The Schooner Hotel
About 20 years ago, some very serious claims were made about this place. The owners claim that they have had over 3,000 paranormal reports, leading to ‘The Poltergeist Society of Great Britain’ to label this as Britain’s Most Haunted Hotel.
I take this with a pinch of salt, as no, I have never heard of this society either, although this was the early 2000s before social media and when not everybody had a website…they certainly do not have a presence today (bad wording!)
However, I am part of a Facebook group called Ghosts of The North East, which shares stories from people who experience paranormal activity in the area. This hotel is a hot topic and constantly comes up, in particular, one room of the hotel…whre an alledged murder took place.
Alnmouth is a very small village located on the Northumberland coast, where the River Aln flows into the North sea. Yet this village alone was wiped out by the plague in 1348, just 12 years after the Scots had attacked and raided it.
But it slowly built itself back up, and within a century, there were around 20 households living here.
The Schooner itself can be traced back to the 17th century, when it was used as an old coaching inn. It was very popular, especially considering this fishing village brought a lot of schooners into its harbour, and with that, this part of the north east coast was rife with smuggling.
Just a couple of miles up the coast is the village of Boulmer, one of the hot spots of storing smuggled goods in the north of England. This part of the coast attracted many smugglers, the most famous being William Faa. In fact, one of Dead Air’s background historians can trace her direct family tree back to a notorious smuggler that lived here.
The Schooner was part of this smuggling network. Legend states that there was once a tunnel that lead from the harbour or beach area, directly into the cellar of the building where smuggled goods could be hidden. The tunnel is now sealed up in the cellar, although still visible, but I have spent years trying to find out where it actually ran to.
It wouldn’t be long before a lot of gangster activity took over The Schooner. Weapons would start to be smuggled in, and with the types of character you would expect with that, crime also would rise.
Yet all of this was going on below the building where names such as King George III, and Charles Dickens were known to have visited.
The Schooner’s most notorious room is 28. It does get a little bit confusing, because room number have changed over the centuries, and it is believed that rooms have been made smaller by splitting them in two with dividing walls, but whatever the number on the door, the area where room 28 and its bathroom is, was the area where the De Vere family were murdered by their drunken father.
Details are sketchy, and there are multiple versions of events, but I will tell you both sides of what I have been told from various sources.
- The father came up whilst in a drunken state, and violently murdered his wife and children in a fit of anger.
- A traveller poisoned the family and then dragged their bodies into this room, and later murdered them.
I am always cautious when various versions of a story exist that have a different theme, but as an investigator, my role is to see if I can capture or debunk paranormal activity, and the rest is up to historians to find out.
In the summer of my visit, a famil were staying in this room, when the mother was woken by the sound of her daughter talking to someone in the middle of the night. When she asked he little girl who she was talking to, she simply replied: “The man”.
Yet my investigation also picked up a lot of unusual activity. The SLS camera mapped three figures standing in the corridor outside of the room, two of them around the size of children. I also heard footsteps, and whilst sleeping there, a locked off camera also picked up the floorboards creeking as if someone was moving around the room.
For the record, I had the entire hotel to myself, as the show was recorded when the hotel was forced to close due to the UK heading into a national lockdown.
Other ghosts said to haunt the hotel include Parson Smith, who died in this building in 1742 when he was given a casket of ale. When he tried to connect it to the tap, it shot ou, going straight through his eye and into his brain. He is still said to haunt the ground floor.
The first floor corridor is said to be haunted by a maid or housekeeper, and a child that has been seen in the early hours of the morning. Her identity has not been proven, but it could be linked to a tragedy that occured here on Christmas Eve, 1806.
That was a date that changed the village history. A storm hit the coast so bad, that it literally changed the course of the River Aln forever, to the point that an old church on the hill was completely cut off from the village, and is now located on the south side of the river.
That night, a woman waited at The Schooner for her fisherman husband to return back to harbour with her small child sat on her lap. As you can imagine, the story goes that the husband’s boat was destroyed by the heavy waves, and upon hearing the news that he was lost at sea, she is said to have stood up and fainted, falling into the fireplace with her child. The child would be rescued from the fire, but died shortly after. The fate of the woman is known, but she possibly survived this ordeal.
When I carried out a lone vigil in the corridor on the first floor, I received some iltelligent communication with the K2 / EMF meter that suggested I was talking to a female spirit who died here around that time era as mentioned above.
Previous hotel owners and staff have talked about a dark figure that was seen upstairs in the corridors. One incident involved it darting from one of the rooms and through a frosted glass door leading to the stairs. When they looked at the locked room it seemed to have come from, that room was described as being “icy cold.”
A WWII soldier is also seen on the top floor. The only possible link I can give for this is that on the 6th June 1940, a Spitfire flown by C.H. Bacon crashed onto the beach at Alnmouth after clipping wings with another plane.
I have investiated this hotel previously, doing a radio show live from the building. That was not very active, but when I got back inside in 2020, it was a different ball game completely.
Visit The Schooner Hotel
Address: 8 Northumberland St, Alnmouth, Alnwick NE66 2RS
The Schooner Hotel is located on the main street in Alnmouth. Parking is always tricky in the area, which now has a one way system in place, so the best option is on the road around the back of the harbour.
I’d also highly reccomend you visit Alnwick, which is just a few miles inland from Alnmouth, although I’d imagine that the majority of people who book to stay in guest houses here would do so anyway as it is one of the main attractions of the local area.
The Schooner Hotel has changed hands a few times since it featured on TV with Most Haunted, and as you can imagine, new owners may not be as into the paranormal as previous ones. This explains why the hotel hasn’t had many ghost hunt events in recent years, as new owners have focused more on opening an Indian restaurant downstairs.
If you want the most haunted room, ask for 28.
2010 Radio show