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The Crown Inn, Lewes
Saturday 13th & 14th March 2010

The first time we visited The Crown we were staying there as guests during our stay in Sussex while we did an investigation at nearby Preston Manor.  We had been told about the Inn and its ghosts by Karen, and she put us in Room 7 which is the twin bedroom where a lorry driver saw a ball of light move over the ceiling and felt his pillow tugged from under him.   After Preston Manor we arrived back at the Crown and at 3:30am put a locked off night vision camcorder in the room to film during the night, so we had it recording for an hour after we went to bed.  We placed the camera with its back to the bathroom, focused toward the front of the room so both beds & occupants were visible.  In the morning we did not believe anything unusual had happened in the room, it was tranquil and comfortable, no pulling of pillows and we didn't see any lights moving around and slept soundly.

We then stayed a second night at The Crown and due to tiredness from the previous night only did a short vigil in the Room 5 opposite our room, where an apparition had been seen. We set up an EMF meter on the bureau dressing table, & took photos while we were there asking questions.  We noticed on entering the room we didn't have many "orb" like phenomena appearing on our cameras at all despite taking dozens of pictures and this started to happen after we began calling out asking questions.

Investigation 30th & 31st May 2010
Following are accounts of the subsequent events by each member present as per their individual experience:

Q: "Is your name Thomas?" - FLASH

12:56am: Ali jumps "was that a car light?" - a light right in the corner of the room, like a large orb sweeps toward the window from the fireplace. Both EMF meters are going off together as we are discussing these lights Ali has just seen.  The EMF meters are still flashing and Jane says "Thank you Thomas" which causes another instant flash, at which point the EMF meter seems to be responding to more comments Jane makes about Thomas.  Ali asks again

Q:" Was that you Thomas who pulled the bed sheet off me?" - FLASH again (Gauss meter also reacts near Tom)

Q: "You were just trying to get my attention, weren't you?" - FLASH (Gauss meter is also reacting with sound)

Q: "Are you the man Karen saw in the brown jacket?" - FLASH (and Gauss meter)

1:07am:   Tom and Ali who are nearest the door both say they can hear someone outside the door again, footsteps very clearly, like someone is pacing around or listening at the door.   This occurs several times and each time Tom goes out to investigate but no one is there.   We are so convinced someone is there that he searches around the lobby exits to see if someone is there, but there is not and no one could have left quickly enough to avoid being spotted.   We notice while this phenomena has been occurring that the Gauss meter we have on that side of the room by the door has been reacting more strongly, both spiking and with higher pitched sound whereas it was silent before other than when asking questions of "Thomas".

Not long after this we ended this vigil and moved on to other areas of the Crown.   However there was one last incident we experienced in Room 5 but which occurred the following night, again before we were about to start a vigil in another area of the Inn, and while we were resting up ready for another late night.   This again occurred at the same time of the evening as the previous night when the bed cover was pulled off Ali, and again unfortunately it is Murphy's Law that we did not have any recording equipment or camcorders operating, the lights were off.   This is what transpired, again according to their individual reports:

1:05am: Vigil begins, each of us calling out in turn asking for any spirits to show themselves, make a light, noise, or other impression.

1:08am: All of us hear a loud squeak, & on the camcorder Jane sees a bright flash of light, like an "orb" move across the screen rapidly from right to left, Jane says maybe it could be a fly, but it is a small space and none of us have seen or felt any flies down here (whereas there were hundreds of moths and flies in the other cellar and we had no such phenomena at all on film).

1:11am: Again a light flashes across Ali's knee on the camcorder, moving swiftly, and 30 seconds later another one sweeps across her leg as she gets up to go upstairs.

1:13am: It feels hot and humid down here, atmosphere has changed though it doesn't feel bad here or unpleasant like it did on previous visits. Suddenly the EMF meter goes berserk in the men's toilets, flashing frantically then stops suddenly. Ali is sceptical and says it's probably a power circuit in an electrical room, but in this case the other meters didn't go off too. She does point out it's suddenly gone very cold from being hot here.

1:20am: Jane asks Q: "Is somebody down here with us?" - FLASH on K2 EMF meter immediately this is asked with all lights displaying to level 5. Ali again says it's suddenly got colder again. Jane asks more questions:                                        Q: "Is this person the one we call Emily?" - FLASH (instant and big flash) Ali is again skeptical and thinks it's the electrical room, but Jane points out we've been here ages and no flashes like this for 15 minutes. She asks again for certainty: Q: "Is this Emily?" - FLASH

Ali says "maybe she's been waiting to communicate for quite a while"- FLASH instant response.   Ali again says how it's remarkably colder than when they came down.

1:21am: Tom says "Woh! I just saw a bright orb moving across the floor, in front of me then on my bag, saw it with my eyes this time!  Definite!" As he says this all the K2 EMF meters flash crazily, & the Gauss meter is sounding loudly on the steps. Ali asks if this is a spirit presence please come closer and Jane says it's got much colder.

1:22am: Q: "Did something bad happen in this cellar?" - Ali asks what's that noise, and Jane says it sounds like someone walking around up the steps, yet no one is there.  Meters are now still, totally dead.  Tom hears a sound like "Urrrrrrm" in the men's toilet's but the girls don't hear anything.  Jane asks again if Emily can come and communicate, after which Holly the dog who has been lying peacefully whines, gets up and seems agitated, moving to the men's room by Tom.

Q: "Is there something you'd like to tell us, something that should be made known, a secret?" - Holly again gets agitated, then eventually settles down again.  Jane asks again "show us you are here" and Ali feels a draught on her shoulder coming from down the stairs, whereas the air has been still & stifling.

Q: "We are calling you Emily, but is this not the right name? Is there a different name?" - the Guass meter surges high.  Ali gets the impression of someone, her, coming down the stairs. Tom takes the temperature & it has fallen by .5 degrees C.   Ali says she gets the impression she's in a grey dress, brown hair tied up.  Tom gets a draught on his neck & it's also 1/2 a degree colder where he is now too, dropping as he takes it. At this point there is a knock which we all heard, Jane says it sounds or feels like some sort of pressure.

1:34am:  Jane again asks her to speak to us & the Guass meter instantly speeds up. Jane suggests she cause a light to appear on the meter, but then Tom sees a light, an orb come out of the ladies' room.  Jane asks her to drop the temperature, Tom takes it and it drops another 1/2 a degree as he takes it.

 

Investigation Report

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Is this the most haunted Inn in Sussex?

The Crown Inn sits in the very heart of the ancient historic town of Lewes in Sussex.  Looking at it, you would think it is late Georgian, however this is deceptive, as it holds the town's longest unbroken record of 325 years of service as an inn and documents show it was an inn at least since 1635 when it was previously called the Black Lyon.   The area where the inn stands is steeped in history, and yards from the front door 17 Protestant martyrs were burnt at the stake during the scourges of Bloody Queen Mary.  William IV, when a resident of The Royal Pavilion in Brighton in the 1830s is rumoured to have made several incognito visits to the Crown, which according to the current landlady was at that time used as a place of entertainment, leisure and recreation to the moneyed residents of the very popular town of Lewes, and was even used as a high class brothel.   

However, before our investigtion we were told rumours and legends by staff and patrons alike that the Crown dates back much earlier, is situated above "medieval vaults and tunnels that may even have connected it to the Norman Castle".  

The Crown Inn is unique among our investigations as we had no idea it could be haunted until we visited it, and you will find no mention of this on any paranormal internet sites or databases.  We have visited other "haunted" pubs and inns, found very little evidence they were haunted during our stays and have since become very sceptical as soon as we hear such claims. With the pub trade hitting hard times in recent years and pubs across the country closing every week, landlords and owners have dug up, exaggerated or even fabricated their ghosts to encourage the current popular wave of paranormal tourism & the ghost hunt industry to jump in and give them extra business.

With the Crown, we met with exactly the opposite reception, we had booked to stay a night there so we could do a vigil at nearby Preston Manor, and on chatting about why we were in Lewes we heard of the pub's ghosts by chance from locals at the bar and a young barman who refused to visit the cellar on his own.   He nervously told us that earlier that day he had been alone in the bar and "heard the metal push-button bell on the reception desk going in the hotel lobby room next to the bar, went to see to the guest there, but when I arrived it was moving up and down on its own, then suddenly stopped as I reached it".   

