She looked down, her breath turning to smoke in the icy room, and saw the covers move, as if a child was silently walking over the bed.
The click of footsteps on the wooden floor made the 27-year-old sit upright, fear etched on her face.
The giggles and whispers of children filled the air, causing Jenny to leap from her bed. She clearly heard a lisping command of ‘hide’ before racing for the door.
Jenny, for better or worse, had made contact with one of the many ghosts that go bump in the night at Hockley’s Red Lion pub.
“She was absolutely terrified,” said landlord, and Jenny’s partner, Dave Lewis, “and convinced there was no logical explanation. She’s never been in the pub since”.
“Plenty have had very strange encounters at our pub,” added the 32-year-old, “but Jenny’s was something else. I’ve never seen anything during my two years here. Perhaps the spirits don’t like me.”
There’s a resident ghostly centurion soldier, who possibly wandered from nearby Icknield Street Roman road, and an elegant lady in long gown and high collar who strolls from kitchen to staff bedroom.
Regular Terry Oliver has had more than his share of spooky encounters at the 100-year-old watering hole. Electrician Terry vividly remembers the moment he and two colleagues were working to re-wire the pub cellar.
They downed tools when the apparition of a man in brown work coat and cloth cap appeared in a corner.
They later learnt a drayman had been crushed on the exact spot, an 108 gallon barrel pinning him to the floor.
The pub, which has more spirits than most, is featured in city ghost walks organised by Michael Reddy and Ian Braisby.
Michael said there’s a good reason why the Red Lion has so many dead regulars.
“I think it’s down to work practises in the Jewellery Quarter going back in time,” he said.
“Health and Safety was never a big thing, so, for example, you have the story of the drayman squashed in the cellar. We talk about binge drinking today, but the Victorians were quite partial to a tipple.”
Evidence of ghostly goings-on at the pub are compelling, added Michael.
“With the cellar incident, you have three people who stopped at the same time and said, ‘did you see him?’. Why would those three people all give exactly the same account – they had nothing to gain from it?”