Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Staying a Night at York’s Most Haunted Pub

Staying at the Most Haunted Pub in York
- A Survivor’s Tale

The Haunted Golden Fleece Inn

The northern English city of York is a notorious haunt for living-impaired discorporeal entities, or ghosts. Small wonder given York’s bloody history over the centuries. Vikings in the 9th Century ravaged it before finally turning York into a little Scandinavia on English shores. Two centuries later, William the Conqueror razed the city and the surrounding countryside in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings. In the 12th Century, the Jewish population was completely massacred by bloodthirsty mobs. Then there are those other unfortunates — plague victims, malnourished paupers, tortured prisoners, executed criminals — who met unhappy ends. York is literally brimming over with ghosts.

The Golden Fleece lays claim to the most Haunted Inn/Pub in York. Several ghosts have been sighted or experienced here over its long history. It’s been featured in several books written about the ghosts of York and has even been shown on TV as one of Britain’s most haunted places.

The Fleece was built back in 1503. The name derives from its original ownership by wool merchants — an important industry for York. The upstairs has a few rooms for the brave and foolhardy to stay in. Downstairs is a charming old English pub serving hand-pulled ales for those with a thirst for traditional liquid fare. The Golden Fleece doesn’t rest on solid foundations so its slanting ground floor rolls and pitches like the deck of a ship in rough weather robbing visitors of their confidence in walking especially after a pint or two.

The Shambles Road Leading to the Golden Fleece

The Ghosts of the Golden Fleece

The Golden Fleece has ghosts to spare for both lodgers and pub customers. For pub-goers, they have to take care for a grumpy old codger ghost who likes the corner seats in the back room. He’s been known to push customers out of their seats from time to time. I’m not sure the alcohol level of the push-ees, but I somehow imagine it has certainly played a considerable role in this particular paranormal phenomenon.

Another pub ghost is that of a young lad killed in an accident during the Victorian Age (1837-1901). His ghost reportedly tries to pick-pocket customers. This must explain satisfactorily to some the mysterious disappearance of all the money that customers came into the pub with but somehow left without.

This Will Certainly Pull In the Punters With Heart Conditions

The upstairs rooms are haunted primarily by female ghost known as Lady Peckett. Guests have reported seeing her blithely passing through the walls on a ghostly stroll. Others have heard disembodied laughter — presumably the pub downstairs was closed at the time — unexplained noises and doors slamming shut sometimes right in people’s faces.

Another ghost is from more recent times — a Canadian airman from the Second World War. He apparently had had too much to drink and fell to his death inside the inn — perhaps the grumpy ghost has a specially reserved seat up at the top as well. One Canadian woman supposedly had the ghost follow her all the way back to Canada — this was back in the pre-911 days when passengers were allowed up to 2 discorporeal entities. The woman awoke in her own bed back home to find a sad-looking fellow in her room. She fell back to sleep and woke up again finding that in her sleep she had somehow written the name of the ghost.

There’s also an invisible dog that goes around brushing up against pub customers as they drink. When they reached down to pet an expected pub-owner’s dog there is of course nothing there. The currently owners actually have a dog that slinks silently about. The poor thing seems to have a rather nervous disposition and barks at everything and anything in a frightened manner. Being gifted (or cursed depending on how you look at it) with extra strong senses denied his human owners, the dog is probably often wondering why his owners don’t get the hell out of this place full of ghastly ghosts.

The charming front section of the Golden Fleece Pub

The ‘Most Stupidest’ Questions asked of the Staff of the Most Haunted Inn in York

Working at a haunted pub and inn, one would think you would need nerves of steel, a steadfast disposition, and healthy dose of stout courage to bear with whatever phantasmological horrors from the hoary netherworld haunt the place. What’s needed more than anything, in fact, is a lot of patience and straight face when visitors ask some of the stupidest questions in all sincerity and honest naivety.

“At what time do the ghosts appear?”

“Does the price guarantee seeing a ghost?”

