The York Ghost Merchants – York, England - Atlas Obscura

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The York Ghost Merchants

Makers and sellers of the original and finest York Ghosts. 


Messrs Bloodworth, and McArthur, members of the Sorrowful Guild of Master Ghostmakers, opened this shop on York’s famous Shambles street in 2019, with the intention of selling original York Ghosts.

With the city considered one of the most haunted in the world (occasionally nicknamed The City of One Thousand Ghosts), it would make sense that many souvenirs contain phantasmagorical features. The York Ghost designs favor the more playful “bedsheet with two holes” depictions of ghosts. This tongue in cheek seriousness permeates not only the small ghost sculptures, but the entire store. 

The building currently occupied by the York Ghost Merchants dates to 1780, with the ground floor acting as the sales space. Here, around 1,000 ghosts can be found at one time, surrounded by ghostly images hidden in the furniture and plasterwork. There are other fun features around the shop such as a miniature train that is sometimes used to deliver ghosts to their new living companions. The upper floors are where the workshops used to create these spectral beings are located.

The ghosts are small sculptures made of a material considered a trade secret by Bloodworth and McArthur. The material can feature several colors and most of the ghosts sculptures contain psychedelic patterns. There are also special edition creations that have become collector’s items. All York Ghosts feature the makers’ mark of two torches alit, crossed and upside down, a throwback to Victorian symbolism.

Know Before You Go

Per their official website, opening times are Monday — Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. The website explains the queuing mechanism, which can be extremely long as only a small number of customers are let in at once. Arrive early to secure entry, and respect the owners of the other shops. 

Be sure to explore the "hidden" ghosts within the shop. There are peep holes & paintings that concel various phantoms.

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