Imagine this, a cloudy sky and a vast expanse of moor all around you, strong wind playing with your hair.
And by the side of the road, you find an inn, which has still managed to retain its quaint look despite the modernity around it.
The Jamaica Inn rose to fame because it was the subject of interest in Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 book Jamaica Inn, which was also adapted into a movie of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock.
Du Maurier’s story about a young girl and her possibly smuggler uncle was written after she stayed at the inn in 1930.
The inn has a very long and interesting history, some of which is still debatable. The debate starts with the name of the inn itself.
Some suggest that inn acquired the name because of the rum smuggled from Jamaica into the Bodmin Moor. But others negate this theory saying that it is a misconception and that the inn got its name to highlight the significance of the important landowners at the time – the Trewlawneys.
Two members of the Trewlawney family served as the Governor General of Jamaica in the 18th century.
The inn was built 1750 and served as a half-way house for smugglers who transferred their contraband through 100 different routes.
For nearly 25 years, the inn served only as a place to keep the carriages for the night, known coaching house. In 1778, a tack room and stable was added to the building.
During the late 18th century, the British imposed heavy tax on tea and liquor. The pirates sold tea for one-sixth the price of what was sold by the British and liquor for only one-fifth the original price.
This popularized the pirates who were celebrated by the locals for providing them with cheap products. In fact, it is believed till the late 18th century, the smugglers bartered their goods in broad daylight.
It has been recorded that the pirates had smuggled as much as 500,000 gallons of French brandy once.
The Revenue Man
By the beginning of the 19th century, the authorities had organised themselves and had set up men to collect revenue.
It is believed that one misty night in the early 19th century, a stranger, believed to be one of the men collecting revenue, had walked into the bar and asked for a beer.
When he had finished half of it, he was called outside by someone. That was the last time he was seen alive by anyone.
His body was discovered the next day by the moor. The cause of his death and information about his assailant remains a mystery to this date.
But why is the death of this man important?
It is because in the early 20th century, people began reporting strange sightings. People saw a translucent man in white sitting outside on the walls of the inn.
He neither spoke nor acknowledged other people and his description was very accurate to that of the man murdered in the 19th century.
Landlords of the inn also began hearing footsteps in the bar after it was closed for the night. People suspected that he was returning to finish the beer that he left that fateful night.
The sighting of the ghost of the dead man was also covered extensively by media in 1911.
Room Number 5
There have been many modern day sightings, too. It is believed that most of the action occurs in Room no. 5 of the inn.
Occupants have insisted that they have heard the shower turning on or the temperature of the room falling or hearing bangs and thuds but finding no source of the sound.
It has been said that one can also see a figure moving through the walls in the corridors of the pub in the middle of the night.
In addition to this, managers have said that they have heard people speaking in a strange language, possibly Cornish, and visitors at the inn have heard of the clinking of horses’ shoes on the cobblestones on the courtyard, but upon inspection, nothing could be seen.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Jamaica Inn ghosts, please leave them in the comment section below.