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.
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
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
1841 - 1873
|William B Hosking
1878 - 1879
|George Ferris (Victualler)
1883 - 1890
|John Harvey (Carpenter and Victualler)
1910 - 1914
|James Alfred Thorne
1926 - 1935
|Alfred Thorne Jr.
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)
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
|The owner reports that coins, in particular
2p pieces, frequently appear in the shower in the Toilet
off from the Dressing Room.
|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.
|Knocks and footsteps are frequently
heard, and a strong knocking on the Master Bedroom door
are heard on most nights
|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:
|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.
|The Beam-Break motion detector was
placed in the gangway walkthrough between the bar areas
where the old woman was spotted by the son.
|The Toys trigger object was set up
on talc in the sons bedroom where the small shadow had
|A lock-off camera was set up and left
recording in the Living Area.
|A DAR (Digital Audio Recorder) was
left in the sons bedroom for a short period of time later
on in the investigation.
|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.
|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).
|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.
|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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.