The Landlady Karen was not promoting that the Inn was haunted, and was originally wary of us giving any publicity for fear it may turn guests away.   However as we pressed, and she was interested in finding out more about her ghosts, she gave us a private tour of the building and showed us where she had seen two apparitions.  We then found each one of her other staff had their own sightings of one particular apparition of a woman in grey they affectionately name "Emily" who has been seen all over the hotel, each had their own tale which they told in an unexitable and convincing manner.   Karen showed us the master bedroom 5 where she saw the apparition of a man in a brown jacket by the old bureau, and where various guests have reported waking in the night to find the fourposter bed posts shaking on their own, rattling the top canopy and panels.  Another room is number 7, which was used regularly by a lorry driver visiting the town until he "was woken as he felt his pillow tugged from under him, then sat up to see a ball of light moving up the walls and on the ceiling which he videod on his mobile phone & later showed the staff, and now he refuses to stay in that room".   She showed us the toilets located in the very deep cellars, where "Emily" has been seen walking through the walls by guests, including a very young boy visiting the restaraunt with his mother who went down on his own knowing nothing about Emily, only to come upstairs to ask "is the toilet haunted down there? Because I just saw a lady walk through the wall".   The barman Phil told us his experiences of Emily, who he saw in an adjoining storage cellar next to the toilets, as he was moving barrels, and Sally the housekeeper told us she had also met her while cleaning an upstairs bedroom.  

Lastly Karen took us to an entirely different cellar, which is actually not under the Inn at all, but under a new Victorian restaraunt. This is interesting as the cellar here is a huge half-moon barrel-vaulted room, constructed of massive blocks of old stone, obviously much older than the rest of the inn.   It was obvious to us Karen was genuinely afraid of this room, so much so she will not enter it on her own to clean or remove the junk, or develop it as an obviously valuable space, and later all the staff warned us not to do vigils in there but to leave it.    Karen had been told by a previous owner that this cellar has an evil presence and has been used for witchcraft and evil acts in the past, and had been warned never to use the back stairs in the cellar, as the evil presence was there, so we took this as possibly the reason she was intimidated.   She also told us there are legends and rumours that the cellar dates back to the days of the castle, and locals in the area believe tunnels long since blocked up once connected this and a few other buildings to the Castle.  We don't know evidence of any of this, but the cellar was definitely creepy and unpleasant to us, and we were interested to investigate.

So, our ears were pricked and we got permission to do investigations at this venue, and we were not to be disappointed.   We have now done investigations on several dates at The Crown, the results of each are as follows:

Ali then believes she picked up on some history to the room, firstly getting the impression of a man in an old tweed brown jacket who had used the room for a while, possibly in the late 1800s, early 1900s.   This seemed residual.   Later Ali got impressions of two men in late 1700s clothes, early 1800s, dressed in frock coats, boots, and one with a tricorn hat.   She repeatedly got the names "George" then "Thomas" and Jane thought she kept getting the name "Jeremiah". We noticed the EMF meter to flash when Ali said the name Thomas, which we had placed on the Bureau.  There were no reasons for any EMF readings in this area, no wires or electrical devices, and we had no mobile phones turned on. Jane asked if the person could make a light or show themself if she took a picture, and she asked it to move to the corner of the room by the bed.  She took a shot and got a very bright "orb" light on her camera directly after asking, whereas there had been nothing before with many photos.

Ali then got the idea this man Thomas had been visiting Lewes on business, used the Inn as a base to conduct dealings & meetings from these rooms, and had been involved in some illicit dealings with another man.  She got the distinct impression this room wasn't a bedroom, but a meeting or reception room. The idea of smuggling came to mind, and the EMF meter read on that again. The sense she got was there had been an altercation or a fight in the room, between Thomas and the other man, and one or both had been injured or hurt in some way, over their dealing in smuggled goods from the Sussex coast, using Lewes as a base to treat the goods and pass them on inland. As far as Ali was concerned somehow there seemed to be a residual imprint on this room. We did not continue the vigil as we were so tired and decided to come back again some time again for further vigils in this room and the cellars.

We did not initially believe we had much "activity" at the Crown at all, however we were surprised when we reviewed our video recording from the previous night of our room.   The footage shows just before we had gone to sleep that night, sitting in the dark chatting, a very bright ball of light is seen on camera which then moves very slowly up from the floor in front of the side table, then curves up over the right hand side of Ali's bed.  Several minutes later a similar ball of light is seen (call it an "orb" if you want, but this is not the same as a usual "orb" light sometimes seen on digital camera still pictures). The second time it moved fast like a flash across Ali's bed from the right to left, across her covers and up in front of her, very unlike an insect but more like a ball of light moving with intent, then disappearing in front of her.   We did not see or hear anything at the time this occurred.    Eventually we hope to get this footage onto this page and will put it here as a link to Youtube.

After this vigil we were surprised to find that there are legends of 18th Century smuggling both in Lewes and also at the Inn, that rooms below the town were used to hoard smuggled goods, and we also discovered that this room 5 had not previously been a sleeping area but had indeed been used as a bar or reception area in earlier days.

On our second visit to the Crown we did more extensive investigations, and were joined by Everything Ghost member Tom.      We hired and used the large room 5 as our base room, and conducted vigils in room 5, 7, the large medieval cellar beneith the Victorian annexe, and the cellar below the Inn itself which is currently used as toilets and where an apparition of a woman has been seen walking through the walls by many patrons and hotel visitors.

On the evening of Saturday 30th May the inn was busy with the bar still open, so we decided to wait until after closing time to start our vigils and meanwhile get some rest, knowing we would be up until the early hours.   It was while we were resting in Room 5 that some of the most dramatic phenomena occurred that we have ever experienced at any haunted venue.  In all our investigations this is the only manifestation of apparent poltergeist phenomena we have encountered that we have found genuinely convincing, and it was certainly the most dramatic.

Room 5 at the Crown has to be described for this report.   It is a large rectangular room with 2 windows facing the street outside.   The door is in the opposite right hand corner, and in the left corner there is an ensuite showerroom, built into the room.    To the left of the room near the showerroom is a fireplace with armchairs facing it, and to the front of the room is a writing bureau.    To the right of the room is a large double four poster bed, upon which Tom was laying on the far side by the windows, and at the back of the room are two twin beds each about 6 feet apart.   The room looks to be about 25 feet long and around 20 feet wide.   

We were not actually conducting a vigil at the time of this event, so unfortunately do not have any video footage, however we took audio recordings of each member’s report of events immediately after happenings in this room.   The time was approximately 10:30pm,  Ali was lying on the single bed nearest the door in the far right corner of the room, Jane was on the bed to the left of this, next to the bathroom outer wall, and Tom was lying approximately 10 feet in front on the far side of the four poster.

 

Ali’s report:  

“  10:30ish we were lying on our beds in Room 5 to rest up for the night's vigils, Tom on the double, Jane and I on the singles.  I had a red chenille cover over me.   I felt the atmosphere was “buzzing” as I call it, I couldn’t really rest properly, just felt like there was energy all over the room, and I was wrapped in it, felt something brushing the top of my head.   It just didn’t feel like we were lying in a bedroom, it felt more like a common room of the Inn as if people were all around and I was thinking about what would have gone  on in it in times past: games, gambling, business chat, activity, lots of men smoking etc.  I was contemplating this when something tugged on my bedsheet, down by my knee, on the side nearest where Jane is sleeping.   There is a small green emergency light in the room, so I looked and could see it wasn’t Jane who tugged it, she was lying about 6 feet away with her back to me so couldn't have moved in time and I exclaimed surprise, told her about it and she denied pulling it, but she got freaked out and she went and joined Tom on the double bed. 

5 or 10 minutes later I was lying still again, trying to rest.  The same "buzzing" in the room, like it was full of static, and I suddenly felt the bedsheet grasped as if by two hands down by my feet, and a split second later it was was pulled, yanked and disappeared fom my top half and then off the bed with a lot of force.  I was shocked and shouted out, thinking one of the other two had done it, sat bolt up and at the same time heard a thud, then Jane yelled and accused me of doing something, asking what I was up to.  Jane was looking at me by now and said she had seen me rise to sit up after it had hit her and so knew I couldn’t have thrown it, but the bedspread had hit her hard on the backside, said it was in a tight ball and was so hard it hurt like a leather football had hit her. "

Jane’s report:

" It was like Ali said, laying awake, facing away from her bed with my face a few inches from the wood panels of the bathroom.  I felt a bit het up, not scared but my breathing was heavy and I thought this must have been due to eating too much for dinner!  I was definitely laying wide awake and couldn’t rest, listening to someone in the upstairs room.   I heard Ali jump and she asked me if I’d tugged her bedclothes, you can see the room even with the light out as there is a security light in the ceiling.  I was scared and went and joined Tom on the double bed.

