ANDREW HOMER takes a look back at Most Haunted: Avebury Stones and The Red Lion
Episode Title: Avebury Stones and The Red Lion
Location: Avebury, Wiltshire
Series: 1 Episode Number: 5
Originally broadcast: 2002
Review: The village of Avebury lies on the western edge of the Avebury stone circle and the Red Lion public house is literally yards from the ancient stones. One of the earliest investigations carried out by the Most Haunted team took place here way back in June, 2002. Yvette Fielding introduces the show by explaining that the stone circle is over 4000 years old. The Red Lion public house was first licensed in 1802 but the building itself dates back to the 1600s. Yvette goes on to explain that there is thought to be four ghosts in the pub, including Florrie who was allegedly murdered by her jealous husband during the English Civil War.
The sceptical viewpoint for this episode is provided by a young Jason Karl who sets up some experiments including using coins as trigger objects around the well in the pub and sprinkling flour in the restaurant where poltergeist activity such as the chandelier moving has been reported. I’m quite surprised that a locked off camera wasn’t positioned on the chandelier as this is quite a well reported phenomena. A Tri-field EMF meter is also to be employed although this would not detect ultrasound which has been reported emanating from the stones by researchers such as Paul Devereux (1990).
This episode includes quite detailed interviews with the landlord Richard Bounts and retired cellarman Fred Wall who between them relate the fairly well known story of Florrie. During the English Civil War Florrie’s husband went away to fight and while he was absent she was unfaithful to him. On his return, Florrie’s husband flew into a fit of rage when he found out and strangled her. He then allegedly disposed of her body down the village well which is now contained within the front section of the pub. Florrie appears to dislike men with beards and is apt to set the chandelier spinning in the restaurant if she takes a particular dislike to someone. Other poltergeist type activity has included a large hunting horn flying off the wall for no reason and a glass thrown at a barman who happened to have a beard. On one occasion Richard was getting Florrie’s name wrong for some reason and all the restaurant’s electrical switches tripped out for no apparent reason. The stereo, which is always switched off at night, has been known to be playing when Richard has come down in the morning. The bedrooms upstairs also have a reputation for being haunted. The Private Room as it is called is often avoided if guests have stayed in there before. According to Richard if people do stay there it is icy cold even though there is heating and he dared any member of the crew to stay in the room.
Yvette goes on to explain that the Private Room has a lady called Beth who sits and writes a letter at the table in the corner. Two children have also been reported cowering in another corner of the same room. The Avenue Room is said to have both a male and female ghost but nobody knows who they are.
The psychic for this investigation is Derek Acorah. In the dining room Derek picks up on the strong presence of a lady who apparently likes the landlord, Richard. Derek gets the name Florence but then proceeds to link her by marriage with a King Edgar. There was indeed a King Edgar but he came to the throne in the year 973, long before any English Civil War connection to Florrie. King Edgar was married twice to Ethelfleda and then Elfrida. Derek also picks up on a little boy running around and brushing past people which is confirmed by Richard. Derek also talks about ritual killings taking place on the site involving children and young maids. In the bedrooms he senses a very young girl, a virgin, and a connection in the Avenue Room with what he describes as ‘kindred spirits’. He also mentions a carriage and four horses at the front of the building which is something locals claim to have seen and heard on occasions.
Any investigation of the stone circle is cut short by extremely bad weather so after a brief walk around the stones the team returns to concentrate on the Red Lion. By the time they reach the pub Derek reports that his spirit guide, Sam, has corrected him on who Florrie was and where she is, namely down the well. He now confirms that she is not the wife of King Edgar after all. However, Derek is unable to provide any further information on Florrie beyond the existing story. Back upstairs Yvette and Jason go into the bedrooms alone. Before entering the Private Room Derek suggests to Yvette that any tingling or warm sensations may indicate the presence of spirit. In the room Yvette begins to get very scared after the feeling the tingling sensations Derek has suggested to her and after a short while escapes to the door. In the Avenue Room Jason records some orbs and explains that they are seen at haunted places but on camera rather with the naked eye. He does say that it is not presently known whether they are connected with ghosts or not. Jason gets clearly spooked by the orbs he sees on his camera and eventually flees the room after an orb appears to be moving towards him.
Karl Beattie, the producer, goes into the Private Room to retrieve a camera and feels a sharp pain on the back of his neck. He emerges with two clear scratch marks. Derek and Jason discuss the possibility of ‘diva’ activity which Jason describes as a type of elemental ghost created by negative thoughts and actions. The team returns to the Private Room and Derek attempts to encourage more activity. A sound like a coin chinking is heard by the team but is only faintly recorded and another orb type anomaly is recorded. Jason concludes that there ‘are lots of unexplained things happening around here’. However, his experiments with the coins and the flour showed no results. In summing up Yvette regards the scratches on Karl’s neck and the orb recorded in the Private Room to be enough evidence to suggest that the Red Lion in Avebury could very well be haunted.
It has to be remembered that back in 2002 the jury was still partly out on the exact nature of orbs as digital cameras were not as all pervasive as they are now. Most serious paranormal investigators today recognise orbs as various types of out of focus airborne particles, such as dust or pollen for example, moving close to the camera lens and so invisible to the naked eye. In fact, Yvette does question whether these are orbs or specks of dust. My money is definitely on the latter!
Devereux, P., Places of Power: Secret Energies at Ancient Sites (Blandford, 1990), pp. 134 – 137.
ANDREW HOMER has been investigating anomalous activity for over 20 years and is a member of Coventry Paranormal Investigators (CPI). He has written extensively on aspects of the paranormal and his books include Beer and Spirits and Haunted Hostelries of Shropshire. Andrew can be contacted at ghostauthor (at) virginmedia.com
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