Hanging on the stairs in The Ancient Ram Inn is a portrait of John Wesley the founder of the Methodist Church, it is claimed by the owner of Inn that when he first hung the painting on the wall in his home the resident spirits went wild for a time. It has also been claimed that certain ghostly activities have been centered around the painting of this auspicious man. Some people have claimed unusual E.M.F. readings from the painting, although I have never personally had any experience at the Ram E.M.F.reading's or otherwise that centered around the painting of Mr. Wesley there is an interesting haunting that involved the Methodist and his family when he was a young man. The following is the story of that particular event.

The haunting occurred in his father's parsonage in Lincolnshire and began in December 1716 lasted for two months and ended as abruptly as it began two months later in January 1717. During this period every member of the Wesley family that still resided with their father and the household staff experienced some form of the haunting. John Wesley himself blames the haunting on a judgment of God bestowed on his father for failing to keep a vow that he made some fifteen years before in the year 1701 when as was their tradition they had gathered at six in the evening to say prayers. John Wesley wrote:

My father obsevered my mother did not say "Amen" to his prayers for the King. She said she would not, for she did not believe that William was more than Prince of Orange and no lawful King of England. My father vowed he would not cohabit with her until she did. He then took his horse and rode away, nor did she hear anything of him for a twelvemonth. He then came back and lived with her as before. But I fear his vow was not forgotten before God.

It is more than plausible that the reverend Samuel Wesley's wife was grateful for this absence of her husband as he appeared to be a very virile man fathering no less than nineteen children! John was the first born after his father returned.

Samuel was never a popular man in his parish or indeed the surrounding areas due to his political beliefs, the general populace were stanch supporters of the Stuart cause. Samuel however believed that William was the rightful King. It is no surprise then that Samuels house was burnt to the ground by his parishioners in 1709, although it was rebuilt out of brick before the year ended.

The haunting itself began on December 2nd at around 10pm. The first person to experience anything wasn't in fact a member of the family, but was a man called Robert Brown employed as Samuel Wesley's man servant. Robert was sat in the dinning room with one of the maids when there came a knock at the door; he dutifully opened the door to find no one there. Puzzled he returned to his seat and had just sat down again when he heard the knocking again this time he also heard a soft groaning and said to the maid "It is Mr. Turpin, he used to groan so". Again he found no one there; in fact it happened three more times. As you can imagine both Robert and the maid where by now quite puzzled but decided it was time for bed. When Robert reached the top of the stairs he saw a small hand mill turning by itself, to further add to his anxiety when he finally got into his bed he heard the sound of a turkey gobbling and someone stumbling about his room.

Brown and the maid recounted there tale of continual knocking the following morning to the dairy maid, but she openly mocked the pair saying, "what a couple of fools you are! I defy anything to fright me". She was soon to regret her words, for that very evening after she had finished churning and had put the butter onto a tray she heard a loud knocking coming from the shelf where the milk was kept. She searched with a lighted candle for the source of the disturbance but as the knocking got louder and louder she soon fled the room in absolute panic.

What followed over the coming was deemed so serious by the reverend Wesley that he began to keep a diary of occurrences, it is from this and letters his mother wrote to his eldest brother, also called Samuel who was at that time living in London, that John Wesley was able to glean the minute details that he used to record it all later in his life.

Molly one of Samuel daughters was reading alone in the dinning room when she heard the door open and someone enter. This someone seemed to be wearing a long gown made of silk and approached molly where she sat walked around her and then back to the door again. I say seemed because Molly could see no one, only hear there progress across the floor. The girl realized that running would be pointless as whatever it was would move much faster than she could, so she stood up, picked her book and walked from the room. Later that evening when in her bedroom with her sister Sukey she recounted what had happened but spoke as if it were just a joke. Neither of the girls where laughing moments later though when a knocking started under the table, the girls looked but found no one. The iron casement started to rattle and clatter and despite her earlier braveness molly jumped into the nearest bed still full clothed and pulled the covers over head where she remained until the morning.

Samuel Wesley ran a tight ship and ruled his family with an iron hand, so it will be no surprise that he insisted one of his daughters sat outside his room every night and waited until he called them to come in and take his candle from the room. It was a couple of nights later when another of his daughters, Hetty, was waiting dutifully outside her fathers room that she heard footsteps coming down the stairs from the attic.

My sisters (wrote Hetty) heard noises and told me of them, but I did not much believe them till one night just after the clock struck 10 I went downstairs to lock the doors, which I always do. Scarce had I got up the west stairs when I heard a noise like a person throwing down a vast coal in the middle of the kitchen. I was not much frightened but went to my sister Sukey and we together went over all the lower rooms, and there was nothing out of order. Our dog was fast asleep and our cat in the other end of the house. No sooner was I got upstairs and undressing for bed, but I heard a noise. This made me hasten to bed.

