The Jamaica Inn

The paranormal is full of stories about many places that become locations that Ghost Hunters feel a desire to visit and experience for themselves; whether you call it a ghostly bucket list or simply your top ten haunted places; each Ghost Hunter seems to have those places they want to visit or have visited and rate above others.

Over the years I have been fortunate to visit my fair share of purportedly haunted places form a long list that never appears to shrink. However, every once in a while a place comes up that I have not been to and I find it hard to resist the temptation to experience the location for myself. Now this does come with its down side though, high expectations for a night of paranormal investigation never seem to deliver results for me. As such, perhaps I should stop myself from visiting these locations on a desire to experience them and should be heading there to investigate something more specific; still I can not really help myself sometimes.

When I saw that Karin Beasant was running an investigation of the Jamaica Inn, I quickly registered my interest and desire to attend. Although when I did so, I have to admit that I did not think I would end up going, especially as life has been somewhat hectic of late and these things often get lost in the noise.

However, that was not to be the case and Karin contacted me to confirm my interest and involvement, so it wasn’t long before I had paid for Jen (my partner) and I to join the investigation in February 2023. In fact I was really looking forward to it, but I was also less happy about the four hour drive there; it had been a long while since I had driven that far for an investigation. Still at least we would be able to stay in one of the haunted rooms over night after the investigation and rest up prior to driving home on Sunday.

Encyclopedia Britanica

Saturday the 4th February 2023 actually came around quicker than I thought it would and following a brief stop at Costa for our morning coffee; Jen and I hit the road heading South-West bound for the Jamaica Inn. Nothing quite like a road trip to get the years ghost hunting under way. In fact our route took us past Stonehenge, and as it was kind of half way, we decided it would be a good place to take a break and grab another coffee. After all we were going to need a lot of caffeine to keep us going until the small hours of Sunday morning. We had wanted to visit Stonehenge for a while; and whilst this was a flying visit where we really only got to see the infamous standing stones, it was a good place to start without having to pay to get up close and personal with the stones.

We headed on with our journey and finally arrived at the Jamaica Inn around 4pm.

Exterior from road – Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, UK

Situated along the A30 just past Launceston, I quickly realised that I may had visited this place as a child when visiting my cousin, Aunt and Grandparents; as I did spend some time in Cornwall when I was younger. Although I had to admit that if I had, those memories had escaped me, as the Inn felt pretty much like the first time I had visited. It’s lonely position in what could be considered the middle of nowhere, which was most certainly by design, gave the place a personality from the beginning. Then as you was inside and observe the decoration, the possibilities of strange stories begin to jump out at you. It was undisputable that the Jamaica Inn carried a character of its own, but how much of that character had a factual basis and how much was built on the stories that had grown from the place was still hard to distinguish.

Jen and I walked in to the Hotel Reception, which was empty, where we were met by Karin Beasant shortly after arriving. I of course failed to recognise Karin to begin with, but that is generally because I seem to be pretty rubbish at recognising faces. Luckily for me Jen is a pro, which meant introductions quickly followed.

The hotel receptionist appeared shortly after to show us to our room, the very haunted Room 5, we were told. So, after a brief walk through the main bar, up a flight of stairs, then down the corridor on the right we arrived at our. I asked the young lady if she had experienced anything paranormal at the Inn, but she replied ‘no, but I do finish at 8pm.’ I would ask one other member of staff during my visit, who also advised that they had experienced nothing paranormal during their time working at the Inn. Always a little disappointing when you manage to pick the only members of staff that have had no paranormal experiences. Still when investigating, one must collect all the information, even if it does not support a haunting.

Room 5 – Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, UK

After we had briefly settled into Room 5, Jen and I headed down to the main bar to grab a drink. As we did. Karin joined us and we discussed a few things paranormal as you do during these ghost hunts. Karin also gave us a brief tour of the museum area, which is undergoing a refit currently, as such the space is very disorganised and in the middle of being redecorated.

Following our tour we grabbed some dinner and quickly recognised that the Jamaica Inn provides some large portions, in fact as nice as mine was, I was unable to finish it. Ghost hunting aside, the food at the Jamaica Inn was not too bad at all and worth grabbing a bite to eat there. Pretty good value for money I would say.

After our dinner we headed back to our room for a brief rest ahead of the ghost hunt, which was due to begin at 1930. However, as the clock approached 1900, the quiet was shattered by the sound of the fire alarm. It would not be the first time I had stayed somewhere this had occurred, but it would be a first in other ways. As we opened our room door we saw the Hotel receptionist talking to the gentleman in Room 6, just across from us. It turns out that the steam from his shower had caused the alarm to go off and as such he was being advised to open the window a little; I got the feeling that this was a reasonably common occurrence they were aware of. Although whether that made it paranormal or not, really was debateable.

