The 17th century was a time of significant development for the maritime industry, particularly in the United Kingdom. Golden opportunities abounded. Shipbuilders began to modernize merchant vessels to meet importing and exporting demands. New faces arrived on Alnmouth’s windswept coastal shores of Northern England on a daily basis, turning the once-quiet village into a bustling enterprise. Local inns were forever packed to the rafters and weary sailors often found themselves sleeping rough, choosing the streets instead of the cramped, rat-infested conditions of their own ships. As councilors became aware that the lack of provision and comfortable beds could tarnish the town’s reputation, the idea of a coaching room became the perfect solution to the sailor-strewn street. Construction of the 32-room Schooner Hotel was soon underway. It was named after the most common ship that docked at the harbor in those days.
Visitors say the tranquility of the village and its beautiful coastline fills their hearts with peace but the storms cast a feeling of dread. Waves have been described as salivating beasts, devouring everything in their path. When dark, dreary weather closes in, people seek warmth and refuge in cozy, quaint ale houses with roaring, comforting log fires. As rain batters the tavern windows and wind howls through the chimney breasts, people begin to swap chilling stories of the Schooner Hotel which is said to be occupied by 60 ghosts…
From prosperous times to drunken nightmares
The Schooner Hotel became a prosperous venture that provided many jobs for the locals. In contrast, many inconveniences and anxieties also arose from its existence. Controlling drunken sailors became a tall order. Disorder became commonplace and violence regularly spilled out into the once quiet streets. Fist fights became part of the fixtures and fittings, as did a mounting death toll.
One summer night in the 18th century, a group of rowdy and heavily intoxicated young sailors began to squabble. After a while, a fight started and the carnage poured out onto the dark street. The violent men grappled, kicked, punched, and gouged at each other like wild animals. Suddenly, a tall, broad, and wraith-like figure emerged from the sea mist that surrounded the town. Pulling back his trench coat, he withdrew two pistols and shot two of the sailors in the face, killing them instantly. The other rogues looked on in horror as the mysterious figure, his face unrecognizable in the dimly lit street, walked towards the two lifeless bodies.
The demonic figure grasped the collars of the blood-soaked corpses and dragged them into the darkness. After an extensive search by locals and the police, the sailors were never found. While the terrifying being was never seen again, in recent years, there have been reported sightings of a tall, broad, skulking, faceless figure in the hotel. He slowly thuds and creeps along the corridors, dragging what appears to be two bloody carcasses behind him. Was this monstrous character once a guest at the Schooner with a thirst for violence and death?
Ghostly reminders of a disastrous love affair
The young ladies of Alnmouth often watched the sailors working in the harbor. Their smart uniforms and robust physiques were appealing. Everything about a sailor conveyed masculinity, adventure, bravery, and hard work, traits that were often difficult to find among the local men. However, relationships between sailors and the local ladies would begin and end as quickly as they had started, leaving many a broken heart in the process.
One infamous, heartbreaking story involves a young girl and a French sailor. He had docked for several days while awaiting cargo. The duo enjoyed many coastal walks. They would walk hand in hand and ever so slowly, love began to blossom. The young lady was besotted. The handsome sailor has stolen her heart.
On his last night before sailing, he surprised the girl with a suite he had arranged in the Schooner Hotel. After a wonderful meal and a romantic night, the girl awoke to find the sailor gone. Frantically, she darted to the harbor, but his ship had set sail. She had given her heart to him and he had promised her the world. Without a word, he had vanished like a thief in the night. Gone forever.
Devastated and heartbroken, she made her way back to the suite and ended her life. Her lifeless body was found the next morning by cleaning maids, hanging from the rafters. Knowledge of the exact room where this inconsolable girl committed suicide has been lost in the mists of time but the spirit of a pale and weeping young lady is regularly reported. She glides through the corridors in the dead of night wearing an expression of devastation.
The horrifying family massacre in Room 28
One dark December evening, a young family of four arrived at the Schooner Hotel. Their carriage and horse were taken to the stables, and they were escorted to their room. At around midnight, the hotel’s bustling nightlife began to fade. Last orders had come to an end and candles were slowly extinguished. The drunken jeering of sailors and the clanking of tankards faded with the light. The bolting of rooms could be heard echoing throughout the corridors as guests settled. The landlord carried out his final checks and made his way to his quarters, completely unaware of the catastrophe that awaited him at first light.
