Found in North Yorkshire, England, York has a reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the world and Europe’s most haunted city. Starting from the famous nursery rhymes such as Georgie Porgie, puddin’, and pie, to The Ghost Creeper Tour of St Mary’s church graveyard, the city has no shortage of spooky vibes.
While the whole city might eventually feel haunted by most visitors or even locals, there are specific locations all over the city that are, without a doubt, spooky. Let’s take a look:
The Black Swan Hotel
This is a historic inn that has been renovated and changed into a boutique hotel. The building is separated into three sections; Elizabeth house, Georgian House and black and white timber-framed house.
What made the building make it into our list is both staff and guests of the hotel have reported seeing the spirit of a young blonde woman as well as a well-dressed older man going about. What’s even creepier is the bodyless legs present in the private quarters.
While York may take the title for the most haunted city in Europe, 35 Stonegate is a strong contender, if not the winner of the most haunted place in York itself. The cause of the spooky vibe the house gives stems from its history.
While the current house is believed to have been built somewhere in 1482, there are some records showing previous dwellings were made on the same site before that, dating back 1000 years.
When the current building was renovated in the late ’90s, the resting ghosts began to take a more active role in the property. Over 14 different ghosts have so far been reported with many people believing there’s more. There is even a well-known residential ghost by the name of Tom, who currently occupies the second floor.
The Golden Fleece
While 35 Stonegate may compete for the most haunted building in York, The Golden Fleece is a strong contender for the most haunted hostelry. The place is crawling with supernatural activity from rattling keys, the sound of random footsteps, ghosts walking into walls to the most chilling accounts of one of the mangers recounting ice-cold hands running up her spine.
If that isn’t spooky enough then there are the three known resident ghosts; the Canadian Airman who died after falling from the upper windows; Lady Alice Peckitt, wife of the former Lord Mayor of York; and my special favorite, One-Eyed Jack who regularly visits the bottom bar wearing a 16th century red coat along with a pistol.
The Treasurer’s House
One of the most bizarre sightings in York came from The Treasurer’s House in 1953. According to legend, a plumber by the name Harry Martindale was installing a new boiler in the basement when he heard a loud horn going off.
Immediately after that, a legion of Roman soldiers marched right from the walls and looked like they had been cut off at the knees.
It was then discovered that there was an old Roman road beneath the building which accounted for the knee-deep sight as the soldiers were marching along the road.
Arguably the most horrifying and equally scary haunted place is Clifford’s Tower. Sitting on a hill, the building was a refuge for Jews during the 12th century. There was an anti-Semitic mob that rioted against their presence, resulting in most of the Jews committing suicide rather than face the mob, while the rest were set on fire inside the building. Around 150 Jews died that day, and a memorial of the event has been placed outside.
It is believed that on the anniversary every year, the building turns red, or you can see drips of blood. Clifford’s Tower is one of the most haunted places in York.
There have been two ghost sightings, one in the Gothic cathedral itself and another in a house behind York Minster. The York Minster is the oldest Gothic cathedral in Europe.
The building houses the ghost of a deceased parishioner that has occasionally been seen attending the services.
While not far off from the cathedral, (right behind it) there is a small house that is said to have a young girl appear in one of the upstairs windows. The girl is believed to have been left for dead by her parents after she showed symptoms of the Black Plague. It is speculated that the young girl is still waiting for her parents to return to her. Just how scary is that?
Ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey
Not far from York Minster lies the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey. The ruins were once a Benedictine monastery that was founded in 1055. The place is a must visit if you’re interested in spirits, especially for tourists. The area is said to be haunted by a monk who goes by the name “Black Abbot,” and he regularly roams around in the ruins.
Another haunted place is the building between Swinegate and Low Petergate; the Lund’s Court. You might not want to stick around the place for long as the site is also known as the Mad Alice Lane. As legend has it, the area is nicknamed after Alice Smith; a resident during the early 1820s. Alice was later hanged in 1825 for a crime she never committed and as a result, has been haunted the place ever since.
Nothing screams spooky better than a good ghost story. The York Museum certainly isn’t short of them. One of the most famous ghost stories in York is about a Museum caretaker, Mr Jonas, back in 1953. As the story goes, one night after closing up the museum along with his wife, the couple retired to the basement where they resided.
The pair then started hearing footsteps upstairs, which of course Mr. Jonas immediately went to check on. What he found was a man pacing the floor. Mr. Jonas approached the man believing he might have accidentally locked the man in only for him to disappear when Mr. Jonas touched his shoulder.
What’s even more interesting is that the man returned when Mr. Jonas was with a colleague and continued to hang around the floor. There is still no explanation about why the man is in the museum or even who he is.
A lot of people love a good ghost story and ghost sightings. York is one of the few cities in the world that never disappoints in both sightings and stories. From haunted houses to street prowling ghosts, York indeed is haunted.