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The Badgers Sett

Roughly thirty years ago Detective Constable Roger Ryder had an experience as he passed the Badgers Sett, then known as the Gypsies’ Tent on the A456. An interview with the now retired detective appeared in the Black Country Bugle in 2007.

It was around 1.00 am on a summer evening….."I was wide awake and alert….and I stress that I hadn't had a drink! It was a lovely night – very quiet with no traffic for miles. I'd put my foot down, probably doing about 60mph."

"Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that the pub was lit up and glowing. I assumed there was a party going on. As I drew closer, suddenly the figure of a man ran out of the car park…..He was dressed like one of the old cavalier soldiers – the big hat, boots, red uniform and sword. My initial thought was that the pub was holding a fancy dress party and some drunk was larking about.”

"He ran straight across the first two lanes of the carriageway and stopped right in the middle of the central reservation. As I approached, our eyes met. It all happened so fast but I remember thinking that if he starts running again I'll never be able to stop in time.”

"Suddenly he sprinted out diagonally across the road in front of me towards Hagley Hall. I slammed my breaks on but knew, at 60 mph, it was too late. I went straight into him and swung the steering wheel right round.”

"My car screeched to a halt whilst spinning on its own axis a full 180 degrees. I finally came to a stop facing the opposite direction, the wrong way down a one-way main road, tyre smoke everywhere.”

"I sat there in stunned silence clutching the steering wheel, thinking the absolute worst – I'd just killed a man. It was only later I recalled that there was actually no sound when my car collided with him. I sat there in stunned silence thinking the absolute worst - I'd just killed a man."

"I got out and looked for the body on the road. Nothing. I checked the field next to the car, the hedge and finally under the car itself. Nothing. It was deadly quiet. I looked across at the pub – it was in total darkness.”

There are other stories concerning activity within the pub which includes the opening of doors, cold spots and items being moved. Some have suggested a link between the activity in the pub and the murder associated with Wychbury Hill and the case of Bella in the Wych Elm.

Image Copyright: 
Andrew Homer

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Ian Topham
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Re: The Badgers Sett

The Badgers Sett pub is associated with the story of Bella in the Wych Elm. In 1943 four schoolboys discovered the skeleton of a woman hidden in a tree in nearby Hagley Wood. She had one hand missing and her mouth was stuffed with taffeta and a gold wedding ring. The pathologist's report at the time determined that she was about 35 years of age and had died, probably of asphyxiation, around 1941. Various theories about who she was and why she was murdered have been put forward. Was she the victim of witchcraft, a jealous lover or had she uncovered an alleged German wartime spy ring in the area?

Nobody knows for certain but staff at the Badgers Sett maintain that Bella makes her presence felt by turning lights on and off after hours, opening and closing doors and moving things around. If it is Bella then she is not alone as the ghost of a gentleman in a tweed jacket has been reported in and around the pub. Unlike Bella he has actually been seen on occasions by both staff and customers. (By Andrew Homer)

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