all felt that we may experience some spiritual activity. After approximately ten minutes, the door latch rattled again. Matt went to the door and unlocked it. It was Mark from Haunted Wiltshire. We asked whether he had tried the door previously and he said that he had. So we were all a bit disappointed that the door rattling had a logical explanation.
The atmosphere had dipped and although we stayed in the Coach Room a while longer, the ambience within the room remained flat.
We stepped out into the courtyard and I climbed the stairs and stood on the Mezzanine balcony, looking down at the others. Dave told us that this was the balcony that 'Hanging Judge Jeffries' stood as he passed sentence on the prisoners below. Loretta later said "While standing in the courtyard looking up at my mother on the balcony where Judge Jeffries is said to have passed sentence on prisoners, I suddenly felt a slight panic rising in my chest like a mini-anxiety attack, as if I was about to be judged myself." Loretta is unsure whether she momentarily tapped into the feelings of the prisoners but wonders if it was just the power of suggestion because she was listening to the information Dave was telling us.
The GeorgeInn at Norton St. Philip is one of the oldest in the country and has been used as an Innfor over 700 years. The village of Norton St. Philip held annual wool fairs from the late 13th century until 1902 and the Inn was purposely built to accommodate the travellers and merchants.
The Innis clearly documented as being named 'The George' in 1595 but it is thought that this name was in use for a long time before this documentation existed. "Where lynnen cloth is sould at fare tymes" was a description of the Innas well as an "ancient and common Inn" as part of a survey in 1606. The GeorgeInnhad 35 beds and was equipped for stabling 90 horses by the late 17th century.
There were three famous visitors to the Inn.
Samuel Pepys who was a famous diarist between 1633 and 1703 (my knowledge of Pepys is that he wrote an account of the Great Fire of London in 1666). Pepys passed through the village of Norton St. Philip with his wife and servants on a journey from Bathto Salisbury on the 12th June 1668. It is said that they all dined at the Inn for ten shillings.
The Duke of Monmouth (an illegitimate son of Charles II) used the Inn as his headquarters, following his retreat from Bathon 26th June 1685.
The infamous Judge Jeffries who is also known as 'Hanging Judge Jeffries' due to the punishment he meted out at the trials of the supporters of the Duke of Monmouth (and at other trials in the West Country) held his court at the GeorgeInn.
We arrived at the location at approximately 22 15 hours. Jacky, Dave, Chris and Sharonhad arrived earlier in the evening. We were astounded by the beauty of this building and we were very excited. We entered the building, the interior was amazing! The first room (a lounge) was very quaint. We went to the bar and met Mark (the landlord) who welcomed us and informed us that the others had started a séance somewhere. We contacted Dave who came to find us. He showed us the dungeon where people were held captive before meeting their deaths. We were using this room as a crew room, storing any equipment and personal belongings. A trigger object with a locked off Camcorder filming had been set up and Dictaphones had been left in the dungeon. Dave was the only person with a key for this room and he checked the trigger object and was amazed to see that it had moved slightly.
THE SAMUEL PEPYS ROOM
The next room we investigated was the Samuel Pepys room. This room contained an amazing 4 poster bed. As we entered this room, I looked towards a mirror and I clairvoyantly saw a human skull. It disappeared very quickly and I still do not understand why I saw this.
We assembled in this room and sat quietly, 'calling out' to try and make spirit contact. Emma said that she felt a little boy in this room. I felt the spirit of a young, adult female but I did not get any direct communication.
I stood at the table with Emma and Loretta for a while but nothing of a paranormal nature occurred.
I am not usually impressed by light anomalies caught on camera or Camcorder unless they differ from the usual bog-standard 'orbs' which are usually seen. But upon reviewing the footage, there is a very bright light anomaly captured behind Loretta in this room (in fact there are several but this one is slightly different).
THE MONMOUTH ROOM
We then investigated the Monmouth Room. As soon as I entered this room, I clairvoyantly saw a human skull in the mirror, just as I did in the Samuel Pepys Room. I do not understand the meaning of this.
It is said that the Duke of Monmouth was standing in this room shaving, when a shot was fired from outside the Inn. He was narrowly missed and the shot went into the wall. The original gate-leg table that the Duke discussed his battle tactics has been restored and returned to the Monmouth Room.
