|Vicky in the Dead Centre of the photo|
For this blog takeover, I am going to be talking about our experience of investigating the Falstaff in Stratford Upon Avon alongside the UK Haunted team on one of their events. But before we get into the details of what activity we had on the night, I want to talk about the history of this magnificent 11th century Tudor building, which may help explain why it's reputed to be so haunted!
The Falstaff has always been known as being a paranormal hotspot in the UK and it is visited and investigated by hundreds of paranormal enthusiasts and investigators each year. As mentioned above, the actual site dates back to the 11th century and the original name for the house was 'The Shreives House' meaning 'Sheriff's House'. The site was used as an Inn in the 16th century and was run by a chap called William Rogers, who, so they say, was the inspiration of Shakespeare's popular comedy character of Falstaff.
William Rogers was the 'Serjeant of the Mace' — Which basically meant, back in those times he was a debt collector, The Serjeant would usually be dressed in some kind of light yellow leather and would often be seen carrying a silver mace, ready to arrest or disdain upon a defaulting neighbour. If you look close enough into the history, you can also even uncover a list of what items Rogers had obtained during his time as the Serjeant, it's very interesting to say the least. The list can be found by clicking HERE
Rogers is of course one of the spirits that is reputed to still reside at the Falstaff, although there is many more to be discovered. Back when the site was an Inn, it also housed a small tavern and this is what was reputed to have been used by the notorious 'Stratford Ripper' John Davies. Now, I found this part extremely fascinating as this would probably be the first time I have investigated a place which could house the spirit of a serial killer, so of course, I wanted to look into this as much as possible and get as much information as I could.
I scoured the Internet for what felt like days trying to find more information about the infamous John Davies but sadly I came up with nothing! I couldn't even find a police report of any kind of 'ripper' in the Stratford area and I'd been checking the British newspapers archives as well as detailed history forums online. From what I can gather, The story of John Davies is that of a Legend, meaning, we don't actually know if it's true or not and it can be considered something of Folklore. It was a story that was gradually built up by the people of the town, thus, creating what it is today, although just because it's a legend, certainly doesn't mean it isn't true, because of course, something or someone certainly sparked the story in the first place!
Upon my research in to John Davies, I actually came across a John 'Davis' who also had links to the Falstaff and is another reported spirit along with a lady by the name of Jane Ward. The two are profoundly connected to the area and again were said to use the site on a regular basis. This is where it gets pretty interesting (or at least, it did for me) Jane Ward was accused of being a witch by Davis who was convinced that this woman, who was his neighbour at the time, had put some kind of curse upon his family thus resulting in him receiving nothing but bad luck. One evening, John Davis saw it appropriate to attack Jane, he used a small knife and swiped at the woman, causing a gash on her face but this was not fatal — He believed that by drawing the blood of this witch, the curse would be broken..... Luckily for Jane, at this time the idea of witches had passed, and the people had decided that the entire thing couldn't have been true, or at least, most of them had. A trial took place which is well documented in history and John Davis was sentenced to 18 months hard labour — The judge gave him a mediocre sentence but only because prior to this, he was deemed a good citizen.
So, there we have it. This is just a FEW of the stories and historical facts about the Falstaff and to be honest, it doesn't even begin to start upon the history of the place, I could sit here writing for hours and hours about it as there is so much more to be uncovered.
But, with this being a paranormal blog, hopefully I’ve touched upon some of the reasons why this place could be haunted and also introduced you to a handful of the spirits that are said to reside there... The Falstaff is a place I have always wanted to investigate simply due to the sheer size of the history, I mean, if you put two and two together, with everything that has happened inside these walls, I'm pretty sure what is documented would already be enough to make the site haunted, but just imagine what is not documented...I'm sure I can safely say that a lot went on here that we don't even know about, and that's what makes it all so exciting.
