When thinking about history, many Americans forget just how young our country is. America in its current political form has been around for less than 300 years. In other places around the world, however, 300 years feels like absolutely nothing.
Almost every attraction and popular structure in the United Kingdom, for example, is older than the United States. It only makes sense that more than a few of these old buildings are haunted. In the U.K., it seems like every other pub or inn hosts countless ghosts. I guess that's part of the charm. So which ones should you check out on your next vacation across the pond? Allow me to be your spooky travel guide.
1. Marsden Grotto, South Shields
This creepy pub is actually built into a cliff face. One notoriously malevolent spirit is known to haunt the establishment. In life, he was known as John the Jibber, and he was a smuggler. However, once John started working with local police, he was brutally murdered by thugs. The former owner of the Marsden used to leave a pint out for John's spirit every night, and every morning, the glass would be empty.
Once, a local DJ thought it would be funny to drink from John's beer at the end of the night. Apparently, this angered John. The next morning, the owner walked in and discovered that all of the glass ashtrays were smashed, and all of the beer taps were running. The damage was so extensive that he was forced to sell.
2. The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, London
This pub, which was built in 1585, was famously featured in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers. The pub was founded by Spanish landlords Francesco and Juan Porero. However, Francesco and Juan both fell for the same woman and decided to duel over her. Juan was killed and buried on the property. It's said that his spirit still haunts the pub.
3. The Golden Fleece, York
The Golden Fleece seems like a silly name for a haunted pub, but underestimating these ghosts would be a grave mistake. Visitors to the pub can expect to see doors opening by themselves and hear disembodied voices.
4. Jamaica Inn, Cornwall
For the last 300 years, the Jamaica Inn has offered refuge to many thirsty travelers. All are welcome in this establishment...even ghosts. After the pub opened, a man was brutally murdered on the property under mysterious circumstances. Newspapers from around the turn of the century mention a man who was frequently spotted outside of the pub. He never spoke or moved. Freaky, right?
5. The Viaduct Tavern, Holborn, London
That fact that this pub was built on the remains of an old prison might have something to do with its nearly constant hauntings. In fact, there are still old cells in the pub's basement, which are now used for storage. Staff at the Viaduct have experienced everything from flickering lights to doors closing and locking by themselves. In 1996, the landlord at the time was in a cell in the basement cleaning when the door suddenly slammed and locked behind him. His wife was fortunately nearby to help him out.
6. The Grenadier, Belgravia, London
This 17th-century pub was frequented by King George IV. The name of the place comes from a young grenadier named Cedric who was beaten to death in the pub by fellow soldiers after cheating at a card game. He must have died in September, because every September, things in the pub get spooky. Staff members say that the place is ice cold for the whole month.
7. Ye Old Man & Scythe, Bolton
In its 750-year history, the Ye Old Man & Scythe has seen its fair share of customers. However, the most famous was arguably James Stanley, the Seventh Earl of Derby. Stanley met a brutal end by beheading in 1651, and his spirit still haunts the joint. The current owner has reported coming into work and finding glasses shattered everywhere.
8. The Devil’s Stone Inn, Devon
The particularly creepy name of this pub comes from a rather large stone that sits on the property nearby. Local legend states that the huge stone fell from the Devil's pocket on his journey from Heaven into Hell. Regardless of how the rock actually got there (probably glaciers), it's still a freaky story, which makes reports of odd bumps in the night even weirder.
9. The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Abergavenny, Wales
Okay, it's not in England, but it deserves a nod. This is the oldest pub in Wales, and it has a long and violent history. The first floor of the establishment used to be a courthouse. As many as 180 people were convicted and hanged from a wooden beam inside. Many ghost hunters claim that this is the most haunted pub in the United Kingdom.
Well, that's enough for me. I'm booking my flight right now. Creepy U.K. getaway, here I come!