These are two of the most popular inane questions amongst the staff. Whilst most of the world is in doubt on the existence of ghosts, these questioners go so far as to believe ghosts are not only real but on the payroll no less.

Dream Premonitions the Night Before

Staying at a haunted inn was just too good of an opportunity for me to pass up so after having dinner and a pint in the pub, I made a reservation for the following night. That night I stayed at a hostel in a dormitory room that was not haunted except for the all too real presence of foot odor. That night I had a dream about staying at the Golden Fleece. I dreamt on the walls of the room the silhouette of two sisters appeared. Then the white curtains began to blow softly though the window was closed. As I drew near the curtains (I realized I was dreaming because under normal circumstances I would have been out the door or window whichever was quicker), one of the curtains suddenly shot forward as though propelled by an invisible hand and a light gust of wind blew on my face which did not come from the window. I thought I heard definite whispers.

I awoke back in my hostel bed with a start. Only the lingering presence of body odor accompanied by some gentle snoring disturbed the otherwise tranquil setting. However I was in a bit of fright and began to have reservations about my reservation. It’s not that I necessarily believe in ghosts but I can’t help but worry that they might believe in me. In the light of day or even at night as long as there is someone else with me, my attitude is “bring on the hoary hordes!” But at night when I’m all by myself, the depths of my courage wouldn’t drown a flea.

The Pub’s Rear Room Where Supposedly a Pushy Ghost Haunts

A Spooky Night at the Haunted Golden Fleece

My courage returned with the coming daylight and I was determined not to be deterred. Later that evening I spoke with some of the staff. Some of them had never experienced anything because they mainly just worked the pub and had more to worry about from drunken patrons and teens with fake IDs that say they are 35. However they reported that in the past they have had frighten guests flee in the middle of the night leaving the keys on the bar.

A Narrow Creaky Staircase

I was worried. I paid a hefty 45 pounds for my rooms so my frugal side was in conflict with my cowardly side. I thought I’d be damned if some ghost was going to scare me out of a 45-quid room. If it were 10 or 20, I’d be out of there the first sign of reddish tint to the walls. At 45 pounds, it would have to take quite a few walls running red with blood, a dozen bloody spectral severed heads popping up, and a vampire or two to make me flee without getting a refund.

The room was spacious with old wooden furniture, a large four-poster bed, and a door with a deliciously hideous creak to it. It looked perfect for a proper haunting.

A lovely quaint room perfect for a good old fashion haunting

The night passed slowly but I was able to get to sleep with the aid of a few choice ales. Sometime during the night I woke up suddenly.

I heard voices!
But then I remembered I had left the TV on all night – or rather I should say I strategically left the TV on all night. I was determined not to be put out by any strange noises that my possible ghostly antagonist might use against me so the TV served as an audio buffer against such an assault.

As the night wore on, I awoke again with a strange sensation.

There was something on my face!


It was my glasses. I had fallen asleep with them on. I took them off and slept soundly the rest of the night though I left the bedside lamp on – just in case.

In the morning at breakfast I encountered the most unholiest of abominations that turned the very blood in my veins to ice while my mind screamed soundlessly in abject horror.

They served baked beans with breakfast!

Now don’t get me wrong, I like baked beans but as an American, baked beans in my mind are for lunch or dinner only. They simply do not belong to the breakfast club.

Horror Upon Horror! Baked Beans For Breakfast!

While I do feel now in the comforting rays of the sunlight some slight disappointment that I did not encounter a haunting which would have proven in my mind the existence of such things, I realize that some things are best left undisturbed when one is alone and in the dark. Perhaps I will return someday preferably with some company to face those ghostly inhabitants with unwilting courage and learn more about one of life’s most enduring mysteries – why do the British eat baked beans for breakfast?

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November 11, 2006 - Posted by | Blogroll, England, Ghosts, Golden Fleece, Haunted, Hauntings, Pub, Spirits, travel, UK, York

32 Comments »

  1. I’ve just returned from a week long ghost-hunting road trip and ‘the golden fleece’ was one of my stops. A very nice place indeed. Very atmospheric.

