York Haunted Pub Crawl

Right so its been a while since I’ve blogged. Been meaning to do it for ages and I thought today’s post was quite suitable for attempting a come back. Last time I wrote a post it was about losing my cat Indy in the states. On top of all that I was also dealing with a bit of depression and what I found so odd but seemed to explain a lot, culture shock. While it’s not my first time living in the UK or experience things in the north. I was missing the normality I would get in St. Louis and not having a job and getting out of the house was also taking a toil. But now I have a job and a steady income I’m not only able to get out a hell of a lot more, I’m socializing a lot more. I still miss home obviously but I’m doing a lot more and spending so much time doing things and working that by the time I get home I am so worn out and sleeping within minutes of getting into bed. I might still be getting used to the work but I do like how quickly I’m going to sleep considering just a mere few months ago I was struggling to fall asleep at night.

Anyway last weekend my husband, me and our two friends David and Fiona went to York for an overnight trip. We did a haunted pub crawl that I’ve been wanting to do for nearly two years now. I got a booked called Haunted York and in the back with a list of haunted historic places there was a list of 10 pubs that were reported to be haunted with a map to help find our way. The only unfortunate thing was there was no stories as to their hauntings in the book. So I had to do a bit of research for all the different places. We didn’t get to go in all of them, there was only two we didn’t actually even get to see as they were the two farthest out of the main pubs. At least another 3 more that were too crowded to want to get a drink in as my husband and David joked, serving crap beer anyway being John Smiths pubs. Though I want to say one wasn’t and I really wanted to go in it but it was so crowded from a live band that was playing that I figured any spirits in that one wouldn’t be around.

So first we went to the Golden Fleece which had a doorman for such a tiny place. The fleece’s story I would write in my own words but I think its written quite well from a website I found.

Reputedly the most haunted pub in York, this early 16th century inn is certainly one of the oldest, having first been documented in 1503.

It is believed that no fewer than 15 spirits haunt this quaint unsuspecting pub. The most notable of these reports is the spirit of Lady Anne Peckett, the wife of the one time mayor of York, John Peckett. Many guests and staff have reported the sighting of a woman wandering the corridors of the inn, moving things around, and walking up and down the staircase in the dead of night.

Other ghosts include a man dressed in red coat uniform and holding a pistol. He’s known by people as One Eyed Jack, whether this is because he has been seen to wear a patch or is missing an eye is not known. He is also joined by a grumpy old man, both of whom are often sighted in the bottom bar area. A young boy is also seen in the top bar. It’s believed he is the ghost of a boy who was trampled to death by horses outside the inn sometime during the Victorian period.

After the Golden Fleece we got dinner, checked out Dean Court Hotel and decided we didn’t want to pay the prices but I will share the history I got from their website

As York is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the entire world, it’s no surprise that the Dean Court Hotel is haunted, primarily by a cleaner known as the ‘Mad Maid’. Mediums who have visited the hotel in the past came across the mad maid in the basement kitchen, where she told them that she used to work as a cleaner in the guesthouse that used to be next door to the hotel, that later became part of the hotel.

A number of other paranormal happenings have also been reported at the hotel, namely in room 36 on the third floor where most of the activity seems to be concentrated. Guests have reported doors slamming, feeling pressure on their chests late at night whilst they lie in bed, objects being moved around and out of their original positions and terribly cold spots in the rooms, even in the height of summer.

Not far from Dean Court Hotel was the York Arms which so happened to be a Sam Smith’s pub and is one our favourite breweries. Now the ghostly part of York Arms I could not find. The only thing I was able to find was that it was designed by J. P. Pritchett in 1838 and his work involved the demolition of the old Peter Prison and the mediaeval Minster Gate. We liked it there so much we stayed for two drinks. It was nice and quiet which was surprising for a Saturday night. After that we went to one of my favourite pubs Ye Olde Starre Inn in the shambles and that was our first bit of actual ghostly activity.

Ye Olde Starre Inne dates back to 1644, however historians believe the cellar is much older than this. It is from this cellar that most of the activity occurs, with screams and groans often heard. It was here were Royalist soldiers were treated during the inns’ time as a temporary hospital during the Civil War.