' I admit I was sort of thinking "something is going to happen", it felt intense in here. A few minutes later I heard Ali jump again and shout, I turned thinking “what's now!” and a split second later, or at the same time, her chemille bedspread hit my left buttock with really hard force.  I saw her sit up after this, and we’ve tried to simulate this since then but can’t.   She would have to have been really sitting up high to throw it, and the amount of force it was she would have had to be standing and bracing herself to throw it so hard down on me.  My first immediate thought was Ali was falling asleep and thought someone touched her feet then she reacted by kicking her bedspread off, but there’s no way she could have got it up onto my bed which is higher than hers, and there is a foot board at the end of her bed.  The spread flew over me at an angle and straight on, so in order for it to hit me it must have been raised up, moved at an angle then hit me square on.  We tried to do it again, but there was no way for this to happen without someone being sat higher up or stood up to get it over the board & over our bed, yet as it happened I saw her still in the process of sitting up from laying down and only after the spread hit me, & it was clear she had been lying down, not standing.   I also have to say the room is very "creaky" all wood floors and walls, and any slight movement you could hear it so she couldn't have even stood up or prepared to throw it without us hearing, I was also so alert.    It’s also funny as I heard the bedspread moving through the air at me, the impact of it on my left buttock was so hard it hurt for a while afterward, yet it was a soft light blanket, so had to have been really balled up and thrown with great force. "

Tom’s report: 

" I didn’t see what happened, but I heard Al gasp which was loud enough to wake me up.  She doesn't usually react like that at all so I was alerted.  In the following few minutes we tried everything to simulate what just happened, but it couldn’t be done from the way we were positioned at the time.  If any of us had moved slightly we could definitely hear it distinctly, the room was all wooden and as soon as someone moved it was obvious, and it turned out we had all been lying awake very alert and not able to sleep.  While the girls were still looking for explanations I heard two distinct knocks coming from the top of my four poster bed.  Then we all saw the curtain at the window move.  Jane had closed both windows earlier and there were no drafts.  Then when I was lying down on the bed I saw two balls of light, orbs.  One was like a twinkly Christmas light and the other thread-like, like a filament.   They went across the top of the bed and over to the bathroom.  Then I saw something in the mirror over the mantelpiece.  It was like someone moved into the mirror then back, like a “peek-a-boo”.  After these events I turned on my tape recorder to record these events.  It has a new tape and batteries and has never malfunctioned, but when I played it back there was nothing on it, yet the recording light had been on while we worked it & it had been moving on record.   As I am speaking now into this other audio recorder, I am hearing raps and taps above the bathroom that can’t be explained."

After we had recorded our experiences on the voice recorder, we spent quite some time sitting "waiting" for something to happen, but as it all seemed quiet we decided to kept it recording and try to rest again.   Before doing this we took temperature readings all around the room and found it to be pretty much constant 20 degrees everywhere except the windows. We took photos all over the room but nothing was evident, not even an "orb" dust or otherwise. We put EMF meters all around the room and found no readings to be occurring anywhere even on the Gauss meters, which remained constant for quite some time. We had just laid down with the light out for about 5 minutes when Ali said she was sure someone was pacing outside the door, she could hear someone. Tom got up and checked but no one was there.   Jane commented on how even after all this time her backside was still hurting from the impact of the bed spread.   Ali then said it had gone much colder, very suddenly in the room, and then reported seeing a "black movement" in the middle of the room and said it's gone even colder again where she is.

At this point we decided we had better sit up, get all our recorders and cameras going and commence the vigil properly as we obviously were not going to rest.

12:16am: We check all around the room again for any EMF readings and there are none anywhere, we use several types of meters to check. We then placed 3 different K2 EMF meters (with light indicators) around the room on the writing bureau near the windows, on the fireplace, beds and one Gauss meter is with Tom on the 4 poster.  Temperature reading was again pretty much constant around the room 20 degrees by the windows, 22 in the middle of the room & on beds.

12:29am: Ali picks up on the same character she perceived the first time we came: man in a tricorn hat and brown jacket, says she gets the same thing as last time that the guy was threatened, there's an altercation over money and business, seems it's about contraband, smuggling from the coast and he's the middle man buying it, The Crown used for business dealings, maybe storage.

(We note that Karen the landlady saw the apparition of a man in a brown jacket in this room standing by the bureau)

12:30am: Ali feels pressure on her right shoulder, a push but not with a hand, felt it a few times on her arm again. She says she was gettting tinitus buzzing in her ears before this happened, which she says often preceeds activity in vigils, & gets slight headache.

12:36:28: Ali asks "Can you please go over to Tom, go there and make his black box react, the one by him". Tom then gets a spike on the Guass meter. Ali then asks "is this Thomas, the man in the brown coat?" and the meter reacts again instantly.  Ali asks it to go to Tom again, then hears someone outside the door again, says it's very plain and Tom heard it too. Tom gets up to check and Jane takes a picture. No one is outside the room, but whereas before we had no "orbs" at all in this room even if by dust or whatever, now there are, one right next to Tom.

Ali then calls out again asking for whoever is there to cause a noise, light to appear, affect the boxes around the room.

12:37am:  Ali sees a flash of light by the fireplace, says she feels a presence in the room, and asks aloud if someone is there. She then reports a smell of strong tobacco and Tom says he also smells this, and immediately on mention of tobacco the Gauss meter gives a strong & loud response.   She mentions the name Jeremiah as well, and Jane remembers she thought of that name last time they were in the room.  Ali asks if HE or a Thomas, is making the smell of pipe tobacco and immediately there is another loud response on the meter.   Ali says she gets the impression of a long clay pipe.   After Ali mentions the name Jeremiah and Thomas again, and Ali sees a flash to her right by the four poster, like an EMF meter lighting up but no meter is there.  Jane asks if they can show a light there again when she takes a picture of the door area, so Ali & Jane take photos again. Immediately after "orb" lights are in photos of this area of the room whereas before there were none apart from one on Tom, despite dozens of pictures taken over several hours.

Jane then asks if it is them causing these "orbs" can they move them or make them happen over the other side of the room, suggesting above the fireplace.  She then takes pics of that part of the room and finds at least 4 "orbs" now appear there and no longer by the door, again whereas before they were not appearing on pictures of this area.

12:42am: Ali says she gets the impression these guys, this incident in the room occurred in the late 1700s, men with their hair tied back "like Poldark", but no wigs.   She mentions Thomas again, then asks questions:

Q: "Was it you that was trying to get my attention, did you pull the bed cover off?" - as soon as this is asked there is an immediate reaction on the K2 EMF meter on the writing bureau, with at least 3 lights flashing, whereas this has not reacted at all for 2 hours.  

Q: "Was it you that threw the bed cover across the room at Jane?" Again the K2 EMF meter flashes on the bureau, and Ali gasps at seeing it.  All the lights flash up to orange range this time, and this is caught on camcorder both times.

This K2 EMF meter continues to react directly coincident with other questions asked by Ali, note this EMF meter is on its own at least 10 feet away from any of those present and is nowhere near any wires or devices.  Jane starts giggling that Ali really seems to be in communication with something.

 

 

 

1. Room 5 - The Master Bedroom

Ali's report:

" It was about 10pm, and we were resting up again in room 5 ready to go down to do a vigil in the toilet cellar.   The pub was busy so we decided to wait until everyone had left and do that vigil later even though Karen had offered to close the toilets off for us. I was on the same single bed by the door, and Jane and Tom were both lying on the four poster.   For some reason this room felt like it was "buzzing" again, and by that I mean like it's full of energy, sort of agitated, and it made me feel like that.   Heart was racing, adrenaline like you know something is about to happen. It's weird because the room feels totally quiet and NOT haunted the rest of the time, and it's not scary at all at other times, and this was exactly the same feeling and same time of night as the previous day.   

I was lying there and opened my eyes and suddenly saw a bright "orb" like light over by the bathroom but above the fireplace, just above where the complimentary tray sits on the mantelpiece.  I mentioned this and Tom said he had seen something there too, but as nothing else happened we just ignored it.

About 10 minutes later I suddenly heard a loud crack like an impact, together with another bang from the opposite side of the room. The first crack sounded like it came from Tom's area over by the window and in the corner of the four poster, and the second one was more of a loud thud that happened over by the opposite corner, near the fireplace but between it and the window.   I called out to the others and they had both heard it and were alarmed.   Me and Jane first assumed Tom had knocked the bedside cabinet & knocked the light over or dropped something heavy off the bed, but we couldn't think what the other noise was.   We turned the light on and were then alarmed to see splatters of milk all on the wall above Tom but to his right, about 5 feet above him and running down the wall, even spattered inside the lampshade which was about 3 feet from where he was lying. The spatter showed a sort of dispersal or explosion of milk on a particular part of the wall. Below the side cabinet was a burst milk carton, which was one of the ones from the complimentary tray which sits about 20 feet away on the opposite side of the room by the bathroom, placed on the mantelpiece.  