"When I saw that the UK Haunted team were advertising a small event there, I knew I had to go along and finally tick this place off my bucket list. AND on an upside, I also got to meet the lovely lads along the way! (Finally!) Pretty much a win/win in my eyes"
|Alex, Vicky & Miki (like a Paranormal ZZ Top)|
I asked him about the Ghost stories and he went on to explain a few of his own to me that had personally happened to him, as well as saying that he has somewhat become accustomed to the spirits of the Falstaff and to him, it's just a normal day to day thing that he's able to tune out. John is a proper character and it was great meeting him, as well as having a great sense of humour, he's genuinely a nice bloke...who knows his history, very much in depth! He gave us a short history tour of the building along with everyone else, there was only around 13 or so people at the event, nice and small and the majority were either seasoned investigators or extreme paranormal enthusiasts, I could already tell it was going to be a good night as everyone was buzzing with excitement and it helped to build the energy for the investigation ahead.
For the first part of the evening after the tour, everyone joined up together and we ventured inside of the Tudor House. We began in a room which was directly below the attic area and it was big enough for everyone to be able to spread out. We started with calling out led by Alex, asking the spirits to come forward, possibly to make a noise and to give us a sign that they were here with us. Miki had also set up a R.E.M pod in the back room away from everyone else. We continued for a good ten or fifteen minutes and received some small noises, which we believed at the time would have been the house settling itself, it was good to just listen out as it allowed you to become accustomed to the sites natural noises, so as not to confuse them with anything paranormal.
There was definitely an energy in the air, which I always find hard to explain, typically it's something that will always be difficult to put into words unless you are there and are able to feel it for yourself...It's almost like a static charge which causes the tiny hairs on your arms to prick up, I definitely felt this in the room and it was also documented by a few other guests who were experiencing the same thing. This charge seemed to come and go throughout the evening.
At one point, still in the room below the attic, we all distinctly heard footsteps above us. Everyone was accounted for in the room, so we began to call out...now, when I say 'footsteps' — it was actually a lot louder than that, I'm not exaggerating when I say it sounded like heavy boots and it went on for a good few seconds. We also heard what sounded like a dragging noise from above us. Miki was close to the steps at the time, so he went up to take a look, confirming no one was up there. I have to admit, it was pretty cool to hear something so clear like that. With the activity seeming to heighten a little more, we decided to do a Ouija board session. I will admit, I am VERY sceptical of the Ouija board, but I'm always willing to be open to try communication this way. The way I like to look at things is, although people say they have proven that Ouija boards are fake...to me that doesn't make sense. Just because you did a little experiment and nothing happened doesn't mean that no one else has ever had an experience with them...either good or bad, how can anyone possibly know this? They can't. There is a lot of people in the world with different circumstances and WAY too many stories out there, both told and untold to just dismiss something in such a way.
I did participate on the board and after a while, the planchette did move, although it didn't make a lot of sense. We did get some solid 'Yes and No' responses, but whoever we were communicating with was clearly unable to give us their name or anything else of significance, the letter 'F' was very profound and the planchette would move towards this quite a bit — it also revealed that it was a female spirit. I came off the board after a while (mostly due to my arm aching...ha ha!) and went and sat at the back of the room in the one of the corners. Others continued on the board but as far as I'm aware not a lot more came through.
Once the Ouija session was finished, Alex set up a piece of equipment called the Infrasound Generator with the IPAD and speaker...or rather, as we liked to call it 'The Eye Vibrator' — Mainly because when he put it on, the whole room began to vibrate…as well as your eyeballs, apparently ha ha. I'd never used Infrasound on an investigation before, though I'd heard of it and was told previously that it's very good at building energy on an investigation and that it's known for giving great results. As instructed by Alex, we were told to listen to the sound, or rather 'beyond it' to see if we could hear any voices. At this point with the Infrasound running, it definitely felt like the energy in the surrounding room was shifting, again, this is something,, as mentioned before, is very hard to explain unless you were there on the night.
A few people in the room began to hear 'whisper' like voices over the noise and I had a lady stood not too far from me at the door who said she felt like something had shoved her. I remember I turned to my Dad to say I felt a little uncomfortable sat where I was, and he agreed (which is rare) that he could also feel something! I turned back to the lady to ask if she was OK and that was when I heard what sounded to me like a growl, right in my ear.
For once in my life though, I actually didn't panic....
