On Saturday 2nd March 2013, Twilight Shadows Paranormal conducted an investigation at a haunted hotel in Wiltshire.
This ancient coaching inn dates from the13th century. It was constructed to provide lodgings for ‘workers’ and later used as a staging post for mail coach services from London. The building and its surroundings are absolutely striking. It has been extended and renovated many times over the centuries, resulting in an intriguing mix of styles. Inside the building is a striking, medieval stone fireplace. There is also a fine example of a wattle-and-daub wall which dates back to1220.
There have been numerous occurrences at the hotel which have been attributed to the paranormal. Doors have been knocked and rattled, taps have been turned on, candles have been lit when nobody has lit them, things are moved, people have been tapped on the shoulder, an apparition of a lady has been seen on the staircase and a male apparition in the board room. We couldn’t wait to investigate this beautiful old building.
We explored the hotel but the main areas we investigated were the board room and the dining room as these areas appeared to be the most active on the night.
We sat around a large table. Natalie (who had joined us from another paranormal group) set up a Ovilus device which emits words that are reputedly transmitting from the paranormal world. The words that were spoken were effort, hello and laughter. At the time when we all heard the word laughter, something funny had occurred and we were all laughing hysterically. So that word was very apt.
Jacky ‘called out.’ She asked any spirits that lingered there to draw close to us. The Ovilus said, “Struggle.” Natalie said that she had been given the name Amelia. The table started to move even though we had not asked for this. Jacky asked the spirit to tap the table if they wanted to communicate with us. The table tapped once indicating that the spirit did want to make contact. Natalie and Jacky asked a series of questions and the table increased its movement when each question was asked. The questions asked were:
“Amelia, did you live here?”
“Are you happy here Amelia?”
“Are you trapped?”
“Are you here because you want our help?”
“Can you make the table rock faster?” (It did).
“Do you need us to help you cross over?” (The table moved).
We then focussed and conducted a ceremony to help Amelia to cross over to the light. Most of us felt very emotional.
A soon as Amelia had gone, a male spirit immediately came through. Even before we asked him any questions, we knew he was a man as we could feel his masculinity in the atmosphere. He was a very strong presence and he wasn’t happy. A ghostly male figure has been seen in this room and we all thought that this may be the same ghost that had now joined us. Dave ‘called out’ and said the name, “Richard.” The table started pulsing and this movement was getting stronger and stronger. The table started moving and rocking with considerable force. We all agreed that we would have to be strong with this spirit.
I felt that this spirit was angry and I asked, “Are you angry? Please tap on the table if you are angry.” There was a massive bang in the centre of the table. It was so loud it sounded like somebody was breaking down a door by kicking it. Jacky asked, “Why are you angry? Is it because we have sent Amelia away?” There was another loud bang on the table. Matt said that he thought that this spirit may have been a naturally angry person in life and was still angry in death.
We asked to hear his voice as we thought that a spirit with this much power and force would be able to do this. He did not comply with our request.
Jacky asked the spirit if his name was Richard and the table started rocking forcibly. We felt that he may not like women so we asked him. There were two thundering knocks in the middle of the table. I was so impressed with the way he could knock so loudly, I asked him to do it again and this time he was compliant and knocked twice so loudly that it reverberated right through my body.
Natalie asked the spirit to bang the table a little more quietly. He banged really loudly again. Matt said “Yes, not so loud” but the bang in response to this was louder than ever. Matt asked, “Do you want us to help you?” The response was a definite “No!”
Following this, there was a sound on the table like fingers strumming. It felt as if the spirit was impatient. We asked if he was scared and the answer was no. We asked if he was connected to Amelia and we discovered that he was aware that she was there. A strange knocking commenced from the table, similar to Morse Code. Richard informed us that he was alive during the 15th Century.
Suddenly, a different, calmer spirit joined us. As this happened we could feel Richard retreating to the corner of the room. This spirit answered to the name James and presented as a much younger man. We asked James about Richard. James told us that Richard was his uncle. We learned that Richard was bad tempered towards James. We asked if Richard raised his voice or hit James and suddenly the Ovilus said, “Raised.” We asked some questions:
“Did Richard shout and hit Amelia?” Answer, “Yes.”
“Are you sad that Amelia has gone?” Answer, “Yes.”
“Did Amelia drown?” Answer, “Yes.”
“Has she been seen here?” Answer,” Yes.”
“Did she turn on the taps?” Answer, “Yes.”
We thought that Richard’s presence had started to build up again in the room as a very strong spiritual energy was apparent. We were soon corrected and we were quickly aware of a very formidable, older lady. Jacky and I noticed a cold breeze whipping up around us.
This woman appeared to have authority over Richard and we felt that this was Richard’s mother. When we asked, the answer was affirmative. At the same time, Dan and Tracy both said the name, “Margaret.” We asked if Margaret was her name and she said, “Yes.” We asked if Margaret had once owned the building and she said that she had. It was quiet for a considerable time and we felt that she was watching us. The Ovilus said, “Eye.” We asked:
“Have you got your eye on us?” Answer, “Yes.”
“And on Richard?” Answer, “Yes.”
We asked her if she knew that Richard had been unkind to James and Amelia and although she didn’t answer directly, we got the impression that she’d had a good idea what had happened.
