Is Whitby Haunted? 5 Haunted Places & Ghost Stories From Around Whitby

Whitby has plenty to offer any tourist who dares to stay the night! So is Whitby haunted? These Whitby ghost stories will send a shiver down your spine.

The small town of Whitby in Yorkshire was the setting for the famous Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it's cobbled streets and quaint cottages have helped it to become one of the most well known gothic towns in the world. While Whitby seems a quiet fishing town by day, at night it has become known for its many ghostly apparitions.

Haunted Whitby Abbey

Is Whitby Haunted?

We've heard a lot of ghostly stories during our trips to Whitby. It is said that the ghost of St. Hilda, who founded Whitby Abbey is rumoured to roam the Abbey, where she peeks from one of the highest windows. This ghost also gained fame with her mention in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but she is not alone in her ghostly haunting.

She is joined by Constance de Beverley, a nun who broke her vows of chastity. When this was brought to light, she was bricked up alive inside the Abbey walls, and her ghost is still heard today pleading for her release.

Learning about vampires, Halloween at Whitby Abbey.
Exploring Vampires with the TingTang Theatre Company!

There are more of Whitby’s ghosts found in one of the two lighthouses on its coast. One lighthouse is said to be visited by a one-armed ghost of a man who fell to his death onto the rocks under the lighthouse.

This entity does much more than simply try to scare visitors to the location, he attempts to trip them so they can join him in his death.

Whitby Lighthouse

Whitby is also home to the Barguest Hound, which is said to be a glowing-eyed hound of hell. This hound is said to roam the streets, and only those who are going to die soon are able to hear it deathly growl.

There are several hotels that are said to be home to many ghostly visitors, the oldest being a Tudor mansion built in 1516. Bagdale Hall is said to be haunted by its former owner Browne Bushell, who was executed for his acts of piracy.

The ghost of Browne is said to roam the halls and stairways and has also been blamed for several reports of poltergeist activity within the Hall.

St Marys Churchyard

The streets of Whitby are also home to many ghostly apparitions that are said to meander through the streets after dark. One of the ghostly wanderers is the Barguest Coach, which is pulled to the graves of sailors in St. Mary’s Churchyard by a team of headless horses. The passengers are the skeletons of sailors who make the trip on the third day after the funeral to pay their respects and gather the corpses of the fallen sailors so they can join them.

Goth Weekend Whitby

Whitby’s haunted locations and its role in Dracula have made it a prime location for the goth crowd. Whitby is home to the Whitby Goth Weekend, which is a twice per year gathering of those who consider themselves to be goths.

This bi-yearly festival was begun by Jo Hampshire in 1994 and has grown to accommodate all of the alternative lifestyle followers, including Goths, Punks, Emos, and Steampunks from all over the world. The festival weekend consists of drinking, music, dancing, and shopping, and has become one of the most popular goth events in the world.

For more information visit www.whitbygothweekend.co.uk

5 Haunted Places in Whitby

Whitby is one of the most famous seaside towns in Britain, from its maritime history to the famous Whitby Jet, the town has made it into hundreds of history books. Given how old Whitby is then it is no surprise to anyone when they learn that Whitby is haunted by an array of ghosts that are struggling to cross to the other side. Ghost hunters and paranormal experts from far and wide make sure they put Whitby on their ghost hunt, and you will understand why once you’ve read our list of five haunted places in Whitby.

1. Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

I can assume it will come as no shock to you to learn that Whitby Abbey his haunted by not just one, but two ghosts. As mentioned in our previously St. Hilda has made an appearance in the Abbey ruins various times throughout the years, it is said that she often appears in what’s left of the windows and comes out during the day to look over her Abbey.

Another ghost that is said to haunt the grounds is Constance De Beverly who died in a very tragic way. Constance was a nun at the Abbey when she fell in love with a handsome knight, she fell in love so deeply that she threw her vows of chastity out of the window, this was to be a grave mistake. When her secret was exposed she was bricked up alive inside the walls of the Abbey by means of punishment, people have recalled being able to hear whimpering and screaming, begging to be let out of the walls where she died.