''Now someone can say it was thrown by me or Tom or Jane, but this is impossible.  We were all on the opposite side of the room from where it was thrown, and the way the spatter of milk had occurred and the angle of the milk burst made it clear that it hit the wall head on, was thrown with force from the area of the mantelpiece.   The spatter had a central point and a dispersal showing it had hit the wall full on, square and not at an angle or from below, and it had managed to spatter so much and hard that it had even reached behind the window curtain.   If I had thrown it, or Jane or Tom then it couldn't have gone behind the curtain or into the lampshade, or burst in the fashion it did like a dandelion clock pattern, as we were not in the right position in the room to get it to do this, ballistically not possible!   Also the bed post was between Jane and me and the area it had hit. It was obviously thrown hard, and I'm glad it didn't hit Tom.   Tom certainly couldn't have thrown it as he was asleep on his side when it happened, and we could see that, and also he wouldn't have been able to make it hit like that without being some distance from the bed and throwing it hard from above.

On investigating the other sound, we found a second milk carton lying below the armchairs, near the fireplace.   We tried our best to simulate this, throw things there etc, but it just didn't work. The only way at least the burst carton could have arrived where it did is if it had come from the area of the fireplace. So, they appeared to have been thrown simultaneously at slightly different angles so they reached different parts of the room, but both appeared to have been thrown and originated from the complimentary tray on the mantelpiece."

Jane's report:

" As happened the night before, on laying down for a rest before the vigil I couldn't settle.  Tom fell asleep no problem next to me, however I was wide awake, my heart racing and feeling that something was going to happen again.  I sensed Ali was awake too and thought she was feeling the same as me.  Lying there in the darkness I then heard Ali exclaim that she had seen an "orb" travel from the area of the bathroom or mantelpiece.  I remained calm but I anticipated that more was about to happen.  It must have been 10 minutes or so after Ali seeing the orb that I heard a loud bang, closely followed by another noise.  It sounded so loud that I thought maybe a camcorder or something of that weight had fallen off the dressing table or bedside table.  After the lights went on I was surprised to find no such equipment on the floor, rather two innocuous little milk cartons, one in the center of the room alongside my slippers and another alongside Tom's bedside cabinet. I could not believe the spatters of milk on the wall, behind the curtain and still dripping within the bedside lampshade.  It had been thrown with such force that the milk had spattered several feet away from the point of impact.  We are not owned to pranks, but even if one of us had decided to throw one of the cartons as a joke how they could have propelled the missile from the opposite side of the room toward us all has me baffled.  One last note, it is important to remember that this building is an old one, and therefore moving across the floor is a noisy business, and the beds were squeaky so you couldn't move in them without being heard.  "

It must be noted that none of us thought of this room as scary or "haunted" as in there was no creepy atmosphere, no sense we were being watched or cold spots and sense of unease, except for these two instances which both occurred at a specific time of night and during this time the room seemed full of atmosphere and both Jane and Ali were affected and on edge.   This atmosphere had totally disappeared by around 11pm and the rest of the time it was warm & inviting and we had no qualms about sleeping there or even being in the room on our own, although we do remember the first time we ever visited the Crown in March 2010 that we felt it had a "male presence" to it as soon as we entered it.
2. The Main Cellar

The largest cellar is not beneath the building of the Crown Inn, but is behind it under the newer Victorian restaurant, clearly much older than the main building.   It consists of huge blocks of stone set in a half-moon shaped barrel vault and is deep, dark and damp.  Karen told us she understands it was the cellar of a previous building before the current inn was built, and there were legends that it had once been connected by tunnels to the castle, going back to medieval times.  She also told us a group of modern witches who visit the Crown warned her that this cellar had been used for witchcraft, and she should not use it, so for this reason Karen was afraid of the area and had neglected it.   It had been used as a disco by a previous owner and the walls are covered in graffiti designs, but otherwise is full of junk and it seems a long time since it was cleaned, explained when we told the cleaner we were doing a vigil there and she warned us not to do it as she believed it was an evil place she wouldn't enter.

We started the vigil at 2:13am, we were positioned in different areas with Tom at the back by the stairs, Jane to the left of the wide steps leading to the kitchen, & Ali facing Jane to the right of the cellar.   We also had Holly the terrier dog with us. A tripod set up for the camcorder which wasn't used until the later solo vigil.  K2 EMF meters were placed around the room, at the back on the stairs, in the middle, next to Ali & we had lazer thermometers to check temperature changes & the whole vigil was recorded by audio equipment.  EMF readings were taken around the room and we found no abnormal register, temperature was taken at 10 degrees average.  We had the lights off, but there is a small green security light in the ceiling so we had partial visibility.

2:23am:  All present describe their perceptions of the room.  Jane and Ali say first time they came in here it felt ominous, horrible & threatening, but this time they are here it doesn't feel like that, although it is very dirty and messy it feels OK to be in and not too unpleasant. Whereas before it felt there was a presence here, now it doesn't.  

2:29am: Calling out is done asking any spirit presences to come and communicate using the meters, knocks, lights, touch.   Ali then says after this she feels a coldness on her right & a dizzy, buzzing feeling.  Jane asks it to come forward & Ali feels colder again on her right side & a sense of pressure. Tom takes the temperature here and finds it is now 1/2 a degree colder than elsewhere. No draughts are present & Ali is in the center side of the room so we can't explain it.  Holly was laying there but gets up and appears agitated.

2:31am: Ali felt a "rushing" through here on her left side, then says she senses a residual imprint of a group of men moving quickly through the area from the stairs to the back as if passing through to an exit at the back, says she gets an impression of medieval soldiers or men at arms though not dressed well in uniform or like knights, but cloth, leather and some chain mail, she thinks anywhere 11-1300s.   Ali asks for whoever is here to make a noise and a click is heard & the Gauss meter with Tom spikes high.  Tom and Ali both say they feel a pressure in the room, like a "thickness to the atmosphere"

2:35am: Tom asks for whoever is here to make a noise or show a light - there is then a thud which Ali & Jane heard, & Ali again feels cold down her right side.  Tom sees a flash to his right by the washing machines & sees it a few more times. The Gauss meter speeds up and is sounding louder.

2:40am: Ali says she has seen a figure standing at the bottom of the stairs, that she saw it for a while but ignored it assuming it was the tripod til she sensed she was being watched from the area and the dog went there, then realised it wasn't the tripod at all as this is placed further to the right of Jane.  The dog Holly has been agitated staring at the steps then gone over to that area, like something is there.  This surprises Ali as she says she saw the figure with her eyes over several minutes only finally realising it was clearly not the tripod but a cloaked figure.  She says she looked at it directly and it "disappeared" after a second then got a mental image of a person, saying it looks like it had a full length robe or cloak and a hood.  Just as she said this she feels a lot colder.  She then described the figure and the impression she got of it over several minutes.

A photo taken of Holly in this area shows her to have an "orb" in the middle of her forehead & one at the bottom of the steps. We only had a few such orbs on photos of this cellar over several hours, & this was one.  We mention them if they are coincident with other phenomena.

2:41am: Jane says she is feeling much colder now too.  Tom takes another temperature reading around Jane & Ali and finds it has dropped a degree there.  Ali says "he's still standing at the bottom of the steps looking at us with authority, unpleasant, like he doesn't like us being here, condescending".  She then asks for it to make a sound & there is a click Jane & Ali both hear.   Ali says it looks like a priest type figure, like a monk but with a fine robe, more like a senior priest.   She again asks for it to communicate again somehow, & again all feel it's got colder.

Over the next 10 minutes we had many knocks and clicks in response to various questioning about this character. We will summarize these and what occurred including a report of what Ali says she saw and perceived mentally; we prefer to have any such mental or emotional perceptions backed up by such coincidental seemingly unexplained sounds or lights or temperature drops, especially when they occur instantly when the question is asked or statement said, so we will note when these occurred under Ali's report.

" Firstly please note that there was light in the cellar, from the emergency light overhead, so it was possible to see objects and shapes in any case.  I had been aware of a shape like a man standing at the bottom of the stairs, but I had assumed this to be the tripod, like an optical illusion, although it kept grabbing my attention.  

Then Holly kept looking over there and was agitated, and I realised there was "attention" coming from that area like I could "feel" someone looking at us from there.   I realised the tripod was actually to the left of Jane, "blimey why didn't I see this before", and the tripod was not so large.  The shape at the bottom of the stairs was dark, shaped like a fairly short man in a cloak, like a priest or monk but in a robe.   Holly got up to go there, and I looked at it full on at the same time, and as I did so it disappeared after a second or two so I could no longer see it with the eyes, maybe because it was dark. However I could get a mental image of the same person.  

