Living in America, the oldest buildings I see are no more than around 230 years old. Those are the ones that have actually been preserved as historical structures, rather than torn down to make way for the next best thing. It's hard to fathom stepping into a building that is thousands of years old. What's even harder to imagine is setting foot in one that hasn't been modernized and changed in every single way. Wouldn't it be nice to visit an ancient structure and really feel as though you've traveled back in time? Luckily, there are many dedicated to the preservation of our world's history, and the buildings that served those that came before us. They fight to protect these landmarks from destruction, so that future generations may come to learn about the past. Or, like in the case of the Ancient Ram Inn, so that people may come to experience something otherworldly.
The Ancient Ram Inn was built in 1145, and is the oldest standing building in England's Wotton-Under-Edge. Its original purpose was to house the masons, slaves, and other workers that were building the St. Mary's Church right across the street. The very land that the inn sits upon is thought to be saturated with dark energy. Built at the intersection of two Ley Lines, the Ghost Hunter's article on TravelChannel.com describes how these lines are thought to contain significant spiritual energy. If traced on a map, the Ley Lines lead directly from the Ancient Ram Inn to England's most famous and sacred site of all, Stonehenge. These alignments are drawn between many historic structures to prominent landmarks, much like the direct connection made between the inn and Stonehenge.
TravelAwaits.com describes how the streams on the grounds were diverted during the construction of the church. They were diverted around the site of St. Mary's, which many believe had consequences. They think that the diversion opened a portal for dark energy to come through.
Once St. Mary's was finished, a priest made the structure across the street his home for a time. It's also known to have housed bishops and monks as well. Eventually, it was converted to an inn, where it got its name, the Ram Inn. Nowhere have I found exactly how long it functioned as an inn and public house. In 1968, it was closed and the property was purchased by John Humphries, a man completely unwilling to allow such an old structure to be torn down as was planned. Once he bought the building, he moved in and made it his home. He also opened his home to any that were curious about the inn's dark past.
John started digging, not only into the history, but into the building itself. It was found that the house was erected on top of an ancient Pagan burial ground. Yeah, like Poltergeist, but less racist, and with just as many real human skeletons. The burial ground, found underneath the floorboards, is thought to be around 5000 years old. John wasn't only motivated by curiosity to learn more about the grounds and building. His experience the first night he stayed in the house drove him to find out what was going on with that place. The very night he moved his family in, John was pulled from his bed in the middle of the night. An invisible hand grabbed him by the arm and dragged him across the room with incredible force.
It didn't take long for his wife and three daughters to leave. The activity was almost constant and most certainly malevolent. The things that were being discovered within those walls made their choice that much easier. This was an evil place that had seen many evil acts. They did not need to be there. Nevertheless, John weathered the paranormal activity for 50 years, until his death in late 2017. His goal was not only to prevent the building from ever being torn down, but to keep learning more about its loaded past.
According to All That's Interesting, after his terrifying welcome by the demonic forces present, John made his most grim discovery inside the house. Underneath a staircase, the skeletal remains of children had long been buried. John thought them to have been stabbed by daggers given their appearance. They are thought to be the victims of ritual sacrifice, likely in devil worship. Though I could find nothing more about the children's remains, hopefully they were properly and lovingly interred by a caring soul.
Gloucester Live reports on the many eerie decorations and signs all over the house. Religious objects, crosses, and biblical scripture seem to cover every wall and surface. Mingled among the religious objects are Pagan and Wiccan knick-knacks that call back to the inn's history. In every room a Bible is set out with a slip of paper beside each one. The paper reads, "Careful Here?" Other signs in the house oddly end in a question mark, the significance of which I could not find. By the main stairs a sign reads, "You enter here at your own risk?" Another placed directly on the kitchen stairs reads, "KEEP OUT."
Wandering the Ancient Ram Inn, one truly feels as though they have been transported back in time as the building has merely been preserved, not modernized. Much of the furniture looks to be quite old in the pictures that can be found on Google. Stone walls, narrow, steep staircases, candles, and wallpaper that peels around picture frames immediately tell you that you have not walked into a recently developed home. The floorboards loudly creak and groan with every single step after thousands of years of people walking across them.
If you're brave enough to make your way up the main stairs, you are immediately greeted by walls covered in newspaper clippings. Every single article details the inn and its history. You will also find the most haunted room in the house on the second floor. Even further up in the attic, you will come upon a table with a candle and a copy of The Great Warbow beside it, described by Amazon as a vivid and exciting exploration of the bow and arrow as weapons of war. Above them is a sign reading, "Please do not pass here."