Want to go ghost hunting in the Abbey yourself? You must be mad!

Visiting Information

Address: Abbey Lane, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 4JT

Click here for more information

2. Grape Lane

Grape Lane Whitby

In the days where Grape Lane was more lovingly known as ‘Grope Lane’ due to it being the red light district of Whitby (if you can imagine such a place), there stood a bakery where a tragic story happened to the most beautiful of little girls.

The young girl was running an errand for her father, whom she loved dearly, taking his dinner to the bakery to heat up during the summer months, the baker welcomed the young girl he recognised and allowed her to put the dinner in the oven herself. He had his back turned for only a second when he heard a blood-curdling scream. He was horrified to see that the young girl was engulfed in flames after her hair had been set alight by the oven. Unsure of what to do the baker beat the flames from the girl but it was too late, the damage had been done and the girl died upon arrival to the local infirmary, her skin peeling off as she walked. It has been said that her ghost often appears in front of people on Grape Lane with flames surrounding her, and you can still smell the scent of burnt hair when she makes an appearance.

Dare you walk along Grape Lane alone late at night?

How to get thereGrape Lane, Whitby, YO22 4BA

3. St Mary’s Churchyard

St Mary’s Churchyard in Whitby

Graveyards are extremely eerie places and St Mary’s Churchyard is no exception, even Dracula spent some time amongst the graves. Because Whitby was once full of sailors there came unfortunate times where sailors would die on dry land would have to be buried in the earth (rather than a traditional sailor’s burial at sea). Widows and families of the lost souls would often find that the graves would be visited on the third night of their burial by the Barguest Coach, witnesses to the haunting sight have said the coach is pulled by headless horses and the passengers on the coach are the skeletal remains of sailors which come to pay their respect to the deceased seaman. After the soul of the dead sailor is aboard the Barguest Coach the coach sets off again, riding through the graveyard and then driving off into the darkness towards the sea.

The graveyard can be an eerie place at night, dare you wander up the 199 steps and risk catching sight of the Barguest Coach? Be warned, only for the extremely brave!

How to get thereSt Mary’s Church, Whitby, YO22 4DW

4. Bagdale Hall

Bagdale Hall Whitby
Would you dare spend a night in here?

For 500 years Bagdale Hall has stood proudly in Whitby and in that time has conjured up its own array of spirits that spook the hotel workers as well as guests, but the most prominent ghost is that of Brown Bushell, a pirate that once owned Bagdale Hall. Bushell had a habit of jumping sides during the English Civil War during the seventeenth century, which is a big no in terms of war, whatever side suited him best Brown Bushell would join. The treason got back to the royalists and he was subsequently arrested and then beheaded for his crimes. Since then Brown Bushell has haunted his grounds, his presence is known by the feeling of dread and doom patrons feel when he is around.

Want to test your nerves and brave a night at Bagdale Hall? Good luck, rather you than me!

How to get there – 1 Bagdale, Whitby, YO21 1QL

5. The Western Lighthouse

Whitby Lighthouse

For years lighthouses have been the subject of many horror stories, we don’t know the reasons why but in Whitby we have our very own haunted lighthouse that saw the demise of an innocent worker who was just trying to make sure sailors were safe.

On a stormy night when the rain was howling and the wind was breath-taking the lighthouse keeper at the time noticed the light wasn’t on in the lighthouse, he knew that this could be extremely dangerous for those out at sea and so he set off to do his job.

The rain-soaked his jacket and dripped whilst he walked up the stairs towards the light, making the steps very slippery and dangerous, but he hadn’t noticed. On his way down the heroic lighthouse keeper slipped, down each step he thumped and by the time he reached the bottom he was dead.

Some ghost hunters have witnessed the brave lighthouse keeper making his journey up the pier towards the lighthouse, and some visitors of the lighthouse have even seen the ghostly image of a man laid out on the floor in front of the entrance.

Want to brave the lonely walk along the pier at night? Look out for the lighthouse worker!

