Dare you cross the threshold of England’s spookiest shop?
The York Ghost Merchants opened on a suitably dark and stormy night this Friday (16 August) – but that didn’t deter a queue of inquisitive locals and tourists eager to explore this brand-new experience.
With 1,200 ghosts, it must be the most haunted store in the country.
And they live in a beautifully recreated Georgian shop interior, designed to match their historic Shambles home which dates from the 1780s.
Each ghost is unique – and designed to be a very special souvenir from this most haunted of cities.
The York Ghost Merchants is the brainchild of Angus McArthur, who has run Snowhome on Gillygate for more than 18 years, and former director of Paragon Creative David Bloodworth.
They have crafted the ghostly experience with exquisite attention to detail and a healthy sprinkling of wit.
With nothing but a ticking grandfather clock for a soundtrack and the odd creak and groan as drawers and cupboard are opened, the shop has an evocative, spine-tingling atmosphere.
Tiny figures emerge from the period-style woodwork that houses the hundreds of hand-made ghost figures.
Each is unique and beautifully packaged in its own gold-leaf printed box.
The baby ghosts cost £7 whilst the larger ones, wrapped in a reproduction map of the city, cost £14.
The ghosts are all made in York and will, later this year, be crafted in the workshop on the first floor of the shop. Soon you’ll be able to book a ghost making session, and create your very own spirit.
Stretching back centuries
There are also plans for the cosy second floor room to play host to ghostly gatherings in the future.
In this way, says Angus, The York Ghost Merchants is as much a visitor experience as it is a shop.
A few years ago he created the Great York Ghost Search, which has proved so popular with families at Halloween.
Angus felt York needed a ghostly souvenir to go with its reputation as a city of spirits. And so the York Ghost was born.
There’s an intriguing back story centred around The Sorrowful Guild of Master Ghost Makers, which stretches back centuries – you can read about that here.
Go and explore the shop yourself – and follow The York Ghost Merchants on Instagram.