We tried conducting a séance in this room, sitting quietly at first and then a few of us gathering around the table. Nothing of a spiritual nature occurred.
We decided to go up to the attic. I didn't feel that there was going to be anything of a spiritual nature up there, but I must say that I did not like the feeling of the attic. It didn't really feel haunted but I felt uncomfortable. It was icy cold (unlike the rest of the building) but I do not think the temperature had anything to do with the supernatural. Previously we had been told that there were the remains of two mummified birds in the attic. We saw them laid out on a table. It looked as if they been placed there and had not fallen.
(Later I was talking to Harriet (the landlady) and she said that she did not know the origin of the dead birds but she had decided to leave them up there, just in case. I think that is a wise decision. If nothing else, it all just adds to the mystery of the Inn). We couldn't stay in long in this room as it was so cold.
We went downstairs to the courtyard and met up with Harriet. She said that every day, she is thankful that she has been given the opportunity to live at the GeorgeInn. There seemed to be a special and unique relationship between the building and the proprietors. Harriet said that the others were conducting a séance in the dining room, so we decided to join them.
THE DINING ROOM
Harriet led us into the dining room. Jacqui was 'calling out.' There was a strange and magnetic atmosphere in this room. I thought I felt the presence of a least two spirits but they seemed static. Apart from this I did not have any paranormal contact.
THE NORTONROOM (The Lounge)
Eventually we all assembled into the lounge. I felt that this room was exceptionally beautiful. We sat and discussed our experiences. We were talking about the beautiful fireplace and Dave said that he wondered if there were any 'poppets' up the chimney. Loretta was eager to explore and she actually got into the fireplace and stuck her head up the chimney. She later said it felt quite spooky.
Mark and Harriet had kindly offered the team a 'bed for the night' free of charge. We were to sleep in haunted bedrooms. We were very excited. Emma, Loretta and I were to sleep in the Monmouth Room.
We decided to set up two locked off Camcorders and left them running while we slept. I say slept, I think I had one eye open most of the night. Emma said the following morning that she thought that there may have been a figure standing by the fireplace at some time during the night.
In the morning we went to the dungeon to gather our possessions. The trigger object had moved.
Mark provided us with bacon sandwiches and coffee for breakfast, which we were not expecting at all.
Twilight Shadows Paranormal would like to convey their gratitude to Mark and Harriet for letting us investigate their beautiful Inn and for their outstanding hospitality and kindness.
Thank you so much.
Written by: Maria Williams
TEAM 1's REPORT (Jacky, Dave, Chris and Sharon)
The evening of Friday 27th February 2009 saw the return of Phoenix of Wessex Paranormal Research team return to The George Inn to continue our investigations into the reported supernatural activity witnessed there.
The George Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the country, serving people for 850 years and not once has the building been used for anything other than a public house. The Inn has played host to many dignitaries over the years and stood silently, watching many historical events such as the Monmouth Rebellion. Norton St. Philip was the site of a battle during the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 and the east-west street on the village's northern edge (officially recorded as Chesney's Street) is locally referred to as Bloody Lane, reportedly due to the battle causing so much bloodshed that blood flowed down the hill. In the aftermath of the failed rebellion, Judge Jeffries conducted twelve executions on the village common, known as Churchmead or The Mead and he used the GeorgeInn as a place for his judgements. The unfortunate victims were then taken over to the building that is now the Fleur De Leys for execution by hanging.
This investigation was particularly exciting as the Western Daily Press had printed an article about our visit the day before and also we were informed that we had other media coverage of which I will reveal at the end of the report (the article can be read on the Phoenix of Wessex Paranormal website - found on the links page of this website)
We were very lucky to have access to some great rooms. We were given the Coach Room, the Coombes Room, the Abbots Room, the Samuel Pepys Room, the Monmouth Room, the dungeon, the attic and later on the dining room and the lounge. We split into two teams which consisted of me, Dave, Chris and Sharon as Team 1, with Mark (from Haunted Wiltshire), Mike and Tracey (our newest team members) as Team 2. We also had the lovely Twilight Shadows Paranormal joining us later. They were Team 3.
