Sunday, 6 September 2015

The fallacy of relying upon third party data – The Bull Hotel, Long Melford, Suffolk.

In most of our accounts that we have published, we often only hint at what we have recorded or found during our visit to a location.

This intention is deliberate as, from a paranormal perspective, the information is no more, nor no less reliable than any other paranormal account you may read and, more importantly, if we do discover something that is different to what everyone else is reporting, we don’t want to put it in the public domain in case it ‘influences’ anyone else who follows us at a location. 

We wouldn’t wish to put words in anyone else’s mouth would we?

One such case that springs immediately to mind was our visits to The Bull Hotel, in the sleepy village of Long Melford, of Lovejoy fame, where what we found was different to all the published accounts you can read.

What we found there was completely at odds to everything else that went before us.

In spite of this, we were able to validate our ‘discoveries’, thanks to a respected local historian and his wide network of contacts and, a close friend, via his own independent investigations at the location, that, for us at least, turned the ‘known’ paranormal history on its head.


The Bull Hotel
The Bull has a long and interesting history for the paranormal researcher, including a link to Borley Rectory.

Believed to have been built sometime in the mid 1400’s, this was the hotel where Harry Price stayed whilst carrying out his investigations at the Rectory, which itself used to stand a mile or two to the south west, just over the border in neighbouring Essex.
 
The Bull Hotel, Long Melford
It is also well known for at least two alleged haunting – a set of brawling brothers and, that of Richard Evered / Everard, murdered in 1648 and left to roam the rooms and corridors to this very day.

As an aside, I find it ironic that despite Price being the foremost paranormal researcher of his day, he never (publically at least) acknowledged any of these hauntings, despite staying at the hotel on many occasions.


Background
We’ve made a couple of visits to the hotel over time, with each occasion Laura appearing to tap into the history of the building.

Whilst I also recorded our sessions there, both audio and visual, unfortunately, we have never been able to record any EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) there.

Laura herself was unfamiliar with the history of the building (paranormal or otherwise) or, indeed, the village of Long Melford itself.

Whilst Laura came out with a variety of information during our visits, for this purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the information that I’ve taken to relate directly to the two incidents that I mentioned earlier – the ‘fighting brothers’  and ‘Richard Evered / Everard’.


The ‘fighting brothers’
Depending on which account you read, these brothers were fighting in the upper corridor of the hotel over the discovery of one of the brother’s advances towards the other’s wife. Or something else entirely different.

They were fighting, very noisily and still are to this very day, if the story is to be believed.

The upper corridor appearing to be the main focus of activity in the hotel, we obviously based ourselves in this area.

During our time there, Laura advised of two separate fights in the upper corridor.

The first fight was between two men, who were from rival pubs in a dispute over ownership of the hotel.

The Cock and Bell is almost opposite The Bull on the other side of the main road and it’s tempting to link one of the men to it, but we have nothing to connect the two.

Laura felt that the hotel had changed name. It was something about the name – a different name in fact. Little did we know at the time as to how significant this last bit of information was to turn out for us.

Laura also placed the fight in a very different location to where tradition dictated that it had taken place. This, again, was very interesting as events transpired.

The second fight involved two brothers, although they weren’t actually fighting, but a significant dispute at that. Laura also picked up a surname relating to the brothers that I will not document here.

On a further visit, Laura was given the information that one of the brothers did rape / attempted to rape the others wife.

This second fight ties in with the known paranormal history of the location, although it doesn’t appear to fit the very audible element that witnesses have described.

As I mentioned earlier, Laura was not aware of the history of the hotel, so should not have been influenced by anything that had been written about the location. What she picked up departed majorly from the ‘accepted’ account of the haunting, so to summarise:

1.       There actually appeared to be at least two fights recorded in the fabric of the location
2.       The ‘noisy /violent’ fight that was traditionally placed at one point in the corridor was actually in a totally different location; and
3.       The ‘noisy / violent’ fight was not between the two brothers but two totally different parties.


Things get interesting
Post investigation, I undertook my usual research and thought that the best place to start would be in relation to the change of name to The Bull – this was exact information which would generate either a positive or negative result

I could not recall ever reading that The Bull Hotel had a previous name during my initial researches and, again, I could find no mention whatsoever any change in name of the hotel no matter what source I referred to.

Indeed, where ever I looked, it was confirmed in stark black and white, that the building had a short life as a private house, before converting to its present use, for which it has continued trading continuously for almost 400 years.

Things were not looking too good.

However, being a thorough sort of chap, I was given the contact details of the local historian in Long Melford by a work colleague, who I decided that I would take as the final authority on the matter and leave things at that.