Another frequent experience is the sighting of an old lady wearing black clothes. There isn’t much known about the identity of the woman, or how she died, but she is often seen on the staircase.

Perhaps one of the strangest hauntings in this list, is the ghosts of two black cats that reportedly haunt this pub. Local legend says the cats were bricked up between the pillar between the door and the bar. On several occasions, customers have brought their dogs in with them, and whilst having their drinks the dogs have growled, snarled, and in some instances have bolted towards the pillar, with one dog knocking itself out doing so!

The tradition of burying cats in the walls is a tradition that goes back a long way throughout Yorkshire. It is believed this ritual protects the building against both fire and bad luck.

Now I took these pictures before I read the story and saw the first smudge and thought it was the cord of the camera in the picture so I took two more knowing I had a tight hand on the cord and there was still that moving orb. Mike and I believe it might have been the poor cats that were bricked in the pillar. Our friend David kept making fun of the idea so I think that might be why its trying to pick his nose :p It might also explain why I always feel so at home in that place because not being a fan of crowds but being a very big fan of cats, I am never in a rush to move on. I firmly believe that’s the cats visiting our table but then moved on when Mike took over the camera. I did take a few more shots too just to see if it was a flaw with the camera but there was nothing and rather than share an odd picture of my purse I didn’t add it on here. So yeah ghostly cat tails in that place with orbs in lots of other places. Next was The Punch Bowl (not the Wetherspoons one) which also had some orbs in it. They stayed with Fiona mostly.

Said to be haunted, The Punch Bowl has been a pub for over four centuries, or perhaps we should say pubs, as we have suffered two major fires. We have a historical connection with the Whig Party from the 17th Century. Punch was the preferred drink of the Whigs, whilst the Tories liked their claret. Any pub displaying a punch bowl sign was therefore declaring its political allegiance.

As with many of the old pubs in York, the Punch bowl is host to a couple of ghostly figures. In the past, the pub was renown as a brothel. One story is that one women rejected the advances of a client, who then chased her around the pub to one of the rooms where he strangled her to death.

Her ghostly steps and voice have often been heard by the staff and customers. The second being that of a previous landlord who died during a fire in the pub.

After The Punch Bowl we tried to go to the Roman Bath which has a museum downstairs with the Roman bath that was found and is on display. Obviously by this point we couldn’t see the it and it was really crowded so we decided to move on and try it another time. Next was The Old White Swan, we sat at a round table by one of the fireplaces, it was busy but the place was large enough for the crowd. I ended up spilling my cider into my purse which had all my electronics so I had to quickly clean it out. I wasn’t the only one to spill my drink there either so I think it was safe to say we were pretty sloshed. Anyhow the story is here, comes from their website.

Part of a collection of buildings dating back to the 16th century, the Old White Swan is also one of the oldest in the city, and with that comes the history and the stories of hauntings. It is believed that the pub is haunted by a group of papists who have been seen gathering round the fire in the early hours of the morning. The fire itself is often re-ignited by itself after staff have extinguished it shortly before.

Another piece of strange phenomena that occurs at this pub are the reports of furniture being moved and in come cases thrown and toppled over by unseen hands. Muffled voices are also often heard, and the sound of footsteps are a regular occurrence.

The Old White Swan is a collection of buildings with a rather colourful history that dates from the 16th Century. We are one of York’s oldest pubs and are said to be haunted. Buildings at the rear of our courtyard date to medieval times and in 1781, the world’s tallest man, Mr O’Brian, was exhibited here at the pub. O’Brian stood 8 feet tall and the then landlord charged onlookers a shilling.

While I don’t know if the fire we sat by is the one they talk about, there is an orb in one of the photos. So again we didn’t plan to sit by one of the haunted areas before we read the story yet still managed to. Oddly coincidental.

After the white swan we made our way to The Snickleway Inn which sadly was the one with the live band and crammed with people. So we stood outside while I read the story and it took a lot of effort not to just go right in after reading what can happen there.

Situated in the historic centre of York, the Snickleway Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the city with parts of the building dating back to the 15th century. The building was not always linked to the pub trade; evidence suggests it may have once been used as a brothel as well as being the Royalist powder magazine during the English Civil War.

