AMY VAN DE CASTEELE takes a look back at Most Haunted: The Skirrid Inn
Episode Title: The Skirrid Inn
Location: Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
Episode Number: 18
Originally broadcast: 2003
Main Medium: Derek Acorah
Parapsychologist(s): Phil Whyman, Dr. Matthew Smith & Dr. Ciaran O’Keeffe
Summary: The oldest pub in Wales has a gruesome history, in which more than 100 people were hanged in the stairwell. The pub’s history can be traced back beyond the Norman conquest. It is said that in 1110 a court was convened to try two brothers, James Crowther for a violent robbery, John for stealing sheep. James was sentenced to nine months prison while his brother was hanged from a beam at the inn.
Review: When it comes to televised paranormal investigations you can’t really find a more appropriate place in the British Isles than the Skirrid Inn, the oldest pub in Wales, which formerly served as a courthouse and remains a fully functioning inn to this day.
In the Most Haunted investigation of the Inn, which takes place in Series 2, the show gets off to a suitably foreboding start by retelling some of the stories of what took place in the inn. These include grisly hangings (the evidence of which can still be seen on the worn and rubbed “hanging beam”), an evil presence which haunts the stairwell, and an unseen female apparition who is both heard and smelt.
As night cloaks the hills of Monmouthshire and the team are left alone in the Inn they bring in psychic medium Derek Acorah who immediately identifies the presence of a ghostly woman and a priest named Henry Vaughn.
There is no historical evidence for such a priest and at first I can’t help but wonder if Acorah is fabricating him – but my cynicism is dampened a few moments later when he accurately describes the use of the Devil’s Cup, a drinking vessel which stands on its own little shelf on the wall in the bar area and has often been found half empty in the mornings. He also correctly identifies the Price family, more specifically a woman (one of the female spirits is said to be called Fanny Price).
More accurate descriptions follow (including of a man who was hanged back in 1110 for stealing sheep and “cruel judgement” being meted out) further dispelling my scepticism.
Later when the lights are out, “Fanny Price” urges them to visit the local graveyard – and Yvette’s reluctance is particularly amusing, especially when she finds it is being dug up. She subsequently has a melt-down, which is hilarious to hear – but more importantly they find 4 Price graves and an obscured 5th one, as ‘Fanny’ told Derek they would.
Seconds later two of the crew in the Condemned Man’s cell experience paranormal activity in the form of an eerily opening door and the night concludes with the inn’s un-set burglar alarm being triggered off…perhaps by Fanny Price!
AMY VAN DE CASTEELE is a freelance writer, devoted single mother and amateur “folklorist” of sorts who loves collecting tales of myth, legend and the supernatural from across the globe. She has spent most of her life overseas, in southern Africa, Thailand, Dubai and China and has gained all sorts of insights into these very rich cultures. Her most recent “supernatural” areas of interest are the Sidhe and Nordic folklore.
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