How to get there – West Lighthouse, Battery Parade, Whitby

5 Whitby ghost stories that will make your skin crawl!

Whitby Abbey At Dusk

Not only does Whitby have various haunted buildings and places but they also have their own set of ghosts who just can’t get to the other side, either that or they enjoy spooking tourists and residents. Some of the tales in this piece are upsetting, which could suggest why these spirits feel unrested; whether they’ve perished horribly or still have unfinished business, we’ll never know why they stick around, but they do. Or are they just stories passed down through generations? We will let you decide…

1. The Oyster Man of Whitby

Whitby Oyster Man Ghost Story

In a time where oysters were a quick meal for the poor, a scruffy gentleman known as the ‘Oyster Man’ would do his rounds and sell his latest catch to punters in the pubs in Whitby. Staggering around with a heavy oyster sack on his back the old man would yell “Oysters alive-oh!” and people would recognise his call and rush to get their cheap dinner.

One cold evening the man entered the Golden Lion Inn, a pub that was always on his route but this time it was different, John Smith was in town and was looking for a fight, he zoned in on the poor Oyster Man.

After yelling some insults the Oyster Man packed up his oysters and began to leave, but couldn’t stop himself from grunting some insults of his own to John, John heard and a fight ensued. In self-defence the Oyster Man pulled out his knife and stabbed John, killing him. He was never convicted of any crime but he did live with the guilt for the rest of his life.

On cold nights you can still hear the Oyster Man with his call “Oysters alive-oh!” as his ghostly remains still walk the streets of Whitby. 

Have you heard the Oyster Man's cries?

2. Wesley Family Ghost

Empty Place Ghost of John Wesley

John Wesley was a very popular man among Whitby, his family was well respected and he completely adored Whitby, but they had one secret. It is believed that the Wesley family had their own ghost, one they were so fond of that they set a place for the spirit at the table during dinner. The ghost was considered very friendly, and very popular in the family, but when John Wesley died the ghost became anguished and would often be seen visiting places where John frequented.

It is believed that these days the ghost hangs around the chapel steps and persuades passers-by to enter the chapel as they linger by.

3. Mary Clarke

Girl Fire Ghost of Mary Clarke

In a tale not for the faint-hearted, we hear the story of poor Mary Clarke whose life was cut short as she perished in flames.

Sources differ as to why Mary was in the baker’s that day, some say she was there during winter to keep herself warm, others say that she was there during the summer to heat her father’s dinner up, either way, what happens next remains the same.

The baker on duty at the time turned to see the body of Mark Clarke engulfed in flames as she ran in panic, as she ran outside the flames took over her body and began burning her flesh down to the bone. The poor girl had no chance by the time the baker had beaten the flames out of her, but still, she was breathing and he carried her to the infirmary as her skin peeled off and fell to the floor, leaving the stench of burning flesh and hair behind them.

Mary died only an hour later but her spirit still hasn’t found rest. She appears on Grape Lane some evenings, the first clue of her appearance will come from the smell of her flesh and then you will see flames, that is when Mary will appear. She stares into the eyes of those who see her, leaving a lasting impression.

4. Professor Renfield and the Vampire Dwarves

Vampire Dwarves Punch and Judy

Many years ago on Tate Hill sands, you would have come across an elderly man performing the most celebrated Punch and Judy show you could have seen. Spectators were shocked at how lifelike the puppets actually were, but what they didn’t know was that the ‘puppets’ were real, in fact, they were vampire dwarves.

Every spring Professor Renfield would make an appearance, he’d leave in the autumn and no one would know where he would go, or where he even came from. You see, Professor Renfield had another secret, his show was just a ruse to get children to feed his little monsters. Every show they would pick a victim, then later that night they would take their silent horse-drawn carriage and kidnap them, the fate of the child was too terrible to describe.

Eventually, they were arrested and brought to trial, though before they could be sentenced Professor Renfield and Punch escaped! It is believed that Professor Renfield and Punch still haunt the town, capturing children and feasting on them.

5. The Landlady of the White Horse and Griffin 

Whitby White Horse and Griffin Ghost Story

During the late 19th Century, a cruel woman looked after the White Horse and Griffin. It is said that she could make her mind up about someone within a look, and most of the time she would take a dislike to someone. One night whilst walking down the outside steps she slipped, cracked her head open and slowly bleed to death, alone as she had lived her life.

