I was given the opportunity to spend the night at the Grade II* listed former pub, often described not only as one of the most haunted places in the UK but in the world. Being alone in the building overnight gave me the chance to conduct some experiments that wouldn’t usually be possible during a public ghost hunting event.
One activity I was particularly keen to undertake, aimed at enticing the spirits of the inn – including the ghost of murdered Elizabeth and a one-legged spectre named Edward – was to host a small DJ set for them. My reasoning? I believe ghost hunters regularly venture into places like the Ancient Ram Inn, sitting in the dark and calling out, “Hello, is anybody there?” If I were a ghost, such efforts would hardly inspire me to engage.
Of course there are those who will say that my afterlife DJ set was an unprofessional approach to paranormal investigation. I would defend my methods by saying that I wasn’t at the Ancient Ram Inn to capture definitive proof of the paranormal. My only objective was to have a personal experience, and people report ghostly goings on in all sorts of scenarios from lying in bed to painting a wall, and while playing music. So, why not give it a try for half an hour?
The more traditional investigators will be pleased to hear that this wasn’t the only experiment I conducted during my night at the inn. Having the entire building to myself for a whole night put me in a unique situation, meaning I could pretty much do what I wanted. I went back to basics and just sat in the dark and listened, I set up trigger objects with static cameras in controlled conditions, and recorded hourly baseline checks throughout the building.
Before kicking off my gig at the inn, I sought advice from a couple of ghost-hunting friends. Charlene Lowe Kemp, from Paranormal Hauntings, agreed it was a good idea and might stimulate some activity. She told me, “if a pub is haunted, the energy from the DJ equipment, the music, and the atmosphere usually triggers activity immediately after they’ve locked up.”
Barry Dodds from The ParaPod was curious about the type of music I was planning to play for the undead. I told him, “I thought I might drop some uplifting house or something to raise the energy.” The podcast host and comedian responded, “Well, that’s a good idea,” before recommending his favourite track, Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’, jokingly adding, “a little respect for the dead.”
I selected the Beaufort Room for my DJ set. The room, now named the Witch’s Room in honour of its alleged spectral occupant, was previously named after a local annual hunt meet. With its stone walls, a fireplace, and wooden beams, this open, airy space seemed the perfect place to drop some beats.
As the coloured lights continued to sweep across the room, I called out in my best DJ voice to any curious spirits that might have ventured into my party room. I said things like, “Come on, Witch’s Room, make some noise!” and “If you’re here, try to show yourself if you can. Let me see those moves! Come on, show me your moves!”
While transitioning ‘Ghostbusters’ into a track by North London DJ and producer Majestic, I declared, “This is going out to anyone dead or alive tonight,” and offered them some advice on getting their choice of music played, saying, “I can’t do requests unless you can talk to me.”
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Despite playing some of my favourite party tunes and doing all I could to encourage the spirits of the inn to come out and play, sadly, the experiment – though enjoyable – did not elicit any response.
I later discovered that my experiment wasn’t as unique and novel as I first thought. In fact, Caroline Humphries, the inn’s current owner, occasionally hosts her own parties at the historic inn, even bringing along some decks. Caroline, who took over the inn after her father, John, passed away in 2017, told me, “I sometimes host parties here, and some guests won’t even get out of their cars in the car park. They say, ‘we’ll come, but we’re not going in there.'”
When Caroline’s caretaker was doing some work alone in the attic a few years back, he had some tunes pumping out. Caroline said, “He was on his own and he had loud music on a little table, booming music. And the next thing you know, the whole lot’s been kicked off the table. First, the CD player came down, and then the speakers.”