Jen and I headed down to the Lower Bar not long after to meet up with everyone else ready to start at around 1930. I always find it interesting to watch the group gradually arrive ready for a paranormal investigation, as it is always such a diverse mix of individuals and beliefs. However, we each have a common interest, the paranormal; which of course draws us all together like this.

Karin began the evening by providing some background and history regarding the Jamaica Inn, which was particularly interesting. I especially liked the possibility that the Inn had been named as such because it was owned or ran by a gent who liked to make jam. Hence it was known as the Jam-makers Inn, which later became Jamaica Inn. Love a play on words.

Before we headed off to our first location, Karin split us into our groups. Jen and I were with Leanne Burnam-Richards and her friend, along with Anthony Hughes. Both Leanne and Anthony being members of the UK Paranormal Society. Our group was dubbed ‘sceptics-r-us’ from the outset, which was a little inaccurate in my opinion as we were all openminded, but just wanted to find something truly genuine. Still I have noticed that sometimes because I am not a full blown believer, willing to believe that every knock is a ghost, I get thrown in the sceptics or non-believer camp. I wonder if that categorisation had a bearing on our night at all?

At around 2015 we headed off to our first area of the night; the Museum area. Leanne kicked things off really by attempting to make contact with a man in an area that was just off from the rest. This area was said to often be associated with a broad man or gentleman that has broad in his name. With her REM Pod placed on the floor, Leanne attempted the age old ghost hunter technique of calling out and asking the spirit to interact with us. However, at this time the spirit did not wish to engage and our attempts were met with silence.

Museum – Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, UK

Following a little more walking around we sat down at a Ouija Board table and attempted to use that to communicate. However, as you may expect with a group like ours, the planchette failed to move and no communication was experienced. Although that said, some interesting discussion around the topic of precognition was had in regards to something that could be mistaken for spirit communication. Sometimes we could interpret spirit communication as such because it appears that information is provided without someone knowing. Hence the source may be a spirit. To which I argued the possibility of precognition, knowing the information ahead of time based on the point in time when the result is checked. Confusing right!

Shortly after our failed spirit board attempt, we were led up stairs (which is actually upstairs, down the hall, down some stairs and then back up another set of stairs to the attic space; which is above the museum. Karin referred to the space as the barn loft too. This are was clearly used as a storage space for some of the items found in the Jamaica Inn shop. As we entered the space Karin pointed out some boxes that had fallen over, spilling their contents all over the floor. It was said that they had not been like it the last time she was up there, which by all accounts was the night before. Whilst I had no reason to disbelieve Karin, as her statement was true I am sure, I equally had no reason to conclude this spillage to be paranormal. As such I helped her to clear it up.

Attic Space Above Museum (Barn) – Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, UK

Once the lights were out, Karin asked if we could guess at some of the things that had been picked up or experienced in this space. Given the location I guessed the potential of someone being hanged in the location and Karin confirmed this to be correct. Which just goes to show that sometimes it is simply the environment that provides us with the narrative, which we may base our ghost stories on.

Other than Leanne’s friend being slightly concerned for her exposed ankles, nothing really occurred in the attic space; so at around 2130 we headed back to the Lower Restaurant for a coffee break.

It was during the coffee break that Luke Tabram from Shadow Paranormal and his group mentioned that they had experienced something odd in Room 6. This caught my attention as it was Anthony’s room, opposite our Room 5 and the location that had also set off the fire alarms earlier. Shadow Paranormal advised that they were in the room for around 20 minutes with the bathroom door firmly closed, then as they got up to leave the door to the bathroom appeared to open by itself. Something they advised they caught on camera, so one to check out on their YouTube channel when its released. We found this interesting as Anthony wondered if something odd like that had occurred during his shower when the alarm was set off. Which of course raised the question of whether or not this was paranormal or not.

At roughly 2200, our group headed up to investigate the bedrooms. Starting with Room 3, we attempted to sit in the chair in the adjoining room where the wardrobe is situated and call out into the darkness once more. This time I believe we directed our communication towards the weeping woman, called Mary. However, once again the spirits were unwilling to talk to us on this occasion. Although, Leanne was using an untested application on her phone, which was situated on the rooms dressing table; this did go off once, but for no discernible reason we could ascertain. And as it was an application that has yet to be thoroughly tested, we had to throw it out.

