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Spooky Goings-On – Reflections of a Reluctant Landlady

Updated: Apr 17

Do you believe that ghosts exist? Or haunted buildings?  According to the team at our historic inn, which dates back over 200 years, they seemingly do. I put myself firmly into the cynical camp myself.  Yet there were those in my team who were convinced our rambling old inn was haunted.


I was intrigued by the story of our inn, and what secrets it held.  An enthusiastic patron had thoroughly researched the inn’s history and it made interesting reading.  One notable finding was that a previous landlord had burnt to death in a stable fire in the 18th century.   We had the odd report of an unusual sighting, door handles that moved without anyone coming in or items being moved, but I remained sceptical.  Two incidents spooked the team though: -


A Regular Guest's Eerie Experience

Picture this: a long-term guest, a senior engineer named 'Phil' (alias), who had been a regular guest, staying from Monday to Thursday for months. He had a responsible job, overseeing part of the building of a new huge depot/warehouse with its complex internal conveyor systems.   One day, he abruptly asked to check out early, claiming a ghostly encounter where he felt someone touch his leg in the night. No one was there, yet he was certain it wasn't a dream. The experience left him shaken and he no longer wanted to stay in the inn, we had to transfer him to one of our other venues.  As pub owners, we were no strangers to guest complaints, but how do you handle a complaint of a paranormal nature?


The Mysterious Visitor and Alarm Incident

During my vacation, our inn's alarm was triggered late at night. My level-headed son and his partner investigated, to see via our CCTV a woman in Victorian attire sitting at the bar – an apparition who had vanished when they entered the room. There was nobody there when the CCTV recording played back, but they were adamant it wasn’t a trick of the light or some other rational explanation. 


Weighing Business Decisions: Ghost Hunting Proposal

Fast forward a year or two and one of our managers was approached by a Paranormal Group who wanted to hold an investigation overnight at the pub.  They came into the inn, armed with various pieces of equipment to do a preliminary exploration. Apparently, they found ‘activity’, both in the barn, which used to be the old stable block, and the very room that Phil used to stay in, without prior knowledge of either incidents.


They were keen to hold an overnight ‘ghost-hunt’ on Halloween, which happened to be midweek that year.  The manager was enthusiastic, but I pulled a plug on the idea.  Not because I am a killjoy, but because it would have meant booking the whole venue out to them, disrupting our regular contractor guests.


While the decision I made wasn't widely favoured, I believed it to be the correct choice. At times, one must prioritize the needs of the business over novelty events, despite its marketing potential, and this was one of those occasions.  There would be other opportunities in the future. It didn’t stop me from using the spooky goings-on in my marketing though, it is always good to have a unique angle….


Were there ghosts in our inn?  I still remain a skeptic – perhaps you are a believer.  I would love to hear your experiences if so!


A picture of a deserted pub, apart from a ghostly figure of a young woman dressed in Victorian attire.

 

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