York is famous for its medieval city walls, Guy Fawkes, highwaymen and ghosts. The Ghost Research Foundation International claims York is the most haunted city in Europe, with 504 ghostswandering its ancient streets.
You'd think we'd be able to find one.
Friday March 28th, we set off with fellow Calamityville Horror team member, Neen Wilder. Calamityville is our ghost hunting show on YouTube. Think Most Haunted without the screaming, tricks and professionalism. The only medium we have comes in a Red Bull can.
We stopped at Baddesley Clinton, a stunning moated manor house in Solihull. In 1438, John Brome, the Under Treasurer, bought the house. During the War of the Roses, the Bromes supportedLancaster and fell out with the Earl of Warwick's steward, John Herthill. Herthill murdered John in 1468. In a Hamlet-style revenge, John's son, Nicholas killed Herthill in 1471.
One day Nicholas returned home to find his wife being intimate with the parish priest. Other reports state he was tickling her under the chin. Nicholas killed him. It's said the library floor is stained with his blood, though the National Trust, who own the property, say it's pig's blood. As penance, Nicholas built St Michaels church. Before he died in 1517, he requested to be buried uprightunder the church's entrance.
St Michael's Church
He's still there.
The staff were keen to teach us about the house and its spectral residents. We didn'texperience anything spooky, though a thunderstorm started when we were in the church, adding gothic atmosphere to our ghost hunting.
A four hour traffic jam later, we reached York ten minutes before our ghost walk. Every car park was either full or locked. The only open one robbed us of £10.20 for four hours. We thought highway robbery was outlawed!
Calamityville on The Shambles
After our walk, we headed for The Golden Fleece. Built in 1503, there are apparently 15 ghosts inside. The most famous is Lady Alice Peckett, who moves furniture and walks up and down the stairs. There's also a Canadian airman who fell to his death from a window in WWII. One Eyed Jack haunts the bottom bar, wearing a 16th century red coat and carrying a pistol. Roman soldiers have been seen in the cellar, which stored dead criminals until their relatives identified them. Sadly the only spirits we saw were in bottles.
Haunted pub, the Roman Baths
Saturday, we explored Temple Newsam in Leeds, the York Dungeons and joined the York Ghost Walk Experience. Our handsome highwayman guide, James, needed volunteers for ghostly roles. We insisted Neen be the nun who was bricked up alive. And we filmed it. She got her revenge, with Lynx playing a woman whose fingers were cut off and Cat playing a Catholic girl who was pressed to death by a door. Although we had fun, we won't be taking up acting.
Calamityville with tour guide James
On Sunday, we visited 35 Stonegate. The front is a witches' shop, Eye of Newt, but the house has stood there since 1482 and was once a publishing house. Queen Victoria apparently had tea there. There are rumoured to be 14 ghosts, the most famous being Tom, who haunts the séance room. A little girl has been seen in the hallway so we conducted an EVP (electric voice phenomenon) session – asking questions while recording with a digital voice recorder – and when Cat knocked a rhythm on a dresser, something knocked back.
Tearooms on Little Shambles
The audio tour was motion sensitive so we loitered to do our own investigating and kept missing where the guide directed us to next. We used a Ouija board in the séance room but nothing happened.
After leaving the house, we visited Ye Olde Starre Inn, which dates back to 1644 though the cellar is older and was used as a makeshift hospital and morgue during the English Civil War. Screams of Royalist soldiers are often heard in the cellar. An old lady has been seen descending the stairs and two cats haunt the pub. After eating lunch, we asked a barmaid about the ghosts. Turned out, this was her second day and she had no idea the pub was haunted. Whoops...
Three days in York wasn't enough. We're desperate to return. Next time we'll save up for the car parks.