Happy Halloween BITE Readers… There comes a time in every patrons pub-life, when the night grows still, usually during last orders, all you can hear is the ticking of the wall clock, or the gentle smudging noise of the barman cleaning a glass or two. It’s in moments like this that the old bar-barnacle or even the landlord himself decides is a good time to mention “the pub ghost”. We’ve all heard a dark tale of resident pub ghosts, trapped spirits (clean the optics) or mysterious happenings in our favourite locals. Below we have rounded up our choice of the top 5 most haunted pubs on BITE. Have you been to any of these spooky boozers? We invite you to share your pub-ghost stories with us on our Facebook page, do it before midnight though – else you’ll turn into a pumpkin!
1. The Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton Under Edge, Stroud
The physical ground that the Ancient Ram resides on was once a Pagan burial ground, it is suggested that two ley lines cross beneath the pub and through this natural energy spirits, apparitions and ghosts have managed to traverse the realms of reality into our own. Built in the 12th Century the Inn has played host to a great many stories and tales that many would describe as unnatural. Devil worship, poltergeist activity, strange mists, black ghostly shapes of men hung from rafters, dramatic temperature changes and a deviant resident Incubus (women be warned). Unfortunately no longer a public house, the current owner of the Ancient Ram is an approachable fellow and open to operate small group tours around this once fabled watering hole, you will not want to be alone for a minute, even the surrounding village and countryside is creepy in the dead of night. Take a torch! In fact take a few…
Visit the Ancient Ram Pub Page | Map link
2. The Ostrich Inn, Colnbrook Berkshire
One of the oldest pubs in Britain, once used as a refuge by the notorious outlaw Dick Turpin, this venue’s tale seems to take a leaf or two from the Sweeney Todd fable. In the distant past many, many travellers have been murdered within these pub walls. Wealthy visitors to the area would often disappear after spending a night at the Ostrich. The legend tells of the greedy, murderous Jarman family who once lived and worked at the Inn. During the night whilst the weary traveller slept, the landlord would pull a lever and the unsuspecting guest would find themselves falling through a trapdoor dropping them into vat of boiling liquid and sealing their fate. The gruesome landlord and his wife after confessing to what they had done were hung for their crimes after a victim’s horse was found wandering the streets of Colnbrook alone and raised suspicion with local police. Today the Ostrich is known for poltergeist activity, the ghosts of trapped spirits who died in the pub, or the residual energy of the nefarious landlord himself? It’s hard to tell, despite the Ostrich Inn being a jolly good local these days, its cold, murderous past will leave you chilled to your dregs.
Visit The Ostrich Inn Pub Page | Map link
3. The Old Bull and Bush, Hampstead
For centuries, banging and knocking in the night can be heard, sharp temperature drops and a ghostly, dark and shrouded apparition in Victorian clothes has been seen moving between rooms, these are just some of the stories to chill patrons whilst visiting this pub. Recent and extensive renovations to the building may have unearthed the reason why. Behind one of the cellar walls a skeleton was discovered surrounded by Victorian surgical instruments. Whilst the bones have been laid to rest, the tale of how this person met their demise remains unsolved, and so, their uneasy spirit still resides.
Visit The Old Bull and Bush Pub Page | Map link
4. Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath
With a trio of apparitions, this pub once belonged to the father of Dick Turpin, and the highwayman himself used the Inn as a hideout during his escapades. The outlaw himself ‘Dick Turpin’ is said to haunt the upstairs rooms, banging, rattling and knocking can often be heard, whilst outside the spirit of Turpin’s horse “Black Bess” can sometimes be heard galloping away from the car park. Also, with a rather unfortunate name, the spirit of “Black Dick” haunts the bar itself, once a local moneylender he was run down in the street by a coach and horses, his spirit though, never left the pub.
On a different trivia note, did you know that many pubs named the “Black Horse” are a tribute to Turpin’s horse Black Bess, who in 1737 made the ride from London to York in a single night, a story of fiction, around which the legend was forged.
Visit the Spaniards Inn Pub Page | Map link
5. The Ring O’ Bells, Middleton, Manchester
Edward was a Royalist, dressed in full Cavalier military gear when his life met its fateful end. Edward, the son of a Local Lord, used the Ring O’ Bells as a secret Royalist meeting place in a Parliament forces held town during the English Civil War. One fateful evening Edward was hacked to pieces by Roundheads whilst trying to escape, now his sombre spirit lingers on within the pub walls. The pub grounds date back to the Saxon times, and are also rumoured to have been the location where ancient sacrificial victims were offered to Gods. What an ideal place to erect a pub! It’s been reported that Edwards ghost can manipulate objects, throwing them across rooms. Patrons have recorded a number of times when they have felt a firm hand on their shoulder or back only to turn and find themselves all alone. It is said that anyone who dares sit in the “Cavaliers seat” will feel an icy chill and wandering sadness.
Visit the Ring O’ Bells Pub Page | Map link