At around 6 am, the landlord was abruptly awoken by the shrill cries of the morning maid. He clambered to his feet, shuffled into his nightgown, and darted down the corridor to investigate. The pitiful cries took him to the top floor where the young family slept. Noticing that the bedroom door was slightly ajar, he cautiously walked inside and witnessed something that would haunt him until his dying day.
The maid lay shivering on the floor in a fetal position, crying hysterically. The large tankard of milk that had been requested for delivery by the family the previous evening, was strewn across the floor. As he looked up, he saw the mutilated bodies of the family. They lay lifeless on their beds, their hands clasped together at their waists, as though purposely placed in that position. Their faces were unrecognizable. Beaten and bloody. Lacerations covered their naked bodies and vital organs lay at their sides. The bed sheets were soaked with blood. Not an inch of material or the floor was spared from the bloodied mess. The odd finger and limb could be seen on bedside tables and piles of guts and gore sat like small mole mounds around the room.
The bar lord lost consciousness at the horrific sight. Once composed, he immediately alerted the police. Sadly, the culprit of this heinous crime was never found. It was suggested that a local merchant may have been responsible. Some months earlier, the merchant agreed to a business deal with the father of the family that had left him in financial ruin. The merchant regularly made threats of revenge but never threats of such violence. Due to a lack of evidence, the merchant was released without charge. Unfortunately, the killer, whoever it may have been, remained free to roam the streets of Alnmouth for the rest of his days.
What lurks within Rooms 16 and 17?
Several spirits are said to move between rooms 16 and 17. Many guests have reported being abruptly woken in the night by an overpowering smell of burning. Dark shadows with elongated fingers are said to manifest at the end of the bed and the terrifying sight is often accompanied by paralysis and a feeling of dread. After what seems like several minutes, the figures vanish. The experience is so horrifying that many guests vacate the hotel immediately after. In addition to this, unnerving pounding noises are heard on the corridor walls outside. The spirit of a boy is said to be responsible, and he has been seen running down the corridor before vanishing into thin air. An eerie silence permanently permeates these rooms, accompanied by regular drops in temperature.
Recently, a hidden door was discovered connecting the two rooms. The door is covered by wallpaper and a thin layer of plaster. A clear outline of the door can be seen but the biggest mystery is what lies behind it. Staff are unsure of the reasons behind the closure and concealment of the room and it has never been opened for centuries. Could this hidden room hold the answer to the hauntings?
Schooner Hotel Spookiness abounds in Rooms 28, 29 and 30
Guests often experience unbearable dizziness and sickness in rooms 28, 29, and 30. Strangely, when the affected guests leave these rooms, they feel well again. Unnerving and guttural whispers are heard in the early hours of the morning and loud rapping sounds can be heard on the walls and ceilings. Sounds of slamming doors are also heard despite all doors being locked and bolted. Childish laughter has been heard from inside the bathroom which ceases immediately when guests try to investigate. Finally, the ghostly figure of a young cavalier and maid have been seen walking hand in hand across room 29. They are said to stop and stare at each other adoringly before disappearing through the wall into room 28. Reports of the smitten duo are common but no malice is ever experienced.
The information in this article resonates with me deeply due to my own experience of the Schooner. Ten years ago, I naively booked a room, thinking all the tales were false. Late at night, I braved a walk around the lonely and dimly lit corridors. I was the only guest. The only other person present was the duty manager sleeping a few corridors away.
After an hour of searching and seeing nothing, I decided to head back to my room. Suddenly, a bright light began to materialize directly in front of me. At first, it was about the size of a small coin, and it slowly grew, twisting and shifting into a distorted spiral. It grew to around 20cm in height and about 10cm in width. I watched in horror as this curious light suddenly shot past my right side, spinning and turning as it moved. The bizarre light stopped momentarily and then slowly drifted toward the wall before sinking into the wallpaper and vanishing.
I stood for what seemed like an eternity while my brain tried to make sense of what I saw. Eventually, I began the short journey back to my room. Every few seconds, I glanced over my shoulder wondering if the mysterious light would reappear. It didn’t. I spent the rest of the night unable to sleep, eager for morning to arrive. Think you could brave a night at the Schooner Hotel? Take a trip if you dare…