    As for baked beans for breakfast it is the full english way my friend. How, indeed, do you know that instead it is Americans who have it wrong?

    Tom

    P.S. I enjoyed your account of your stay. It was made all the more appealing due to my recent visit.

    Comment by Tom | November 21, 2006 | Reply

  2. Staying a Night at York’s Most Haunted Pub

    The upstairs rooms are haunted primarily by female ghost known as Lady Peckett. Guests have reported seeing her blithely passing through the walls on a ghostly stroll. Others have heard disembodied laughter — presumably the pub …

    Trackback by parasnoop.com | March 24, 2007 | Reply

  3. We have just come back from a short stay in York and we had a couple of drinks in The Golden Fleece. We just love these old creaky pub’s, think we may book a room there for our next stay. We really enjoyed your accounts of your stay.

    Comment by Chris & Drew | May 3, 2007 | Reply

  4. I am part of an investigation team here in the UK. We have been to the fleece twice for overnight stays. Our experiances are nerve wrecking to say the least. Furniture moving, walkie talkies flying in the air and hitting me on the leg, fire alarm going off in the middle of the night with fire brigade having to come out to switch it off again. One of our team members will not go back having seen a figure near the downstairs bar hall area with a grey type of cloth over its face.. We also have on camera the most strange looking mist vapour trail from the Shambles room, its the strangest thing I have seen.

    Anyway I loved your very descriptive investigation report, very interesting indeed, its a real pitty nothing much happened for you. I have heard mixed reports on the fleece, some say its not haunted and others like me and my team will say the complete oposite. Great work though my friend well done. Oh and yes we english do like beans with our breakfast :-)

    Comment by Ian | July 30, 2007 | Reply

    • myself and my partner natalie have just stayed at the golden fleece friday 19th june in the shambles room,on arriving to our room at 3.50pm we refreshed and got ready to go and look round york when natalie came in from the bathroom saying she was sure that when she was sat on the lavatory she felt her top been lifted up on her right hand side slowly as if sneekily to which i replied its probably your imagination as i am an open minded sceptic and she didnt seem scared by the ordeal just confused to whether she imagined it or not.we then went out for a few hours around york and arrived back to the fleece for a night cap around 10.30pm at around 11.15pm we went to our room took some photos and got ready for bed chatted for a while and at about 11.50 we settled down into bed whilst watching sum film with clint eastwood in dont know why i remember that lol. then as i started to doze off the bloody fire alarm started going off the time was 12.07am. we both sat up and put the bedside lamps on natalie got out of bed and opened the bedroom door to see if we could hear any commotion out in the stairway which we couldnt so we just presumed it was a false alarm then she said she just saw some blue flashes coming from the gap under the door that leeds onto the staircase which i instantly presumed would be something to do with alarm duh! after about 20 mins the alarm was still going off so we both got dressed and made our way out of the bedroom door and immediately saw the same blue flash coming from under the door that natalie had seen earlier i instantly realised that this was not the flash of an alarm nor a camera flash as the light was distinctively bright blue and the bursts of flashes wer more of what i would describe as a welders flash or an electrical short circuit of some sort as they wernt syncronised flashes, as we paused to see if it would do it again it did after around 30 seconds so i hastely walked to the door and opened it, 1st thing i noticed was the 1000db fire siren going off to my left which was painfully loud but more to my suprise was that the stairway was just normally lit there was no fire or smoke or any kind of alarm beacon to be seen at all it didnt make any sense there was no explanation to where the light had come from.
      we then made it down stairs to find the other guests in the top bar doorway looking rather panicy as to why the alarm was going off as there was no sign of fire or foul play then we found out that one of the male guests had banged on our door on his way down stairs to alert us of the alarm which we clearly did hear from the moment it went off but we did not hear him bang on our door and as we hadnt come out after a second bang on the door he rang the fire brigade because he thought that we may be in danger.
      by now the alarm had been going off around 45 mins then the fire brigade turned up just the 1 engine with flashing blue lights and with all the party revellers making thier way home and to other pubs it all seemed exciting.
      i forgot to mention the pub owners were no where to be found which had us the guests and the firemen very annoyed as they didnt say they wouldnt be in the building at night nor had left us a contact number incase such a problem arose. we then discovered by one of firemen that the fire alarm control panel was in the bottom bar area which was all locked up so he got on the phone to his superior to gain permission to break down the door as to see if there was any sign of fire in the bar area and to gain access to the control panel. after coming off the phone he remarked that this was a strange situation and asked what ever possesed us all to stay in yorks most haunted pub which was a fair comment as the situation was just so surreal.
      by now an hour had past since the alarm started nd it was just after 1.10am when the owners arrived looking rather sheepish obviously been to a few other inns in the area which is fair enough apart that they hadnt told us that we would be responsible for the building ourselves lol. anyway they unlocked and searched the bottom bar area and cellar and again found no sign of fire or foul play they then turned the alarm off and checked the control panel of the alarm that told them which zone/area of the building the alarm was triggered which turned out to be zone 4 the smoke alarm on the staircase outside our room “the shambles”. we then heard the fireman in charge giving the owners a stern talking to about fire regulations and proceedures which was absolutely agreeable. after no apology from the owners we all retired to our rooms and went to sleep, well we did anyway!
      around 3.30am natalie woke me and said in a whisper can u hear that noise? half asleep i listened very closely and what sounded to be coming from near the single bed and bedroom door was a shuffleing noise which seemed to move around but just in that area of the room, iv since tried recontructing the noise and the closest i could come to it was by tap rolling my fingers on the carpet whilst dragging back my hand, rats maybe? i dont know! anyway it lasted around 20 seconds and that was it we went back to sleep.
      the next morning we recapped on the previous nights activities and even though we didnt see a full blown ghost or even an orb all in all it had been a very very strange night of events.