In addition to being one of York’s oldest pubs, the Snickleway Inn is also reputedly one of the most haunted. Derek Acorah names the pub as being amongst Britain’s 100 scariest places to visit, thought to be haunted by at least 5 spirits.

The ghosts include Mrs. Tulliver and her cat, Seamus. Some customers claim to have felt the cat rubbing against their legs. The ghost of a young girl has been seen sitting on the pub stairs. She is the daughter of a past landlord who ran outside into the road one day and was killed by a brewer’s dray. An elderly gent is said to sit on the barrels in the cellar and has been known to throw tools at certain members of staff when they go down there.

Now the part I can’t remember is if we got some food on the way back or before we made our way there but we decided to go to some places that weren’t on the list as the last two were too far out from where we were and our hotel. One place wouldn’t let us in because I forgot my passport in the hotel which was understandable but hey not every place has a doorman so we went to The Red Lion which everyone but me wanted to go to first as they were saying its a pub crawl but it wasn’t on my list and I wanted a haunted pub as we all agreed to do. So I may have pitched a mini fit at the beginning to make sure we stuck with the plan. But now that there was plenty of booze in me and we were pretty much done with our list we went there and it was quite a nice place. Could definitely tell it had some history to it. I’ve yet to see what there is about the place but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something. After that we finished our night with the Wetherspoons that was connected to the hotel. And of course before heading to bed we raided the vending machine just in the lobby. It sadly was not as pleasant a night of sleep as I would have hoped because we had the window open in our room which you could hear traffic and people out later than us. Then very early that morning a family next door woke up us. Or really the 3 kids and dad trying desperately to get the ready for the day. One crying and two were bouncing around, how do I know this? Because the walls were so fucking thin!!! Or they were just ridiculously loud. Which is highly possible as Fiona and David heard them and they were a few doors down and not connected by the wall that we were. What was funny was when the father left the room with one of the kids and the kid started to say something the father immediately hushed the kid. And it was like yeah bit late for that! So we ended our time in York by having a nice breakfast at Bills and our server telling us about more haunted pubs when she asked about our visit to York. And I had just enough time to quickly nip into The Cat Gallery to grab Grey some of his catnip mice. It was a great trip and I know we’ll be visiting the other two places as well as the new ones we were told about. Oh and I’ll share the stories for the two we didn’t get to go to. Which were The Black Swan and The Cock and Bottle. And there I shall leave you with the last of the stories and pictures.

Cock and Bottle

Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie

Kissed the girls and made them cry

When the boys came out to play

Georgie Porgie ran away

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) was the bisexual lover of King James I. By no means monogamous, Villiers also had affairs with ladies at Court as well as with the wives and daughters of powerful nobles. It is believed he used his relationship with the King to force his attention on unwilling ladies:

“Kissed the girls and made them cry”

Whilst avoiding prosecution or retaliation. Parliament finally ordered James I to stop intervening on his lover’s behalf causing all the jealous husbands to vow to get their revenge, so…

“Georgie Porgie ran away”

Said to be the home to the ghost of George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, who was rumoured to have been made famous by the Georgie Porgie nursery rhyme.

The Black Swan

This solid oak 17th century inn was originally built in 1417 and was used as a family residence. However, the pub as you see it today wasn’t built until sometime during the 17th century.

The Black Swan is certainly one of the oldest buildings in our list, and it also has some interesting reports of paranormal goings on. One of which is the sighting of a Chaplinesque looking figure that wears a bowler hat, pacing around the rooms of the pub as if he’s waiting for someone to arrive. After a while he normally disappears!

The ghost of a beautiful young woman with long black hair and wearing a white dress is also seen. She is often seen looking towards the fireplace as if in deep thought.

Perhaps the strangest of all the haunting at the Black Swan, is the male legs that have often been seen walking around the landlord’s living quarters.

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I am back!

Its been more than a year (two maybe?) since I wrote a post. I am on here now and back for good!

