MJ STEEL COLLINS takes a look back at Most Haunted: The Ancient Ram Inn
Episode Title: The Ancient Ram Inn
Location: Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire
Series: 5 Episode Number: 61
Review: I used to watch Most Haunted voraciously, til it got a bit, well, contrived, and perhaps a little forced. So I’ve been out of the loop with the programme for quite a while, having last watched it during the epic era of Derek Acorah and his spirit guide Sam. Meanwhile, I jumped ship to America’s Ghost Adventures. The latter, featuring a bunch of guys racing around magnificently decrepit old buildings, cursing profusely and uttering “Wow, bro/dude” at frequent intervals is more entertaining than Yvette Fielding’s pathos ridden face luminously glowing in the night vision. There isn’t really much contest for me.
Still, in terms of its draw and success, Ghost Adventures is probably America’s answer to MH, and being a fan of Zak Bagans and co doesn’t leave me with a leg to stand on in pooh-poohing MH. So I bit the bullet and decided to give it another go. The Ghost Adventures episode featuring the Ancient Ram Inn is a particular favourite of mine, so I decided to see what Yvette and company made of the place.
Let’s just say, it couldn’t have been more different. MH did impress me with the history they had on the Inn. I also forgot that they did floor plans of the places they investigated, so that helped place what went on where. The Inn is a lot smaller than it appears.
Despite this, the approach was rather dour. Yvette had a face on her like she’d seen her summer holidays filled with rainy days. Admittedly, she had just been repeatedly told by Acorah that something nasty was going to be going down. But by contrast Ciaran O’Keefe and Richard Felix, MH’s resident parapsychologist and historian, were literally drooling at the chance to have the run of an old Inn, with a history going back 1000 years, and dripping with accounts of paranormal activity.
For fans of the spookier side of life, The Ancient Ram Inn is literally the ultimate. A creaky, saggy old building, with a ghost cat, an incubus/succubus (let’s just say an entity that takes ‘liberties’ with folk in their sleep), a ghostly witch and a cast of other wraiths, it has something for everyone. On a more serious note, it does have the disturbing history of having the graves of sacrificed children underneath, dating back to pre-Christian times, and the alleged source of lots of activity. The Inn’s owner, John Humphries, has lived there since the 1960s and seems to treat whatever is going on in his house with a touch of humour.
So Yvette, in the company of Derek Acorah and Ciaran O’Keefe, toured round the Witch’s Room, the Bishop’s Room and the attic, looking increasingly more drawn as the episode went on. Not much in particular, other than Acorah’s trademark theatrics when communing with the other side, took place. It was only when Acorah went into the Mayflower Barn accompanied by Karl and some crew members that stuff seemingly went down. Acorah had explicitly advised everyone not to go around the building alone because of what he feared might happen. Quite a departure from Aaron Goodwin being put in the barn by himself when Ghost Adventures investigated. Admittedly, he may not have agreed to that had he seen the footage of what happened to MH crew member Stuart.
It’s certainly uncomfortable viewing. Suddenly, the affable Stuart went down howling. He had already spent several minutes talking about how he felt there was something in the corner, which then apparently attacked him. He was prised off the floor by Acorah, a veritable pile of tears and hysteria. Something wasn’t happy in the barn…
Similar psychic attacks, possessions or whatever you prefer to call them, are fairly common on Ghost Adventures, but there was something about this one that seemed more disturbing. It was hard to get a grip of just what was supposed to have happened and gave some food for thought.
That aside, on the whole, I was reminded of why I stopped watching MH in the first place. Maybe I’ve just gotten too used to the Dude atmosphere of Ghost Adventures to really take in the much more po-faced approach of MH. That, and the fact that MH seem to require the population of a small village to do an investigation. It makes it a bit too busy to really be enjoyable. A smaller crew with familiar faces seems to make this kind of TV show a bit easier to take in.
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