      Comment by terry | June 21, 2009 | Reply

      • Good heavens. I would say you had a night and a half. Reminds me of what my friend and I went through when we stayed in her family’s haunted restaurant in Somerset, Ohio

        http://www.clayhaus.com/

        See the “Unseen guests” link I loved your narrative about this pub. May I ask how much it cost for 2 people a night? Were you able to hang out the window and see into the shambles?

        Any other info would be greatly appreciated
        DM from Columbus, Ohio9 43235

        Comment by DSM | June 21, 2009

  5. Can u send me information on places where i can stay in york that are haunted for groups of +10

    Comment by Chris | October 30, 2007 | Reply

  6. my email is chriskross76@hotmail.co.uk plz no junk mail

    Comment by Chris | October 30, 2007 | Reply

  7. we visited the golden fleece in nov 07 on my birthday. we stayed
    in lady pecketts room.i believed that the ghost stories were possibly exaggerated due to the hotels reputation. the first night i woke up about 3am to hear music coming from the wall, i first thought i must be dreaming but the music continued. it was a kind of harpsichord instrument playing a tune which was very quiet and gradually faded away. it came from the wall behind the mirror,it took me a long while to go to sleep again.the next day we checked behind the wall and mirror and there was no ajoining room. if people do not believe there are ghosts in the golden fleece i for one believe something strange happened to me in lady pecketts room.

    Comment by deborah | January 4, 2008 | Reply

  8. hahaha! You really do put alot of irony into the beans in breakfast at the ‘haunted pub’. I LOVE beans for breakfast-who wouldn’t?? It would just be insaine if you NEVER tried bean for breakfast, lol! Thanks for amusing me ^_^

    Comment by catherine | March 28, 2008 | Reply

  9. i would like to book a room for the 13/09/2008 for three nights departs on the 15/09 2008 can you mail me some details

    Comment by norma gibson | July 30, 2008 | Reply

  10. i truly believe in the paranormal. i dont think i would be brave enough to stay in a haunted pub. when my dad died the day after i saw his ghostly figure driving his car, i know occasionally he is with me in spirit.

