On a dark and foggy evening you can see why people believe that York is the most haunted city in the world. The damp fog hangs heavy over the narrow, winding streets and makes the city’s maze of alleyways seem even more dark and mysterious. We hadn’t planned to go out ghost hunting on our first night in York but as the rain of biblical proportions had stopped for the night we decided to seize the opportunity.
Located at the end of the famous Shambles The Golden Fleece is said to be home to five different ghouls, the most famous of which is Lady Alice Peckett. Lady Alice was the wife of John Peckett, the one time owner of the inn and Lord Mayor of York around 1700. Legend has it that the ghostly old lady glides through the room leaving behind nothing but the sweet scent of her perfume. Creepy, eh?
Visitors to the pub have also reported sightings of a number of other spectres, including ‘One Eyed Jack’, a woman in black, a young Victorian boy, a grumpy old man, and a Canadian WWII airman who is said to have fallen three stories to his death at the bar.
I put on my ghost hunting glasses, otherwise known as ‘specta-ghouls’, and made friends with Mr. Skellington, who sat quietly sipping his beer at the back bar all evening long.
Ghost hunting aside, The Golden Fleece is a great pub for a night out in York – the bar staff are friendly, the acoustic music was great, and the people watching was top-notch (in my professional opinion).
If the walls could talk in York who knows the sights they would have seen, and sounds they would have heard. With such a long and conflict-filled history it is no surprise that believers would find the city to be filled with the restless spirits of generations. There are no shortage of Ghost tours and talks for those who would like indulge in some good old-fashioned ghost hunting. Some might be more style than substance (as was our experience) but they are still well worth the cost of admission for entertainment value.
As we walked back over the River Ouse with an eerie moon shining through the fog I couldn’t help but feel that York is a city with many hidden secrets. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, you must admit that if anywhere were to be haunted York would be a top candidate. Behind its beautiful daytime facade a more sinister history lurks just waiting for the perfect time to slip through the space-time continuum and scare your socks off!
Have you met any ghosts or ghouls in haunted York?