The George Inn
Blackawton

Investigated on June 12th, 2007

In the sleepy little village of Blackawton there's a pub called the George Inn. Dating back many years and seeing a lot of history, the pub has many a paranormal story to tell with numerous stories of poltergeist activity and apparition sightings.

History
There has been a building standing on the spot of the George Inn for many, many centuries with a recorded history going back at least 700 years. Sadly, however, our research has not been able to find much about what has gone on during the buildings life, but this is what we do know:

In 1948, when a newspaper article was reporting the fire that destroyed the building, it noted that the building was 700 years old putting an approximate century of construction on the original building as the mid 13th century. It was also reported that Oliver Cromwell once lived there although the only reference to Cromwell being down in the area that I can find was when he spent the first half of 1646 'mopping up resistance' in Devon and Cornwall. Whether or not it was during this time that Oliver used the building as a residence is unknown.

The nearby church was originally built in the 16th century. When it was being rebuilt later on in history the George Inn was known as the Church House Inn and was used by the construction workers for their ale, food and accomodation.

It is said that the local church is where Sir Walter Raleigh was married there and spent the subsequant night at the George Inn building. According to Wikipedia Raleigh only married once, and that was in 1591 to Elizabeth (Bess) Throckmorton / Throgmorton who was eleven years his junior and was one of the Queen's ladys-in-waiting. She was also pregnant for the third time (although no records show that the baby survived). Sadly, the Wikipedia article makes no mention of the church that Raleigh and Bess were wed in, but due to the scandalous nature and subsequant reaction once it was discovered (Raleigh was imprisoned and Bess was dismissed from court) it would make sense that they would seek an isolated church such as the one in Blackawton, also since it was quite local to them at the time.

Records have been found in the 1841-1861 Census of the residents running the George Inn. William Hosking of Blackawton (1795-1873) is shown in the Census to have moved into the George by 1841 at age 45, with the 1851 and 1861 Census records showing that he had kept residency there, possibly up until his death in 1873. Alongside William were Mary (40), Thomas (15) and Joanna (75) Hosking along with Mary (14) who is listed as a Female Servant, and James Bowdon (15) and Henry Cole (12) who're listed as Apparentice Shoemakers.

The 1851 Census continues with William Hosking as the head of the household at 55. Also listed is Mary Ann (51) who is listed as Wife, Mary Ann (23) who is listed as Neice, Henry Cole (23) who is not listed as Farm Labourer, Thomas Pillage (79) who is listed as a Retired Farmer, Mary Ann Pillage (72) who is listed as Thomas's wife and finall Charles White (27) who is listed as a lodger and Chimney Sweep.

Finally, the 1861 Census reveals a much smaller househole, with a number of previous residents either passing or moving out. Listed as residents are William Hosking (65), his wife Mary Ann (61), his neice Mary Ann (33) who'se listed as a House Servant, and his Mother in Law Mary Ann Pillage (83).

The following is a list of Landlords to the George Inn that we have been able to research. There are some gaps unfortunately left blank but this is what we've found:

1841 - 1873
William B Hosking
1878 - 1879
George Ferris (Victualler)
1883 - 1890
John Harvey (Carpenter and Victualler)
1897
Robert West
1902
William Bowden
1910 - 1914
John Gordon
1923
James Alfred Thorne
1926 - 1935
Alfred Thorne Jr.
1948
Cyril Bath
1992
Richard Tomlinson.

In 1948, noted in a newspaper report as being one of the few remaining links in the West with the stage coaches, the original 700 year old building was destroyed by a fire. According to the article, "The landlord Cyril Bath and his wife owe their lives to their dog, whose scratching out side their bedroom door aroused them in the nick of time." (oo er, obviously). Although a new building was constructed in its place, the original floor level still exists underneath.

Area Map (Not to Scale)


Bar Floor


Residence Floor

Stories

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According to a 1992 newspaper report, footsteps have been heard on the first floor which always went in the same direction. A hooded female figure has also been spotted and also the outline of two small children.

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The son of the family living in the pub has recorded three of his sightings with drawings of what he had sighted. Click on each photo for a fill-size scan of the drawing.

He sighted this apparition one morning when he was hoovering the Bar Area. He says that as he was doing this he turned around and saw a short woman who was smiling. He kept his eyes on her as he went to sit down on a seat behind him and watched for approximately 10 seconds before the figure moved to the left towards the dartboard before disappearing. The figure drawn looks hooded which may connect with the hooded female figure that's listed above.


