Friday, 26 June 2009

Haunted Pubs

Last week, I went to Tea at Three at my local library. A short talk by a guest speaker with a cup of tea with the wrinklies of the parish.

This month's talk, was Pubs in the South East by local author, Donald Stuart. Donald retired as a journalist some years ago and has since visited, photographed and researched some 2,000+ pubs and has published a number of books - notably London's Historic Inns and Taverns.

The talk was about an hour long and was made up of a slide show of various pubs in the South East illustrated with some personal anecdotes from the author. It was an entertaining if fairly pedestrian pub crawl.

One comment that did interest me greatly though was the fact that so many pubs in Britain seem to have a ghostly connection. There are over 500 pubs in the country that are rumoured to have a resident ghost.

Given that no-one (?) has actually seen a ghost, I wonder why so many pubs seem to make this claim. To an old sceptic like me, I guess it was an old Victorian marketing ploy. Every visitor loves a local story about ghoulish goings-on and every traveller loves a local pub. Put them together and you have a unique selling point for your inn.

Donald Stuart has also written a book about pubs with such supernatural phenomena called Haunted Taverns. An A-Z of over 250 haunted pubs.


Bailey said...

Fortean Times has a standing column on hauntings, and often includes pubs. Personally, I suspect it's down to landlords trying to drum up tourist business...

Leigh said...

I've recently posted about haunted pubs - and the stories are indeed rife. I'd like to think that as pubs are probably the greatest place for conversation, it follows the the odd macabre tale is bound to crop up. Most pubs, it seems, have a ghost. Word of mouth, the tongue-lossening effect of alcohol, and crude marketing ploys seem to perpetuate the trend. I love it, personally!