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Examining folkloric, paranormal & cryptozoological locations in the UK and beyond

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Yorkshire Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

York Castle, Yorkshire

Metamorphic Paper

Location: York - York Castle
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: 1717 (paper), Mary unknown
Further Comments: Sir John Reresby reported watching a piece of paper blowing in the wind change into a monkey before transforming into a bear. A slightly more traditional ghost was said to be Mary Bateman, who would appear during the witching hour.

York Minster, quiet in the early morning.

Dean Gale

Location: York - York Minster
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1702 onwards
Further Comments: This gentleman loved the Minster so much that in death he refused to leave and has been seen sitting while listening to sermons. A crisis apparition has also manifested here; the ghost of an officer appeared to his sister as she prayed in the church in the 1820s - at the exact moment he had died on far away shores. Also reputed to haunt the building is the sound of a dog barking.

The Yorkshire Museum Library in York

Old Searcher

Location: York - Yorkshire Museum Library
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1954
Further Comments: For several weeks one particular book in the library would be found on the floor on Sunday evening - the mystery was 'solved' when a caretaker reported seeing a ghostly old man looking through the shelves, as if trying to find reading material.

Young Girl

Location: York - 18-20 Stonegate (currently Jack Wills)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local report says that a teenage girl using the changing room looked in the mirror and spotted another young girl. Believing that the girl had accidently walked into the changing room, the teenager turned and asked the girl to leave. The girl turned and walked through the wall. Staff later found out that a doorway once existed in the wall where the girl disappeared.

A building along Stonegate, York

Young Girl

Location: York - 41 Stonegate
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: A six-year-old Victorian girl who fell to her death on the staircase was said to have haunted this building during the twentieth century. The girl could be heard ascending the staircase and was reputedly seen sitting upon a shop counter when a tearoom operated on the site. One story says the ghost is a doctor's daughter and dates to when the building was a private residence. During one of the doctor's dinner parties, the curious girl emerged from her top floor bedroom and tried to peer over the banister to see who was in attendance. She lost her balance.

Number 5 College Street, York

Crying Girl

Location: York - 5 College Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: During one of the outbreaks of plague in the city, a married couple contracted the disease and died. Their only child, a young daughter, remained uninfected. She shouted to passersby for help, but no one would believe that she was clear of the disease; the doorway was bricked up to prevent the plague from spreading, with the young girl and her dead parents still inside. The girl's crying could be heard for days, until the house grew quiet - the girl had eventually starved to death. Now she can be seen looking from the window, and the cries of a young girl heard emerging from the building, even though it is empty.

Woman with Child

Location: York - A64 Malton Road
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Misty evenings
Further Comments: This tragic figure, possibly murdered by her highwayman boyfriend, now appears on misty or foggy evenings.

All Saint's Church, York

Glowing Girl

Location: York - All Saint's Church, Pavement
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This pale young lass with long curly hair was seen a few times, always observing funerals from the church door. She vanished suddenly if anyone approached. Another description of the entry says she is dressed in black with a swollen red face.

Headless Woman

Location: York - Area of Bishopthorpe
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Eighteenth century
Further Comments: A wealthy woman was murdered for her money, and her body hidden a short distance from her house in Bishopthorpe. It was several days before the corpse was discovered, and it is said that the state of decay was so bad that her head had become separate from her torso. Her headless ghost haunted the area where her body lay for years after the event.

Bedern Arch, York

Child's Hand

Location: York - Bedern Arch
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The story goes that several orphans died in the nearby Industrial Ragged School during the mid-nineteenth century, due to the negligence of the alcoholic schoolmaster; now, on cold nights, people have reported walking by the arch only to feel a small child take them by the hand... Childish giggling and terrible screaming has also been reported.

Black Swan Inn, York


Location: York - Black Swan Inn
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Seen descending a staircase in the building, only the lower part of this male body appears. Two other spirits can be found in the bar area; that of a workman wearing a bowler hat (dressed in Victorian clothing) and a lady in a white dress who watches the fireplace.

Grey Lady

Location: York - Castlegate House (or Lodge)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This shadowy feminine figure has been seen on the staircase of the building.

Church of the Holy Trinity, York

Two Ladies and a Child

Location: York - Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late nineteenth century onwards (?) at morning service
Further Comments: These three figures are reported to be a mother, her child, and a nanny - the story is that mother and child were buried many miles apart, and now the nanny reunites the child with mother. Another story says that the women have no connection; the mother and child were united in death after the infant died of plague, and she slowly pined away, while the second woman is an abbess murdered trying to prevent Henry VIII's men from storming her church.

The Davygate area of York

Clash of Armies

Location: York - Church Street & Davygate area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1958
Further Comments: Two women walking in the area claimed to have seen a large battle taking place around them, between Roman troops and barbarians. As a van drove by, the scene vanished.

Clifford Tower, York

Blood of the Jews

Location: York - Clifford Tower
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Many Jews committed suicide in the tower rather than surrender to the rioting anti-Semitic mobs tearing up the town. The ground of the tower is said to be stained red, even after being dug up and replaced.

Serving Girl

Location: York - Clifton Lodge
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This building is said to be haunted by the ghost of a servant who killed her child who had been born outside of wedlock.

Cock and Bottle Inn, York

Man with Big Nose

Location: York - Cock and Bottle Inn, Skeldergate
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Thought to be the Royalist and alchemist George Villiers, Second Duke of Buckingham, this ghostly figure, with black wavy hair and a large nose, has been spotted in the public house. The building was built on the top of a site once owned by Villiers, which would explain his reluctance to leave.

Coppergate, York

Fire Alarm Starter

Location: York - Coppergate shops, those built on site of old Craven's Sweet factory (includes the Bodyshop)
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This entity was known to cause trouble when the factory stood. In more recent years, it has been blamed for setting off the fire alarms in these buildings.

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