Meet Sir Richard De'ath who is to tell ghost stories in pubs in York.

"IF thou art ready for death, book me now!"

This is the challenge being issued to the people of York by the city's latest spook master Sir Richard De'ath, also known as Dead Dick.

He has launched a new scare offensive to tell drinkers bone-chilling ghost stories at a number of city centre pubs.

Dead Dick is the creation of actor Chris Taylor, who got the taste for death while working at York Dungeon in a number of grisly guises.

The 35-year-old, whose character is a badly-decayed Elizabethan gentleman, launched Ghost Tales because of "ghost walk gridlock" on York's historic streets.

"I initially started doing a ghost tour, but there are so many in York now it couldn't work," he said.

"Telling ghost stories in pubs stops people getting wet and is much more spontaneous and interactive."

Chris, who lives in Selby, said: "I shall bring the dead to life as I weave my tales with wit and wisdom to create for thee a truly memorable and enchanting experience."

For more information about Ghost Tales, phone Vivienne on 01904 673166.

Meanwhile, professional ghost-finders are set to launch a three-day festival in York dedicated to the things that go bump in the night.

The event will incorporate a talk by Harry Martindale, organised by The Lost Legion, at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate.

Mr Martindale, as an apprentice in the 1950s, witnessed one of the most famous ghosts of York, when he saw the "return" of the missing Roman IX Legion as their ghostly forms walked through the floor of the Treasurer's House.

The festival is organised by York's very own "Ghost Finder General", Rachel Lacy, and Diana Jarvis, psychic medium and paranormal columnist for Vision magazine.

It will include a walk round York featuring haunted places of interest and a few pubs on the way, talks on Past Lives and Auras, with a chance for attendees to discover their own, and an overnight vigil at the Golden Fleece, one of the most haunted pubs in York.

For more information, phone Rachel Lacy on 01904 733907 or 07903 509 216.

Updated: 09:28 Saturday, September 11, 2004