Dating back a thousand years, the Ancient Ram Inn is considered one of Britain's most haunted establishments, with plenty of dark history to justify its reputation.
The Ancient Ram Inn has such terrifying ghosts that those trying to spend a whole night have fled through a closed window. It has a dark and disturbing past of witchcraft, murder, torture, kidnap and satanic worship providing a source for the numerous spirits that are said to inhabit it. It is one of England’s oldest inns and can be found in the village of Wotton-under-edge in Gloucestershire.
Built in 1145 this location boasts a dark and brutal history. Connected with the church, the original building was larger than its present form and had been a home to the local priest. It also served as a keeping house for workers used by the St. Mary Church. In 1930 it was privately bought and used as an inn. It was bought by John Humphries in 1968; he passed away in December 2017.
According to Humphries, the history of the site stretches back way before 1145 AD, but rather to sometime in the region of 3000 BC, when a pagan burial ground had existed here. There’s even a wooden post in the building that John claimed has been dated back 7,000 years, to a time when this location hosted regular rituals involving human sacrifice. No concrete evidence for this story has been found though.
Much of the town of Wotton was destroyed by fire in the reign of King John, but the Ram survived; it would later house the craftsmen and slave laborers involved in the construction of the 13th century Church of St Mary the Virgin in the rebuilt centre of Wotton.
Situated on the marshy Potter’s Pond, streams that crossed the inn’s land had to be diverted in order to lay the foundations for the church. Some have theorized that this redirection of water was instrumental in ‘opening a portal for dark energy.’ As is often claimed of Christian architecture in the Middle Ages, the church was supposedly built on a ley line by intention.
The site stands today as the oldest building in Wotton-under-Edge, including among its various historical artefacts the oldest wooden window frame in Britain; as well as the earliest surviving board for the game Nine Men’s Morris, which appears carved into a stone inglenook dated to 1540.
Later, the building would be converted to serve as an inn. In 1930 it was sold to one Maurice de Bathe, and has changed hands several more times since. However, the building was slipping into decline, supposedly it had already earned a reputation for hauntings, though few accounts seem to survive from before the time John Humphries took over. By 1965 it was losing customers; the wooden beams had fallen prey to an infestation of death watch beetle while the dry stone walling was crumbling fast. The building was listed for demolition as part of a council plan to widen the road,but it was saved when Humphries, a former train driver, purchased the property from Whitbread Brewery in 1968 for a sum of £2,600.
The place was semi-derelict however, had no running water – it still doesn’t, to this day – and these factors, combined with the ghostly encounters that John reported experiencing from day one, soon put pressure on the family. John Humphries lost his wife, his money, and for a while, his relationship with his children, as he stubbornly refused to move out of the Ancient Ram.
Orbs have been photographed around the stairs and the attic; a variety of lights and apparitions have appeared to terrified visitors.
The most notable spirit is that of the executed witch who took residency in the Ram before she was burned at the stake during the late 16th century. She hid out at the inn and was even burnt on site when she was finally captured! Her spirit is well known for physically harming all visitors by scratching or burning those who enter. She has been recorded but when she is heard she normally taunts those trying to investigate by laughing.
There are a lot of other ghosts including a Roman Centurion seen by a plumber working on site, and a young girl who was murdered here by one of the inn’s more sinister former residents. The little girl was supposedly the innkeeper’s daughter and she was found hanging in the attic. There's also the apparition of a cavalier.
The High Priestess is a particularly scary sight. A few people have reported to be awoken by the sound of a woman chanting, and then look at the bottom of their beds and see a woman in white religious robes, looking down on them, arms raised in the air and chanting in some strange language. If that’s not bad enough there is also a succubus, which is a kind of demon with a strange hobby of pinning people the beds at night and attacking them.
Those who have entered have seen a hooded monk walking around, an old man and his faithful pooch standing guard at the door and a woman hanging from the ceiling. Guests have strange mists forming in front of their eyes and heard the giggles and screams of children all around the location.
The Rt Rev John Yates, former Bishop of Gloucester, is said to have called the Ancient Ram, “the most evil place I have ever had the misfortune to visit,” following a failed attempt at exorcism. Locals will cross over the street,rather than walk past the Ancient Ram at night.
There is a lot of speculation around this location, as to why it is so haunted. Over the years the Humphries family have found a lot of demonic artefacts and strange sites inside. Not long after moving in the family noticed the strange activity and it did not take them long to find a goat’s hoof lodged behind a brick in the chimney. Soon after they began to find other tributes to the devil, such as mummified animals, daggers that looked as if they had been used and jars full of strange objects and liquids. ”One looked like a human finger“.
John Humphries once dug up what he believed was a pagan burial ground, in which he discovered children's bones numbering in the dozen and silver daggers. He believed this was directly linked to pagan rituals and child sacrifice. Enthusiasts have visited and even simply using their hands to sift through the earth, have found shards of bone.
Humphries retold of being dragged from his bed by violent entities – and raped, routinely, by the building’s resident succubus. Since suffering these supernatural sexual assaults, John explained that he always carried a bible with him about the house
In an interview for the Daily Mail, Humphries daughter Caroline, described growing up in the shadow of the Ancient Ram; of sleeping in a caravan outside, afraid to enter the property at night. “It was normal for us to see people running out of the house, screaming in terror,” she’d said.
The kitchen had once been a tack room, for the former stables occupying the far end of the ground floor. In the past diviners had located an old well beneath the floorboards; a deep pit in which the bodies of murder victims were allegedly once been dumped. The area around the well had been subject to nightly disturbances when the Humphries family first moved in, though this had reportedly come to an end after John had placed a makeshift cross over the top of the well mouth.
The Ancient Ram Inn is built directly on top of two intersecting ley-lines coming straight from Stonehenge. Paranormal experts claim that these lines work like roads through the world and give off a type of energy that spirits can use to manipulate the world around us. Like the ability to move objects and show themselves etc
Leylines do exist and they do give off a strange type of energy that is scientific fact, but when we look around the world we see other iconic locations such as the Pyramids built on the same intersecting lines on the map.
Whatever resides in the Ancient Ram Inn, it does not walk alone.
Source - BohemianBlog
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance paranormal investigator and writer.
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