We decided to spend forty five minutes in each room with fifteen minutes to gather our information and meet back at the dungeon so we could all swap locations. Before we started, Mark's team went off to take base-line tests so we had a good idea of what sort of ambience and temperature readings were to be expected on arrival. This gives us a good point of reference so we could compare any data collected from our time in the rooms and to see if what we obtained was normal or unusual for the room.
Before we began the evening's events, we left a trigger object of coins positioned on a piece of card with a Camcorder locked off and filming it in the dungeon. Trigger objects are a form of experiment where you leave an item (that you often draw around) in a supposedly, paranormally active room. I decided to use money as I felt that money is always of interest and anyone is more likely to want to try and move that, rather than the usual religious artefacts used. We took a few base-line readings which showed quite a high level of EMF (electro magnetic field) present but this can be accounted for as there were a lot of electrical cables and a generator for the blast freezer next door. The temperature remained a steady 19 degrees Celsius. We also had the only key to the dungeon and we kept it locked when we were not there. While we were waiting for Mark's team to return Chris commented that he sensed death and we all smelt a sickly, sweet smell.
Once Mark's team came back we then read through a few things to remember and started on our mission. We chose to start in the Samuel Pepys Room while Mark's team went to the Abbots Room.
SAMUEL PEPYS ROOM
(20 55 hours. EMF Normal)
The minute we walked into this room we all individually commented that we sensed an atmosphere. Almost as soon as we had entered the room Dave thought he heard footsteps by the bathroom door. We positioned ourselves around various areas of the room and switched off the lights. Chris sensed that there was an energy of a male child building. Dave thought he heard a child's voice but he couldn't be sure it was not one of the hotel guests. Chris was sat on the bed and said that he felt very emotional.
We started to 'ask out' to see if any spirit people wanted to make contact with us. We thought we heard a few taps but again, this may be contributed to noise made by the hotel guests. We all smelt a very unpleasant smell at various times while in this room. It seemed to travel around and we likened it to stale, unwashed clothes.
We all also sensed an energy moving around the room. A few light anomalies were caught on Camand at one point I thought I saw a shadow moving towards Chris and at the same time Chris exclaimed that he felt a spirit person move through him. He informed me that this was from the front of him, moving to the back. It was also noticed that if you sat on the side of the bed nearest the door, you soon felt a kind of pins and needles sensation in your hands and arms. All people in this group experienced this.
Towards the end of the hour in this room, the atmosphere changed and I felt that the spirit of a female had joined us. A few taps were heard in response to our questions but this energy dissipated as soon as it built and so we decided to regroup and go to a new location.
Before leaving Chris was discussing the child he sensed and I seemed to be able to link in with the description of the child he was seeing. I described him as wearing a sky blue jacket with the same colour knee length trousers with white or lace trim around the knee and around the neck collar. He had blonde hair and seemed to be well heeled.
Once back at the dungeon we decided to swap with Mark's team and visit the Abbots Room. Marks's team went to the Samuel Pepys Room.
THE ABBOTS ROOM
(21 55 hours. EMF Normal)
This room is set up on the balcony outside the courtyard and almost immediately I sensed a cold chill as we entered. Dave remarked that he felt a sort of cobweb-like sensation on his face. We sat in the dark for a bit and then started to 'ask out.' Chris said that he felt nothing in this room but Sharon and I felt very shivery and I did not like the atmosphere in there at all. It was about half an hour into our vigil into this room that Maria from Twilight Shadows Paranormal called to say that they had arrived, so Dave went off to sort her team out and we continued with our vigil.
Not much happened in this room apart from the shivery, unwelcoming feeling. It seems quite a lot of orbs were captured in this room via digital camera. (Orbs or light anomalies seem to be often captured on film or camera where paranormal activity is said to happen. No one really knows what they are and there are many theories to what they can be, from the first stages of a manifestation to digital faults). Once Dave returned we decided to regroup and relocate.
(23 55 Hours)
We spent a little bit of time in the attic. Not much was sensed there but we found the location very interesting. We had a discussion to whether the area may have been used as living quarters at some time, as there is a partition at the far end of the room with a fire place. Chris later found an old picture of the George Inn which shows windows in the attic area. This may suggest that the attic was once lived in. We later found out that someone hung themselves in this room.
