Pub spirits have been serving up ghostly goings-on across Hartlepool for centuries.
Scores of watering holes, from Jackson’s Arms to The Royal, are reputedly haunted by a host of ghosts including white ladies and flat-capped gents.
“Since prehistoric times, mankind has had a fascination with death and ghosts. Whether we regard them as just tales others tell or encounter them ourselves, they cannot easily be dismissed,” said Paul Screeton, author of Haunted Hartlepool and East Durham.
Among the most haunted pubs is the Jackson’s Arms, Tower Street, where medium Peter Crawford spotted a ghostly lady with bleached blond hair during a visit.
He later told the Mail she “looked like a lady of the night” and added: “When I told a few of the regulars what I’d seen, they knew who it was straight away.”
But the blonde bombshell is not the only ghostly presence. Mysteriously spilling drinks, as well as glasses shooting from shelves, have been reported there too.
“As a seaport, Hartlepool naturally has a sea-going spectre. His berth is now The Royal, a Regency-style edifice facing the original town centre,” said Paul.
“When new tenants created an upmarket restaurant in 1981, they named it the Captain’s Cabin after hearing stories that it was haunted by a seafaring captain.”
Farther inland, at Murray Street, a branch of the Royal Naval Association also has a resident spirit but, despite the name, it’s not some salty old sea dog.
In fact the presence is known as Annie, named after a regular patron who used to live next door - and she has been known to make unearthly indecent proposals!
Other pubs said to be haunted include the old Station Hotel, at Seaton, where two children named William and Elizabeth roamed the corridors seeking playmates.
There are claims a mechanic haunts the cellar of Yates’s Wine Bar in Victoria Road too, while an Andy Capp-style spectre has been spotted at the Victoria Arms.
Another ghost sporting a flat cap - a former landlord of the Harbour of Refuge called Albert - has been spotted several times at the pub, along with his wife.
And a second Headland boozer, The Ship, is reportedly haunted by the wraith of a former landlady named Norma.
Perhaps one of the strangest hauntings, however, has been reported at the Brewery Tap - an ancient Stranton pub originally known as the Anchor.
Landlady Marie-Louise McKay said: “I watched three photo albums rise – levitating! They then shot across the room and banged against the wall.”
* Haunted Hartlepool and East Durham is available from Amazon at £9.99.