From Dearne Today:
IS THERE ANYBODY THERE?
YOU'D expect to find spirits in a pub, but not necessarily the ghostly kind.
But drinkers at the Travellers Rest pub in Swinton have been experiencing some strange goings on - and it's not because they've had one too many. Times reporter LEE PEACE investigates.
IN THE two months since Paul Turner and Sheila Woodcock took over the Traveller's Rest pub, they have become convinced that it is haunted.
They claim to have seen shadowy apparitions, say that glasses have been thrown when no one was around and may have even captured the ghost on camera.
Paul, 54, a former market trader and self-proclaimed believer in ghosts, and partner Sheila, 49, spoke to the Times in the pub about their experiences.
"It is really spooky," said Paul: "Now and again you just get this feeling that there is a presence, especially when we are in on our own.
"The temperature drops suddenly and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. It feels as though you're being watched."
"We had only been at the pub a couple of weeks when one evening, out of nowhere, one of the glasses threw itself off the shelf across the bar and onto the floor. A customer was standing with me at the bar when it happened and we just looked at each other gone out. The same happened again the next day."
"We didn't think much of it, but other things started to happen over the next few weeks," said Sheila: "On one occasion I was in the flat above the pub and it was as though I was locked in one of the rooms. I had the key and unlocked it from the inside but I pulled at the door and it wouldn't budge, it was as though someone was pushing from the other side but there was only me in the flat. Luckily Paul heard me and came up to let me out."
On other occassions they have seen figures walk into the pub but when they went through to serve them no-one was there.
In the run-up to Halloween, more strange things started happening.
Paul said: "I was standing near the pool table on my own when one of the pool cues which was up against the wall shot about 5ft across the floor. This had also happened a couple of weeks previous when a bunch of cues did the same they just slid out across the floor."
So came Halloween night and Sheila's son Darren was putting up decorations in the pub when he saw a grey figure standing near a fire door. Within seconds it was gone.
Said Paul: "Darren came to tell us about it and he was quite shook up - he was as white as a sheet."
Later that night they took photos of visitors dressed up in costume, but when the picture came back a bright yellow and orange aura could be seen on many of them.
"We are not sure what it is on the photos but it could be the ghost - we can't explain it."
So who is this ghostly visitor? It is believed it could be one of the pub's earliest landladies, Fanny Knowles.
The pub is believed to be one of the oldest in the Dearne Valley, dating back to the 18th century.
It is believed Mrs Knowles was in charge of the pub when the old building was knocked down and the current building was being constructed on the same site prior to the First World War.
Local historians say Mrs Knowles was the licensee for a number of years, but they have been unable to trace any more details about her life.
Our picture is taken from a framed photo of Mrs Knowles which was found in a storage room by one of the bar staff soon after the couple took over the pub.
But they refuse to hang it up because of "bad omens".
Paul said: "Our regulars all know about the story of the ghost. They have said that owners in previous years used to hang the picture up but took it down because odd things started happening.
"So we keep it where we found it, face down in the store room."
In May 2005, with the co-operation of the previous owners, a 'Most Haunted' style paranormal investigation was carried out which caught on tape various shadows and 'orbs' (floating lights believed to represent paranormal energy).
Paul said he would now like to see another investigation carried out to try and discover more about their ghostly visitor.
"We would like to see if there is anything there. We don't mind the ghost being there, so long as it doesn't start taking the drinks!"
14 November 2006 (Dearne Today)