Over the next 15 minutes or so I got impressions about this character which I thought may be imagination but I said them anyway as I was also getting freezing cold and we were hearing knocks. He was a condescending, high altitude person with an arrogant attitude. I described him as a "master" and both me and Jane then heard a noise from the same area of the step. He didn't seem like a good person even if he was supposed to be religious. He had been very powerful, I think early medieval, like a priest but high up. I couldn't really put my finger on it, like an Abbot or a high priest but not quite.   I got the idea he was connected with the Castle and said so, and we heard another knock, Tom heard it too.  He had a black or dark grey robe, some sort of military influence too, powerful like he could command some degree of men at arms even if he was a church man, he was interested in power but seemed also connected to the church, like a type of order.  I can't say he was like a monk, more like a medieval priest but I got the idea of a kind of ritualistic or druidic thing, like a sort of witchcraft but not the type you get in Macbeth, more like some sort of rites he was dabbling in that wouldn't be considered orthodox so he was doing it in secret. He had an attitude of being infallible, arrogant,we were below him so no way he would communicate, that he was wealthy, and his power extended well beyond his religious duties into politics and money. I don't think he was that spiritual or kindly.   He seemed mildly interested in us, but was not deigning to communicate properly. I felt he was foreign, like this was of the 1200s or up until the Hundred Years War, I think anywhere from late 1200s or into the 1300s. He seemed to be hiding something, hiding activities down there in the cellar, devious and into some sort of intrigue.   I thought this must be my imagination, and thought of Templars, but what threw me was he wasn't dressed in white like I think the Templars did, but in a dark cloak.  I think he was foreign, he felt foreign but with some influence here. I remember thinking he had very powerful connections to the high level of the church and mentioning he had connections even to the Pope, and at that point there was some sort of instant reaction like a light or a knock, I don't recall which.

My main reaction at the time was surprise, what the heck was a priest or monk type figure doing down in the cellar of a Georgian inn or even the center of this town in the high street?. And even if there were connections from the Inn to a castle nearby, why a monk or a priest would be here was baffling. I wondered if there had been a monastery or abbey nearby, and mentioned maybe he had connections to Battle Abbey and we got another sound in response.   I definitely did eventually get the idea he was using the place for secret activities or plotting he shouldn't be doing, either rituals not known by those of the church, not necessarily black magic but something ritualistic, or political activities that wouldn't be approved by other authorities in the town. He wasn't a good kindly priest!   I also got the idea he may have been perverted with young boys or girls"

Questions or statements that produced an interesting response are:

2:42am: After Ali mentioned the priest figure, Jane asked "can you make a sound" & there is a click that Jane & Ali both hear by the steps

2:44am: Ali says "he seems like a "master" type of figure, whatever that means." at this Jane hears another noise by the steps & Holly is alerted to it

Ali says "He's medieval, early or mid": Knock from this same area

Q: "Are you something to do with the Castle, any connection with it at all, or another building nearby?" - Tom hears a knock by him but above, near the far stairs.  He also says he saw a light by the same stairs and a photo is taken which shows an "orb" light in this same area.

2:50am: Ali says "This seems like a religious order, but it's not what I'm used to as it's not just a religion, he is into politics and power, fingers in pies all over, authority".   At this Tom starts calling out :                                                                                                Q: "Are you part of a religious order?" - the Gauss meter speeds up considerably.    Ali then says "it seems like the time at the beginning of what I think may be the 100 years war, or time of Templars but I think he can't be a Templar as I think they only wore white.  But there's something he's hiding, and he seems foreign"   She then feels very cold again, & Tom hears another knock.

 

2:53am: Ali said she thought some of his rituals were pre-Christian, not black magic but not approved. Tom calls out & asks questions from this point:

Q: "Did you do anything you shouldn't have done down here, imprisoned anyone, or rituals that were not allowed or known about that were not Christian?" - On asking this Ali and Jane both saw a "black shadow" move across the center of the room .  Jane said "I get the impression he is too high brow, arrogant to answer our questions, he's not cooperating, we're too lowly for him" - Ali and Tom both saw a flash of light at this.

2:55am: Ali says "I get the idea he's connected to those high up in the Church, probably even connected to the Pope" - All three of us hear a knock, & Ali feels freezing cold at this instantly.  Ali says "it's like I'm getting a response by how cold it's getting". Tom takes the temperature and it's now dropped another degree C where Ali is sitting. 

Q: "Are you connected to the Pope?  Did this cellar once lead somewhere else, to another place, and did something happen here?"  - Knock at far side of room, and Ali again says she's very cold.   Tom says he can feel it colder on the side where she is.

Q: "Were you connected to the Abbey at Battle or something like that?" - click (not loud) and again freezing, Ali is so cold she can't speak properly and is shivering. Tom takes the temperature again and it's now 3 degrees colder than elsewhere in the room and than at the start of the vigil. We then ended the vigil here.

We have not noted any questions or statements that did not get instant knocks, bangs or noises very shortly after.  We did not hear miscellaneous knocks or noises in this cellar other than those noted, and it was exceptionally quiet the rest of the time other than the noises mentioned.  Some of them seemed quite faint when noted as "clicks".

Main Cellar vigil 21 July 2010 with Sue Smith
As a follow up to this vigil, we invited well known Sussex medium Sue Smith of the Caspian Group and her friend Ann to come to the Crown one evening to see what they sensed about the place.  They did this as a recce for later group investigations.   We did not tell Sue anything about our results in the cellar and tried to be quiet about any other results we had, and research that we had done by this time since our own vigils.   On visiting this main cellar this is what Sue reported she perceived:

" I don't like this. I get the impression of a monk, or man of the cloth but he's doing something he shouldn't have and quite high up. There's money involved. Getting the name Father Francis, but what he was like to the outside world was completely different to what he's like here.    He's a man of the church, very high up, like a sort of monastery level of a Canon. Robes he's got, but not like a normal monk, fine robes. I don't like him. He seems like he may have been perverted, had young girls or people down here."

While Sue was saying this, Ann was also saying she didn't like the atmosphere of the cellar, could also feel someone down here. She said "it seems like he was trusted but betrayed that trust by what he did"

The dog Holly was present and again was agitated, eventually wanting to be off the floor and jumping on Sue's lap for comfort, whereas she's not normally a timid dog but more inclined to be aggressive when afraid.    There were knocks and bangs in answer to questions, and Jane and Ann both said they saw a movement in the middle and far end of the cellar while Sue was talking about the priest or monk.

We found this fascinating considering the earlier vigil, that we hadn't told Sue the specifics about it, and that there have been no other documented paranormal investigations with similar results about a monk or priest down in the cellar.

3. The Cellar Toilets

The Crown Inn has several cellars, as there are those directly under the main building as well as the barrel vaulted one that seems to be much older.  The cellars below the main Inn are used as toilets, and there are also others adjoining which are used for bar storage but which we did not have access to.   The cellars used as toilets are very deep, down steep stairs. We were aware before this vigil that the apparition of a lady the staff call "Emily" has been seen the most, even seen walking through walls.   We had visited the area several times and find this to be the most unpleasant area of the pub, as we described that it "has the feel of the London Underground about it", just feels horrible as a space, very Victorian, with old tiles on the walls.

We were very tired by the time we went down to these cellars, but couldn't mss doing a vigil here before we left. We started the vigil at 1:05am on 1st June. The area is small but we opened the doors to the mens' and womens' rooms and placed EMF meters of several types all around the area.  Jane filmed this area on night vision camcorder, and we also had audio recording and lazer thermometers. The temperature was around 22 degrees C and there didn't appear to be any EMF readings at all, aside from about once every 1/2 an hour we noted a big surge as some sort of electrical cycle started in a room nearby, we assumed is the electrical center or switchboard for the inn. Ali was sitting at the bottom of the steep stairs, Jane directly opposite her near the ladies' and Tom in the entrance to the mens' opposite Jane. Holly the terrier dog was also present.

After we finished our group vigil in the main cellar, Tom decided to do a solo vigil which he conducted for over an hour there between 3:15 and 4:30am.  Considering the warnings we had about this area he was brave to do this, and conducted the vigil in a very calm and professional manner, not the usual screaming and sweaty jumpiness of some on such vigils, as his manner was entirely relaxed and rational at all times.   We consider this to be the way anyone serious about investigating the paranormal should be on a solo vigil, especially as most phenomena can be explained by natural causes, so it is best to not have a nervous attitude in a solo vigil as otherwise sounds and perceptions can become exaggerated by fear or attributed to psychological reaction. He had placed several EMF meters around the room, filmed it on night vision camcorder, and had an audio recorder operating.

 

Main Cellar - Tom's Solo Vigil

Tom reported he heard many knocks, bangs and clicks in the cellar in answer to his questions which he could not attribute to natural causes at the time.  He started off asking about the priest character but felt there was utter non-cooperation, although at one point he had a sense he was being watched.   Unfortunately he did not get any lights or sounds recorded on film or audio, but it was still a very valuable exercise.  We notice that this cellar area seems to have a changeable atmosphere at different times it is visited, sometimes seeming ominous, hostile or heavy and at other times neutral or totally comfortable, and for this reason it may be worth doing future solo vigils as the area may have phenomena or apparitions that are be affected by residual energy from its past history that is triggered at certain times or by particular events, - rather than an occupying spirit!