Reports of feeling uneasy and unwanted have come from guests of the White Horse and Griffin, almost as if there is an invisible entity telling them to leave – most believe that it is the old landlady.

Related articles

The Oyster Man of Whitby
The legends of the Saltersgate Inn
Whitby & Dracula, Learn More About Dracula & Whitby
The Whitby Ghost Book

Do you have your own Whitby ghost story to share?

So what do you think, is Whitby Haunted? If you have heard any more creepy Whitby ghost stories, or even if you have had your own paranormal experience in the seaside town, please get in touch using the comments below.

17 thoughts on “Is Whitby Haunted? 5 Haunted Places & Ghost Stories From Around Whitby”

  1. I am originally from Whitby and courted and married a local lad..whom I married..but we used to babysit his niece down arguments yard and the top floor in house was haunted..it used to speak to the little girl and the bedroom was icy cold you had to go up the stairs to the toilet and could hear her talking to someone and we saw an apparition stood over the bed..creepy..

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    • Thanks for sharing your story. Many of the old yards in Whitby are rumored to be haunted, ill do some research and see what info I can find on Arguments yard.

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      • I am the mother of the niece my brother looked after did you find anything out about Arguments Yard,it’s so strange that I have come across this story

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  2. we stopped in a fisherman’s cottage up from where the supermarket is , as kids , my sister and I had the attic room , my sister would never look in the mirror , she was so scared my mum came up and slept in the other bed , I don’t remember anything but mum said she felt something like a child climb into bed with her and snuggle into her back , thinking it was my sister she turned round , she felt the bed spring up and the covers flap , she screamed and ran downstairs , next day she wanted to go home , we still had three days left of the holiday so we moaned we didn’t want to go early , so we stayed , she must have been terrified , she only told us about it when we were grown up , I think she may of told dad , but he probably didn’t believe her . we never stayed there again lol been going to whitby for twenty years , love it x

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  3. Myself and my husband stayed at Bagdale Hall, Whitby. We had the en suite room right at the top of the old wooden staircase. Right next to our room was a bathroom for guests.
    I can’t sleep well and was still reading at 3am when I heard footsteps slowly coming up the stairs, I thought someone to use the bathroom, but when the footsteps stopped right outside our door nobody went into the bathroom, I waited for the noise of the bathroom door or toilet flushing etc but it was dead quiet. But what spooked me was there was no footsteps going back down the stairs or any noise of footsteps walking about the landing.

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  4. A few years ago, stayed for a couple of nights in Church Cottage at the foot of the 199 steps.
    It was one evening and my Husband had gone for a couple of pints and to fetch something back from a takeaway for supper. I decided to get comfortable in one of the bedrooms, facing the steps. I had no preconceived ideas of ghosts or being scared, even though it is quite naturally eerie on a night in that area.
    The bedroom door was a paned glass style. I was sat up in bed and travelling steadily outside on the landing area, fairly low down, pass the bedroom door ( I could see it through the glass panes) was a small black orb type thing, heading towards the bathroom area. Never seen anything like it before, darted out of bed and ran down the spiral stairs as quickly as possible lol. I am a Christian so I should have Prayed though..

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  5. I remember my brother telling me that, as you both looked after my daughter when I was at work,how strange I have come across this as we have not seen each other in year’s Jean

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    • I stayed in a fisherman’s cottage on Henrietta Street (cobbled street) looking out to sea with my husband and 3 children. The cottage was small, our bedroom was in the attic, it only had a double bed and a small dressing table and chair. On our first night there, I woke up during the night as I heard a noise and thought it was one of our children coming into our bedroom. I looked up there was a young girl sat on the chair looking straight at me. She was dressed in old fashioned clothes- a grey dress with an off white apron type over it and short black ankle boots. Her hair was long and in two plaits. I dived under the duvet and tried to wake my husband, shaking him, jabbing him in the ribs and nipping him but to no avail. I think he had drank quite a bit of the Whitby ale that night!!! I was so frightened and sweated it out under the duvet until daylight appeared through the curtains. I moved the chair out of the bedroom and slept with the lamp on for the rest of the week! I never believed in ghosts until that experience, I have since had a couple of other eerie experiences that I try to block out!

