There are lots of myths and mysteries surrounding our town, so we thought we’d share some of our favourite stories of Whitby ghosts with you. Take a look at our 5 favourite haunting tales of Whitby ghosts.
The Oyster Man of Whitby
Oysters might now be a delicacy, but they used to be incredibly popular in most towns around the UK. The Osyter Man was a familiar figure wandering the streets offering his oysters to the locals. Whitby’s Oyster Man has a very sorry tale, and can still be heard peddling his oysters on our cobbled streets.
Before his death, the Oyster Man would go from pub to pub showing “Oysters alive-ho!” to attract attention for his wares. One night, a group of rowdy men called him into the Golden Lion and began insulting him. The Oyster Man knew he’d make no sales there and turned to leave, muttering a quiet oath as he went.
Unfortunately for him, one of the men heard and couldn’t bear to be insulted. He snatched the oyster basket and threw it onto the fire. He grabbed the Oyster Man and threated to chuck him into the flames as well.
The Oyster Man was terrified. Though he was small, he pulled out the tiny blade he carried for opening oysters and stabbed his captor. To everyone’s surprise, the Oyster Man delivered a killing blow, accidentally striking the man’s heart.
Though not found guilty of murder in his trial, the Oyster Man never forgave himself for what he had done. He continued to sell his oysters in Whitby town, always avoiding the Golden Lion, but his cry of “Oysters alive-ho!” was forever changed. His guilt ate at him and within a year he’d died of his remorse.
On quiet nights, make sure you listen out for his reedy cry as you make your way back home. Just make sure you don’t insult him…
The Brave Lighthouse Keeper
If you take a walk along west pier at night, you might catch sight of the brave lighthouse keeper who gave his life trying to protect Whitby sailors.
Years ago, in a dreadful storm, the lighthouse keeper noticed his lighthouse wasn’t working. People out at sea would have no idea how close they were to the harbour, and the crashing waves were making it nearly impossible to steer.
The lighthouse keeper set off to do his job, getting battered and blown around by the wind and rain. As he climbed up to turn the light back on, rainwater dripped off him onto the staircase, making them incredibly dangerous.
As he made his way back down the stairs, he slipped. By the time he hit the floor by the entrance, he was dead.
Many visitors to the lighthouse have seen his ghostly body spread across the floor. However, it’s more common to spot the lighthouse keeper making his hurried journey up the pier, unknowingly heading for his own demise.
The Phantom Coach
Have you ever been to the top of our famous 199 steps after dark? If you do, the story tells that you’re likely to have a run in with the phantom coach that haunts the ground outside St Mary’s Church.
Standing in the church yard on cold, clear nights, you’re likely to hear the sounds of horses running in the distance. If you turn towards the Abbey, you might see a ghostly horse and carriage barrelling towards you. The driver will be frantically whipping the horses to make them run even faster.
Barely visible figures will stop the carriage right outside the entrance to the church. The horses will rear on their hind legs before disappearing from site. We don’t know why this carriage desperately makes its way to the church, who it’s expecting to collect, or why it’s doomed to repeat the nightly ride to the doors.
The Landlady of the White Horse and Griffin
Have you been to the White Horse and Griffin? It’s now a delightful pub in the centre of town, but in the 19th century, it was run by a very cruel woman. She would judge her customers with just a look and if she took a dislike to them, she could be incredibly unpleasant.
One night, as she was walking down the outside steps, she slipped. As she hit the ground, she cracked her head and suffered a slow death alone on the cobbles.
So, if you’ve popped in for a pint or two and start to feel uncomfortable or uneasy, the old landlady has taken a dislike to you…
The Ghost of Grape Lane
Should you ever find yourself walking along Grape Lane at night, keep your eyes peeled for the ghost that haunts there.
A young girl was running an errand for her father that brought her to the bakery that used to operate on Grape Lane. The friendly baker recognised the girl from the town and welcomed her in and invited her to place an item in the oven herself.
The baker turned his back for only a moment before he heard a horrific scream. He turned to find the girl engulfed in flames as her hair had caught alight as she reached into the oven. Working as quickly as he could, he beat the flames from the girl, but it was too little too late. She died from her injuries in the local infirmary.
Today, her ghost haunts the street. She appears in front of people walking the lane covered in flames. People have even reported the scent of burning hair long after the girl disappears.