The Ring O'Bells

Investigated: 27th May, 2008

On the upper part of Dartmoor is a small village named Chagford, a charming village but not without its spooky tales. The Ring o'Bells Pub has its fair share of paranormal tales from poltergeists to the 'presense' in one of the bedrooms. What story would be unwoven during the group's night in the building, and what exactly did Mike capture on his audio recorder...?

History
The Exeter Archives reveal that there has been an Inn on the side of the Ring O'Bells since well before the sixteenth century although it was much smaller than it is today and has twice in its history been destroyed by fire.

The upper part of the front of the building was a site of the Stannary Courts where matters were dealt with relating to the Stannary Parliaments. These were the body of people who were responsible for the weighting and assaying of tin and silver found on Dartmoor that would, by law, have to receive the Kings Stamp before being sold. The Royal personage received a tax from the Tinners as a result of their endeavours.

The middle part of the Ring O'Bells was used as a holding prison for miscreants en route to Okehampton Assizes. They were kept overnight there having been marked on foot over the moor.

At the rest, again on the first floor, was a Crowners Court (known today as a Coroners Court) also a mortuary and the place where post mortems were carried out in the event of any unusual deaths or suicides.

Today the Ring O'Bells encompasses the whole site although in years past a Butcher occupied the ground floor and the beasts were slaughtered in the barn that used to stand in the rear courtyard. Not so many years ago the stone barn was demolished and today the space is occupied by the courtyard garden.

Stories

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Room 1 is said to have a female 'presence' that has been sensed by previous night-time occupants to the building.
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A poltergeist has been reported banging away heavily in the cellar which has also been blamed for ornaments and decorations being knocked from the walls.

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

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An infrasound sweep was done in the main bar area and upstairs.
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The coin experiment was set up and left in Room 1.
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The cross experiment was set up and left in the main room of upstairs.
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A digital audio recorder was left in Room 1.
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A digital audio recorder was also left out in the courtyard garden.

Mediumistic Report

Side of the Pub
Horses and other animals like chickens and pigs were sensed in this area. It was felt that the garden should have been a lot bigger and that the adjacent building wasn’t there centuries ago. We walked into a very powerful, painful energy that felt like we were being strangled. It felt hard to swallow or breath and we felt a pain in our throat area. It was really uncomfortable. The name Thomas was sensed here.

We sensed two men – a shorter, younger man was being held around the throat and jaw by an older, taller man. The attacker looked very menacing and his forearm was pressing against the younger mans throat whilst he had his other hand around the throat just below the jaw line. We felt that the younger man was around 28 and the older one was more into his forties. We saw the older man run off down towards the other end of the village square and went straight through the house that is there now. One of us saw a dark shadow pass through the back wall of the garden. We discovered a spirit pathway from the scene of the attack and through the wall where the shadow went. A water well was also sensed.

The Stairway
As we went upstairs to the upper floor rooms it felt that the stairs there should have been outside. It felt like they did not feel they belonged there.

Room 1
This room felt as though we were in some kind of barn and that the upper level (roof space) was where hay was stored. The room also felt as thought it should have been bigger, longer and that the floor we were standing on was on the wrong level. We both felt a strong church connection with the pub. A female spirit was sensed and was a Ms or Miss. She was very school-marm ish like a teacher of some sort but we also felt that she was a writer. Births, marriages and deaths were also sensed.

Room 2
We were unable to access room 2.

Room 3
In this room we were given the name Thomas Truscott. Other names we picked up on were Collinger, Stevenson and Stanley. We saw sheep being headed up a lane into the village square (which we felt was, at that time, all dirt and empty of building with just a water trough or well in the centre. It was felt that the sheep were being brought here to be sold and that there was some kind of market. Whilst in this room we sensed dressmaking and also a Butcher's. The sentence ‘Victualer of fine wines’ was given although we couldn’t get a further connection. We picked up on really large, wooden barrels with apples in and sensed that there were strong ties with Africa as though someone had spent a lot of time there and then returned to the building. Also in this room we sensed tanners / leather makers who worked on purpose level. The date 1158 was picked up. Also felt was a worker making books of some sort and the word ‘miners’ was given. A young blonde boy named Edward was sensed running from a shop to get water and taking it back in many times throughout the day. We sensed hounds being gathered in a group within the village and, again, piles of hay.