We moved on to Room 6, where we decided to test the bathroom door to see if we could find some kind of reasoning behind it. It was determined that; if the bathroom door is not shut with a little force, then it does open right away and swing fully open. Once properly closed it makes a loud ‘click’ and remains closed until opened, at which point the handle makes a loud click identifying that the door has been opened. At no point did the door open by itself and no amount of dancing up and down on the floor immediately outside the bathroom makes the door open either. That does not mean that the heat from a shower may cause the door to loosen and open; and does not mean that there maybe other areas of the room which could, when stepped on have the door open. Whilst the events certainly sound as if they could be paranormal, they equally lack conclusive experimentation to allow us to determine the only causality to be a spontaneous anomalous event that one may associate with an intelligent entity such as a spirit.

Room 5, which has reports of footsteps and even a dog jumping on the bed, was also quiet, not surprising as that was our room for the night. Leanne attempted some scrying, whilst we placed a spooky looking doll on the bed next to her friend. Even the Ouija board from the cupboard had no impact on our time in the room. Perhaps Karin was right, perhaps we were ‘sceptics-r-us!’

Room 4 was a little different to be fair. Anthony reminded us of the experience he believed that his aunt had in this room, where an old woman sat on the bed preventing her from moving, but during the whole incident his aunt was unable to wake her husband in the bed with her. Interestingly Leanne’s REM Pod did go off at one point, but there was nothing near to it that would have set it off. Her phone application also went off briefly too. However, things soon settled and returned to normal.

Our experience of the Main Bar and Lower Restaurant were somewhat quiet, although our group had no trouble talking about many things and keeping amused. Sometimes a ghost hunt is a good time to get to know like minded people.

Upper Restaurant (Seance Table)
– Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, UK
Main Bar – Jamaica Inn,
Cornwall, UK
Main Bar – Jamaica Inn,
Cornwall, UK

We then joined Shadow Paranormal around a table close to the corridor to the toilets in the upper restaurant for a séance. Prior to us joining them, they had heard some movement in the lower restaurant and seen some shadows near to the kitchen area. Of course we joined the table and that all changed.

Following our attempt at a séance we spent a little time discussing the experiences in Room 6, which to be fair was a really good idea as it helped us all to think through the situation, and then for each of us to draw our own conclusions of whether it was paranormal or perhaps had more logical cause. Personally, in my opinion the events lack enough to make them paranormal. I personally believe that there is more information available to potentially support that the door opened either due to floor movement in the room, which I have seen in other locations, especially older buildings too; or due changes in temperature which created subtle changes in the physical door and/or frame. Its known that changes in temperature and humidity can cause doors to expand and contract, given the circumstances around the bathroom door opening; it is more likely that this could be the cause rather than a spirit – occams razor. Like I said, that is my personal opinion, but does not necessarily mean it is correct.

Following a report of some ghostly legs and footsteps being witnessed in the museum area during the night, our group decided to head into there to investigate a little. With a REM Pod and Leanne’s phone application placed in another part of the museum we stood where the ghost legs had been seen. Members of the group began to call out in to the darkness with a hope of some communication. Nothing came for a while, until a loud bang was heard behind me. Shortly after that we began to hear the REM Pod go off a few times too. All of which was interesting as we headed quickly for 3am. Finally before Jen and I departed for bed, Leanne’s phone app went off briefly too.

Museum (REM Pod Activity) – Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, UK

The activity in the Museum area was interesting, but again just brief and sporadic. It certainly did not fit intelligent communication and I wondered if the plastic sheeting stuck to the carpet around the museum could be generating static and then affecting the REM Pod or phone that way. Still very interesting.

Jen and I went to bed in Room 5 and experienced a really comfortable quiet nights sleep, no footsteps or ghostly dogs for us on that occasion.

The next morning I woke at 0730 and looked out the window to see an eerie fog looming over the Jamaica Inn and immediately I recognised where some of the other stories may had come from, the place is certainly atmospheric and perfect for any writer to find inspiration; including this one.

Following breakfast and a catch up with team ‘Sceptics-r-us’ Jen and I headed home, stopping at Stonehenge once again.

The spirits and the reported activity are plentiful at the Jamaica Inn. Equally the history, myth and legend, not to mention local folklore are prominent at this remote Inn. Whilst others that took part in the investigation, which were in other groups, had some strange experiences they may believe are associated to the Inn’s many spirits; our group experienced fairly little and certainly nothing that would constitute communication. Some may argue that this was because our group was seen as the ‘sceptics,’ but in reality we were all open minded and more than happy to accept potential activity, but we wanted to ensure that activity may have a rational logical explanation first.

Paranormal events such as the one at the Jamaica Inn are great, they allow us to visit and experience some amazing places; but more so we get to meet new like minded people that become new friends. Sometimes that is the best take away. Especially when it appears to be all quiet on the spooky front, at least for us anyway.

Upper Restaurant – Jamaica Inn, Cornwall, UK

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