A frequent phenomena that occurs in the pub is the sound of running footsteps down the Corridor and knocking on each bedroom door. The son reported that when this happened one time his bedroom door was open, and saw a small shadow run into his room and towards the bathroom door. Then the light on his tortoise tank just as the shadow figure was passing it and instantly disappeared. Again, this ties in with what was reported back in 1992.



He spotted this figure in the Living Area whilst he and his mother were sat watching the television. He notes that a tall, hunchback figure appeared beside the television and that, at the same time, his mother went cold. The figure was spotted in the same room where, as said above, monks have been sighted.




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Monks have been sighted in the pub in the past - possibly connected to the nearby local church - and one story tells of three monks that were spotted walking through the wall in the Living Area and out towards the corridor where they disappeared.

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The owner reports that coins, in particular 2p pieces, frequently appear in the shower in the Toilet off from the Dressing Room.
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One story related to us was when a large decorative shell that was kept on the toilet off from the Dressing Room suddenly and for no reason fell and broke a piece of the toilet bowl off. The shell was found inside and undamaged.
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Knocks and footsteps are frequently heard, and a strong knocking on the Master Bedroom door are heard on most nights
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The family report that on some nights / early mornings footsteps are heard running down the corridor and loud knocking is heard on the doors that the footsteps pass

Equipment We Used
The group used the following equipment during our investigation:

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The coin trigger object experiment and Cross trigger object were set up in the Back Bar area with the Security Camera left recording it. A second coin trigger object experiment was set up in the toilet off from the Dressing Room.
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The Beam-Break motion detector was placed in the gangway walkthrough between the bar areas where the old woman was spotted by the son.
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The Toys trigger object was set up on talc in the sons bedroom where the small shadow had been spotted.
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A lock-off camera was set up and left recording in the Living Area.
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A DAR (Digital Audio Recorder) was left in the sons bedroom for a short period of time later on in the investigation.

Mediumship Evidence

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As soon as we arrived to the George Inn Pete and Kim were both drawn down to the field behind the inn. They spoke of sensing a strong presence of a male that was trying to get to the building whilst being chased by a mob but being unsuccessful. Chris also picked up on a male spirit behind the inn who was very anxious and got the message "Tell her I did all I could" from him. Unfortunately, such a thing cannot be found in Blackawton history.
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Both Chris and Kim picked up on a small boy who ran along the corridor. Chris described him as being "quite small, with longish blonde hair and he ran the whole length of the landing and into a room down the far end". This fits in perfectly with some of the phenomena that has been reported at the building, where running footsteps have been heard running down that corridor. The son has seen this in the form of a shadow which he then drew (see scan above).
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In the dressing room Kim felt a female presence who was 'floaty' and not on the ground. She felt that this female figure was 'higher than spirit' and that her name began with the letter J, possibly Joy. In the middle bedroom just opposite this room Chris said that it felt serene; almost holy with a churchy feel.
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Kim felt that the building was originally known by another name; a churchy name such as Church House, Church Tavern or something. This has turned out to be true - the building, before being named the George Inn was known as the 'Church House Inn' and it was used by repairmen working on the nearby Church.
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The gangway felt very busy to Chris, who also sensed a strong presence of a female spirit. This was the same spot where the owners son spotted the female figure that he then drew (see scan above). Chris also felt that the layout of this area 'didn't feel right' and felt that the end wall of the gangway was not there at one time. When this was related to the landlady she said that originally the pub was built in a different place and that it originally stood in the area that is now the carpark. This meant that the gangway would have originally extended further forward than it is now. Chris was given the name Josey for this female spirit and that she seemed to be wearing something long.

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Kim felt that the private lounge was originally part of a Church owned home for poorer families and workers and picked up on the name 'Alma' She also picked up o a 'tall, white haired man' who was very upright and who said "Year of our lord, 1676." She felt that this man kept people there until they were moved onto the authorities and picked up on the word 'Judge' and the name 'Deere'. No record of a 'Judge Deere' can currently be found. Also in the lounge Kim got a picture of a large opening where the back window is now and a hoist of some sort where men were lowering down sacks of what she thought was grain. Could this be connected to when Kim was in the end bedroom and sensed a waterwheel? Unfortunately, there are no records currently found that suggest that this building was anything but a pub or private residence.

