The stories you are about to read depict actual events told as truthfully as recollection permits. Occasionally, dialogue consistent with the character or nature of the person speaking has been supplemented. All persons within are actual individuals; there are no composite characters. The names of some individuals have been changed to respect their privacy. In the name of privacy the names of the public houses where these events took place have been changed.
PART ONE: THE ROOM
The Royal Oak once stood in the countryside of South Yorkshire. Built in the 1700s, it was a classic Georgian design, located a few hundred yards from the main road on a long wide driveway that doubled as a carpark. The roads that led to the grand old place snaked through the surrounding countryside and if I pestered long enough, my dad would park the car en route to the pub on moonless nights on one particularly dark road we nicknamed ‘spooky lane’ and turn off the lights. That darkness was something I’ll remember for a long time.
At the time of the story I’m about to tell you, David was living at the pub. This took place before I was born, but I can recall the bedroom now. That’s because it was the one I slept in whenever I stayed over at the pub as a child. The bedroom was almost a perfect square, bar one recess for a built-in wardrobe. I was glad of the simple design because it meant one thing: no shadowy corners for the bogeyman to hide in. In a building that old where spooky events were a regular occurrence that can be pretty important to a kid.
Because of the remote location, security was paramount, so the old building was equipped with sliding chain locks on all of the windows, even those on the first floor accessible only by ladder. The chains were comforting, but while the windows locked, the internal doors did not.
Anyone who has worked in the industry will tell you, the best part of the working day is when the shift has finished, the punters have all gone home, and the lights are out. But it’s not because the work is done that makes this the highlight. Going to bed straight after a busy shift is impossible, so, as the dust settles on the aftermath, it’s the turn of those who worked their backsides off to have a drink and share stories about the shift, maybe tell stories about weird customers or funny events. On the right night, a few extra drinks flow and the banter flies. It’s the closest you’ll get to a campfire without having a campfire.
It was on one of these nights, after saying goodnight to his colleagues on the night of the story, David trudged upstairs to bed. All was quiet except for the sound of laughter drifting upstairs from those he’d left behind. The hour was late, and he was looking forward to a good night’s sleep, but there was a problem. When he reached the bedroom, the door wouldn’t open.
He tried the handle, and it moved. But the door did not. It didn’t rattle, it didn’t budge. He knew the doors didn’t have locks. It was stuck fast. After a few minutes of trying, he gave up and trudged back downstairs for help.
David stumbled back into the kitchen thinking he might have been victim of a prank, but when he relayed his story, the first instinct from those downstairs was to scoff. They had no idea what he was talking about, in fact, they thought he was playing a trick on them.
David dragged Tony and Des upstairs to see for themselves. Both men playfully ribbed David on the journey upstairs, a grown man who couldn’t open a door. Then they tried the handle. It was true, the door wouldn’t budge. After a quick assessment of the situation, it was decided that the best answer was brute force.
Any laughter from their trip upstairs quickly subsided.
After working together shouldering the door, they managed to open the door a crack. Peering through the small gap they’d managed to make, it soon became obvious as to why the door was stuck. The bed had been pushed against the far side of the door.
After more work fighting against the heavy furniture on the thick carpet, they opened the door wide enough for David to squeeze through. A quick inspection revealed that there was nobody in the room and the windows were locked from the inside.
A friend of mine suggested that this bizarre event could have been the result of an earthquake. For those of you reading from outside the UK, earthquakes in England are extremely rare. Is it possible that there could have been a tremor strong enough to move furniture that nobody remembers? A tremor that only affects a single bed in one room, and not smaller, lighter objects in other rooms? I think not. An erathquake strong enough to shift heavy furniture on a thick carpet would certainly have been noticed, if not at the time, then there would have been plenty of evidence after the fact. I’ve told this story to many people, and I’m yet to hear an explanation more plausible than the incredible story itself.
Have you experienced anything similar? Do you have a better explanation then the one above? Let me know in the comments below. I’d like this to be a serious discussion, so no jokes, memes, etc. And please be respectful of others!
I'll see you on Friday for Part Two: The Highwayman.
In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.