Room 4
A woman was sensed trying to get through a front door of the building. She was seen only from the back but looked to be wearing a white apron over a darkish blue dress. Her hat was white and looked quite stiff like it had a lot of starch in it. It formed a triangle from the top of her head to her shoulders. She seemed quite annoyed and was not being allowed into the property without a struggle.

The Bar
A shop was sensed with the bar downstairs being seen as just bare floorboards with sawdust upon them then later grey coloured slab-type flooring. There was also a strong connection with the church with this part of the building. Piano music was sensed and a mail coach was also picked up on delivering the pose. A horse rider wearing a tri-corner hat was sensed who was in difficulty with his horse. The horse looked panicked and was rearing up. It was felt that the current name of the pub had some significance but unfortunately we could not get the connection. It was felt however that it was along the lines of disease like the nursery rhyme ‘Ring of Roses’.

Some Interesting Things to Note:

As I wrote up this report there were a few points that came back which were of interest. It is these that I could like to highlight here.

"The stairs did not feel like they belonged there."
After hearing this being said I went back to the stairs to have a look at them to see if there any features that looked out of place. This is what I photographed.

The left photo is looking up the stairs and the right photo is looking mainly at the wall alongside it. The first thing I noticed is that the prominent supporting beam seen in the left photo is running underneath the level that the stairs reach up to. This could perhaps fit in with the remark in room 1 that the floor level was wrong. Also, in the top-right corner of the left photo and in the right photo there appears to be a doorway just hanging there with nothing in front of it. Could this prove that the stairs were originally located somewhere different to where they are now?

"The sentence ‘Victualer of fine wines’ was given."
I had never heard of the word 'Victualer' before and decided to look it up to see what it meant. According to encyclopedia.com the definition of Victualer is: "A person who is licensed to sell alcoholic liquor."

"Whilst in this room we sensed dressmaking and also a Butcher's." ... "A shop was sensed with the bar downstairs being seen as just bare floorboards with sawdust upon them."... "pigs were sensed in this area."
As quoted from the website 'Old Bwmbran Master' in regards to their local Butcher's Shop (emphasis mine) - "Don was always chopping the animal carcases in the shop which had a floor covered in sawdust." It was standard practice for Butcher's to cover their floor with sawdust as it would soak up all of the blood dropped from the animal carcasses which could then be swept away. If the blood fell onto a bare floor it would stain, it would be unhygenic, would be very difficult to clean up (blood is extremely sticky) and there would be the very real risk of slipping.

Physical Evidence

The coin experiment left in room 1 did not have any movement. However, the cross experiment left in the main room upstairs did. Below are before and after photos taken at the beginning and end of the investigation respectively.

It appears that the cross as rotated slightly anti-clockwise on the paper. The cross was placed in a room with no windows so there's no possibility of a draft blowing it. We're not claiming that this was paranormal but it was left in a still room in a place where it couldn't be acidentally knocked or brushed past..

The recorder left in Room 1 recorded nothing out of the ordinary. However the recorder left outside in the courrtyard garden did record something unusual and can be heard on the player below. No enhancements or anything have been done to it.

This was recorded at 12.36am and at this time all members of the group and the owner were accounted for. Mike was on the upper level of the building continuing to set up equipment and experiments whilst everyone else were preparing themselves and talking quietly in the main bar area. Approximately 10 or so meters and a thick doorway seperates the bar area to the courtyard so there was no chance of contamination.

As to what caused this sound we cannot say. It is interesting to but to lay claim to it being paranormal is impossible since we were not with the recorder at the time to vouch that such a noise didn't occur at the time that has been misinterpreted. It is still interesting nonetheless especially since soon after whilst in the courtyard area there were reports of sensing a choking attack and tightening of the throat.

Photographs


This is the main bar area of the Ring O'Bells.


This is the courtyard garden.


This is the side passage where the choking was felt and the attack was sensed.

Afterthoughts
An interesting location with some interesting results but sadly nothing conclusive, at least in the way of more physical evidence. Some things picked up on by the sensitives gave some nice food for thought which is always encouraging! We thank everyone at the Ring O Bells for their great hospitality and for making us feel welcome!