    Comment by paula | October 31, 2008 | Reply

    • I believe you absolutely. I see “outlines” of people and animals sometimes. Have had my eyes checked several times. Thought I was getting macular degeneration. No. Good eyesight.

      Comment by dsm | December 18, 2011 | Reply

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  12. yep well we british might like beans for breakfast. u americans can stick to ur doenuts and mcdonalds for breakfast.

    Comment by scott | January 1, 2009 | Reply

  13. You were lucky to get baked beans with your breakfast without being charged extra – far more palatable than fried bread or black pudding, that is if they are Heinz obviously

    Perhaps the real issue might be an American teaching the Japanese English!

    We felt really cold winds on our faces when we had lunch at Ye Olde Starre Inn Stonegate, but this was due to the front door rather than a ghostly ghoul

    Comment by dane | January 6, 2009 | Reply

  14. Going to the Golden Fleece next month! Really looking forward to it…enjoyed your account but I’m afraid baked beans are much better with breakfast than your pancakes and cream with bacon :P

    Comment by wanda | February 1, 2009 | Reply

  15. I loved York. Been there 2 times. Haunted or not, the folks in this town are nice and helpful. If they like beans on toast, hey, food is food. It is an incredible town. I will visit there soon with my sister.

    Comment by DSM | April 9, 2009 | Reply

  16. oh my god!!!
    was thinking about staying in goldenfleece 19 june 2009 guess i wudnt have had much sleep!! does any1 know when the ‘most haunted’ team did the investigation there? id love 2 see it if any1 knows which series it was on. bye the way, beans 4 brekkie rock!!!

    Comment by sam | October 4, 2009 | Reply

  17. Baked beans are always included in a typical full English breakfast…even fried bread…but…never ever a T-bone steak!!!

    Comment by karon | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  18. I never put faith in those shows. A genuine investigation should be done by someone who does not know the paranormal history. I am happy to eat whatever is served so long as it is hot and quality food. Some people eat cake or pizza for breakfast. Whatever is your style.

    Comment by DSM | November 4, 2009 | Reply

  19. I stayed in the Golden Fleece last night (New Year’s Eve). On checking in, the lady behind the bar went to fetch the key to my room. She came back with a puzzled expression on her face, saying that she couldn’t find the key but that it had been there only a minute since. Off she went again, and, after what seemed like an eternity, she returned with the key in her hand. She explained that she had found it in the lock of the room – The Shambles – where I would spend the night. There was no one else around who could have moved it and she insisted that she hadn’t moved it either.

    I checked into my room and during the course of the afternoon, the plug was put into the plughole and the sink filled with water. I kept taking the plug out, winding the plug around the tap, but whenever I went into the bathroom I would find the plug in the hole and the sink filled with water. Very strange!

    But the best was to come!

    After seeing in the new year, I retired to my room and climbed into the four-poster bed. I couldn’t sleep, despite having had a few glasses of wine, and I didn’t fall into the land of nod until after 5.30am.

    The first thing I felt was someone come to sit on the bed. The bed sunk close to where my feet were. My heart stopped! Then, I felt a hand gently stroking my face and my hair. It was as though I was being soothed to sleep.

    Later, I began having out-of-body experiences. These were happening frequently and on one occasion my spirit actually flew through the wall and out of the building to the street outside! My heart was racing and there were occasions when my body actually felt paralysed. Still, I was determined to see the night through and no ghost was going to force me out of my room.

    I turned over at one point and found a lady standing beside my bed. I only sensed her at first, but gradually I actually saw her too. She had two small dogs (possibly Yorkshire terriers) at her feet. Her dress was long and the sleeves were frilly, but the biggest surprise of all was that she actually spoke to me! She told me that crying is okay and that it means a person cares if they cry. I didn’t know why she was saying this to me… until I put my hand to my face and found tears pouring down my cheeks! I had no idea that I was crying until that moment!

