Bar staff at one of Britain’s oldest pubs believe they have captured a ghost on their surveillance cameras. The footage, which shows flickering lights and a shadowy figure, was filmed at the Ye Olde Man and Scythe in Bolton. The pub dates back to 1251, and is reputedly haunted by the Seventh Earl of Derby, James Stanley.
Manager Tony Dooley checked the CCTV one morning and discovered that they had stopped recording at 6:18am. “I came down and saw a glass smashed on the floor so I was instantly suspicious and went to check the CCTV and found it has stopped working. We checked the footage and it revealed this figure,” he said to the Manchester Evening News. “To be honest I was a bit concerned - I'm a bit of a sceptic when it comes to ghosts but you become more of a believer when you see things like that.”
Unfortunately, the article doesn’t investigate the video; it only retells the history of the pub in an attempt to support the haunted claims. Here is the video of the alleged ghost.
There were a number of factors that indicated the video is a hoax. The video was immediately suspicious in that it began with text, showing that the video has already been altered. There is only one camera view shown although it’s stated that there were several cameras in the pub. Also, the camera angle doesn’t seem to be high enough to be mounted like a typical security camera. Furthermore, the camera quality appears to be too high to be a CCTV camera. Finally, the choppiness of the video suggests that it was sped up, and the counter seems like it was placed there to suspend that idea.
A few local skeptics visited the Yak & Yeti in Arvada to recreate the video. This Himalayan restaurant and brewpub also has a reputation for being haunted. Paranormal team Bryan & Baxter have conducted several investigations there and found natural explanations for the paranormal claims. It doesn’t appear to be haunted, although they have an excellent Sweet Potato Masala. Here is our recreation of the Haunted English pub video.
In editing the video using Adobe After Effects, videographer Stu Hayes noticed that the counter was the standard plug in for that program.
Of course, a recreation doesn’t precisely copy the original, as it’s impossible to simulate the environment and conditions exactly. In this way, the video claim sets the “standard”. True believers won’t allow that a video could be tampered with, or that it might simply have a natural explanation. The point of recreation is to demonstrate that a video showing alleged paranormal activity can be reconstructed using natural and digital techniques. And our recreation suggests that the video filmed in the Ye Olde Man and Scythe had a helping hand, and not a disembodied one at that…
With thanks to Matthew Baxter, Bryan Bonner, Stu Hayes, Rick Duffy and Joe Anderson for their assistance with the video.
Dr. Karen Stollznow is a linguist, author, skeptical paranormal investigator and a research fellow for the James Randi Foundation. You can follow Karen on Twitter here.