A very strange case indeed was featured in the Bristol Daily Post and the London Times in December 1873.
On December 8th Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B Cumpston arrived in Brstol for a short holiday. They stayed at the Victoria hotel and were soon to encounter something so unbelieveable that it both shocked and confused them so much that it caused them to be arrested for disorderly conduct from the local railway station soon after the event.
The couple told in court of how early in the evening they had heard strange, loud sounds in or near their room. The complained to the landlady, who also heard the noises but thought nothing of them. After the noises ceased they retired to bed for the night but were awoken at approx. 3.00am by the same loud noises. This time they were accompanied by the incredible sensation that the floor was giving way beneath them!. The couple shouted out for help and could not help but notice how strange their shouts sounded, echoing weirdly and being repeated by unseen presences. Mr. Cumpston then told of how the floor suddenly opened up and how it felt as if he were being dragged into it. Mrs. Cumpston managed to pull him out and the two of them made a hasty escape out a nearby window.
They were panicked beyond belief and were under the confused impression that criminals had somehow attempted to kidnap them. They fled to the nearby railway station where they were soon arrested by local police for disorderly conduct.
The landlady testified in police court that she had indeed heard the unusual noises, but she had no significan recollection of them. The police had checked out the Cumpston’s room and found nothing out of the ordinary. The court concluded that the Cumpston’s had suffered a “collective hallucination” and let them go.
To this day there is no explanation for what actually happened to the Cumpstons.