York ghost tour wars: Guide slams rival for ‘making a mockery’ of the walks

They walk the night… Andy Dextrous (left) and Trevor Rooney
9 Jul 2015 @ 7.40 pm
| History, News

One of York’s original ghost tour guides has ripped into a rival for “making a total mockery” of the spooky walk business.

Trevor Rooney, who steered his first party around the haunts of York fully 30 years ago, now runs Ghost Walks York, starting from Stonegate each night.

But one evening recently he brought his walk to Goodramgate and was dismayed to see The Ghost Hunt Of York‘s crowd included a hen party, complete with offensive inflatable.

He told YorkMix:

When I came round the corner there were around seven to ten girls on his walk all dressed in hen party stuff.

All I could see was this row of people stood opposite Caesars Restaurant, and there’s this great big inflatable penis in full view of everybody and our crowd.

This woman said to me, ‘That’s absolutely disgraceful having that kind of thing on the street.’

Trevor took to Facebook to say the Ghost Hunt Of York, operated by Andy Dextrous from Shambles each night, was “making a total mockery out of a beautiful and well established style of walk”.

He added: “If I could run this guy out of business right now I would not have any hesitation in doing so.”

Many took to Facebook to agree with him.

Sad, it would ruin a good night for so many families with both young and old.

– Denise Brownlee

Totally agree with you Trevor.. It’s completely inappropriate and they should have been turned away… it sickens me.

– Linda Baker

‘All over the shop’

Trevor told us he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen on one of his walks. “I will refuse hen parties carrying offensive objects, and anybody trying to get on my ghost walk with a bottle of alcohol in their hand.

“That guy should know better.”

He felt that York’s tourist scene had changed since he first started his walks in 1985.

When I go back in time, York has always been good for tourism. But the type of tourism we’re getting at the moment is, in a lot of ways, the type that York doesn’t need.
Andy Dextrous runs the Ghost Hunt of York. Photograph: Jim Richardson / visityork.org
Andy Dextrous runs the Ghost Hunt of York. Photograph: Jim Richardson / visityork.org

There are at least seven regular ghost walks in York which was “definitely breaking the crowds down,” Trevor added.

There have been previous “ghost tour wars” in the city.

That ghost war is still there in my eyes. Because they’re just all over the shop now. They’re not doing it properly.

The people deserve a little bit more than what I saw last Saturday. Those people should have been with me.

It’s not a jealousy thing, it’s not just about money, it’s more about integrity.

Silent as the grave

Trevor said he has tried to speak to his rival about this. “You can never get hold of Andy. I’ve tried a number of times to call him.”

We have contacted Andy Dextrous numerous times for comment but he has not got back to us.

His walk has a score of 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, with a recent review calling it a “brilliant evening”.

Mark Graham runs the Original Ghost Walk Of York
Mark Graham runs the Original Ghost Walk Of York

But we did speak to Mark Graham, who runs the Original Ghost Tour Of York, from the King’s Arms each night.

He told us:

We don’t like hen parties on our public tour as very often they have a had a drink. If so we ask them to leave.

However we do lots of hen parties privately every year. Most are wonderful but a few can be difficult.

The trick is to have a word when they call to book ie no drunks no inflatables – and if possible an early start.