YORK is famously said to be the most haunted city in Europe and this Halloween it looks like the ghosts have taken over the city!

Families are queueing for up to three hours to get their hands on tiny ghost figures from The York Ghost Merchants in Shambles.

The handmade toys have become a must-have souvenir after videos of them went viral on social media.

Meanwhile, after dark, crowds are searching the streets around the Minster for hidden ghost figures as part of the shop's Halloween ghost hunt.

The Little York Ghost Hunt, which is free, has been running from 6pm to 8pm this week, and will take place tonight (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday).

York Press: The ghost trail mapThe ghost trail map

There are 100 to find each evening and included in their number are some rare and unusual ones.

Anyone who finds a ghost can keep it as a memento, but is asked to only take one.

York mum of five Stacey Bailey from Acomb was out searching for the tiny ghost figures last night with three of her children, Freya-Mai, nine, Tristan, eight, and Rudy, two.

She said the elder two were delighted to find a figure each - and wanted to thank a passerby for helping.

York Press: Children hunt in the dark for the ghost figuresChildren hunt in the dark for the ghost figures

Stacey said: "A man walked past and said: 'there's one just there' and pointed with his foot to it.

"We did try to shout thank you but he'd gone. If he sees this: thank you!"

Stacey said the ghost hunt was very popular. "It was really busy, people had torches, head torches, mobile phone torches - I'd never seen the place so busy."

She thought the event was a great idea - and all the better because it was free. "It is something different to do at Halloween away from pumpkin picking!

"The children have been very excited and want to go again tonight!"


York Press: Ghost figures from The York Ghost MerchantsGhost figures from The York Ghost Merchants

Any tips for future ghost hunters?

"Go slow. Don't rush. They are a lot smaller than you expect - about the size of a little finger."

There is a map of of ghost hunt trail, available from The York Ghost Merchants, The Visitor Information Centre and selected independent retailers, and it can also be downloaded here: yorkghostmerchants.com/ghost-week

The hunt is part of York Ghost Week which has been organised by the Shambles shop, which first opened in 2019.

York Press: Angus Mcarthur and David Bloodworthy outside The York Ghost Merchants Picture by Charlotte GrahamAngus Mcarthur and David Bloodworthy outside The York Ghost Merchants Picture by Charlotte Graham

Angus McArthur, owner of The York Ghost Merchants, said: “Ghosts are firmly embedded in the very fabric of the city."

He added: “York Ghosts are handmade in the traditional manner in the workshop over our remarkable shop on the extraordinary street that is the Shambles. This means that everyone gets their hands on a true original."

When the shop first opened it was billed as the "world's first" ghost shop and stocked more than 1,000 spooky collectables.

Based in the former Pinder and Scott’s bakery shop at number 6 Shambles, it was created and designed by Angus and David Bloodworthy, with the aim of telling the story of ghost making, which dates back more than 600 years.

On opening, David told The Press: “The story we tell is of the tradition of ghost making, which dates back to the 1400s when pilgrims would purchase badges, tokens or souvenirs which they would take into holy shrines to be imbued with positive spirit and energy.

“They were effectively creating their own good luck charms.

“Although their origins are shrouded in mystery, York Ghosts seem to have followed a similar tradition, carved from oak and used as protection from evil over the years."