It was very loud, so whatever it was must have been right next to us. I wasn't the only one to hear the growl (which I am thankful for as at least I knew I wasn't going mad!) The lady who was shoved also heard this. I'm actually quite stoked that I got to experience something so 'up close' — even if it did put me a little on edge for the rest of the night!
Miki was actually doing a little bit of filming on the night, and he's uploaded a video to the UK Haunted You Tube channel, you can go ahead and check them out by clicking HERE
After all the excitement, we decided to go for a break and I feel I need to mention break time because we were given Tomato Soup and Bacon baps...I'm not actually lying, never before have I had a bacon bap on a ghost hunt. And honestly, I'd go back again just for that ha ha.
ANYWAY, Soup and sarnies aside, we all once again returned to the Falstaff for part two of the investigation and this time, we headed up into the attic.
Alex and Miki were setting up for a live EVP session whilst everyone got settled in the room, mostly sat around a large table, though myself and a couple of others decided to sit at the back of the room. This room was particularly interesting as they had a mediumship circle set up in the back of the room behind some curtains and also a few photos scattered around the room, old Victorian paranormal photos, showing the ectoplasm. Now most of us know the majority of these can be debunked, but it was still awesome to look at.
The lady I was sat with was very much into witchcraft and if I remember correctly, she also practised this. She was very drawn to the back of the room behind the curtain and honestly, so was I. Maybe it's because it was all pretty well covered so of course you're going to feel intrigued about it. We did actually venture into the circle behind the curtain during the evening... again, it gave off a strange vibe. We began the EVP session and just after a few seconds, everyone in the room heard a very loud growl. The session had just started so we were unsure if Alex had actually pressed the button and caught it, but luckily, like a true pro, he had, and it was captured!
You can listen to the session and a few of the growls that were caught on EVP here:
We tried a few different EVP sessions in the attic area and I really enjoyed taking part in this, it was very interesting as the guys had a screen set up from the laptop that projected onto the ceiling, so we were able to do a live EVP review and everyone in the room could see the different wave patterns. The first growl EVP that was captured, you could clearly see that there was no pattern for a voice, unlike everyone else who'd asked questions in the room... it was really interesting, and I was really impressed with this!
After another short break, we now split into two small teams. Miki led a group into the attic and I joined Alex and the rest of the team and guests to the room just below. We spread out amongst ourselves once more and had the spirit box going in the background to draw up some energy. Again, this room felt different to all the others. A few of the ladies in the room seemed to be the target as many of them spoke of being touched at some point or another, mainly on the head or feeling as if something had brushed through their hair. All of the females in the room, including myself joined in a circle to hold hands whilst the men went and stood just outside of the room. We began to call out for the spirit of John 'The Stratford Ripper' — because of previous experiences in the building, he's known for touching and messing with the females.
It definitely did feel like there was a presence in the room, I myself encountered my own experience during this experiment, it felt as if a static charge had occurred just over my head, causing my hair to react, as if something had brushed by me and then I felt something touch the back of my leg, towards my knee area. And I can be pretty sure it was no one in the room, as we were all holding hands at this point.
|Alex, Nick, Vicky & Miki|
I’m pretty sure we came into contact with something spiritual at the Falstaff, and I was really happy that it lived up to its expectations...I know when going on a Ghost Hunt, you should never have expectations, as honestly, you never know what's going to happen, you can sit for hours and hours without a single thing...BUT... this place certainly came alive for us on the night!
I want to thank the UK Haunted lads for a very fun and professional evening and also for making us feel so welcome from the get go! I'll definitely be coming again if they decided to hold another event, in fact, I'm currently pestering Alex to book the Ram Inn so I can tag along ha ha! It was also great to meet the lovely Nick Stoppani as he was attending the evening too. Very funny guys and I'm looking forward to working with them all again very soon! Check out some "behind the scenes" footage from the Falstaff Ghost Hunt.
But, Until next time... Happy hunting and as I am taking over the Haunted Magazine blog page they won't mind me saying #DontBeNormal BE PARANORMAL which means that I also can say UK Haunted's #DontBeScared too.
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Alex Duggan @
Miki York @
Nick Stoppani @
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