While Tom did his solo vigil, the girls went upstairs to the bar area.  They sat and did a short vigil there, but didn't particularly pick up on anything specific in this area, however they noticed when they called out asking if there were any spirits there to show themselves as a light, when they took photos again there were "orbs" in the frame whereas we have a dozen or so pictures without these when we hadn't made any such requests. We also noticed the dog Holly to become very excited in this area where these "lights" were.

We know "orbs" are a controversial subject, many citing they are purely random dust or moisture.  For the most part we tend to believe the same, - except when specific circumstances make them seem to be "intelligent" in that they seem to appear or respond when questions or requests are asked, or if they coincide with other phenomena.    Sometimes laws of probability make pure chance less believable an explanation, especially in a dusty room when you get no orbs at all, but in another you will have many but only on asking for them, and when they appear to comply with requests to appear in certain areas.

1:36am: Jane says "we are very tired, but you can use our energy if you want, if you can show yourself, show yourself as a light so we know where you are"  Critique of the video recording then shows a very strange figure of eight shaped blob of light appears mid screen as if from nowhere by Ali's hand, then rapidly moves to the left. This is very bright and is the oddest shaped light we have seen on video. None of us notice it at the time including Jane who is filming.   

Jane then says "when we came here last time we felt a really bad atmosphere like something nasty had happened here some time." Ali then got a sharp pain in her shoulder which she continued to complain about for the next 5 minutes or so, said it felt stabbing, all through her chest and shoulder, back.. At this point Ali and Jane both hear a smashing noise from somewhere and at exactly the same time Tom reports seeing two lights move in the men's area around the corner from Ali where he is sitting. Ali and Jane then hear another noise they both describe as a "Sssssshhhhh".

1:39am: Jane hears another noise she describes and is startled by, says it was in her ear like a "pshhew".   Ali continues to feel the pain in her chest & shoulder, Tom calls out asking if this is anything to do with "Emily", and Ali hears a "bbbrrrr" and describes it like a grunt.    Tom asks more questions about Emily or if there is anyone else here, maybe who did something to her, and he says he smells something odd, like a chemical scent, and then says he sees an orb or light flash quickly in front of him.  He continues to mention the smell, that it is changing, and it smells like old fashioned antiseptic or something you would rub, medicinal, definitely not cleaning agent you use in a toilet.

1:44am While Tom is calling out, Jane suddenly goes "Sshhh!! Listen to that!", she hears something and swings her camcorder around to the stairs area. At the same time Holly the dog suddenly goes barking loudly in a distressed way, like a whine and a bark combined.  Jane and the dog seem to have heard something and there is a strange noise recorded but the others didn't seem to hear it. Holly then jumps up off the floor where she was previously laying peacefully before this and is moving around, and the Gauss meter is sounding loudly registering EMF. Ali thinks she moved the Gauss meter so it's sounding, but she can't stop the noise either. The dog continues to be agitated and seems distressed for several minutes.  Jane says she was sure she heard a shuffling, rustling noise just before the dog reacted.  The dog then hides behind Ali's legs, and at this point an "orb" light is seen on the camcorder, moving away from the dog and sweeps away toward Jane. This light then moves like a ball in front of Ali's chair where the dog was lying before.  The dog is still appearing distressed and wants to be on Ali's lap, so Ali lets her up to be comforted, but once she is up she is looking around the area of Ali's chair warily.   Jane didn't notice the orb while filming and none of us saw it at the time. Ali says "Holly has totally changed from the way she was before, she was lying peacefully".   The Gauss meter is constantly humming now, whereas before it was silent and only spiking when noted above.

1:47am: Tom can still smell the antiseptic medicinal smell, so he gets up to investigate where it comes from, thinks it's the ladies' toilets.  As he enters he says he sees a big orb of light move right over the toilet seat, flashing. He says "I thought it was a reflection of the lazer therm so I turned it off, but it was still there moving about, and it was yellow, not red"

1:49am: Tom sees another light, flash against the wall of the ladies' room, and asks us if we flashed a torch in there. At about the same time Ali hears another "Ssshhhhh" sound partway up the stairs again, like a rustling sound.  Holly the dog seems to hear it and has her attention in the same area & is alert, doesn't look happy. Eventually she calms and gets down, seems to settle again.

1:50am: Ali says "Emily, come and talk to us" and she feels a cold hit her knees, suddenly a lot colder. Tom takes the temperature and it has dropped 2degrees C since the last time he took it.  Ali again calls asking for Emily, and straight away the dog is agitated again, jumps up on her lap a second time,and is looking around the room "at" something.

1:53am: Tom says he heard something like a tap behind him in the mens' room, the sound is detected on Jane's camcorder although she didn't hear it.        Q: "Can you do that again?" - at this Tom sees another light move by the sink, then hears another click in the toilets, also recorded on the camcorder. Holly is calmer but seems very interested in this area, she comes over to Tom's area. Tom jumps and says he heard a "phshew" sound.

As Tom is seeing a lot of lights moving in the toilets, he and Jane switch places so she can see if she gets them on the camcorder. Ali moves where Jane was in the corner and Tom is at the bottom of the stairs. As soon as we sit down all the EMF meters start flashing wildly again, with the Gauss meter also sounding loudly, then suddenly ceases

2:00am: Tom then asks Q:" Emily, or whatever your name is,can if be the information they have on you is wrong, they say you died of diphtheria upstairs, but maybe you were murdered down here, let us know if so" - Ali sees a small flash.   Tom continues asking questions:

Q: "Were you murdered by someone you knew, you trusted?" - Ali sees another flash of light or "something" by Tom's leg. Tom says it just got darker at the top of the stairs. The Gauss meter surges high when he says this.

Q: "I know you are at the top of the stairs, I can see a dark shadow, darkening now" - Ali gets a coldness suddenly from her side by Tom & the stairs.  Tom keeps asking questions asking if she was murdered here, & Ali feels the atmosphere feels charged, electric, tense.

Q: "Was it a co-worker?" - Tom sees a flash at the top of the stairs, and the Gauss meter is surging louder. Tom asks if it's a person she knew and trusted, you were emotionally involved with him?" Gauss meter surges again. Ali asks if somebody stabbed her or strangled her,and she gets another cold blast from that side on her arms.  Tom asks "Did he grab you when you were down here or push you down?" and Jane says for the first time "Oooh it's getting really cold suddenly!"  We all mention how it was way too hot when we arrived here.  Tom continued asking questions:

Q: "Did no one know you were down here?, Did he push you down the stairs" - The Gauss meter surges high and there is a loud knock from the stairs area. Ali says she felt cold on her hand like it was touched, and a tingling on top of her head.  Tom asks if she was strangled. At this point the K2 EMF meter on the floor & stairs goes crazy flashing high up to 5 lights again.

Q:" Were you strangled or beaten up?" - FLASH, Q: "Did he also stab you?" - cold blast on Ali. Q: "Was he evil, hurt you?" - FLASH 

Q: " Is your body still down here somewhere?" - Jane and Ali both hear a very loud knock.   Ali then asks this again to be certain:

Q: "Is your body down here somewhere?" - both Jane and Ali hear a "pphhhhww" by them.   Jane shouts alarm saying she saw something on the camcorder.   Ali then asks Q: "Did nobody ever find you?" - Gauss meter surges & sings louder.   Ali gets the idea of a tall, thin man with a black moustache, quite handsome, she asks Q:" Was it another worker who did it?" - Jane and Tom then hear another knock but it is more delayed.   Tom asks if the hotel covered it up, but no response and Ali says "I think it was unknown to anyone else, seemed like the perfect crime down here no one heard, no one knew, she just disappeared and it was claimed she left"  

Jane then says at the point Ali asked about her body still being buried somewhere down here, she saw a "white thing" go past the camcorder on screen, she was startled by it but then later realised the camcorder tape had ended so it wasn't recorded.

2:09am: We then ended the vigil, we were all very tired and couldn't continue even though it still seemed active. We decide we will have to go back sometime.

Cellar Toilets - vigil 21 July 2010 with Sue Smith

Later during their July visit we also took Sussex medium Sue Smith and her friend Ann to this area of the Crown Inn too, for a short vigil to see what they detected. Again, we had not told them about our earlier results and nothing was published about this.  Following is what Sue and Ann sensed in this area:

"I feel sick, claustrophobic, walled in, shut in, shut down here. It's like I'm walled in down here.   I feel like someone has been tied up down here, a woman, chucked down here because she was pregnant, put out of the way.  It's horrible down here. It's like there's been a murder down here, that's what I get.  And it's Elizabeth, I think they got her name wrong"

" I get a woman, feel she's in an old fashioned dress, down to her ankles, she's slim and tallish.   But she's not like a maid, she's well dressed. She has her hair tied up. I feel a breeze over my feet as I say that, and I feel a bit sick or anxious. I think the name is Elizabeth, a woman, not a maid, but late 1800s, long dress, hair up in a bun"

While Sue was saying this, Ann repeated saying "It's just horrible down here, really horrible".   

