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Is Scarborough Haunted? Haunted places and ghost stories.

Are you fascinated by the paranormal and the unknown? Then you will enjoy this blog post; here, we explore Scarborough’s haunted places and their ghostly stories.

Scarborough is more than just a pretty seaside town. It has an incredible history which makes it not short of legends, ghost stories and supernatural experiences. Whether you’re a sceptic or a believer, join us on a spine-tingling journey through the town’s haunted places.

Scarborough ghost stories
In this article, we explore Scarborough’s haunted places.

Scarborough Castle

Dating back to the 12th century, Scarborough Castle has been strategically located and used since the Romans. Initially functioning as a signal station for passing ships, it defended the harbour and city below its lofty position.

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Despite suffering significant damage during the English Civil War, Scarborough Castle remained functional and was used as a prison and military barracks until the end of World War I. Today the castle is known to house a ghostly 14th-century presence.

Scarborough Castle on the headland.
Some say that the ghostly presence of Piers Gaveston still lingers in the area.

Legend has it that a mysterious figure haunts the headland at Scarborough Castle. Some say that the ghostly presence of Piers Gaveston still lingers in the area and that he tries to push unsuspecting visitors off the castle walls. It’s a chilling tale passed down through the ages and continues to intrigue and terrify visitors today.

The Ghost of Piers Gaveston

Piers Gaveston, a Gascon knight’s son, was a childhood friend of King Edward II who later became his “favourite.” Despite his arrogance and boastfulness, Gaveston managed to turn many of England’s nobles against him. Their hatred grew even stronger when Edward made Gaveston his regent during his trip to France to marry Isabella in January 1308. When Gaveston was given the honour of carrying the English crown at the coronation, the barons were outraged and acted.

Some say that the ghostly presence of Piers Gaveston still lingers in the area.
Some say that the ghostly presence of Piers Gaveston still lingers in the area.

Under the leadership of Edward’s powerful cousin, Thomas of Lancaster, they demanded that Gaveston should be exiled. Edward refused, and Gaveston’s power and influence continued to grow. He delighted in unhorsing aristocratic opponents at tournaments. He revelled in heaping insult upon injury by giving them nicknames such as “le chien noir” (the Black Dog) for the Earl of Warwick and the Old Hog for another adversary, Thomas of Lancaster. Eventually, the barons could take no more. 

Refuge within the walls of Scarborough Castle

In 1312, a group of rebels rose against Edward, causing him to flee to York. Meanwhile, Gaveston sought refuge within the walls of Scarborough Castle. However, the barons quickly attacked the castle and successfully captured Gaveston. They then headed south with their captive and rested at Deddington Castle near Banbury. Gaveston was instructed to dress and meet armed men in the courtyard the following day. Upon arrival, the leader growled, “You know me; I am the Black Dog.”

After being mounted on a mule, Gaveston was taken in a mock procession to the Earl of Warwick’s castle, where he was sentenced to death by Thomas of Lancaster and a group of barons. In June 1312, Gaveston was beheaded. Interestingly, his headless ghost is said to haunt Scarborough Castle, which tries to lure unsuspecting visitors to their demise by beckoning them over the battlements.

Over Halloween, Scarborough Castle offers ghost tours. You can find more information on their website.

The Grand Hotel, Scarborough

This hotel has a rich history, having been built way back in 1867. Its walls have seen many famous personalities, including royalty, celebrities, and service members. However, some guests and staff members have reported strange occurrences.

The Grand Hotel Scarborough is one of Scarborough's haunted buildings
Have you stayed here? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: The Grand Hotel Facebook.

They claim to have experienced poltergeist activity in their rooms, such as constant knocking, objects moving independently, and shaking doors. Guests have also reported hearing period music playing in the ballroom, laughter, and singing. There is even said to be an apparition of a lady dressed in a red gown. However, more sinister occurrences have also occurred, such as screaming and footsteps following people down the corridors. Have you stayed here? Let us know in the comments.

South Bay beach

It is said that Scarborough’s South Bay beach has a haunted reputation that has been around for quite some time, even before it gained notoriety for its role in the 2019 British psychological horror film Saint Maud. The Scarborough Castle, which stretches across both North and South Bays, may have some connection to the eerie occurrences that have been reported.

Scarborough South Bay 1890s
Scarborough South Bay 1890s.

Earlier in this article, we discussed the ghost of Piers Gaveston, the Earl of Cornwall and a dear companion of Edward II. Legend has it that his headless apparition roams the castle grounds, along with other spirits that are said to wander around South Bay beach after dark. Even ghosts like a paddle!

Scarborough South Bay beach.
Scarborough South Bay beach.

South Bay beach has been a significant source of inspiration for horror stories, including the famous novel, Woman in Black by Susan Hill. Susan, who spent her childhood in Scarborough, has acknowledged that her upbringing in this Yorkshire coastal town contributed to her fascination with the macabre. The sights, smells, and tumultuous storms that characterise the area have all shaped her writing style.

Get spooked at Tower Terror Scarborough!

Terror Tower is a haunted house attraction in Scarborough. It combines live actors, animated scenes, and special effects to create a truly immersive experience that will leave you trembling with fear. With eleven different scenes spread across three storeys in two buildings, there’s no shortage of thrills.

Terror Tower is a haunted house attraction in Scarborough
Terror Tower is a haunted house attraction in Scarborough.
Image credit: Terror Tower Facebook.

With over 12 months of production time invested into Terror Tower, you can be sure that every detail has been carefully considered. From the high-tech Animatronic figures to the special lighting and high-quality sound effects, this is a terrifying experience you won’t forget.

Are you brave enough to visit Tower Terror?
Are you brave enough to visit Tower Terror?
Image credit: Terror Tower Facebook.

Step into a world of horror as you embark on a journey through some of the most iconic and spine-chilling scenes from classic horror movies. Your adventure begins at the infamous Bates Motel, where you’ll experience the terror of the shower scene and receive a shocking message from the twisted mind of Mother. From there, you’ll ascend to the upper floors of the Tower, where the nightmare truly begins.

Check the disclaimer before visiting, and you can book online here.

We hope you enjoyed this article; Scarborough has its fair share of spooky stories and haunted buildings. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, there’s no denying the fascination with Scarborough’s haunted places. So, if you’re ever in the area, check out these haunted spots and see if you can uncover ghostly secrets yourself! Or maybe you already have a story to tell; you can let us know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Is Scarborough Haunted? Haunted places and ghost stories.”

  1. Hi there loved your article about ghosts of Scarborough..just a few days ago sat 1st July my pal Tracey got a Terrific ghost nun photo at the open air theatre where Paul Heaton was performing..she genuinely saw a figure in the clearing just like a nun..it only appeared for a minute/disappeared just after I’d love you to see the photo and to seek who it might be with any history of the area

  2. My daughter and I stayed at the Grand Hotel a few years ago in a ground floor room overlooking the sea. The door of the next room to ours had had the lock removed and there was nobody staying in it but I heard footsteps on a couple of nights. Also the kettle in our room turned itself on. Walking around the hotel you could feel a change in atmosphere.


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