By far the most peculiar and the creepiest thing to be found is located on the ground level. Discovered inside the walls, a mummified cat was examined before being encased in glass and put on display. Stroud Museum estimated the remains to be anywhere from 400-500 years old. During that particular time period it was customary to place a feline inside the walls of a home for protection against evil spirits, or as a good luck charm. People believed that cats possessed a sixth sense and that placing them in the walls was considered a blood sacrifice so the cat could use its psychic abilities to ward off unwanted spirits. This poor feline was found with its face frozen in a permanent screech. For an outlandish and superstitious practice this poor cat had to die a truly horrible death. To be sure, these people only managed to make their homes smell of decay.
The Ancient Ram Inn is definitely a cabinet of curiosities. After John Humphries death, his mission to preserve and learn more about the property didn't cease. His daughter, Caroline Humphries, took over in his place and continues to run the inn just as her father had. It's still open to tourists curious about its past and looking for a scare. She has even invited archeologists to study the structure and the unique history behind it.
A story published by Haunted Britain and Ireland goes into pretty good detail about the kinds of experiences one might have while visiting. There are several spirits that have been repeatedly reported by different tourists over the years. A Roman Centurion riding through the wall on horseback towards some plumbers as they worked inside. The shapes and mists that have been photographed over the years. The poor woman that went down in history as a witch because she was accused and executed as one after being found at the inn. Even the different bishops and monks that once called the building home are said to still be there. Just pick out any one spot in that house and something strange has either occurred, or been photographed there. It's no wonder at all that most overnight guests flee in the dead of night, trying to get out as quickly as possible.
The story of "The Witch" goes all the way back to the 1500s, at the very height of the witch hunts. At this point, the structure was already functioning as the Ram Inn. A woman whose name has been lost to time was accused of taking part in the dark arts of witchcraft. Before anyone could even breathe a word about a trial, she wisely fled. She would've known that government-sanctioned witch hunters would conduct her trial and surely condemn her. Unfortunately, she did not flee quickly enough. As she lodged at the Ram Inn, she was discovered and hauled out of her room, which is now known as "The Witch's Room." This poor woman, likely no witch at all, was found guilty and burned at the stake.
Her room has been kept as though it may have looked when she lodged there, so long ago. It's now regarded as one of the most haunted rooms in the house. Her story is truly a tragic one shared by so many strong, independent women of that era. To be an unmarried spinster, capable of survival or a woman with a mind of her own must surely be the work of some dark force.
One of the creepiest rooms is one of the first you will enter. Known as the "Men's Kitchen," this is the room that stands directly on top of the 5000-year-old Pagan burial ground. The sound of a baby crying can often be heard from there.
Sounds are not the only thing you might experience. The activity is known to ramp up, even to violent levels. Visitors that have decided to ascend the main staircase have found themselves flung up the steps by invisible hands. Inside the most haunted room, known as the "Bishop's Room," a medium was lifted from the ground and thrown across the room like a rag doll. These spirits have no issue with being seen, either. Photographs have been taken and posted online as well as witness accounts of the strange occurrences.
The "Bishop's Room" has become well known for the oppressive, dark energy that fills it. Just to walk inside and feel the ambiance is enough to set you on edge. It's overwhelmingly disturbing, and you can't figure out why. Not surprisingly, the bishops that once called this room their own can be seen making regular visits home. Two shimmering monks have also been witnessed in one corner of the room. They are hardly the worst part about it. Overnight guests allowed to stay in the Bishop's Room have reported being assaulted by either an incubus, or a succubus. They have also reported hearing the loud sounds of something, or someone, being dragged across the attic floor above their heads.
Watching a short YouTube documentary filmed before John Humphries' death, I learned an interesting fact about the "Bishop's Room." John told documentarians that before entering, you must knock three times. Not just three knocks, but three successions of three. If anything can be heard from the other side, do not enter. If all is quiet, you're good to go.
If you don't see anything of note, you may hear something. It's said that the screams of a man who was murdered in the room can be heard quite loudly. As his head was forced into a flaming fireplace and held there, his shrieks are understandable. An apparition of a person is known to appear by the dressing table before walking across the room with purpose. For reasons unknown, a shepherd has even been seen standing by the door with his dog, almost as though he were guarding it. As though this weren't enough, evil spirits have been reported as well.
The most melancholy feeling can be experienced in the attic. In the early 1500s, the innkeepers daughter was murdered up there. Many believe the dragging sound that emits from there to be her lifeless body being pulled across the floor.
With so much going on, it's no wonder that some overnight guests have fled through the window, just to get out quicker with less chance of more unpleasant occurrences. The inn is still open to anyone willing to look around, or brave enough to spend the night. If you're in the Gloucestershire area and looking for some creepy, paranormal fun, enter at your own risk.