Susanne's picture. Just what – or who – is that shadowy figure behind the bar of York's Golden Fleece?
Susanne’s picture. You can see the barmaid coming in from the left. But she’s not alone…

What – or who – is that shadowy figure behind the bar?

That is the question that has dogged Susanne Taggart ever since she took this picture in the Golden Fleece on Pavement in York.

The pub is said to be among the most haunted in the country, with as many as 15 different spirits spotted there.

One of the founders of paranormal investigation team UK Shadow Seekers, Susanne took a team to investigate the Golden Fleece in September 2007.

It was then that she took this photograph. But she hadn’t made it public – until now.

The Golden Fleece is one of York’s earliest coaching inns, with the first record of its existence dating to 1503

A ghost named One Eyed Jack, wearing a 16th Century red coat and carrying a pistol, has been seen in the bottom bar

A close up of the figure…
A close up of the figure…
“I’ve been sitting on it for years,” she told YorkMix. “It’s one that’s bugged me for quite some time.”

She described the shape as “very creepy” and “deeply unsettling”. The figure lets no light through – it completely obscures a kitchen door behind it.

Susanne said:

When I took the photograph I made sure that nobody was behind the bar – because I was actually taking a picture of how good the bar looked.

At the last moment the barmaid entered the frame on the left. But there doesn’t appear to be any way she could have cast a shadow like the one seen in the picture – and she later confirmed there was no one behind the bar with her.

“I can’t fathom it out. Neither can the people we’ve shown it to,” Susanne said.

She speculated that it might be the spirit of a former landlord who hung himself.

The ghost of a grumpy old man is often spotted sitting in one of the Golden Fleece alcoves

The top bar is haunted by the ghost of a young boy from Victorian times. He was trampled to death by the horse that pulled a brewer’s dray.

Hear the recording of a girl’s voice

The group also took recording equipment to capture electronic voice phenomena (EVP).

“We took an EVP at the same time upstairs.

“It sounds like a little girl saying, ‘now I will show you’. We heard the taps come on at the same time.”

Susanne and her team, based in Greater Manchester, have undertaken research in reputedly haunted locations across the UK.

In more than ten years of carrying out investigations, she has never come across anything as strange as the Golden Fleece photograph.

In the Second World War a Canadian airman fell to his death from one of the upstairs windows at the Golden Fleece and then took up residence as a ghost

Best in ten years

Spooktacular… the Golden Fleece, Pavement, York. Photograph: YorkMix
Spooktacular… the Golden Fleece, Pavement, York. Photograph: YorkMix
She has returned to the pub in the years since but has never replicated what happened that night. “I’d love to go back, to be honest with you,” she said.

We’ve very rarely picked up stuff – apart from The Golden Fleece.

With paranormal investigations, we’re there to debunk it. Over ten years I could probably count on one hand the stuff we’ve actually picked up on.

But nothing as good as the Golden Fleece.

“If anyone can shed some light on it then fair enough.”

Do you have any ideas? Drop us an email or leave a comment below…

There are a number of accounts of staff who have felt a sudden tightening around their neck while standing at the bar – the very bar where, it is said, an earlier landlord hanged himself.

2 comments on “Revealed for the first time: Photo of ‘ghost’ in one of York’s most haunted pubs

  1. Forensic examination of that photo shows it has been edited in Photoshop, specifically using CC 2015 on an Apple Mac, it also has a very high error level analysis result. I’m not saying foul play, but it is a fact at some point that photograph has been through Photoshop.

    1. Hi T. We certainly put the photo through Photoshop as we do with all pix to utilise the Save For Web settings. I’ve no idea if it had been through Photoshop before we got a copy though.

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