We could still feel Richard over in the corner as if he was just observing and listening to us. The Ovilus said, “Anger.” We asked if Richard had a father and the Ovilus said, “Attached.” We asked if all the spirits were attached to the building or were some spirits there in visitation. But we received no response to this question.
It was quiet for a while. I spoke directly to Richard and asked if he was still there. The Ovilus said, “Guess.” Followed by, “Fun.”
Although this was a feisty, bad tempered spirit, I found myself liking him but I could not explain why. I told him that I liked him. He seemed calmer and Jacky and I started talking to him. We asked him what was making him so angry. He didn’t answer this question so we asked him if he knew that he had been seen by mortals and the Ovilus said, “Chicken.” Then “Leg.” We said, “Chicken leg?” Immediately, a feeling of humour enveloped the room.
I strummed my fingers on the table in a certain rhythm and asked Richard if he would copy me. He did, perfectly. I decided to try an experiment that I once tried during an investigation at 21st Century Antics. I rapped out on the table, “Shave and a haircut” and waited for the appropriate response which is “Two bits.” (In music, the call “Shave and a Haircut” with the associated response “two bits” is a simple, 7-note musical couplet or riff popularly used at the end of a musical performance, usually for comic effect. It is used both melodically and rhythmically for example as a door knock - Wikipedia).When Richard responded with “Two bits” we were all amazed but when I asked him to knock out the whole thing by himself and he did, we were astonished. He then shook Jacky’s seat and the table started to lift. I felt someone pulling me. Matt asked Jacky if she could feel anyone standing by her left side. She said that she could and Matt told her that he had taken a photo and there was a shadow looking right over her shoulder. Andrew looked at Jacky and said, “You’ve been saying that someone has been breathing down your neck.” Jacky said, “And someone has been pulling my legs!”
Several of the batteries drained from cameras at the same time. Jacky said that hers should have had at least another three hours of battery life left. Perhaps Richard was using the energy from the cameras to sustain his own powerful energy. I felt that I had made a spooky friend in Richard as he seemed to respond positively to me. He started moving the table again. I asked Richard if he was responsible for knocking the door loudly while the night porter was inside a room. Richard said that he was not responsible for this.
Eventually, we decided that we would change location and we moved into the dining room.
This room has been quite active with lots of spooky goings on. We sat around a table. Natalie received two names very quickly. One was Jemma and the other was Charles. A ghostly gentleman joined us. Natalie felt that this was Charles. Jacky ‘called out.’ We could feel a very strong energy nearby. Sharon said that she could smell perfume. This smell suddenly became apparent to most of us. It was strong, over-powering and flowery. We ‘called out’ for a long time but nothing else happened. I had the sudden urge to laugh for no reason. I couldn’t stop giggling. Suddenly the table started to move. It tipped itself up but wouldn’t go down again. It was standing on two legs and then tipped onto one leg. It was a very good display of table-tipping acrobatics.
We decided to conduct a séance and we introduced ourselves. Something was thrown in the corner of the room. We made contact with a female spirit called Louise. Louise informed us that she was unhappy. She then said, “Bad.” The Ovilius said, “Kate.” We asked:
“Has Kate been bad to you?” Answer, “No.”
“Are you sisters?” Answer, “Yes.”
“What year did you die?” Answer, “1689.”
“When were you born?” Answer, “1667.”
“How old were you when you died?” Answer, “Twenty two.”
The Ovilus said, “Bad.” (For the second time).
“Were you sick?” Answer, “No, I was drowned.”
“Was this an accident?” Answer, “No.”
“Was it in a well?” (We knew that there had once been a well in the courtyard, near to the dining room). Answer, “No.”
“Was it in the river?” Answer, “No.”
“Was it in the bath?” Answer, “No.”
“Was it in a pond?” Answer, “No.”
The Ovilus said, “Duck.”
“Was it in a duck-pond?” Answer, “No.”
Jacky suddenly shouted out, “A ducking stool?” Answer, “Yes.”
“Were you a witch?” Answer, “No.”
“Were you accused?” Answer, “Yes.”
The Ovilus said, “Bad.” (Third time).
“Was your sister accused?” Answer, “Yes.”
“Was your sister also killed?” Answer, “Yes, earlier. Wrongly accused”
“Are you connected to the building?” Answer, “Yes.”
“Was Amelia also drowned as a witch?” Answer, “No, Kate. Kate was.”
“What happened to Amelia?” Answer, “Horse. Sun. Fell off a horse into water. River. Male. Richard caused accident. Richard wanted to kill Amelia.”
We were then given information about a tannery and someone who was burned. After this the connection faded away. We discussed that there used to be a tannery in Downton. As Louise’s link with us was fading, she told us she was sad. The Ovilus said, “Sad.” Louise then said, “Goodbye.”
We were all aware that there was no spiritual atmosphere left in the room and as it was very late, we decided to end the investigation. Twilight Shadows Paranormal would like to thank the Manager for letting us investigate this lovely hotel.
Since the team’s investigation, we have learned that there was a ducking stool situated right outside the hotel. This is amazing as we had no idea of this until after our investigation.
Written by: Maria Williams