Paranormal TV shows…
I have to be honest to begin with here I think, I am not really a fan of paranormal reality TV shows as they in my opinion they just don’t show the reality of true research and investigation. I’ve said it before and I will say it again though, they do deliver greater interest in the paranormal field and are often a great place to find locations to investigate, if that’s your thing.
However, as I knew that Paranormal Lockdown UK had investigated a location that I had spent many years investigating, I wanted to see what Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman would discover at the Royal Oak pub in Swanage. So, I recorded the episode which aired in the UK on the 13th September 2018, but actually watched live too.
Nick & Kat’s 72 hours…
As the show opened and the voiceover by Nick Groff delivered the overview of the Royal Oak’s paranormal activity and a little history the memories of this familiar location came back to me instantly. As ever the first part of the show would cover a walk around with the Land Lady Rachael and her good friend and local Swanage Medium Terri. Nick and Katrina learnt of a couple of the pubs stories from the pub where psychic Mediumship had helped to provide what appeared to be verifiable information. Highlighted by how spirit communication with Terri had both helped to identify the location of a gun in the bar area, but also something far more important that I felt the show skimmed over a bit quickly. I guess its not seen as being particularly dramatic, but to be fair the communication that Terri received from the blacksmith (I believe his name was Phillip) probably saved the pub. As it brought to their attention the fact that roof beams were rotten and in need of repair, if memory serves me well. As an investigator and researcher that seeks those anomalous pieces of information, this kind of thing strikes right up there.
The Royal Oak has an abundance of stories similar to this that I have heard over the years. It seems to show that if the resident spirits are communicating, then they certainly wish to be involved in ensuring the survival of this beautiful Swanage pub.
The Paranormal Lockdown UK Team then kicked off their 72 hour investigation on the first floor and it wasn’t long before Nick and Kat experienced a little Royal Oak activity. Nick spotted a dark mass, something I have seen in the past in the twin room too. Then they received quite a bit of communication via the GeoPort device, which was providing audio feedback for them to attempt a probable conversation. Now me being me have a need to know how these things work before I fully subscribe, the GeoPort falls into that category I am afraid. The device threw out an abundance of audible communication; ‘the baby’, ‘I will never forget’ and more. The question I have regarding this particular device is simple; how does the GeoPort work?
Now from what I understand the GeoPort device scans radio and converts this and electromagnetic and vibrational waves to audio. The sound is from scanning radio first, then the EMF circuit and reverb device allows the modulation of the source input by fluctuating electromagnetic fields and vibrations. All this is then chucked out as amplified sound. Which sounds highly technical right? I am all for trying all kinds of gadgetry whilst investigating, after all you never know what might help locate some information which could be prudent to the investigation. However we must be as equally sceptical regarding said gadgets as we would be for anything paranormal. Just because it’s a fancy gadget that pumps out clear audible communication doesn’t necessarily make it spirit communication! Let’s bear that in mind shall we, especially as much of the ‘evidence’ in this episode of Paranormal Lockdown UK was related to it.
Time for a pint in the bar…
There was one piece of gadgetry I did like in this episode though and that was the pint glass sensor. Again I would like to know exactly how it works, that’s just me. However Nick and Kat setup this experiment on the bar downstairs in the Royal Oak and there was some interaction, which indicated there was something going on. It would have been good to cross reference this activity with other data, but I have to remind myself that TV is different from an investigation I would probably do. Still the little experiment gave me a smile and given the location seemed perfect.
Nick and Kat continued to investigate the pub and run a few other experiments like movement sensors, possibly based on the shadows they had seen previously.
Paranormal Lockdown’s understanding…
After investigating the probable vortex or doorway area in the twin room (Vortex Room in the episode) Kat and Nick then began to contemplate their evaluation of what was happening at the Royal Oak. However it was during this that some categorical mistakes were made I’m afraid, possibly due to their lack of knowledge of the location and its locals, but mistakes never the less. Given this let me attempt to break it down a little.
Nick made a comment in regards to ‘conjuring’ going on at the Royal Oak, which could not be further from the truth. Perhaps Nick was eluding to something else, but unfortunately dropping that term into the episode at that point just created great misdirection. What was equally misrepresented was the connection between this term and the ‘circles’ and ‘séances’ that have occurred there. Both circles and séances that have taken place at the Royal Oak have been based in a very spiritual approach. After all the Royal Oak is not only a local pub it’s a Spiritual Centre too, both Rachael and Terri have the upmost respect for spirit. Something which I have seen on numerous occasions. When I have investigated there items such as Ouija Boards have not been allowed.
