“We call him Henry and believe him to be a previous landlord of the pub. I know it sounds bonkers but you can smell him, it’s like a musty BO smell. We smell that and then something happens.”
How do you know when your house, your office, your car or the spot you’re standing in was recently visited by a ghost? For Adelle Gill and Steve Ellis, operators of the White Hart pub in Corsley, Wiltshire, England, on the county border with Somerset, it’s the mysterious smell of body odor. Is this the smell of the ghost now or when it was still alive with a sweating body? Adelle Gill shared more with SomersetLive.
“A couple of times I’ve had regulars walk out looking very spooked and it’s only a week or so later they admit they saw something behind the bar. We’ve seen it too – it’s hard to describe it’s like a fast moving vapor trail, we’ve got it on CCTV too.”
You can’t record smells but you can record vapor trails, objects mysteriously moving, knocks and other strange occurrences, which Gill and Ellis have since 2019 when they took over the pub, which had been vacant for two years, remodeled it, turned on the security cameras and opened the doors for business. Employees and customers immediately began reporting the feeling of being grabbed, a heavy freezer door opening by itself, objects flying across the room, and most recently a bar measure moving by itself. (Watch the video here.) While many bar patrons everywhere have seen glasses move by themselves on slick bars or felt cold drafts while sipping a cold draft, that doesn’t explain the body odor smell at the White Hart.
“We’ve been told there are reports of tunnels connecting the area to Longleat House. One time we did get a psychic in here and they said “Beg, Adelle, Help, Dig” so we have suspicions there is a cellar here and that it may be connected to what happens.”
Is the White Hart getting poltergeist runoff from a secret tunnel connected to the nearby Longleat House? Built in 1580, Longleat is a well-known haunted location, with the Green Lady (sometimes referred to as the Grey Lady depending on her dress color) being the most famous. It’s believed to be the spirit of Lady Louisa Carteret, who walks the Green Lady’s Walk in the yard in search of a footman who her husband had murdered when he suspected an affair. Longleat also has seven libraries containing 40,000 books, with the Red Library said to be haunted by Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, who lived in exile at Longleat for twenty years until his death in 1711 and is often seen reading there.
Back to the BO. Scents often detected in haunted houses tend to be more like perfume, cologne flowers, tobacco smoke or other pleasant smells reminiscent of the person when alive. An unpleasant smell often reported is sulfur, which is said to come from negative spirits. Medically speaking, smelling phantom smells is called phantosmia and can be a sign of head trauma, migraines, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia or even a stroke. However, it’s not contagious and the BO smell at the White Hart pub has been reported by multiple people. And then there’s the wispy trail and objects moving picked up on the CCTV.
“I think that Henry may be upset that we redecorated without asking his permission.”
Is Henry sweating from trying to move things back the way he had them? Steaming because he wasn’t consulted? Was he a barkeep who spent more time pouring than bathing? Gill and Ellis say they’d like to know more about the history of the White Hart pub.
Be careful what you wish for.