Earlier we had done a short vigil in Room 7 with Sue and Ann, where they had seemed to pick up on the same person.   While doing this vigil Ali felt the room had a dense atmosphere, Ann and Jane both saw a light move up the wall near the ceiling, similar to that reported by the lorry driver who stayed here and caught a similar light on his mobile phone. The EMF meter flickered when Sue was speaking about what she detected and Ali saw something move in the middle of the room, and Sue felt her foot touched, first thinking it was the dog who was on the other side of the room.  Sue said:

We do not know if there is also a maid called Emily, but we are convinced from all this that we got in touch with this person, that her name was Elizabeth, and in the case of this person she died not of diphtheria but was murdered in the cellar which are now the toilets and is possibly still buried there somewhere.   Although of course we do not know if there was also an Emily who died of diphtheria, we didn't contact her and believe it is Elizabeth who is seen in the Inn and especially these cellars.   It will be interesting if this was verified sometime, and we are also interested to conduct further investigations to see if we can fully unravel mystery.
Research Notes

1. We have not done any research into the Victorian lady "Elizabeth" or "Emily", and doubt we would find anything significant about her, although it could be checked to find if the name exists in any records of staff or owners.  If she was indeed secretly murdered and buried in the toilet cellar area then of course this will only be revealed with any digging or renovations work.

2. After a vigil in Room 5 where we came up with 18th Century gentlemen named Thomas and Jeremiah engaged in a fight or argument in this room regarding business of smuggling, and where we experienced poltergeist phenomena, we described our findings to the Landlady Karen who told us about experiences other guests have reported in this room.   Her daughter had stayed in the room one night & been woken in the middle of the night & alarmed to find the four poster bed frame to be shaking and knocking on the wall.   Another guest, a retired judge, had used the room and in the morning had complained "I had no sleep all night as two men were in my room arguing, one called himself Thomas!"  Karen was astounded to hear our report as she had thought the guest, whom she described as eccentric had imagined or dreamed it up, although he had been quite insistent.     It was also confirmed by her that this room had in fact been used as a reception or bar area of the pub, and historically was not used as a bedroom.  She also confirmed that there are legends of smuggling at the Inn, and we found similar folklore exists about other areas of Lewes Town.   We spoke to the owner of another building nearby who was told by his father & previous owner of a similar legend of its cellar being used for smuggling contraband.  We have not conducted any further research into this time period.

3. We were much more surprised to have apparently encountered what seemed to be a priest in the cellar of this pub in what looks like a Georgian building in the high street of a market town, especially one which didn't comply with any of our own preconceived ideas of what a priest would be like.  The cowled apparition seen by Ali, other information we seemed to get and which the medium Sue also sensed, seemed to be of a probably 12th or late 13th Century black cloaked character who was a rich, powerful, finely dressed priest or "master"who was in the cellar to hide some kind of illicit dealings, more interested in financial or political gain, that he was even connected to the Pope & also seemed to have some sort of minor military authority, as well as possibly dabbling in non-Christian rites.  Also that he was foreign.  Our own concept of a cowled monk or member of a medieval religious order was one of self inflicted poverty while assisting the sick & needy and farming their own food to eke out a living. So, we were very interested to research any possibility that we had touched upon anything remotely possible but were not hopeful of finding anything.

The morning after our cellar vigils we told the barman Phil about this, and he said "well, there was once supposed to have been a tunnel connecting the Crown cellars to the Priory".  This was the first we heard of the Priory, as before this we had known of the castle and heard possible tunnels to it from the landlady, but not to a monastery. We then learned that the ruins of the Priory at Lewes sit at the edge of the town not far from the Crown and we took a walk there, but we still didn't think a monk would fit the description of our character.

We have since done quite a search of information into the Priory,and looked into any other possible explanations for our priest, and summarise our findings here.  In order to get an idea of who our priest in The Crown cellar could be, first some notes about Lewes Priory itself.   This section has become quite an historical essay, but we decided to include everything for the sake of those strongly interested in any possible explanation for sightings of an apparition of a ghostly priest in The Crown's cellars:

The Priory of St Pancras in Lewes was different to others in England as it was of the French Cluniac Order, and had been established by the Hugh de Warenne, Lord of the castle at Lewes in the 11th Century after he visited the mother church, Cluny Abbey in France.  

The Cluniac Order was the richest, most prestigious and most powerful order in Europe with "Abbots who were statesmen on the international stage".    The order was not a self sufficient agricultural unit like other orders but became "highly influential financially and politically in their own areas".   The monks wore black robes not of rough cloth, but made of the "finest linens and silk vestments at mass", and the monks lived in luxury.  Despite vows of poverty the monks commissioned solid silver candelabras and gold cups encrusted with precious stones, and ate lavish food, not the usual porridge of other orders.   

The meager ruins currently existing at Lewes Priory make it look like a minor historical site or just like any other monastery.   In truth the priory at Lewes was the first and senior Cluniac house in England, was built to emulate the grandeur, prestige & power of the mother abbey at Cluny and became one of the largest and most powerful religious institutions in Britain, with a cathedral to rival those at York and Westminster.  It was hugely influential and powerful, owned many properties and lands all over the country as well as in the local area, was one of the richest, and became senior to 9 other Cluniac houses in England.

When it was established and for several centuries later, Lewes Priory was autonomous & self ruling, not answerable to any authority in England, although supported by the local knight.  The Abbots of Lewes were not English, but were assigned directly by Cluny Abbey in France and the were picked to be "rich, dignified, worldly, but closely identified with the Pope".   They were responsible only to the Papacy and Cluny Abbey itself, and as the Papacy was in a state of weakness in the 10th and 11th Century they gained great power.   The Priors weren't just priests but worked with local aristocratic and Royal powers.   Records show the priorities of the Prior were not the spiritual benefit of the community but "he was to be distinguished in gifts of virtue and reason by which he could enrich the Priory with Property" and "good business sense was essential" as most of his time was taken up managing and extending the extensive property and financial interests of Cluny.   Records show that even after the great financial decline of the Priory in its last years, there were many household servants, with 79 male servants, many more employed as labourers on the estates, & also many local women employed as cooks and cleaners.

Only 3 English Abbots were ever appointed, and all in the later years the Hundred Years War when King Henry VI enforced his own command on the Priory.

As for military connections or power to command men at arms, this is definitely possible.  In 1264 Lewes Priory was a huge and fortified set of buildings, and was able to accommodate an army of 6000 for King Henry III, who used the Priory as a base during his battle with Simon De Montfort at the Battle of Lewes.  The Priory even came under siege and was defended though badly damaged.  Much later in 1377 a French raid into Sussex with 120 ships led to Lewes town being sacked, although the Priory was well defended and suppressed the raid. Evidence at the time is that many men at arms were commanded by the Abbot at Battle in this war and also by the Prior at Lewes jointly with local knights.

We still wondered why could there be any connection to the Crown Inn or its cellar, and why a priest could ever be engaged in underhanded secret dealings in any cellar? And could there be any suggestion or evidence that Lewes Priors would ever need to use vaults or cellars connected by secret tunnels for any reason?  We can only guess at this:

First it could be significant that not all the Priory monks sided with the King during his wars with Monfort or the later the French. At the Battle of Lewes a schism occurred in the order and many monks were later punished or sent back to Cluny for conspiring against the King, so who knows in what dealings & politics the monks could have engaged behind closed doors or secret places.  

Further, Lewes Priory began as one of the grandest and richest religious houses in Britain but in the late 1200s that was soon to change.  Firstly the Priory was severely hit financially by the siege in 1264, having to accommodate and feed so many soldiers & aristocrats and the Priory buildings damaged in the battle.  Ten years later Edward I came to the throne and returned from the Holy Land, finding his country out of control, ruled by local powers who administered poor justice, squandered the wealth of subjects and many of royal lands & finances had been stolen by local lords or powers.  He set about a major reform of administration and reclaimed much royal land & property, then clamped down on any institutions that had overstepped the mark or grown too powerful, & this included any in Lewes.    In 1293 war broke out with France & all Cluniac monasteries in England became classed as "enemy aliens" and were taken under the King, losing their exclusive connection to France, and were only allowed to retain possession of their property through payments from their annual income.   King Edward regarded the Priors with distrust due to their French connection, and over many years through the Hundred Years Wars Lewes Priory was continually squeazed for more money by the King until they were in financial crisis throughout the late 13th & into the 14th Century.

