In the outskirts of the moors in Cornwall with a dark history of smugglers and gothic romances. The Jamaica Inn is a perfect setting for a british ghost story, and according to the legends, it has many. 

“Dead men tell no tales, Mary.”
― Daphne duMaurier, Jamaica Inn

Located in the rugged landscape of Cornwall, England, Jamaica Inn is said to be one of the most haunted places in Britain. Its walls are steeped with stories of ghosts, dust and deep secrets of smugglers and stolen goods and murdered guests – it’s a place that has enticed many looking for paranormal activity. 

The Jamaica inn is said to be haunted by small children being mischievous, old smugglers lurking in the corners, blacksmiths that burned to death but are still handsy with the female guests and mysterious Victorian women in the dark shadows. So let’s put on our tricorn hat and bring our smuggled rum for a stay at the haunted Jamaica Inn. 

History of Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn was built in 1750 as a coaching inn and has a long history of being a hideout for smugglers during the 19th century. It was originally known as The Jamaica Arms, but underwent many changes over time, including the addition of drunkards’ dens and clandestine accommodation for smugglers. 

Over the years, it has served several purposes, most notably a coaching inn for local travelers. But what really sets it apart is its mysterious stories of hauntings by spirits that lurk in its passageways and hidden doorways.

Jamaica Inn lies upon the ancient Bodmin Moor – a wild and untamed landscape which has held a certain allure for centuries. The moor is full of legends, myths, and stories from both ancient Britain and more recent times. It was once home to people living in remote settlements and Iron Age Hillforts, as well as a hideout for smugglers and pirates. 

Jamaica Inn The Novel

Jamaica Inn is perhaps best known for its namesake novel, written by Daphne du Maurier in 1936. She was inspired by the real Inn when she was staying there in 1930. It is also a song by Tori Amos which she wrote when she was driving along the cliffs in Cornwall and was inspired by all the legends she had heard of at the inn.  

The book is a classic example of gothic romance, and tells the story of a young woman called Mary Yellen, who moves to the Cornish inn and becomes involved in the murderous activities of its inhabitants. 

While some argue that Jamaica Inn is purely a work of fiction, many locals have cited uncanny similarities between their own experiences at the inn, and Daphne’s descriptions of unexplained events and hauntings in her novel.

The Ghosts of Jamaica Inn

Many believe that Jamaica Inn still remains haunted, with multiple unexplained occurrences taking place in the inn over the years. There have been countless investigations, even TV shows about the Inn. Especially an episode of the TV show Most Haunted in 2004 sparked a new interest in the old inn. 

Most of the ghosts and paranormal things that have been spotted have been at The Smugglers Bar, The Stable Bar, which now is a museum, in the old bedrooms upstairs as well as in the restaurant and gift shop area. 

Some claim to have seen faceless figures wandering through the corridors, while others have heard strange noises coming from empty rooms. Staff and visitors have many times heard conversations in a completely different language than English, some speculating that it could be old Cornish, meaning that these spirits can be really old as the language became extinct for a long time at the end of 18th century. 

Ghost Hunting at the Jamaica Inn

Now the Jamaica Inn has opened up for its own weekends and late nights for ghost hunting at the inn. Perhaps you as well can experience seeing the highwayman in the traditional three cornered hat often seen passing through the doors before vanishing into thin air. Or perhaps the young mother in distress with her crying baby that also has been seen. 

One thing the ghost hunters got on tape was a strange thing that happened on a Sunday on October 23rd in 2017, when the CCTV camera picked up something strange when the wall phone hanging by the bar looked like it was lifted before dropping to the floor. The staff member April was startled, and had earlier heard the bar door open without anyone entering. Nobody alive at least. 

Have a look at the footage and see for yourself. What do you think?

The Mother with her Crying Baby

As mentioned, one of many possible ghosts at the inn is the many reports about people having heard a baby crying at the inn. This has apparently mostly been close to room 3 and 7, and the baby has been heard even if it has been confirmed that no baby has been staying at the inn at the time. 

Most often this ghost is linked to the tragic story of Mary Downing. She was young and single, but had an illegitimate son. In 1934 she sued the landlord at the time, Thomas Dunn to make him recognise their son. Thomas Dunn was a married man, but the son ended up being christened Thomas Downing Dunn at Altarnun Church. 

Hannah the Child Ghost

The baby crying is not the only child haunting the inn if we are to believe the rumors. There is the ghost of a small girl that has been dubbed Hanna that is said to roam the inn barefoot. One guest that stayed in room 5 once woke up and saw her wet footprints in the carpet that led to the wardrobe where there used to be a bathroom. 

People have heard her running around their bedrooms at night and even claim that their feet have been touched in their sleep as they see her transparent figure by the side of their bed. There is a story about a service man that was so frightened that he fled his room and spent the rest of the night in his car. 

In the later years there seems to be a bigger interest for the ghost of Hannah and people have started to write her letters and send her toys. And even these toys are said to sometimes move on their own. 

The Murdered Stranger

Perhaps the most talked about ghost is the stranger that ended up murdered in the moors by the inn. His apparition around 1911 were especially noticeable as many reported about seeing someone who shouldn’t be there on the walls by the inn. 

The inn has become shrouded in myths and legends over the centuries, with tales of apparitions seen near hidden staircases and secret rooms, eerie noises coming from the old stables even though no horses were ever kept there, ghostly figures roaming the grounds at night, and strange sightings in each of its many otherworldly locations. 

One of the tales is the ghost of the murdered stranger that passed through the inn. Once a man was in the bar having an ale before someone called him to come outside. The stranger didn’t even finish his drink, but went into the night and was never seen again. 

The next morning they found his dead body in the moors, but how he died and murderer was never found. 

There have been reports of a stranger by the wall outside the Inn that neither moved or responded when people greeted him. Sometimes when the bar is closed and the inn is empty, there have been footsteps heard towards the bar, but no one reaching it, and some have speculated that it is the man returning to finish his ale.

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