When Chris spent time in the lounge she began to pick up on a male spirit who was wearing a flat cap, who had a shirt on with rolled up sleeves and a type of waistcoat. He kept referring to Chris as 'Missy' andspoke in a strong Devonshire accent that she found difficult to understand. She asked for his name and was told 'Bert'. She felt that he had something to do with the building and that he had lived there for a long time with his wife. He seemed to get very agitated when asked about offspring and when Pete entered the room he again got agitated and appeared to say 'Why I'm be 'ere, Missy?". The spirit then became silent. After relating this to the landlady the group were shown a photo of a previous resident of the building who had lived there for many years. In the photo he was wearing a flat cap, had rolled up shirtsleeves and was wearing a waistcoat. After checking with pub regulars they said that there was once a landlord called Robert. Our research shows that a Robert West lived there in 1897 but within 12 years he had gone. Could 'Bert' be part of 'Robert'? Or could Bert have been what the B stood for in William B Hosking who lived in the pub for over 30 years?

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Also in the Lounge, when stood on the other side of the room Chris said that it felt very different and was filled with men who were all stood up and facing one way as if listening to something. It was, she says, like they were at a meeting of some kind. She says that some were in this room but the rest appeared to be on the far side of the wall as though the room was extended at some time. After checking with the landlady the group were told that the room did indeed extend into next door to make one big room. This room was originally used as the community hall.

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When in the Master bedroom Chris sensed that there was a very strong Earth-like energy that appeared to run across one end of the room quite strongly. When she used the dowsing rods she reported that they reacted very strongly to it. She said that it felt like a water energy and was very strong. Apparently it is at this end of the house that there is a small stream of water which passesclose by and goes to a nearby well. This could also possibly tie in to Kims feeling of there once being a waterwheel on this side of the building.

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In the Back Bar area Chris reported feeling the presense of many females. She could feel them in this room and yet it felt like they were in the porperty next door. She described these females as wearing long, dark grey dresses with white aprons and wore white bonnet type hats. They appeared to be singing and down the right side of the room Chris reported hearing children. The description given for what the women were wearing sounds very close to what 'Quaker Women' used to wear (see left), and there are currentl a number of nearby Quaker establishments in East Devon.

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In the middle bar, whilst the group were using the planchette, Kim got the names Arthur and Emily Flan or Flyn. Previously in the same area Kim got the name Reynold and in the main bar got the name Miller or McMiller. Unfortunately none of these names came up in our research.

Physical Evidence
Physically it was quiet all night with nothing to report in terms of sounds, knocks, bangs etc. None of the trigger objects moved and the Beam-break motion detector did not go off once. The DAT, that was left in the sons bedroom for a short period of time, recorded nothing but the scuffling of the sons pet hamster.

However, one piece of physical evidence was caught on camera that Mike currently has trouble explaining. During the night he went around with the 35mm film camera and took a series of random photographs. When these were developed all but one showed nothing out of the ordinary. This photograph - taken whilst looking down the stairs to the downstairs bar area - contained something interesting...

The big problem is that the area in question on the photo is too dark for my scanner to handle, so as the picture currently stands it's impossible to pick out what I'm referring to here. However, with a little patience and using my digital camera to try and copy it, I have an enhanced closeup to show what was captured:

It's still hard to see, but at the bottom of the stairs, partially obscured by the door, there's this black mass almost - putting a paranormal spin on it - like the back of a trailing skirt as someone walks into the Back Bar area. Although, due to the darkness it's enshrouded in, it's impossible to tell what this object is, a seperate photo taken at a slightly later time during the same walkaround photo session revealed the bottom of the stair area to be completely devoid of such black areas (I've tried time and time again to capture a comparison but although you can tell with the naked eye that the object isn't there, transferring it into a digital format for the website has currently proven impossible). During the time between photos every group member was accounted for and were sat in the Front Bar area using the planchette alongside the owner who also did not move during the time. Since the object is being obscured by the door it must have been right down just outside the entrance there, so it couldn't have been a shadow or obstruction like a finger. Also, because no such shape appears in the subsequant photo it couldn't have been an object already down there, or a naturally cast shadow caused by a light.

Because of this, this shape is currently unexplainable. It is interesting as shadow figures have been spotted in the pub (see the story above) and is very near to where the short woman was spotted by the son.

Afterthoughts
Coming soon.


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