I subsequently made contact with the gentleman and, not wanting to disclose how I had actually came about the information, I explained that I had overheard a conversation that the hotel had actually traded under another name prior to being named ‘The Bull’ and I was trying to establish if this was true or otherwise.

The historian quickly advised that I had indeed contacted the right person, as, if anyone would know, about this it would be him.

And......., he went on to advise, it has always traded under its current guise, having converted from a private dwelling.

Sadly, there was no other name. Case closed.

Or so I thought.

A couple of days later, the historian contacted me out of the blue.

He said that I’d piqued his interest with what I had sought to find out and wanted to know where I’d got the information from.

Suspicious, I simply repeated that I was keen on local history and I’d just overheard a conversation where this had come up in discussion.

Clearly disappointed at hearing this, he nevertheless went on to explain his reason for getting in touch.

Curious about my question, the very next day he’d contacted his colleague at the Suffolk Records Office in nearby Bury St Edmunds, who again came back with the information that we both already knew – The Bull was the first and only trading name.

However, they too were also very interested in what I’d said (it must have been a slow week at the records office), so they went off and did some digging.

The next day the historian was contacted by a very excited researcher, who said that they’d managed to locate a 17th Century Will that described a “*** ****** of Sudbury, who briefly owned The Bull, formally known as *** ******” - another trading name.

Stunned, I thanked the historian for his time and asked him to pass on my appreciation to his colleague at the Suffolk Records Office. I promised faithfully that I would direct the people I’d heard having the conversation there way, if I ever encountered them again.......

The rear courtyard of The Bull

 The murder of Richard Evered / Everard
Accepted accounts state that Richard, a yeoman, was stabbed to death in the entrance hall of The Bull in a dispute over politics or, more precisely, defending the Royalist side in the English Civil War.

The date of his murder, 1648, fits the timeline of the civil war, which was fought 1642 to 1651.

Ever since, the ghost of Richard is said to haunt the Hotel, along with his murderer, Roger Greene (who went to the gallows), have both being blamed for the footsteps and other ghostly happenings at the location ever since.

After picking up on the fights, the flow of information that Laura appeared to be tapping into started to slow down.  However, she was picking up on the odd snippet, including a name.

It was indistinct but, she felt that it could have been Everard or Everett.

At the time I made the note, I couldn’t recall the name of the murder victim attached to the story, so I simply scribbled it down and left things at that. With effort put into establishing the facts surrounding the name change of the hotel, believe it or not, I’ve never mentioned the significance of the name to Laura until a couple of minutes ago when I was writing this account and referring back to my original notes.  

I know, I know....

Laura also advised at the same point that someone was killed ‘here’ with an axe.

However, she couldn’t be sure if this was in connection with the Everard name, or a totally different event.

Most traditional accounts only refer to a ‘stabbing’ so, with the new realisation regarding the hit with the name, this now gives me further impetus to try and establish the exact murder weapon used upon poor Richard.

More is uncovered
As with most things, once you’ve made a visit to a location, the next one beckons.... soon our attentions were turned elsewhere and the case filed in pending, awaiting further attention.

A couple of years since our last visit had passed and I found myself having a telephone conversation with our close friend and fellow paranormal researcher Jason, on a totally different matter, when the topic of The Bull Hotel came up.

He mentioned that he’d, unbeknown to us at that point, had also investigated the location and had the opportunity interview some former and current staff members, who had shared their experiences of the Hotel with him.

One, in particular, had reported often hearing a loud noise, like a violent fight, in the upstairs corridor, but whenever she got near as she went to investigate, the noise immediately stopped and there was no one there.

Interestingly, she put the ‘fight’ in the same location as Laura, which was different to where it was traditionally assumed to be.

During our visits there, amongst other things, Laura had reported seeing large black dogs in the upstairs rooms. Interestingly, these had also been witnessed by the same person whilst working at the hotel and were assumed to be the animals of a former owner of the hotel.

It has been reported that dogs appear fearful of being at the hotel but, I am unable to find any references to the more paranormal type being witnessed so far.

Conclusion
Laura picked up far more information whilst at The Bull than I’ve documented here, with additional names and events that warrant further investigation.

However, as we plough through reports that others have filed online generally, we felt it important to illustrate the fallacy of relying upon the accepted history of a location when undertaking an investigation – many just seem to regurgitate what has been written before by others.

It would have been very easy to just dismiss the information that Laura picked up, on the basis that they were at odds with the ‘well established’ facts of the paranormal history of this particular location, which have been written in stone in the annals of history so to speak, for many years.

So, do not dismiss your own data – do so at your peril.

In spite of what you find contradicting what is ‘known’ about a location, it is important to pursue your research to the very end and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results – I know that we were.

*************


As always, we would be keen to learn of any other experiences at the location, so don’t be shy, feel free to contact us and discuss, privately if you would prefer.

L & M.

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