THE DINING ROOM
After another short break we decided to hold a vigil in the dining room. Mark and Harriet (the landlord and the landlady) of the George Inn, joined us at this point.
I found this particular room fairly quiet and didn't sense much activity there. One member of the team thought they heard a female sigh and a few commented that they could hear music playing faintly in the background. This only happened if you were sat by the entrance to the room. Most people present could hear this, including myself.
We spent some time 'asking out' and I noticed that nearly everyone had their cameras directed at the far, right hand corner. Sharon (who was sat down that end of the room) commented that she felt shivery and Dave and Mark said that they felt that area of the room was cooler than the other end of the room. I went down to see if I could sense the temperature change but I could not. I tried 'asking out' again to see if any spirit people wanted to make contact and was startled when I realized that I could sense someone sat in the corner that everyone had been watching. At the same time, Dave was also shocked as he thought he saw the same thing. He went to sit there for a while and then changed places with Harriet.
It was getting very late now and some of Maria's team decided to call it a night and go home. Sharonalso went. The rest of us went to the lounge (called the Norton Room) and chatted for a while longer. Mark and Harriet had a long day ahead of them so they bid us goodnight. It was now nearly 02 00 hours and some of us were privileged enough to be invited to stay overnight in some of the lovely rooms. We accepted and made our way up to the rooms to face the ultimate challenge - to stay the night in a haunted bedroom.
As I was so tired I'm afraid I slept through any special appearances that any of the resident spooks may have made but Emma from Maria's team thought she saw someone stood by the fireplace in the Monmouth Room where she was sleeping. This was close to where Dave said he sensed someone standing earlier.
In the morning Dave had the very exciting task of giving an account of the evenings findings in a radio interview that was broadcast live on BBC Radio Somerset.
After we regrouped in the dungeon to see if any of the objects had moved, we were excited to find that they had. Photographic evidence has been obtained and can be viewed on the photographic gallery on Phoenix of Wessex Paranormal website (there is a link to Phoenix of Wessex Paranormal website on the links page of this website).
We also managed to capture what appear to be very loud footsteps in the dungeon during the time when no one could be in there. The footsteps seem to be female as it sounds like the person is wearing heels. Also the sound of paper being moved has been captured. This will be loaded onto the Phoenix of Wessex Paranormal website, as a sound file.
We would like to thank Mark and Harriet for their amazing hospitality during this investigation and Wadworths Brewery for giving us permission to investigate their premises. I would like to thank the entire team for giving up their Friday evening and helping to make this evening such an amazing success.
Written by: Jacky Wicheard
On the 25th August 2010, I received an email from a gentleman to tell me of his experience connected with The George Inn.
A few years ago my daughter was at Bath
University. On many occasions I
drove her to and from there. One day due to roadwork’s or some such thing I
redirected through Norton St. Philip and immediately felt that I knew the place,
which I'm sure I didn’t. I am positive I had never been there before. When I
came around the corner and saw the inn I recognised it as a 'memory' and dreams
that I have had for years. (I know this sounds cranky but I can’t explain it
any other way). I have a clear picture of a room with wooden wainscot, leaded
light window, a small and very inefficient open fire, a small wooden but very
comfortable bed and a writing desk on which I was preparing hand written
accounts with a steel nibbed pen in a large card bound book. The financial
ledgering was something to do with sheep. (It gets creepier)!
I also 'remember' looking out of the window on a bleak snow
covered road, (on a different occasion), watching an old man with a very down
at heel pony and trap struggling past the houses to the south. It was just
getting dark and I was feeling very lonely/melancholy as it was around Christmas
time and I had no friends! Almost every time I have had this dream/daydream, I
have woken myself coughing and choking. The strange thing is that the view is
of the street that runs south from the George
Inn is not from ground level.
I was so shocked by how this all looked so familiar that the
next time I went past I stopped and spoke to the landlady and she kindly showed
me the rooms upstairs. When we went into the room that is on the second floor (extreme
left as you look at the outside) it was exactly the room I remembered, though I
think the fire was different or missing. Furthermore when I opened the window
the view was again exactly right!
There are many other things that I have a sort of
recollection of, such as 'knowing' that the area of land behind (to the west)
of the inn was where sheep were penned.I seem to 'know' this because I faced that direction as I sat at my