Ghost Hunting At George Jarvis School With Haunted Happening

By Steve Higgins
June 09, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ Paranormal Investigation ReportsParanormal
George Jarvis School
What better way to spend a Saturday night than at one of Herefordshire's architectural marvels that's steeped in local history and haunted by the past?

I joined the paranormal events company, Haunted Happenings (HH), for their night at George Jarvis School on the hunt for the outraged spirit of George. The team gives members of the public the chance to try their hand at ghost hunting using various gadgets and pieces of equipment, all of which are explained to you by HH's team members.

It was still light when I arrived at the imposing George Jarvis School on a warm evening in late spring. The HH team directed us into a small car park at the rear of the former boarding school, situated in the small, rural village of Staunton-on-Wye. Climbing out of the car, it was hard to get a sense of how big the four-storey school was from the outside as only part of its stunning red brick façade was visible from the tree-lined car park.

The team, consisting of Pam, Lou, and Mel, took me and the roughly 30 other guests inside the decaying Grade II listed building. Despite being light outside, we stepped inside to a dark and dilapidated corridor that ran the length of the building. Torches were essential to follow the team to a fairly large room at the eastern end of the building that would serve as our base room for the night.

The night began with an introduction, which included all the usual health and safety advice, and a little bit about HH and how they operate. We were also told about the building and its chequered past, one that has led it to its present derelict state, with its interiors vandalised and echoing with an eerie emptiness since 2010. Then we were led out for an initial walk around some of the school's 40 rooms to familiarise ourselves with the building, that was constructed in the late 1850s.
George Jarvis School

The school was initially established as a refuge for children from underprivileged and impoverished backgrounds, offering them a chance at education and better futures. Throughout the years, the building has played various roles, including hosting the American army and functioning as a military hospital. By the 1980s, the building transitioned into a youth hostel, accommodating youngsters from all walks of life.

Yet, the building's history is as marred as it is fascinating. Its very existence defied the wishes of George Jarvis, the wealthy man whose bequest funded the school. Jarvis, who died in 1793, left a significant part of his fortune to the less fortunate of Staunton-on-Wye and the surrounding area. However, his will specifically forbade his money from being used to erect any public buildings, a mandate that was clearly disregarded with the establishment of the school.

It is this betrayal that is believed to have led to the school's most famous and eerie inhabitant – the ghost of George Jarvis himself. Local lore speaks of a spectral man peering out from the top-floor window, believed to be the restless and angered spirit of Jarvis. His spectral figure is reportedly seen pacing the long corridor, while unexplained door slams and other peculiar occurrences are attributed to his presence.

These mysterious happenings extend beyond the spectre of Jarvis. Former pupils and staff have reported encounters with inexplicable phenomena, ranging from objects relocating of their own volition to ghostly apparitions in the form of disembodied legs. Other inexplicable occurrences include doors slamming in uninhabited rooms, unseen hands tossing papers off walls, and the sound of a piano playing by itself.

The bell tower, a distinct part of the school's structure, is said to be the haunting ground of a young boy who had been locked away. The ghostly figure of the child is often spotted wandering the upper floor of the building. More sinisterly, the cellars are reportedly haunted by a clergyman, whose presence has been so unnerving that many guests have fled, refusing to return.

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George Jarvis School

The group walk-around ended with a vigil in a classroom on the top floor of the school. Despite a huge array of ghost hunting gadgets spread out across the empty room, for the most part, these tools fell silent. However, the group did witness several loud bangs and knocks that sounded like they were coming from elsewhere in the building. The sounds were so loud and pronounced that at one point, the team went to investigate the possibility that there might be an intruder in the building. Of course, they found the building to be completely empty. Others reported hearing the sound of a muffled voice throughout the vigil.

We were then split up into smaller teams. My group was first taken to an outbuilding by Lou, which housed a dilapidated pub or social club that seemed to be stuck in the 1980s. Presumably, this area was used during the building's time as a youth hostel. We spent some time in the darkness, attempting some table tipping. This involved the guests placing their hands lightly on a table and asking any spirits that might be present to communicate by moving or tipping the table.

Myself and the other guests tried enthusiastically for some time, but the table refused to budge. However, we were also using an Alice Box, a tablet-based ghost hunting tool that spews out a random word from a pre-loaded library of 10,000. The idea is that spirits can affect the random nature of the app and use it to communicate. The software provided some fairly relevant words during our time here, including the name "George". Could this have been the philanthropic George Jarvis?

After a while, the teams swapped around and we headed down to the cellar, where team member Mel was waiting for us with a chance to try glass divination, a form of spirit communication, similar to a Ouija board. We were encouraged to lightly touch our fingers to an upturned glass on a table and encourage the spirits to answer our questions by moving the glass. The divination attempt fell flat, and for my team, the cellar proved to be the quietest part of the building all night. However, other guests reported hearing sounds around them, including a noise that sounded as if someone had blown across the top of one of the old, empty champagne bottles that were lying around.

Our final team vigil was facilitated by Pam in a room known as The Parlour. This room has been converted into a Victorian-style séance room and was the perfect place to conduct a Ouija board session. Well, perfect other than the fact that despite our best efforts to get the planchette to slide across the board, it failed to move.
George Jarvis School

The night ended with all the guests regrouping for a final vigil together, which was held in a large room on the ground floor. This last attempt to stir up activity in the school proved to be the most interesting of the night, with coloured torches flashing on and off seemingly in response to our questions, and pertinent words and phrases appearing on the screens of ghost hunting apps. Some guests even reported seeing a face through the glass door of the room, which prompted a search of the corridor outside, only to reveal it was empty. We left the building, exhausted and exhilarated, at 3 am with a bright strawberry moon hanging over the school.

Thanks to Pam, Mel, and Lou for making my night at George Jarvis School a fun and memorable one, as did the other guests who were all very friendly and keen to get involved with the various activities laid on by the team.

If you want to hunt for spooks at George Jarvis School for yourself, you can book your own ghost hunting experience at the location with Haunted Happenings, who currently have various dates available until the end of 2023. You can find out more at hauntedhappenings.co.uk.

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