The following article is the beginning of a new article series we are pleased to present. Steven Rumbelow has agreed to write about his paranormal experiences that led him to do this labour of love, Beyond. He will also write about a few behind-the-scenes experiences that he and the crew experienced during the filming of the show.
Brandon House House Hotel – Hauntings 1951 to 1964
My Mother and Grandmother decided when I was about two years old to take out a lease on a huge, old Georgian House at the centre of Bristol. It proved to be a successful attempt to drag the family out of poverty after my Grandfather deserted the family when he ran off to South Africa. He did this after becoming a multimillionaire with the sale of his successful chain of Rumbelow’s stores.
The hotel became a regular stop for celebrities like Cliff Richard, Lulu, all the biggest Wrestlers of the day and a number of professors because of its proximity to the University. When we moved into the house I was sick with hooping cough and I remember it well because the fumes of renovation made me sicker and I was put on a camp bed in the kitchen. Whilst laying there at night, I would stare out at the light in the hallway, a bare bulb and there is where I remember the sight of my first apparition in that house.
Although I knew nothing of cavaliers, I saw a cavalier take shape out of the streams of light from the light bulb. He turned and looked at me, removed his plumed hat and did a deep bow in my direction. I remember smiling because he was a welcome relief from the illness. I told mum about it and she didn’t think much of it. We were soon to learn that this was one of several anomalies that regularly haunted that house.
Once the house had been converted to a hotel, it was not unusual for guests to flee in the middle of the night, especially if they stayed in room number 8 or anywhere on the top floor. Cleaners refused to clean on the top floor and I would help my mother clean and change bedding up there to the accompaniment of of the room radios, lights and water taps being turned on and off. Guests also regularly complained about that kind of activity in every room and their watches and clocks not working properly.
The house provided a number of regular occurrences, many of
them on a daily basis:
• A loud cough in one’s ear located anywhere in the house and several times a day.
• A shadow creature in room number 8.
• The Cavalier.
• A smoking man on the top floor who was perverse and would turn lights on and off and
wake you up in the middle of the night by bending over you. The smell of tobacco always
pervaded the rooms.
• The front door and inner door would open every day at noon unless the doors were locked.
• Poltergeist activity on all floors and in all rooms.
• Compasses didn’t work properly there.
• Certain rooms became dark and heavy during the day.
• Watches and clocks couldn’t keep time.
• Visual anomalies included a large eye that would be seen at night in the dark and other
peoples’ auras would become visible to people who had never previously been able to see auras.
My mother was great at turning it all into a joke. She would refer to the cougher as “’Ol Joe” and laugh every time it happened. So, I was rarely scared by the events until the night that we decided to sleep in room 8. There was a shadow creature in that room and it was terrifying.
The experiences were so rife that the family investigated the history of the house. They discovered that it had been built on one of the hanging sites, which used to be on a hill overlooking the city of Bristol way back when. It was easily visible to the townspeople and the bodies would be left hanging until they fell from the ropes due to advanced decay.
My mother also started a nightclub there, the first proprietary nightclub in Bristol called The Triangle Club. She converted the cellar of the house to accommodate a ‘beat generation’ sort of cellar environment. We never experienced anything in the club.
My mum and Grandmother became tired of running the house and decided they’d made enough money so they sold out in the mid sixties. The business was bought by a local entrepreneur, Harry Harris and we moved out. Two weeks later, Harry called and wanted to go back on the deal. There had been some violent reactions to his wife who was very spooked by the events and evidently she was attacked by a number of flying plates as they were moving in. My mother suggested a more symbiotic arrangement with less dramatic reactions but Mrs. Harris was not willing to go back into the house again. Harry turned the club into a coffee bar and I would often visit there with my friends, socially. Harry would talk about the hauntings all the time.
Years went by and I’ve visited the house and looked at it from the outside a few times. One time I knocked on the front door and the person who came to the door said it had become a rooming house for students. The club had become a burger joint. The house was dark. The woman who answered the door was obviously depressed and worn down by the activity in the house. One day I intend on going back there to do a thorough investigation with a camera crew.