My Haunted Experience at the Duke William Pub, UK
Haunted hotels and pubs are often lucrative for business, with paranormal experts and sightseers alike paying them a visit to catalogue the unusual events. But what if you don’t know your pub is haunted…
Back in my early teens I worked a few hours a week cleaning a local pub with my mum. It was an imposing building, and had served as a coaching inn during the 1700's. Being one who loves places and things that are steeped in history, I jumped at the chance to spend time there. She hadn’t mentioned the restless spirits in the pub, but the first time I stepped into the old building at 6am one cold November morning, I knew the pair of us weren’t alone. Whether others experienced the paranormal in the pub or we were susceptible because of our empathic nature is something I never found out.
It started with an ominous feeling each time I walked into the main room. It was a lovely comfortable room, dominated by a huge open fire, but there was something about one specific copper-topped table in the corner of the room that made my flesh turn ice cold. I would find myself alone in that room often, dreading the moment when polishing the smooth wooden bar would be over and I’d have to start on the tables, knowing I had no option but to approach that awful corner.
From the first time I sprayed my sweet smelling polish on that beaten copper table top, I knew I was an invader in someone else’ space. I could feel there were people sat around that table, people who didn’t like me in their corner, whose eyes I could feel watching me as I cleaned the bar.Often those eyes would watch from across the room, and often I felt as if they were looking directly over my shoulder, crowding around me, and chilling me to the bone.
Later, after that first encounter, I spoke to my mum about the corner table. She told me of the time she’d been vacuuming the main room and had felt people slowly creeping around her until she was surrounded, each person moving closer and closer until they were crowding her out and she shouted ‘leave me alone!’, upon which they surged back and disappeared. It didn’t make me feel any better, but it did explain a lot! Perhaps, they were just curious…
From then on, there were occurrences throughout the pub,with the cellar a particular hot spot for activity. Each time I reached the top of the cellar stairs, the light below in the cellar would go out. An energy saving spirit! Each time I left the cellar door open, it would close behind me as I walked down the corridor. A courteous entity! Each time I set the dominoes out ready for the patrons to use in the evening, I’d come back in the room to find they’d all been turned face down. A playful ghost!
But that one corner table in the main room, there was nothing courteous or playful there, only dark, sinister and an overwhelming feeling of dread. All I know is I wasn't welcome there. In later years, I tried to delve into the history of the now closed 1700's coaching inn with no luck. Who knows what heinous deeds may have been done back in those days of cut throats and highwaymen? Whatever it was, they’d certainly left an imprint on these particular surroundings.