So, as you can see the Royal Oak, Rachael and Terri are more related with elements of spirituality that helps people though psychic Mediumship, healing and more. In the many years I have been attending the Royal Oak their approach has always been very positive and had the best interests of spirit in mind. This has included helping move spirit on and help many that have attended the pub.
The episode concluded by expressing that perhaps the circles may be creating doorways to something and those had allowed potentially something negative through. A conclusion based partly on their understanding that activity began with Rachael moving into the pub. This was equally bolstered by Nick stating investigations and such may be making things worse. The problem is that there have not been regular circles for nearly two years and before that they were somewhat irregular. As Swanage also has quite a good summer season, Rachael and the pub are focussed more on the holiday makers during the summer. So, spiritual focus is practically non-existent during these times. There is also a particular fact that I discovered during my own investigation of the Royal Oak early on, that is a previous Land Lady had also experienced paranormal activity whilst her family lived at the pub.
Granted that Paranormal Lockdown UK’s time at the Royal Oak was limited as is their time for research was too, but I think the conclusion on this one is a little off. However I have been investigating the location for eight years and had more opportunity to delve deeper into this case, so I’ll forgive them. Although I would hope that Nick and many others would be a little more cautious before throwing terms around when they are associated to individuals, especially when those people are very kind people. Don’t judge a person by the trinkets they keep on the shelf of their bar perhaps. Unless of course the very same trinkets have created a psychological misconception, which played on Nick and Kat’s mind without realisation.
My own time at the Royal Oak…
Often when locations are presented to us as ‘haunted’ we assume the possibility of ghostly sightings or even perhaps spiritual communication of some kind. For Ghost Hunters and many Paranormal Investigators alike, haunted locations are where they head on the weekend to discover more about the paranormal. It’s an interest that has exploded over the last ten years or so, with more teams emerging each year, new conventions the world over and numerous mainstream TV programmes too. For those locations many have become so booked that the waiting list to access them at a weekend is well over a year.
Back in 2010 I headed towards the Royal Oak pub in Swanage with an investigation plan and team to look at some of the strange activity reported by the land lady and the locals. Other than one other visit to interview the locals about the pubs haunting, this would be my first main visit to the Royal Oak. At that point in time my own approach to the paranormal and possibly my teams, was of finding logical explanations for various anomalies. That way what couldn’t be explained could essentially be labelled probable paranormal activity for further study. What I had no idea of at that point was that I was about to embark on a continuous investigation of the location and exploration of my own understanding of the paranormal on a much deeper scale.
That first investigation of the Royal Oak did help to present a few explanations that helped us to understand a number of probable activity. It didn’t categorically explain it all away, but options existed. However there were also a few incidents that left us with gaps and a desire to return. One thing that really captured me though was that there was something more to the Royal Oak. It felt more like a private case in someone’s home (it was the land lady’s home) rather than a public location like a museum or fort. In addition though although we had come to investigate the pub, it was soon apparent that there were some people linked to the location that were important to this investigation. For example, with them present activity increased. This lead to me asking more questions and discovering the existence of a regular spiritual circle held at the pub, which could be part of the reason for increased activity. This for me opened up a new dynamic to the paranormal investigation, so I made sure I done a little research on it.
It was looking at the Royal Oak with a different perspective and being willing to try some more spiritual or Mediumship based approaches that led to more personal experiences, but also a couple of shared one’s too. This really began with my Grandfathers pocket-watch. Pete from the pub and I were sat in an attic room and asked out loud for spirit to move it. Now the watch didn’t move, but it started ticking as if it had been wound and ran for roughly twenty minutes. This was something it shouldn’t have done under normal circumstances. I tested the pocket-watch for about three months and couldn’t repeat this strange behaviour, no matter what I tried. The watch moved as we had asked for, but it didn’t move as we expected it would. The concept of perception had begun to filter into the understanding of the Royal Oak and my own understanding of the paranormal.
This oddity around the pocket-watch was just the beginning though. This later included seeing what can only be described as an illuminated arm, which was an experience shared with someone else. There were also some interesting instances of Trance Mediumship, which delivered some real philosophical pieces of information amongst other things. Information that really got you thinking, yet didn’t seem to fit the locals normal character.
