Friday, August 17, 2007

The Ghost Story in York, England

York Storyteller, originally uploaded by moneydick.

I was heading back to my hostel in York, England one night in October and I came upon a very theatrical tour guide who told the ghostly and ghastly stories of the city. I think I had to pay to hear him but I managed to sneak in at the back.
He started one ghost story with a bit of Roman history as he stood in front of the treasurer's mansion near the center of city. The story that follows is one of the few ghost stories I tell people. I like it because it's true, or at least seems so.
York is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe as it was once the seat of the Roman Empire. It was a roman stronghold beginning in AD 71, and the seat of the Roman Empire in 306 under Constantine. This is important to the story, because in the treasurer's mansion, a plumber had a very strange encounter. He was laying pipes below the basement floor when he heard a loud trumpet that seemed to come from behind the walls. He was confused, but thought nothing of it, until he witnessed what appeared to be a Roman Legion walking from one side of the basement to the other. They walked through the floor as though they were wading in a pool of water up to their knees.
The shocked plumber told a few of his close friends about his experience, and made them promise to keep his sighting on the down low. Mr. Plumber feared he would be labeled as a wacko... or worse. His friends kept it under wraps for the next few years until a renovation of the Treasurer's mansion resulted in an important historical discovery: A Roman road was discovered buried three feet below the basement floor. ooooooOOOOOOOOOOO.

Did a little research: This York Tourism site explains:

A company of Roman foot soldiers, who appeared through a cellar wall in 1953 – the terrified young plumber who saw them described their garb in meticulous detail – and experts later confirmed that the house is indeed built over a Roman road.