A MYSTERIOUS grey figure is just one of the ghostly goings-on which have been spooking staff at a village pub near York.

Since the Ship Inn, at Acaster Malbis, reopened last month, the riverside pub’s new owners said they have experienced a series of strange incidents.

Manager and licensee Alan Deans said the pub’s fire spontaneously lights in the grate and a lamp has been known to suddenly fly from its shelf in the bar.

Landlady Carol Temple said she has seen the phantom for herself and was “terrified” when it passed just inches from her.

She said: “It was in a storeroom where, funnily enough, we keep the spirits.

“I had bent down to get something out of a cupboard and I felt a cold shiver, so I stood up and turned around and I saw a grey figure coming past me – it was only about a foot away from me.

“I was terrified. It was a dark grey figure. I wouldn’t describe it as mist, it was more like smoke in the form of a tall male.”

Mrs Temple quickly contacted the previous owner of the pub who confirmed her children had reported strange happening s in the building, including chairs moving on their own.

The pub is believed to date back more than 300 years and its location on the banks of the Ouse makes it popular with boat users. After closing in September last year, it reopened last month under Mrs Temple. Mr Davies said he too had experienced supernatural occurrences.

He said: “The first thing that happened was when I came to light the fire. I put a match to it and it just went up, like I was putting a match to a gas flame.

“But what really brought attention to it was during the recent warm weather a few weeks ago. The fire lit of its own accord at about one in the afternoon.

“I poured four pints of water on it to make sure it was out but two hours later it lit itself again.”

Mr Davies said a lamp on a shelf in the bar was also known to fly on to the floor and had even been witnessed by a regular. “It’s happened about ten or 12 times in the past four weeks,” he said.

After talking with regulars, Mr Davies said that strange goings on had been happening there for many years.

The mysterious lighting of the fire could be put down to the ghost of a former regular known as Bob the Stoker, said Mr Davies.

“He died about 50 years ago, but he got his name because he would just sit constantly stoking the fire,” he said.

He said if the pub did have spirits, other than those behind the bar, they were not aggressive and he was not planning to call in the exorcists.

Earlier this year, ghostly goings-on caught on CCTV at a York pub became worldwide news.

Last September, The Press reported how landlady Janine Robinson had spotted a series of mysterious orbs moving through the hallway of the Lighthorseman, in Fulford Road, while watching the monitor of the pub and hotel's digital surveillance system.

The footage, shown exclusively on The Press website, attracted tens of thousands of viewers, among them executives at Japanese television channel TV Asahi, which also showed the clip.

The Light Horseman pub in York also had unexplained images caught on its CCTV.