BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

13 November 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites

Contact Us

Wiltshire's Ghostbusters

You are in: Wiltshire > Moonraking > Spooky > Wiltshire's Ghostbusters > PSI Ghostwatch Report: The Black Swan 16/10/04

The Black Swan, Devizes

PSI Ghostwatch Report: The Black Swan 16/10/04

Swindon ghosthunting team Paranormal Site Investigators recently visited The Black Sawn pub in Devizes in their search for supernatural phenomena. Read the report.

From local folklore and the launchpad for 'Devizes Ghost Tours', the Black Swan set in the heart of Devizes, was shot to paranormal stardom when it was featured on TV's Most Haunted this October. 

Three days after the show was aired, Paranormal Site Investigators (PSI) conducted an overnight investigation at the Black Swan to assess its new claim of being one of the most haunted places in the south west.

The long history of the Black Swan site dates back to well before the building of the pub.  The cellar beneath the Black Swan is said to have been built prior to 1600, once part of a lavish network of tunnels underneath the town. 

Apparition in the cellar

Apparition in the cellar

The pub itself was built in the early 18th century, once owned by alleged highwayman Ambrose Saintsbury, is set in the town square in front of where gallows once stood.  It is said the present-day function room was once a court of judgement, and a meeting place for local freemasons and traders.

Thirteen members of PSI staked out the venue until 4am on 16th October 2004. Whilst scientific equipment exposed nothing out of the ordinary realms of fluctuations, there was a wealth of activity reported, and caught on camera.

Mild reported activity included: hot and cold spots, people being tickled, shadowy figures and outlines, light anomolies seen, and tapping heard.

More significant activity includes an investigator feeling as if their throat was being cut (a recorded event later verified by staff), a table cloth consistently moving when all possible causes were eliminated, and a light being turned on and turned off, seemingly on command, without any human intervention (electronic tests were conducted on the light source short afterwards).

'Orb' in the cellar

'Orb' in the cellar

PSI resident mediums picked up a number of apparant residual spirits. Mediums - who had not seen Most Haunted, or researched the venue - drew two sketches.  One of a bandit, and one of a pregnant woman.  The bandit closely resembled all descriptions of the infamous Ambrose Sainsbury.  The sketch of the pregnant woman resembled a sketch by a Most Haunted physic artist.  The woman was said to have been murdered at the Black Swan.

Over one hundred photographs, and many hours of audio and video tape were analysed.  The group eliminated a large number of anomalies, as being explainable light effects, moisture, dust and reflective surfaces. PSI was left with a number of 'unexplained' phenomena on photographs.

A number of 'orb' photos were taken.  The existence and relevance of 'orbs' is a controversial subject in the field of paranormal investigation.  More interestingly, a photograph of a burst of light when taken, with a clear human face and partial body clearly visible.  No possible rational sources for this picture have been identified.

last updated: 04/12/2008 at 14:30
created: 01/12/2004

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Peter Wiltshire
Me and my friend Ben had investigated the court room. We took some pictures and tried to get some EVP. We got one picture of the fire place where an orb was seen hovering by the clock. Also we took another picture of me with the recorder and we saw some white mist around the recorder. We got two EVP recordings. One of a small groan and one of a male's voice muttering somthing. The freaky thing is the orb was captured by the the clock on the fireplace. The same one that was knocked on when most haunted investigated the place.

I have stayed in room 4 at the Swan, for 4 nights. The first couple of nights was ok until I took a shower, I soaped myself up and went to rinse off but the water was boiling hot, I started to turn the hot tap down until it was all the way off, but still boiling hot, I then turned up the cold to full, but still boiling hot. In the end I had to get out and rinse my self down using the sink. I also had a new phone with me but the battery life only lasted 1 hr the next day after been on charge all of the previous night. When I got home the and recharged the battery it lasted 3-4 days. Strange, I think the woman was trying to burn me, I have also heard she died whilst giving birth not murdered?

Mr. Alan Childs
My research of one haunted home back in Beaumont (1978) Texas reminds me of some similar anomalies. I stayed alone in the home without a flashlight or any other safety backups (Ive always had more success as a loner). I did engage a dark force that literally held me immobile. I was unable to move and could not see anything in front of my face. Sometime later I revisited the home and this time I had spent a great time in prayer before my stay. I had invisible helps that night and was led to a location in the house room by room. I found a secret stash of illegal drugs in a bag in one of the back bed rooms. My german shepherd stayed out front as a sort of companion backup. I spoke to the invisible helper and my dog was able to see it. My dog ran up the road whinning like a scared puppy. My adrenalin was pumping that night. Overcoming fear is something the invisibles take note of. Alang with other things. Mr. Alan

harrypotter eo maxemo

terri from blackshaw paranormal
ive been with blackshaw paranormal for a year now and we have got amazing footage of black swan much better then what is shown

i believe in ghosts ive seen a few there very interesting but alot of them arent orbs

jack pinnere
I have an interesting portrait of ambrose that was given to me by my grandfather in the sixties.

stacey cattell
i no ghosts drain the energy to produce orbs but the one in this picture looks to me like a ball of dust blown up, and the lense and the way the camera is set has enlargened the image to make it look bigger then what it probarly was. but i do believe in ghosts as i have had a very unpleasent experience with one and the picture looks like it could be something you carnt really put an explination to that image as their was no body their at the time only behind the camera.

I stayed at the Black Swan last night (room 8) and I had the best sleep I had in a long time!

the trial was not good to the person being in problem

bianca pinciaro
ghost and orbs are real,,,i know because i always see them and my 9 year old son sees people who have died but do not know so yet.....

Just came back from night at Black Swan, booking the night completely unaware of any paranormal events or programmes (just needed somewhere nice to stay the night). Said to husband when we first entered our room (3) that I felt strange and that I couldn't relax. Then went out to party where friends from area asked where we were staying and telling them Black Swan - they all told me it was haunted and it completely freaked me out because I truly felt something in that room.

bianca pinciaro
orbs are real,,,why cant people just see them for wat they really are and just try to believe???

You are in: Wiltshire > Moonraking > Spooky > Wiltshire's Ghostbusters > PSI Ghostwatch Report: The Black Swan 16/10/04

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy