The Leopard Burslem Stoke on Trent is reputedly one of the most haunted pubs in Britain, even appearing on an episode of most haunted. But why is it that most pubs seem to have a resident ghost? And please, no spirit jokes. I honestly cannot name a pub that I’ve been to in recent years that hasn’t had a spectral regular who still lingers at the bar longer than Oliver Reed, or a ghostly landlord who still likes to move barrels in the cellar. Personally I think all the emotion they’ve witnessed over the years, weddings, birthdays, christenings and funerals, must have had an ever lasting effect, whether that be residual, spiritual or psychological. I can’t think of anywhere else in modern times where so much love, hate, fear and remorse occurs. If you have a problem do you go to pray to your god, no you go to the pub to speak to your mate or even the bar staff. Functions, business meetings, even meeting up with friends for a meal, they all evolve around the good old British pub, ever likely they’ve become havens of the paranormal. So, for your pleasure below are a few stories recounted to me in bars over the years.
The landlady of a local pub once told me of an eternal barfly who would stand at the end of the bar most nights, disappearing with the slightest glance, also one day, whilst talking to the cleaner, whom she hadn’t seen for some time, she commented about poor Sid, the cellar man.
“Poor Sid, what do you mean?” Asked the cleaner.
“Haven’t you heard?”asked the landlady,”he died a few months back, dropped dead, heart attack I think.”
The cleaning lady, her face ashen, replied,”well he’s still delivering beer with the lads because he says hello to me everyday as he comes up from the cellar while they’re delivering, in fact I’ve seen him this morning.”
Old Sid was never seen after that and when the cleaner recollected, she realised she hadn’t seen him go in with a barrel for weeks, just coming out empty handed and whistling.
Late one night in a pub, myself, a friend and the landlord were just drinking up when we heard heavy footsteps running up the stairs above us, only we were the only people in the pub and as I checked outside I realised the pub was detatched from any neighbours. Since that day I’ve spoken to an ex landlady who’s told me similar things and even a name, Alf. It seems these phantom punters often don old generic names.
A few years back I was working on a local pottery works when a work mate told me about his local pub where there was a ,”Death Seat.” Basically some years before an urban myth was born when a local man sat in a seat that a man had recently and tragically died on. A few days later the man died and the myth was born. About two years later, I bumped into the lad who had told me this story and sadly his uncle, who I’d also worked with there, had just died. He was only in his early forties and had died suddenly of a massive heart attack, and yes…he’d sat in the seat the night before.
I have since heard of several so called Death Seats in local pubs. Personally I think the connection with the mens deaths and the seats are just apophenia but who knows. My friend and paranormal investigator, Craig Longson, has recently become the landlord of a local public house called O’Learys, which has a history going back to Victorian times. I myself have been to the pub and into the cellar and seen and felt nothing, but then I never do. However, others are already reporting apparitions and strange noises so who knows, maybe this sceptic will soon eat his words. We shall see.