I really am going to have a complete day off here tomorrow as I’ve got a lot more work to do on the book. I’ll try and answer any queries, of course, but doubt if I’ll get round to writing anything.
In the meantime, and by popular demand, here is another little ghost story from my last book. Just hope it copies OK from the manuscript copy. If not, you’ll know why as I have already explained.
I will correct any format though should that happen. Enjoy,
THE SPANIARDS INN is an ancient, mostly unmodernised pub that lies almost forlornly on an outer edge of London’s famous Hampstead Heath.
There have for long been reports of ghostly happenings at the pub; not least, of a shadowy figure that wanders around the upper rooms of the pub which it seems to favour in preference to the bar area downstairs.
The ghost is sometimes said to be that of Dick Turpin who supposedly visited the Inn and whose cloaked spectre has also been reported riding noiselessly across the Heath; but this could be just wild speculation considering that it is often a common tendency to identify many ghostly figures with characters from local legends, particularly if these are seen to have had some connection, as Turin did, with to a haunted place in question. This aside, it remains a fact that some shadowy form – or figure – has been reported at the Spaniards Inn; and, in all probability would probably be found to predate Turpin’s ‘reign’ by many centuries.
But to return to more recent times; the last few years have brought many accounts of ghostly activity at the pub from Management and visitors alike; the basic theme perhaps being that some definite psychic ‘intelligence’ is active there.
As recently as the autumn of 2003, for example, (and this period involved a nightly vigil spent in the pub by the author) live-in bar staff reported outbreaks of ghostly activity upstairs and, although no figure was actually witnessed, sudden drops of temperature accompanied by the sound of ‘invisible’ footsteps and the mysterious – yet deliberate – movement of objects, seemed to suggest that some presence was active there.
One girl, 26-year-old Manila Murad from San Palo, actually swore that some ‘invisible force’ walked around her bedroom early on morning and eventually ‘immobilised her’ in the bed; she was unable to move, though equally, too afraid to open her eyes to search for some explanation in the darkness. It was following these recent accounts that this author was called in by the pub management to see if he could offer any explanation to these fresh outbreaks of ghostly activity.
I arrived at the pub one Sunday evening in September around 9 p.m., and before long was listening to the accounts of two of the barmaids in a communal living room upstairs. Manila Murad was present, as also Aleksandra Rydzynska, the assistant manager who also lived on the premises. Basically, they both related accounts of the sound of unexplainable footsteps in their rooms at night, of objects being mysteriously moved or disturbed, (two pictures hanging on Manila’s wall had been ‘de-centralised’ on their hooks while a towel – and she saw this happen – lifted from its rail and fell to the floor, as if dislodged by some unseen hand), and being awoken by sudden drops of temperature in their rooms whilst simultaneously, ‘something’ shook their beds. Invariably, on the occasions that this happened, both women had an overbearing impression that some ‘sinister intelligence’ was actually visiting their respective rooms, and each snuggled up beneath the bedclothes to save perhaps having to witness their unwelcome nightly visitor.
Around 11.30 p.m., after having taken detailed noted of both girls’ experiences, it was arranged that I spend a nightly vigil in Aleksandra’s room, a place where the psychic activity had been especially potent.
After inspecting the room and taking thermal readings, I laid back on a covered but comfortable large bed, camera and wits at the ready, to await any developments. Nothing untoward happened until 1.12 a.m. when, for no apparent reason, one of the candles I was using for light ‘flared up’ and in a matter of moments, in the absence of any apparent draught, went out completely. Then, at exactly 1.38. the lampshade on the central room light began to swing quite violently, but again, investigation revealed no apparent cause for this strange anomaly.
It was at 3.23 that an event occurred that seemed to defy any plausible explanation … From my position on the bed, I could clearly see the bedroom door and the light from a dimly lit corridor outside that illumed a small gap at its base. There was no sound, but at this time, this light was briefly – but definitely – ‘blacked out’, as though something, or something, had walked past it. A quick check of the corridor revealed nothing, and enquires over breakfast the next morning revealed that nobody in the pub owned either a dog or a cat.
Casual coincidence, or the possible continuation of some ghostly activity?
It is unlikely that the Spaniards Inn, after so many years, will be quickly forthcoming in giving up its ghostly secrets …
© David Farrant
The above case was first published in David Farrant’s book : ‘Dark Journey – True cases of ghostly phenomena from the files of the British Psychic and Occult Society.’