Since I last wrote on here a lot of things happened. My boyfriend from when I was a student at Leeds Met (now Leeds Beckett), is now my husband. We married in October 2013. What we did not expect was the next year to be the hardest for both of us. His father passed away in December 2013 just weeks after we had our second wedding reception in England. Our plans for to apply for the Spouse Visa in early 2014 got Delayed until August. But I am now living in England hopefully for several years to come or at the very least, for the next 2 1/2 years. I’ve only been here a week but there is so much to do!

I need to get my banking changed around since it was done in my maiden name back when I was a student. I’m trying to work on my NI number, I have one but also having to change my name with that. I did an email forum but now I need to call them or visit them in person to verify who I am. Probably because we got married in the states so they don’t have proof of my marriage. I also need to work on my resume or my CV as they call it here and get that online and start looking at jobs (of course that can’t happen until my Ni No is fixed). And before the month is out I need to register with a GP so I can get back on medication that I had been taking over the counter back in the states due to being uninsured.

So while I’ve been away I was back in St. Louis, where I’m from and was working two different jobs mainly. I worked in a university bookstore for over a year as a cashier. I honestly hated the job, I liked most of the people I worked with and I got along with just about everyone but I was glad to leave. Retail is rather unfulfilling even if it’s in something like a bookstore. I also worked at a community college library, in fact it was right by the town of Ferguson (or was in Ferguson, that area is kind of a fine line by the highway) that has on the news worldwide due to coverage of the death of Michael Brown and the riots and protests that have happened since then. Its amazing what the media gets wrong about things and how much they keep the stereotypes going. While its sad and horrible what has happened in the area with the way the police have handle some things and the businesses that have been suffering if not destroyed. I just wish the media would focus on what is really important. But alas, you can’t change something like that overnight. Anyhow that’s really it right now. I haven’t gone out and done much due to a lack of funds and I’ve mostly just been trying to settle myself. But I shall be back soon with another entry!

Meet Me in St. Louis

My time here has an expiry date.

My flight out of England has been booked. And I got mixed feelings.

I’m coming home on the 20th and will be home just days in time of Thanksgiving celebrations. I’ll be seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in person in over a year and I’m pretty sure my cat will be jumping for joy.

But then I’m leaving behind the life I’ve gotten used to here, my new cat Grey who won’t know where I’ve gone and Mike my fiancé. Thankfully I’ll be seeing Mike at Christmas. And I know I’m coming back here. I just hate that a lot of things are coming to an end.

Like this blog for instance. This blog was only meant to be for my year here but I’m finding I quite enjoy it. I like putting stuff on here and sharing it. I find that little things like my photos and when I talk about my cats get a lot of notice. Photos I wasn’t that surprised by but the cats yes! lol

I am planning on having a different blog after this. I already got my wedding one up. I don’t know what to make the focus of my next one to be. I don’t mind it being about me and having it as a general blog. But then there’s the design and layout and the name of the blog and how often I want to update it.

There is one thing I want to crab about though. STA Travel. I have only used it once before this. It wasn’t for student prices I don’t think. Maybe it was but I first used it to get a flight home to St. Louis after going to Minnesota for week with a friend. She was staying cause it was her mom’s house and I had to come back to go to work. I had to call them because I didn’t know until a few days before I left that I deleted my flight ticket from my email. They claimed I needed a student card to prove I was a student because if I didn’t they ask for proof and I didn’t have any. I got the stupid card and it was never asked for and I never used it for the whole year I had it.

So back to today when I was trying to buy my ticket at a student price. I went all the way through until I got to a point where it was asking me for an ISIC card. I didn’t have one and I wasn’t about to pay for one to prove I was still a student. So I had to go back and redo everything and tweak things as far as not going one way (if you don’t know already, if you get a one way flight ticket, it will cost you more than getting round trip ticket) even though I’m not coming back to England for a year. So it was more expensive than the student price but it was less expensive than the other sites I was looking at. I guess I should start going through stuff and seeing what to keep here and what to take with me. I think I’m going to have to pay for a second bag but it is actually a lot cheaper than I thought. Just got to make sure it is under the weight limit.

