This episode was great for me from a travelling perspective as both locations are literally 20 minutes from where I live. I had previously investigated Prestbury village a number of times but had never been to the Plough Inn so this was another welcome first for me in my scrapbook of locations.
Prestbury is an amazing village and has held the mantle of being one of the most haunted places in the UK for many years having stories of more than 26 ghosts!
Galloping hooves are still said to heard along 'The Burgage' that relate to a galloping Cavalier who, during the Civil War was catapulted from his mount by a rope as he rode through the village. After interrogation he was executed and a skeleton that is thought to be his was found near by in the 19th Century.
Spectral abbots are regularly seen in Prestbury.The Black Abbot used to walk the aisle of St Mary’s Church until the Church was exorcised, since then he has taken to the Churchyard. There have been sightings of the Abbot in many parts of the village including near The Plough Inn on Mill Street.
There are a few other places in Prestbury that are said to be haunted, Sundial Cottage in The Burgage, The Three Queens in Deep Street, the three stone cottages next to the Queens and another abbot is supposed to haunt Morningside House in the centre of the village. Stories are plentiful in this village and none more so than the 9 ghosts that haunt our location 'The Plough Inn'
After filming this episode we were all quite down as activity wise from a paranormal investigator perspective it was very quiet. When we have no activity to investigate i.e. noises, apparitions or objects moving for example we still have to make a show and resort to the pseudo science of using other gadgets to see if that will kick anything into action.
Just to take a step back this was the first time I watched this episode and the first thing that struck me was a comment Ian made right at the beginning. 'The name Richard is really Bang in my head so I know it has something to do with Richard' Now we hadn't even been to the Plough at this point, we had all met at the Churchyard and started filming the opening sequences for the show. This was stated as we walked through the alleyway between the Church and the High Street.
Later on into the investigation Ian was picking up on various spirits but we had nothing concrete to investigate. Things started to get weird when we decided to go upstairs and Ian and myself started laughing hysterically at absolutely nothing. We both have no explanation as to what we were laughing at in fact with the location quiet we had nothing to find funny at that moment in time. The only rational theory I have is that Ian started laughing and I was laughing at him, however Paul and Kay didn't find it funny as did non of the crew, least of all Dan our director, so why would I be laughing at all?
After the laughing had died down we then moved on to the voice app as I previously mentioned this is not an investigative tool (pseudo science) but we were clutching at straws at this point. Now the word app theory is that ghost energy will interact with a database of thousands of words and talk to us. In reality we hear the words and try and make them fit what we want to hear. This is where it got interesting though. From the story we got from these random words, we sent Kay out to the churchyard to see what he could find. The end result was a gravestone with the name Richard a previous landlord of the Plough Inn! This didn't impress me as much at the time, only when watching back and hearing Ian say the name at the start of the day did it seem more impressive.
After a few hours sleep it was time to drive back to Cheltenham and meet up with the team at the Playhouse Theatre for part two of our investigation.
The Playhouse is sighted on top of what used to known as the Montpelier Baths built in 1806. In 1945, the Cheltenham Council realised the town’s lack of theatrical facilities, and converted the swimming pool into a theatre. In April 1945, the first play was performed - Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw.
On 5 April 1950, the theatre suffered a major setback when the auditorium was severely damaged by fire. The repair work was evidently undertaken with speed and The Playhouse was only closed for five months. However, the fire destroyed part of one of the theatre’s balconies (which were formerly viewing balconies for the swimming pool) and this was not restored until 2007 with further refurbishments completed in 2008.
There were two highlights for me in this investigation the first was the inexplicable movement of the rocking chair in the old swimming pool section of the theatre which is now used as a store room. You can view this segment of the show here.
This was incredible as we all witnessed the chair start moving with nobody in touching distance.
The final section of the show was where we completed a seance around a table on the stage. As stated on the show I have always been sceptical when a table starts to move (or tipping as it is more commonly referred to) as with human involvement there may be involuntary reactions by the participants causing the movement. However in this segment the movement was forceful and what wasn't shown on the episode due to the main camera battery going flat was the table actually going right over as if a force from underneath had lifted it.
I have managed to obtain the audio file that was still running after the camera had gone out so at least you can hear the rest of the vigil here.
Hopefully you can hear from this why we were so excited by this final session.
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Chris Howley 2017