M J STEEL COLLINS tells how Paranormal Lockdown fares with the spirits of The Royal Oak pub in Swanage, Dorset.
Katrina Weidman and Nick Groff investigate a pub haunting that only came out when the new landlady came in…
The Royal Oak Haunted Location Background
A Building Of All Trades
The Grade II listed building within which the Royal Oak pub resides has been around since the 17th century. Originally a row of cottages, it has served a number of roles including a courthouse, soldiers’ hospital and blacksmiths, as well as a pub.
New Landlady, New Spirits?
Rachael Aplin already had a history with the Royal Oak when she purchased it, having previously worked behind its bar 30 years ago. There had been no mention of a haunting at the Royal Oak before Rachael bought it, but not long after she took up ownership, strange things began to happen. These led to Rachael organising ghost tours and allowing paranormal teams in, whilst Terri Powell made contact with the resident spirits, as Rachael conducted research into the pub’s history. Both also hold circles and sittings at the pub.
One of the more common spirits to come through was that of Jack Stevens, who had lived at the pub with his wife, daughter Elizabeth, or Lizzy and, his sister Mary in the 19th century. Both Lizzy and her mother died in the pub, Lizzy passing away at the young age of 7, whilst Mary came to help look after things when Jack passed away.
The Stevens family appear to be behind the apparitions mainly seen in the Royal Oak, however, Terri Powell had what turned out to be a fortuitous encounter with the ghost of a blacksmith in the hallway just outside the bar area. The ghost told her that the roof needed iron put in it. As it turned out, the crossbeams holding up the ceiling were crumbling away, and the roof would have collapsed, but the necessary repairs were made just in time.
The Hidden Gun
Jack Stevens made mention of a gun to Terri, something that made no sense to Rachael, until one day, her dad pulled a hidden gun from inside the bar. It was dated back to 1868, and further added proof to validate what the spirits were telling Terri.
Rachael stated that she felt that of late, the haunting had increased in intensity and aggressiveness, and that the higher up the building someone went, the more intense it became. One room in particular was alarming to Rachael.
The Vortex Room
There are two bedrooms in the third floor, the Poppy Room and the Vortex Room, the latter being the one Rachael disliked. Terri Powell believed there to be a vortex at the end of the room, and a particularly unpleasant negative entity.
Rachael won’t sleep in the Vortex room, keeping the door shut all the time. She is also troubled when a spirit called Mary comes into her presence, causing Rachael to become emotional and break down in tears.
Paranormal Lockdown Day One
The investigation starts on the second floor, which Nick had already felt to be particularly oppressive. Using the GeoPort to communicate with Mary, the only response obtained by the team is “What?” Nick also sees what he describes a negative blob of energy behind Rob Saffi, the cameraman, and Katrina, the energy getting increasingly aggressive.
They move upstairs to the third floor, and receive the following responses on the GeoPort, “He did it” and “What do you want?” A loud thump then draws them back down to the second floor. French starts to come through on the Geoport. Further communication, but in English, also comes through, “The baby,” “I will never forget what happened,” “Poor decision,” and “Let me out.”
Nick and Katrina then go downstairs to the bar area to try to communicate with the spirits of the Stevens family, but the bar is much calmer and the energy dissipates.
Nick chooses to sleep on the second floor hallway, with motion sensors set up to capture any activity. Katrina sleeps on the bed in the vortex room, in which people experience the most activity.
Paranormal Lockdown Day Two
Nick wakes up feeling ill, having passed a night in freezing temperatures. At one point during the night, Katrina woke up unable to breathe. She felt as if someone was standing in front of her. Upon hearing this, Nick used a Paranormal Geologies recorder to try to communicate with the entity that attacked Katrina.
The camera also caught a strange light anomaly flickering off a candleholder in the space where the vortex is said to be. Katrina was restless at this point of the night.
In the bar, a ‘pint sensor’ consisting of lights placed on a pint glass, is set up. The lights go off as if something is touching the glass. A strange noise is heard in the section of the bar where the ghost of the blacksmith was encountered. Nick sees a shadow on the wall of the hallway.
Katrina feels the rear of the hallway is ‘funky’, and a lively ITC session commences on the GeoPort between a male and female entity, again mentioning a baby, but further details aren’t forthcoming. The male spirit seems the most dominant of the two, preventing the female from talking.
The Vortex Room on the third floor is calm. Nick sleeps in the bar area, whilst Katrina sleeps in the second floor hallway.
Paranormal Lockdown Day Three
A number of experiments are set up, including LED lights on the stairway and a doorway to capture the presence of passing entities. Further communications come through GeoPort in which a voice asks, “Let me go?” and “I don’t want to be here”. A loud thump draws them upstairs, and the Vortex Room is found to smell of death.
Weird spikes come through the Tri-Field Meter, with Nick feeling electricity in his hand. He also obtains reactions on the Tri-Field on command.
Further voices coming through the GeoPort, “Let me go,” “Nick’s here, “Let me rest.” This leads Nick and Katrina to the conclusion that the haunting has been fed by the circles held by Rachael and Terri, and that by continuing to investigate, they are only fuelling things. The circles have perhaps opened a door and perhaps trapped energies.
The constant mention of a baby makes sense to Rachael and Terri, but it is unclear historically what might have happened.
Another enjoyable episode. The pub looks to be a nice place to visit for any Spooky Isles fans passing through Swanage!