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  6. In the grave yard there is a plot with my name on it the person was born on the same date as me 200yrs earlier he
    died this September 200 yrs ago
    Should I be worried?

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  7. I visited Whitby Abbey beginning of july 2019 as we have visited more of these sort of places before in England as tourists from Holland. Just exploring the Eastcoast and it’s beautiful harbor towns. When my husband paid at the entrance i started to feel emotional, my throat felt tight as if i was hurt. But i was in a good mood, no reason for it. This got worse as we walked through the abbey. As i looked up at the empty point of the old window there was a voice inside my head (4 pm). As from a young, very angry en hurt woman. She let me know that the abbey deserves to be in the state that it is in for what was done to her and that it should never be rebuild. It had a deep impact on me and i am still trying to understand what it was. Please respond to my email if you have a clue where this message came from. Only after trying to find something about it on the internet, i found out that there are “ghost walks” and a Gothic festival. Don’t read thrillers or that sort of thing. My imagination or …. Nina

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  8. Hi,
    About 9 years ago my daughter (then 10) and I stayed for 2 nights for the second time in a beautiful upper apartment in SNEATON HALL together with our puppy Bill. It was October school break and on this occasion the rest of the hall was unoccupied. Our puppy needed frequent toilet breaks so I was in and out of the building going up and down the main central staircase to the gravel outside the front door. Late On our first night whilst returning from the garden with Bill I mounted the first few stairs but Bill stood at the bottom looking up barking and whimpering. He would not budge so I went back down to get him..but… as I reached the bottom he ran past me up the first flight over the middle landing and up the next set of stairs barking and scratching at our apartment door.
    I continued back up the stairs and stopped half way as usual whilst gripping the bannister ( due to health problems) As I stopped it was like I had walked into a freezer as the temperature had suddenly dropped. Then I felt a sharp push to the bottom of my back and fell onto the next stair on my knees. I wash shocked and frightened but continued up the stairs before the lighting timer ran out and Iwas plunged into darkness.
    I didn’t mention it to my daughter.
    The next morning whilst making breakfast my daughter took Bill out for his toilet break.
    When packed up and in the car driving away the following day my daughter said that she never wanted to come back to the Hall again, I asked her why and she said that the staircase was spooky and she had fallen on the stairs when being Bill back. She said she had felt that there was someone behind her making her trip and that Bill didn’t like it there either as he was afraid of the staircase.
    We have not been back to SNEATON HALL but stay in Whitby town now.

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  9. We also stayed in Bagdale Hall, January 2018, in room 2.
    My fleece was flung off the chair into the middle of the room.
    But more scary was when the TV turned itself on about 3 am, at full volume and a different channel.
    The remote was across the room, and no staff were on duty that night.

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  10. Never stay in Whitby one day I will and would go out at night the dead can`t hurt you it`s the living you have to watch out for.

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  11. We stayed in whitby for the steam punk weekend a couple of years ago. And my partner got up through the night to use the toilet. He put the small light on …while sitting on the toilet the light went off.. Its the fastest he’s got back into bed.. Its the big hotel on skinner street i think.. Resolution hotel.. I’m sure its haunted…..

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  12. Whilst walking up the 199 steps mid afternoon on a sunny October day, I stopped to catch my breath and sat on one of the benches. When I stood up again and made to continue, I felt a sharp push to the left side of my lower back. I turned round sharply, but there was no one there…

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  13. About 3 years ago me and my partner went for a walk up to the Abbey and St Mary’s Church at 2am! Mad I know.
    It was a cold windy night and we wandered through the graveyard, having a bit of a giggle about it as we went as we were both spooked.
    On our way back to the 199 steps just past the Church, we both felt like someone was walking behind us. It was very unnerving.
    About a third of the way down the stairs we heard a sound like a whoosh/scream behind us and we actually felt something hurtle down the stairs and right past us.
    Very scary experience in the middle of the night and not one we’ll be repeating.
    Well maybe not………….

    Reply

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