A BAR in York's city centre is to be investigated for ghostly goings-on, which may be malevolent, before Halloween.

Preparations are well under way for the city's annual festival of the paranormal.

The highlight of this year's spine-chilling festival will be a paranormal investigation of Thomas's Bar, in Museum Street, York.

Rachel Lacy, York's Ghost Finder General, said: "We have had reports of hauntings about this property, but to our knowledge it has never been investigated, so our overnight investigation will be the first one ever done.

"It's a place that has regularly had strange goings-on for the last 30 or 40 years - nothing spectacular, but things moving around, which could indicate poltergeist activity."

The psychically-attuned may already know it - but if not, the third York Ghost Festival will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 27 and 28.

Spirit-ridden York can be a pretty frightening place - lurking in its snickets lie hundreds of spooky inhabitants, according to research conducted in 2002.

The Ghost Research Foundational International recorded 504 hauntings when it inspected the city.

Other fright-filled events are in the pipeline - but still remain shrouded in mystery.

Last year's festival lasted an entire week in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Guy Fawkes' Gunpowder Plot.

This time round, though, the organisers have cut the festival down to two days of concentrated ectoplasmic activities.

Ghost Finder General Lacy added: "We get a good mix of people in every year. Many are locals, wanting to know more about the hauntings of the city - after all, how can you live in such a haunted city and not want to know more? But we also get visitors from further afield. Last year people came from across the Pennines and even as far away as Portsmouth - obviously ghosts are big business!"

For more information, the festival's website has just gone live at www.yorkghostfestival.co.uk.

Tickets for all the events will be on sale there tomorrow.