All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head - Lovin’ Spoonful, Summer in the City.
It’s too damned hot! I’m sitting listening to the second side of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, exhausted beyond belief but glad to be in the basement away from the heat. And I’m back from the ghost hunt in Devizes, at the Black Swan. So how did it go? I’ll make a few notes, but as I collapsed at TESCO from heat on my return I am not entirely coherent — I’m pretty much out of it. Still, I’ll make a few passing comments, and then try to write it up properly another time.
Becky Smith drove Lorna Keen and I down, and we met the team there. It was nice to see Dawn come along for the first time, and I hope she enjoyed it. The first and probably single most important thing to note is that the management of the Black Swan has gone – former hosts Pam and Colin have departed, and the new managers are Yvonne and Mike. Yvonne is extremely friendly,.generous, and did all she could all night to make our trip a success. She gave us access to everything, and to my amazement despite only being in the pub ten weeks has kept very detailed notes on every investigation conducted there – quite a few. A local group of interested folks from Devizes had come down to hold a vigil, and we joined forces with them.
On a previous visit we had only got to see the rooms – this time we went everywhere Most Haunted did on their visit.Frankly I was amazed at how much more of the structure there was! I had never even seen Room 12 before,and the Conference Room would probably have kept us happy all night investigating. The basements are huge, high ceilinged and expansive – so much so that I wondered if they might actually refelct the undercroft of a much older structure. Bear in mind however that I was examining the structure in the dark, by torchlight, with lots of ghosthunters sensing things ot distract me!
As always we went out and had dinner as a group – David Carter-Green, Balders, Dawn, Katherine, Beast, Lorna, Ed, Wiccandelight and of course Becky! I note I automatically use peoples forum names not real names – oh well… The Four Seasons I think was the place we ate, as the White Bear’s kitchen is temporarily closed – good food actually. After that we returned to the hotel: Ed and Beast made detailed floor plans, and photographed everything, the girls and DCG walked round, and Becky and Balders did some baseline readings.
After Lorna and I went through the previous groups records – and some great records kept by Yvonne – we went upstairs ot the conference room, where the locals were conducting an experiment in to table tipping, something they had done on a previous visit in 2005. Nice people, but I did not see much movement? Then Dawn went to bed – it was pretty late by this time – but she was in the haunted room 4 where at 1.15am a woman is meant to walk in and sit in a chair. So Ed, I and the Devizes bunch all piled in, and made Dawn giggle by sitting around waiting for the ghost. Eventually we heard some faint knocks, but they could easily have been someone kicking the wall, or knocking on the windowsill. Assuming the Devizes folks were not faking – ours were too far away from where the sound was coming from – and I have no reason to believe they were, they seemed perfectly lovely folks – then it could have been a ghostly communicant – or the building settling!
We wandered in to the cellars about this point with Yvonne, who showed us around and proved to have a wealth of knowledge. I had said I’d try to help out but I was absolutely exhausted. While in the cellar Lorna had a very strange experience, a burning sensation in her arm, but Balders careful taking of temperature readings on his skin and Becky’s to compare showed it was not reflecting any objective increase in skin heat at least. Still Lorna seemed quite puzzled and intrigued, and i understand from Balders a similar sensation has been reported by other witnesses – I wondered if some limestone or something irritates the skin, but Yvonne told us the other experience of this sort was in the conference room several floors above.
Becky had set out some boxes as a poltergeist trap after the peculiar experience last time we went to the Bassa Villa – by which I mean she was hoping they would move when the room was locked, not that she hoped to snare a poltergeist in one. All were moved, but unfortunately by Wiccan who was looking for something in the room. Becky’s car keys moved again as well, but that could have been down to Wiccan or even me picking them up and dropping them on the bed when I found they were the wrong keys for the door (unlikely, as I know what Becky’s car keys look like, but not impossible given how tired I was.)
We woke up in the morning to a hearty breakfast, and set off home. It was a very enjoyable evening – my thanks to Yvonne and Mike as gracious, generous and supportive hosts, to all the GSUK gang, and of course to Becky for driving me there and putting up with me – and to Dawn who went on her very first (but hopefully not last) ghost hunt. In the morning Balders and I discussed theory a bit – I’ll leave that for a future post, and then I returned home, was apparently very unpleasant to everyone and went to TESCO to collect a prescription for my neighbour where I finally succumbed to heat stroke. Bah! I feel much much better now though – but to lose all my senses, that is just so typically me! If I was irritable or talked gibberish at you I apologize. :) Actually that might be me normally!
Anyway, if you have any questions or corrections do comment. The Black Swan, Devizes, Wiltshire is a lovely building, affordably priced and well worth a visit -0 and do tell Yvonne and Mike you saw it on my blog. Full details here – The Black Swan – do go stay!