Don’t think I will ever get anything through STA Travel again though. It really is a scam to demand a card from someone who has student ID as well as a passport that says I’m here on student visa. Oh well it’s all done now. Wish me luck! I’m not a very calm traveller when it comes to planes. I don’t think it’s the plane ride but the trying to get to the area in time and making the next flight. The biggest problem I might have in the flight is motion sickness and I’m out of my motion sickness pills. I’m sure I can get some though. See you soon St. Louis!

Fountains Abbey

These are my selected photos I took of Fountains Abbey. If you wish to see a larger version just click on the photo.

Life babblings…

This weekend has been a lazy weekend for me and my fiancé. This past week I was at my place in Leeds packing things up. My lease is up at the end of August and I don’t see myself going there much in the future before I move out. So I thought I’d pack things up to make it easier when I do move out. I’m not the only one. There were lots of students moving out this week and last. I’m pretty sure my neighbor next door already moved out because I wasn’t hearing drums, music or anime playing. I got far better sleep in the last week and a half then I have all year round there. Sadly though my funds are so low I’m worried about my bills. I don’t want to ask for help with them but if I don’t get some kind of work soon, I might have to.

So far I’ve applied for at least 7 or 8 jobs and signed up for the job shop at school (which I’m kicking myself for not signing up sooner). Hopefully something will come up soon. I don’t like having time taken away from my dissertation but it will help me manage time better. I have spent the better part of a week trying to transcribe one interview and I’m still not done. It pretty annoying how long its taken me and how exact I have to be on it. I don’t even know if I’ll be showing the transcript(s) to my supervisor. But I’d rather be safe than sorry.

So with packing up this week and thinking about how I’ve been missing home but also about how I’m going to miss being here. I’ve gotten so used to things around here with my way of transportation being either the bus, train or walking. How if I don’t walk enough my body throws a bit after a day of long walking. The little things I enjoying going out and buying or doing. The kitties, Mogs and Minnie. Being in Mike’s room either working, watching tv or just enjoying a lazy day in bed. I have such a lazy route here. At home I get up early because the day sun shines too much for me to sleep in much. But I’ll be happy to see my friends and family again, go down to Lake of the Ozarks when I can, see my cat Indy and Ruby the dog who is so annoying but at this point I don’t care what the slobber monster does, as long as I get to see her prance around outside. I’ll get to drive again and buy the foods I love and miss again. But it also means a change in my life.

I’ve never had a full-time job, I think the most I’ve worked is 30-35 hours a week and that was while being a full-time student too. I only had one night a week I could dedicate to hanging out with my friends (despite them bugging during the week many times and sometimes managing me to neglect my school work). This time I’ll have a 9-5 job Monday though Friday (hopefully) and have more time during the day. I’ll probably spend a lot of free time talking to my fiancé online like before I came to the UK. But I’ll have money to do stuff with friends and still be able to pay bills. I’ll probably see if I can still live with my parents depending on their plans for moving, otherwise I might just try to live with a friend temporary, at least until I marry Mike and am able to come back to the UK. I’m definitely going to make the most of my time back home since I’ll have a limited time until I move to the UK again for a few years. Then I’ll be back in the same place with Mike, working a different full-time job until we get bills lowered and savings up. Then we can think about coming to St. Louis again.

I’m excited and worried all at once. My life is changing which is no surprised, if you’re like me you always think about this kind of stuff but never expect it to happen. I know when I get pregnant for the first time it will likely just be as surreal. This is stuff I’ve dreamed about since I was little girl and it’s actually happening. I’ve known Mike for over 6 years. We talked about this briefly yesterday. With the entire time we’ve known each other, there’s always been something there. We made a lot of excuses at first for not being together, distance being the biggest one. Now we’re planning a life together. This is again a thing I always wanted but never expected to happen. I’m probably sounding pretty sappy and a bottle of wine can help with that :p (the local off license bought a bottle of the type of wine I like despite never hearing of it, it was to see if anyone would buy it. I did and it feels like home again in a way).

Anyway, I think I’m getting off topic here. Though I don’t know why I started this post other than to realize it’s been a week since my last post and I try to do this weekly.

So to recap. School is going well even if transcribing is annoying.

Job hunting is happening and hopefully going well.

Adulthood is catching up with me.

