Is the painting hidden in a cupboard on the top floor of The Nags Head pub in Shrewsbury really cursed? Was it this painting that caused three people to commit suicide in the very room that it rests in? Does it drive those that look at it insane? PHILIP DAVIES investigates.
A Foreboding Curse
A coaching inn dating back to the 17th Century is bound to have collected a few ghosts and ghost stories over the centuries, but The Nags Head on Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury, Shropshire contains more than just stories.
The pub itself is an unassuming venue located on one of Shrewsbury’s main roads in the town centre. On the top floor is a small room containing a cupboard which is built into one of its corners. It is on the back of the cupboard door that the sinister painting can be found. Although who the artist was and why they felt compelled to paint in such an unusual location remains a mystery, there is no mystery about the curse that viewing the painting supposedly brings.
A String of Suicides
Three people have committed suicide in the little room that houses the painting. The first was a coachman. He was due to start a new job the following day and, so the story says, retired to his quarters in good humour. The landlord found him the next morning, hanging from a beam in the room.
The second death was a newly-wed bride. She threw herself out of the second storey window and was dashed on the pavement below. She died that evening. The evening of her wedding.
The third was that of a young man who was returning home having spent some time in the trenches during World War I. As with the previous two, he was dead by the morning, having shot himself dead with his own weapon.
The connection in all three of these suicides? They were all apparently happy, and all spent the night in the same room as the painting.
Although there have been no further reported deaths in the room, superstition holds that those who look upon the painting are either driven mad, or suffer some misfortune shortly afterwards and the ghosts of those three suicides are said to roam throughout The Nags Head and often make their presence felt.
A Sinister Painting
Following a chat with the landlord about the history of the pub, I accepted the offer of looking at the painting.
The little room is now a store room but holds a very unusual atmosphere. The painting is indeed a creepy and eerie thing. Painted in muted dark brown tones it shows a hollow eyed man clutching a down turned trident, an unidentifiable fish under his feet.
Could the painting be Poseidon, or something more… devilish? Philip took the photo below to help you decide. But, if you do continue, please bear in mind that The Spooky Isles cannot be held responsible for any loss of sanity or misfortune that may come your way if you do.
PHILIP DAVIES lives in Shrewsbury and is an Undertaker, Funeral Celebrant and writer. He is also the curator of Islwyn’s Legacy, a collection of esoterica and paranormal curiosities left to him by his late Great Uncle.