    All in all, it was a scary but fabulous night and I definitely got my money’s worth. I can’t wait to do it all again and I’m pretty sure it will be sooner rather than later.

    Comment by Jayne Doherty | January 1, 2010 | Reply

  20. Stayed at the Fleece for one night back in June. My 2 friends and are were staying in St Catherines room. The Fleece is an amazing little pub, full of atmosphere and history. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, just go along to the pub to experience a wonky, creaky old inn.
    Anyway We returned back to our room after being out, the whole pub was quiet. We decided to be brave and turn the lights out and just sit and listen for a while. Nothing happened for a hr or so, but when we finally got into bed we hear the light switch/cord in the bathroom come on and a bang in the corner of the room!!! There was a real feeling that someone else was in the room with us. The next morning we heard from the bar staff that the ensuit room had only been found a few years ago and that it was never on the plans of the building. very odd! Wonder what happened in there or what it was originally. Anyone know?
    Anyway beans with breakfast…Welcome to England! it’s all part of the full engligh experience mate. You can’t have a fry up without beans. lol

    Comment by rachel | July 25, 2010 | Reply

  21. Hi,

    I’m an American spending time in York. I enjoyed your article! Do you have a Facebook I could follow?

    Hope you’re enjoying your travels!

    Elesha

    Comment by Elesha White | August 20, 2010 | Reply

  22. 2 of us stayed in The Shambles Room overlooking The Shambles on the first floor for 2 nights. This was Sunday the 12th of July 2009(or nearest to it.)The only thing that happened as we were very serious about finding paranormal action was that our small LED torch kept dimming several times when we asked spirits things. Like asking any of the known ghosts to show us they were there or show us a sign in some way.We left trigger objects like coins and circled them in pen, they never moved.Put the plugs in the bathroom and made sure the taps were tightly off.In frustration with nothing happening, we were asking any of the dead to contact us, including Dick Turpin who has a grave locally! It was only 3 weeks after Michael Jackson died and we asked for a sign and reeled off some names and when his was mentioned, on the “Son” part my torch went dim as hell and slowly came back up to the proper light level. Each time the torch dimmed, we saw white flecks fly through the air, either orbs or dust? Unfortunately I didn’t catch this on my camcorder, but it gave us the creeps!
    Now in Feb 2011 we are returning for 4 nights, 2 in Lady Pecketts Yard and 2 in St Catherine’s room, supposedly the most activity happens in them.
    What will happen this time?
    We had the barmeals at night and beans for breakfast and they were great!
    This time my camcorder will be ready and I will leave it running at night until the battery runs out!!!
    It’s a great little pub with a strange feeling when you walk through the rooms, upstairs or down!

    Comment by Yvonne Ballard | February 5, 2011 | Reply

  23. Forgot to add to the above. When I got home , I checked the torch out. For 5 consecutive nights I left it switched on for over 2 hours. It didn’t flicker once! Didn’t dim or anything, so it wasn’t until I got home I got the feeling that it dimming was genuine! At the time I thought the battery may have been losing juice. it wasn’t so……

    Comment by Yvonne Ballard | February 5, 2011 | Reply

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  26. Aahh i’m going to stay the night in The Shambles tomorrow, and i thought that room would have the least spookies, as it isn’t named after anyone in particular (Lady Peckett or Catherine?), but it sounds like i couldn’t have chosen worse! My mum is going to have an interesting Birthday surprise, and she’s a fan of Most Haunted so she probably knows the room i booked is the worst. If the ghosts don’t get me in the night, she will.

    Comment by Claire | June 27, 2013 | Reply

  27. You might find more details at Ghost Pubs: http://www.ghostpubs.com/haunted_pub/detail.html

    Comment by Phil | August 31, 2014 | Reply

  28. Any rooms on 31st oct available

    Comment by Samantha Wilson | September 4, 2014 | Reply


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