The following Emilia waited outside her father's bedroom for the same purpose as sister the night before. As she left her fathers room she heard a noise from the hall below. She immediately went downstairs to check on what could be making such a load banging. As soon as she reached the hall how ever the banging started in the kitchen, when she reached the kitchen it began on the outside kitchen door, but as soon as she open it, it stopped, only to start again once the door was closed. Carefully she opened the door a second time, this time she was forced against the wall by the door she was holding. After a struggle she managed to close and lock the door. Once the door was closed the knocking started again, this time Emilia ignored it and ran for her bed to scared to wake anyone. The next morning she told her mother who replied, "if I hear anything myself I shall know how to judge"! What her mother never mentioned was the fact that she was putting every incident down in letters to her son in London.

A testimony to the Reverend Wesley character came a few days later. Emilia had asked her mother to come with her to the nursery where they both heard the sound of a cradle being rocked violently, although the room had not contained a crib for many years. After accepting that it was paranormal in nature Mrs. Wesley had tried to banish the ghost with earnest praying. This proved fruitless so she no choice but to go to her husband who reacted with anger. It is interesting that up till this point he no idea what was going on around him. His turn came later that day! He had gathered his family together for the evening prayers and as he started his prayer for the king the room was rocked as a violent knocking began to sound all around them. The interruptions to his prayers continued every night starting when he started his prayer for the king. He would admit nothing to his wife but he must have been concerned because he went for help from a fellow clergyman in near by Haxey, Mr. Hoole. When Mr. Hoole arrived Samuel told him everything even the disturbances during his prayers for the king. That night there was no disturbance during the prayers. Between nine and ten Brown the manservant came into the room where the two men of the cloth were talking. "Old Jeffery is coming" he told them, the children had christened ghost that after a man who had died in the house before they lived there. Brown knew he was coming because he was always heralded in the same way. John Wesley wrote of the matter:

It was towards the top of the house, on the outside, at the northeast corner, resembling the loud creaking of a saw, or rather that of a windmill when the body of it is turned about in order to shift the sails into the wind.

At that very time the knocking started again, "come sir" said Wesley to the not unafraid vicar, " now you shall hear it for yourself"! As they entered the nursery the knocking transferred to the neighboring room, when they went in there it returned to the nursery and continued in this way for some time scaring the three children who were already in bed, Hetty was severely frightened and lay shaking and sweating with fear. Samuel Wesley was incensed and pulled a pistol from his belt and pointing it Hetty's headboard threatened to kill the ghost if it did not stop its knocking at once. The vicar now greatly alarmed snatched at Wesley arm shouting "Sir, you are so convinced this something supernatural. Then you can not hurt it, but you give it power to hurt you"!

Wesley lowered his arm and raged at the ghost "Thou deaf and dumb devil! Why dost thou fright these children who cannot answer for themselves? Come to me in my study, that am a man"! The ghost answered with Samuels own knock that he used to announce his arrival at the gate banging on the headboard so hard it almost broke it. Then it fell silent.

The following evening Reverend Wesley was granted his wish. As tried to enter his study for which only he had a key the door open with such force that he was almost knocked down. Then knocks started again going from one wall to another and then into an adjoining room where his daughter Nancy was. Entering the room he said to his child "These spirits love darkness", and he put out the candle, "now perhaps it will speak". But the knocking merely continued, he spoke again to his daughter, "Nancy two Christians are an over match for the Devil. Go downstairs. It may be when I am alone he will have the courage to speak". After she had left Wesley said aloud, "If thou art the spirit of my son Samuel, I pray you knock three times and no more". He was rewarded with silence.

It seemed that ghost had diverted from attacking his children and was out fully to get Samuel himself. The knocking followed him all through the house day and night and the only warning he had was the whining of his dog which always cane seconds before any event. John Wesley remarks in his account:

My father was thrice pushed by an invisible power, once against the corner of his bed, then against the door of the matted chamber, a third time against his study door. His dog always gave warning by running whining towards him, though he no longer barked at it as he did the first time.

It was around this time that the ghost made its first physical appearance revealing itself to the Minister's wife, she reported it as "like a badger but without a head" and she saw it running under her daughter Emily's skirts. A servant twice saw the same apparition but described as a rabbit not a badger. It was soon making itself known to all and sundry, running continually up and down the stairs and making noises like a turkey, and one was terrified when she heard a sound like a death rattle she could not even move, let alone escape the room!

Things escalated rapidly from this point with all sorts of strange things happening around the house. Door latches would lift by themselves and when one of the children tried to hold one down it could not be done. Samuel Wesley however still had not seen the ghost, although it continued to disturb him during his prayers. The knocking continued and Samuel would follow the sounds from room to room. He took to spending long times alone in his study trying to speak with the presence, the only answers he ever got where the sounds of a small animal squeaking. It was Hetty that seemed the most upset by the ghost and was having trouble sleeping and even breathing her terror was so great.

The story of the haunting was beginning to spread around the countryside and many people tried to reason with the reverend asking him to leave the house if not for his sake then for his family. He refused saying "No! let the devil run from me!, I will never run from the devil!" he did however write to his eldest son Samuel in London asking him to return home, but before the son could make his travel arrangements he received a second missive from his father telling him that all had returned to normal and peace once again reigned in the parsonage.

Why it stopped so suddenly is as much a mystery as to why these things happen at all, maybe God had decided that Samuel Wesley had paid enough for breaking his vow. We will never know.