The Oxford pub, The Priory, is one of the growing number of pubs to step forward with tales of haunting for the press.
Writing for the Oxford Mail, Emily Allen documents everything from a headless horseman to the slightly more usual scratching and tappings.
The Priory was once home to an order of Benedictine nuns but is now run by Tim Rackley as a local watering hole.
In 2004 and 2005 archaeologists found the skeletal remains of several children. Mr Rackley admits it was a bad year for the pub, not only did his dog Snoop keep on bringing bones into the pub but the number of incidents was higher than usual.
He told local press, “One time, I was down here and we heard lots of running up and down the landing. It was like children running.
“That was a bit eerie because the skeletons had just been dug up. It sounded like elephants. I went upstairs because I thought the kids had gone up there, but there was no-one.
“Snoop was here through all of that. He won’t be left alone downstairs otherwise he will rip the place apart. I think he senses something down here.”
The pub owner places much of the alleged haunting at the feet of the Benedictine order. Records suggest that in 1517 the nuns were accused by the locals of lesbianism and other abusive behaviour. Rackley believes they may have died an unhappy death in the building.
He told Emily, “The attic was where the nuns used to sleep. I don’t really like going up there much.
“When they were building the science park, we had three lads stay the night up there, all on separate occasions, and they came down in the morning with scratches across their backsides. I hadn’t told them about the ghosts.
“A lot of bad things went on here, it was one of the earliest nunneries to be closed because of misrule. I think they had a rough time.”
In Pure Spirit
Is there a risk when a pub talks to the press about hauntings that people will assume it’s a stunt?
Equally, given that so many pubs in the UK are so old are we surprised there aren’t more frequent reports of ghostly sightings?
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