Although these varying spiritual communications are hard to prove due to lack of specifics, there was still certainly something going on. Equally there were a few returning characters though trance Mediumship too. Characters which locals believed were linked to a family that used to own the Royal Oak in Victorian times. This began to raise some new questions; 1) was this a case of reincarnation; or 2) was there a localised spiritual link somehow?
More than a haunting…
These concepts fascinated me on various levels, and thus my Royal Oak story was set in motion. The Royal Oak for me now is far from an investigation of a haunted pub. It touches on my own research of telepathic interaction and how paranormal activity could be explained. As the Royal Oak has reports of both physical and psychical activity it makes it an ideal location, but also group of people to help with my own research and understanding.
I’ve investigated at the Royal Oak now roughly ten times, which includes my own investigations, investigations wit a couple of other groups and also a Singapore Theory Victorian Séance Experiment. I’ve also visited the Royal Oak a few times alone to gather more information and just observe sometimes. I’ve also stayed there too. It’s certainly safe to say that there is without doubt something about this little Swanage pub that has an affect on people and on individuals that are more psychic naturally. The Land Lady Rachael has told me about a few people that have walked into the pub randomly, known information they couldn’t have, but still been compelled to tell her. Some, a little like me I guess, have walked in and kept coming back. Now its possible this is due to the homely nature of the Royal Oak and as its so unique and not commercialised by some huge brewery. However it could also be the locals too, those in spirit and drinking spirits.
The Royal Oak is more than a haunted old pub that needs investigating, it’s a common denominator of various interlocking stories. Since 2010 its been a big part of my own story and psychical research, a place that without doubt has helped to explain my own perspectives. Its also somewhere that I am still looking into as we have so much more to learn about its past. It doesn’t end there though, the Royal Oak is a massive part of Rachael the Land Lady’s life story too. Her own memories, experiences and how she came to own and run the Royal Oak is another story too. Quite an interesting one actually. Then there’s the locals, those that have been a part of the spiritual circles held there too, those I’ve introduced to the Royal Oak and keep returning too. Its also similar for those that have run the pub too in the past, as they’ve experienced paranormal activity too. The Royal Oak is somewhere to be experienced that’s for sure, but equally perhaps somewhere you should try something a little more spiritual.
Don’t get me wrong it is very important to investigate properly and gather that essential data, but sometimes as I found at the Royal Oak, its equally good to explore your own understandings and experience some of the spiritual side too. I have seen a few investigators arrive at the Royal Oak and discover a more spiritual side to their personality that they hadn’t necessarily explored before. Some even claiming that the place itself has a certain feel to it provides this connection too. It is indeed an oddity and one I wish in this case I could reject personally, but there is a feeling that the pub even gives me. Something I could only describe as a feeling of arriving home and being connected.
It’s still not over yet…
I’m hoping to return to the Royal Oak later this year to investigate once again. Once again the investigation will involve a balance of science-ish and spirituality. I hope to report on this here on the blog later in the year. I’m also working on some more detailed research regarding the Royal Oak, hopefully adding to the greater story of this interesting Swanage pub too.
So, as you can see, hopefully as I did after a few return visits to the Royal Oak, sometimes we need to immerse ourselves in a place to really comprehend what is going on there. That is something that Paranormal Lockdown UK have got right in my opinion for most locations, as they spend 72 hours on site. However there will always be those anomalies like the Royal Oak that require a touch more of our time to fully understand their story. After all it is the stories that highlight these places to us in the first place. Stories like Rachael’s one where somehow she has managed to not only manage the Royal Oak, but own it too. A story that seems to be entwined with that of the past somehow, one is part of the other. Terri’s story too, where a kind friend has found her life long unique gift to be something that has brought happiness to others lives and equally helped to communicate what the spirits of the Royal Oak have to say.
My ‘white crow’ …
As investigators and researchers we strive to find those pieces of evidence to help support what we are looking for within the paranormal. In my opinion the Royal Oak has often been my ‘white crow’ over the years. The reason being is that it has presented physical activity, visual anomalies, audible anomalies and some interesting psychical research too. In regards to my own research Terri Powell has presented some real help in regards to Mediumship. Often providing me with some interesting information she couldn’t have known about my grandfather. Hence the location has provided an abundance of research and ideas that can be tested elsewhere too.
Hopefully this post has helped to provide a little more background regarding the Royal Oak pub in Swanage beyond the 72 hours that Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman spent there as a part of Paranormal Lockdown UK. Below are a some of the posts from my website on the Royal Oak, please have a read as they all help to provide a bigger picture on this fantastic little pub.