Birmingham Road, Hagley, Stourbridge, Worcestershire
An unsolved murder from 1941 may be behind the riddle of the ghost at the Badgers Sett. A woman called Belladonna, , locals knew, as Bella, is the phantom that haunts the cellar and the bars. For many years, it has been reputed to be the ghost of a woman who had been an employee or regular customer at the pub. She had disappeared in 1941. During the summertime of 1943, four boys out poaching came across a Wych Elm tree, with one climbed up it. Inside a cavity, he saw a human skull with hair and teeth. When police investigated, they found an almost complete human skeleton, a shoe, gold wedding ring, with nearby someone found buried a severed hand. Since this was wartime, with people constantly on the move, police were never able to prove who she was. Following this discovery, in 1943 a letter to the local newspaper, the Wolverhampton Express and Star, deepened the mystery. The writer claimed the dead woman was part of a spy ring, giving secrets to the Luftwaffe concerning local munitions factories. However, an eminent London University professor concluded it might have been a black magic execution, since the skeleton was complete, except for the hand, found some distance away. Graffito regularly appeared on Whychbury Obelisk, starting in 1944. It read ‘Who put Bella down the Wych Elm at Hagley Wood?’ The last appearance of this white painted message was in 1999. The pub is further haunted by a ghost in a uniform, standing immediately outside the front door.