Coming home is catching up with me too and realizing I can’t win either way, I’m always going to miss something, whether it’s England and the people I met, Mike, my family and friends or St. Louis in general.

I’m glad of the experience I’ve gained. I wouldn’t change it for the world, even if I’ve found it hard at times. I always got something to tell the grandkids eh?

Anyway, until my next babbling…

England Bound Forreals!

So I woke up this morning with my cat in my face. Nothing unusual of course. So I got up to feed her and made my way back to my room to turn on my computer. And boom an email from the UKBA. I held my breath as I opened it. It said, “Your UK Visa has been issued.” And I’m immediately filled with happiness and joy to the point I can feel tears welling up. I don’t think I have ever cried out of happiness before so this was a big moment. So what do I do first? Update facebook :p Cause I’m an addict. I don’t email my boyfriend, I don’t immediately email the school or my accommodation or even call my mother (though the thought did occur to me). So now I have done all but call my mom. I’ve looked up flights, unfortunately flying from St. Louis isn’t cheap. So I’m considering Chicago since that cuts the price in half. Now how to get to Chicago, I know my family offered to drive me there but it means canceling their plans for the weekend. I guess they won’t mind but who knows. I can also take a train but man the anticipation of that is nuts! That’s something I will have to discuss with my parents and my boyfriend. And I have to basically wait until the dang thing gets here or says when it will get here before I can go. But I figure what I can do is start packing (I already got out both my suitcases) and hope I can leave by this weekend and with no hitches. Oh and I made that chocolate cake a few days early. I think cause I knew it was gonna happen plus I had time over the weekend. Here’s a picture of my early celebration. 

And ignore the coffee pot :p

Thinking Out Loud

So I keep thinking about what I’m gonna be bringing with me to England. Obviously I’m gonna be bringing clothes and some personal items. But I have so much stuff I want to bring. I have a couple of jewelry boxes that will probably have to stay though I have this antique piano jewelry box that I think I’ll have my parents ship me, that is if I can’t get it in my suitcases (yeah I’m gonna be bringing at least two and then two carry-ons). Then I think about what clothes I shouldn’t bring. I have so many hoodies, some I really don’t wear, a few months ago I went through my closet and got rid of a bunch of stuff including shoes and gave them to charity. I’m wondering if I’ll have to do that again. Then there is all the books I have. I have the entire collection of the Anne of Green Gables books and then a smaller series of LM Montgomery, as much as I want to bring those I think I’ll have to leave them here. Then there is all my knickknacks and photos. I have a few that I’m definitely bringing like these two cat figurines that my dad gave me for Christmas, and then the photos I have hanging up in my room. I have to decide what to do about my camera. My digital camera has the lens for the film one I used but that doesn’t actually belong to me. So I either have to buy a new lens or beg my mom to let me keep the lens and just leave the film camera which is kind of pointless. Then I have kitchen stuff that is mine. I figure to save me some money I’ll bring a few thing with me on my carry on, like a couple of mugs and glasses that are mine. I was just telling my boyfriend earlier that I think I’ll bring the thermometer I bought with me cause I’m sure I could use it. It’s just odd thinking about what part of my life I will have to leave behind and what I can bring with me.

My parents have offered to post stuff to me when I’m there. Don’t know what but I guess that will be figured out when I get to packing in August. The biggest thing that bothers me that I have to leave behind, are my cats. I take care of them and feed them and love them and currently I have one trying really hard to get my hand to pet her as I type. The older one has health problems that requires medicine and I know exactly what she needs and when she’s feeling bad. I worry that my mother will not understand what’s going on with her and miss something. The other one I know will be fine besides not having me for company. I kind of wonder how things will change around here as far as routine goes when I’m gone. The cats generally stay upstairs cause I’m here and cause the dogs won’t stay out of their stuff. But they’ll have to go downstairs if they want attention or want someone to know they’re hungry  which I know won’t be a problem 🙂 Besides being worried about how they’ll adjust, I’ll miss them. I’ve had the older one since I was in 1st grade so she’s been there for everything. I guess I’ll just make the most of my time with them and hope that I can either bring them here after I’m done with school and/or come back to the states and make another home for us. Wow I guess I have a lot on my mind today. Until next time…