Bizarre ritual witnessed in York at night – what on earth were they doing?

Suited figures line up against the wall on Dame Judi Dench Walk by the river. Photographs: Tracy Anne Temple
29 Oct 2015 @ 9.12 pm
| News

We know it’s the time of year for strange goings on – heavens, we even had zombies strolling round Museum Gardens the other day.

But no pre-Halloween spectacle has spooked us out as much as this one.

The pictures were taken by Tracy Anne Temple early on Wednesday night (October 29). Tracy takes up the tale…

‘Very odd and uncomfortable’

The view from above
The view from above

So yeah, wandering home from work about 7.15pm and heard shouting just as I passed the Museum Gardens. Saw something going on and thought it was some kind of street art.

Looked down onto the cobbled slope that leads to Dame Judi Dench Walk and saw a row of public school boys with their faces against the wall. They were being shouted at by some older looking sporty lads, bandannas, cammo, T-shirts etc.

One lad was bent over with another bigger guy stood right behind him for a good five minutes (yeah, couldn’t stop watching).

Decided to walk past them to see what was going on, row of boys were by now holding one foot up while still facing the wall. They were being shouted at to not answer back and to “drop and give me ten” – press-ups I presume.

Old lady approached me asking what was going on as her friend was scared about the shouting. Told her it was just art for the light festival and to not worry.

Up against the wall
Up against the wall

After posting pics in the York Past & Present group it seems this group were also seen in town centre. One lady claimed the older lads in charge were shouting and swearing but I never saw that.

All in all, it was very odd and uncomfortable for some to witness. The fact it was on one of the busiest nights in York, with tourists and lots of children around, it was unacceptable really.

In this day and age, is the old fashioned ritual of “beasting” acceptable?

Some say it was a rugby initiation for the uni but the young lads were uniformed school boys, NOT students.

Other’s say it was the York Rowing Club but again, why were the youngsters in a school uniform?

Some ideas

There were various responses to Tracy’s Facebook posting…

Saw them in Davygate. Conga style with hands in front persons pockets. The leader at the front was shouting and swearing at on lookers ‘what you f…ing looking at?’ Quite intimidating tbh. Some public schoolboy prank I guess??

– Claire Cooper

They were kneeling around the fountain in york city center tonight been made to sing choir songs. Looked like something posh kids do in America to get into a group by doing embarrassing tasks at posh schools.

– Darren Simpson

seen it all 2 lads down coney st, both in suits, one wearing a white hylon head covering, the other a face mask very strange

– Dave Ruddock

Please don’t tell me the whole fraternity/sorority thing has made it to Europe?

– Denver Chaplin

Anyone else see them? And does anyone have an answer?