We did not find any historical or archeological evidence of any tunnels under Lewes either from the cellar at the Crown, nor within the town in general. However we did find that one of the barmen lives in an old house nearby in the town center which also has a similar large vaulted cellar, which he was told by previous owners was once used by smugglers.  Another vaulted room exists under the old Town Hall near the Crown, which was once used as a temporary jail for the Protestant martyrs, so these vaults do exist under parts of Lewes.  The Priory has not had a thorough archeological investigation and only a small tunnel has been found, which seems to be a culvert.   However the Priory is known to have used underground vaults connected by tunnels to hide their wealth and dealings in other areas where they held property.   In 1795 the London paper Bell's Weekly Messenger reported discovery  of such a tunnel:

" In clearing away some houses on the south side of Tooley street, Southwark, for the approach to the New London Bridge; a very ancient and curious vault has been discovered. It formerly belonged to the monks of Lewes, in Sussex. Dugdale mentions it as having been swallowed up by an earthquake; but the present remains prove that statement to be fabulous, as there is not one stone out of place. It is principally constructed of fire and free-stone, and measures 40 feet long by 16 wide; it has semi-circular arches, with groins in the intervals, supported by columns, with neatly carved caps. The architecture is entirely of the Anglo-Saxon style. The earth has accumulated to the height of 4 feet, which hides three parts of the column. At the south end are two semicircular-headed windows, and on the mullion is the date, which appears to be 1011. On the west side are two niches, and a door, with a subterraneous passage, which formerly communicated with St. Saviour's church. In digging within this vault, a number of ancient coins have been found. "

Could a priest or Prior of Lewes have attempted to do his assigned duty as good Cluniac leaders of their order "to be distinguished in gifts of virtue and reason by which he could enrich the Priory with Property" and protect any remains of their wealth by hiding it from the King's officers in tunnels or various subterranean vaults? If not hoards of coins, could there be any truth to the legends and folklore that the Priory also held similar underground vaults under Lewes itself, possibly with or without tunnels, connecting the Crown and buildings around?  If not used for storage then used for any other secret dealings to protect their wealth?   This could be justified for whatever business they may have in turbulent times between England and France, when some monks were likely still loyal to their French mother church, and certainly were not trusted by the King as "enemy aliens".

Lastly are there any connections between the Crown and any religious houses in Lewes? The Crown is quite a way from the Priory so it seems unlikely there would have been such a long tunnel!

We found the earliest available records show the Crown, then called "The Black Lyon" date from 1636 when was owned by a landlord called Henry Townesend until 1675, the name changing to The Crown in subsequent years. We can tell an earlier building existed on the site previous to this, and the Landlady Karen has information from the previous landlord that the older cellar dates from that time, being an ancient cellar since medieval times. We found no evidence of exactly what building was on this site, not having the Title Deeds , but we did find that there were no less than 14 Churches in the area of Lewes including many in the town center of the High Street, many of which were demolished during extensive building work during the 1700s. One such church stood within feet of the current door of The Crown, and stood roughly where the current War Memorial is today. This was The "Broken Church"of St Nicholas.  St Nicholas Lane is directly opposite The Crown, leading up to where the old church stood. This church was a dilapidated ruin by the early 1600s, and according to records "It was in the occupation of Henry Townesend in about 1622." The buildings of the Church and the current Crown were so close as to be virtually on the same land, and that they eventually were owned or held by Henry Townesend makes it reasonable to assume they may have been part of the same plot.

Further record search reveals that the church of St Nicholas was among many churches & lands in Lewes town granted to Lewes Priory of St Pancras by William De Warenne in the 11th Century, shortly after the arrival of the Cluniac Order in Lewes, and on the death of earlier priests who governed these churches.  In fact this particular church stayed in the possession of the Priors and St Pancras Priory at Lewes for four hundred years until the Reformation, after which it became decayed and known as "The Broken Church", - eventually passing into the hands of Henry Townesend, owner of The Crown Inn:

"     Soon after the Conquest, William, 2nd Earl Warenne, gave to the Prior and Convent of Lewes the reversion, after the death of Richoard the priest, of the churches of St. John (sub Castro), St. Peter (the Less), St. Andrew, St. Mary (in Foro), and St. Martin, and, after the death of Bristelm the priest, of St. Nicholas and Holy Trinity, all these within the borough of Lewes." ...... "To a third, St. Nicholas, presentation was made in 1410 by the Prior and Convent of St. Pancras, Lewes, but it was not among those surrendered by the Prior in 1537, so that it was probably already in that ruinous state which gave it the name of 'The Broken Church'.   In 1592 the Queen granted this 'Broken Church' to William Tipper and Robert Dawe of London, who sold it in the same year to John Corle of Lewes, shoemaker, who enfeoffed several men, including John Holter, junior. It was in the occupation of Henry Townesend in about 1622. ( The Broken Church later passed into the possession of the borough, the profits being used to defray the expenses of the constables.  "
 
From: 'The borough of Lewes: Parliamentary, economic and religious history', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7: The rape of Lewes (1940), pp. 31-43.

We also note within this same document there is mention of The Knights Templar, who had a church and buldings within a hundred yards of The Crown in the same area on the High Street; the Church of The Holy Sepulcher, and that this church also was in existence at the time of the Battle of Lewes and was suppressed when Edward I came to the throne in his work to take back control of townships like Lewes from other influential knights and institutions. So, abandoning the theory of a priest of the Cluniac priory of St Pancras, could there have been a connection between our priest in the cellar and the Templars, who were known for wealth, power, military connections, and in latter years had to hide their activities, and even possible non conformist rituals?

In the end, we can't be certain, and a lot of this is theory that could be suggested as supposition.   However even the staunchest sceptic will admit the obvious similarities between the "coincidental" information we seem to have gleaned through readings of EMF meters, bizarre knocks, bangs, mental perception and supposed sighting of an apparition and the character description that seems to fit so well to these priests of Cluny.   Of course we could be accused of knowing all of this before we set out, and we can only insist that we did not, and were amazed to find such a priest in the cellar of what to us at the time was a Georgian pub, see his apparition and were astounded to find the history that could just possibly connect such a character to this old Inn.

Conclusion

The Crown Inn was encountered completely by chance.  We had heard the accounts of some apparitions but after our first stay there we didn't truly expect to see any or really to encounter any phenomena.   On our first night at the Crown we found it to be comfortable, basic accommodation expected in any inn, unfairly treated by negative reviews online that had almost put us off going at all, - but definitely not spooky!  When we visited it seemed "flat" in Paranormal parlance in our "haunted" room number 7, although we thought there was definitely a very unpleasant atmosphere in the cellar toilet area, & the medieval cellar was foreboding, as well as in a mess.    There was no pulling of our pillows or rattles or bangs and we woke well slept & reporting no disturbance at all.  However when we reviewed our camcorder footage filmed that night, we were astonished to find moving lights wandering over us as we slept, and subsequently decided to book further visits at the Inn to investigate it further.

Our subsequent further stay over 3 days and 2 nights again found it to be calm and comfortable, and not atmospheric in room 5, - until it all kicked off very suddenly.  Following our vigils in both the cellars, information we came up with that matched exactly that of medium Sue Smith during her later visit, and the research following our investigation has left us astounded at the events in this old Inn.  In over 40 investigations of sites all over the UK we have never encountered direct poltergeist phenomena, yet we appeared to experience this at The Crown, as well as seeing an apparition in the basement and were subject to numerous unexplainable knocks, bangs, moving lights, smells and temperature cold spots.

It is one of those places we suspect is subject to residual patterns and recordings from its past, impinged upon the material of the building which then replay at certain times or with certain triggers, but which otherwise are entirely absent.  A place where either nothing occurs at all and the ghost watcher could be very disappointed indeed, as we almost were on our first visit, or they may be lucky and have the whole gamut of haunting phenomena.   We can only conclude from our own standpoint that The Crown Inn at Lewes is definitely haunted, and we recommend it as a venue to visit for anyone interested in ghosts or the paranormal.  

Since this investigation reported above, we have conducted others together with the Caspian Group and medium Sue Smith, and were fascinated with the information that came up; all the more so as those who went on these new vigils went in "blind" not knowing anything about the place or our results and and yet came up with very similar results and perceptions or information about the hauntings at this pub.

We would be fascinated to hear of any subsequent paranormal experiences at The Crown, or history anyone may know that we have not managed to uncover, especially to do with any other Lewes cellars, tunnels or vaults, we welcome any interesting constructive input to our forum thread for The Crown Inn.

If anyone interested has any questions about this investigation, is interested in the paranormal or this haunting, or would like to ask our team what occurred to them, please visit our forum page which has a thread discussing The Crown here

Research References:

Extensive information regarding  the history of Lewes Priory was found at
http://www.cluniac-priory-st-pancras-lewes-de-warenne-foundtion-research.co.uk/ which is a thorough history of the order in this town.    Other sources tapped for their data were: