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Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants

The Vampire Dr Martin Boots

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 7

Many years ago in a strange and dark time when evil was about the land; this was an infamous pub known to be the haunt of a sinister cult. The time was the 1970s and the cult was known as the Punk Rockers. This was where the Rancid Rats played every Thursday night, the loudest, noisiest and most fearsome punk band in all the land. Their loyal followers would come every Thursday to pay homage by pogoing up and down, gobbing on them, then offering them sacrifices of virgin punk rockers (who usually weren’t) and pints of snakebite and black.

But most of all they worshipped their lead singer, the fearsome King Rat. 7 foot tall in his black 36 holed Doctor Martin Boots, his face covered by an epic greasy fringe that hung all the way down to the buckle on his belt. As for those Doctor Martin Boots, they were black, polished and yet if you looked at them too often in the right light they could be red….blood red. It was said King Rat never signed to a record company as his soul already belonged to the devil.

Before the more quiet and contemplative days of the Sex Pistols and the Damned, The Rancid Rats would play their hits; “Vodka lobotomy,” “I’ve had your mum” and “I want to eat Maggie Thatcher’s brain!”, all from their one and only album “Rat Crap.”

But the Rancid Rats unlike actual Rats were swimming against the tide, the pub was in the centre of a valuable piece of property that a local conspiracy of developers had long had their eye on. Councillor Hopkins, Councillor Jones and Mr Bingwall the local building magnate didn’t see a pub with character, history and some rather dodgy toilets. They saw the missing jigsaw piece in a valuable piece of real-estate where flats, not beats should be going up.

And so one Thursday night, when it was most packed the place caught fire. A dodgy fuse box given expert surgery by Mr Bingwall who had experience in such thing, but the story didn’t end quite end how the plotters thought it might. King Rat seeing the smoke rising from the end of the bar and knowing there was no time for his beloved fans to flee propelled himself from the stage like a daddy long legs on a mission. Hurtling to the back of the pub as tattooed faces and pierced noses got out of his way and confronting the flaming fuse box, an unknown fan handed him a pint of his favoured snakebite and black.

You might think King Rat would have slung the pint upon the fiery box, but this was a night for precision and sacrifice. King Rat downed the pint one go, then unzipped his fly and quenched the fire. Punks, heads, rockers and metallers came from across the land to his funeral; even some hippies were tolerated though they made sure to leave soon afterwards.

After the night that King Rat gave his life for his fans and for the pub, strange things happened; Councillor Hopkins, Councillor Jones and Mr Bingwall were all found dead in different locations. The rumour being that each was found face down in the puddle and upon their personage in a most uncomfortable place was a single Doctor Martin boot, 36 holed and blood red. A boot that maybe once had been black and all the blood was drained from their bodies.

To this day the pub still stands, oh the toilets are cleaner, the electrics safer and maybe it’s not quite as wild as when it was the palace of King Rat and his Rotten Rodents. But if you talk about property developments or voting Tory or heaven forbid put a Bucks Fizz song on the Juke Box then perhaps you’ll hear a faint punk beat on the wind and listen to the crunch of a 36 holed Doctor Martin Boot on the floor.

A boot coloured black, but perhaps thirsting to be coloured red….

Nemesis The Hellbound Cat

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 4

There is one unmistakable kite mark of quality in a place and that’s a cat. Be it library, café, prison or of course a pub then a cat is an unmistakable sign of a homely comfortable welcome. That and someone is keeping an eye on the local mouse population…..a murderous eye.

Now there used to be a cat here, a fierce old one-eyed Tom by the name of Nemesis. No one knew quite how old Nemesis was; he’d been here longer than anyone remembered. Maybe even before the pub had first been built, before man had first brewed beer…it would be easy to picture Nemesis squaring up to a velociraptor before mankind had ever set foot upon the earth. Certainly Nemesis appeared after the notorious local highway man in the 17th century Bad Ned was sentenced to death by the local judge Nasty Neil. Who himself hanged a few months later.

Nemesis demanded only two things of the pub and its regulars.

A bowl of raw meat once a day and no dogs, there would have been a third rule about no petting or stroking, but even the most affectionate drunk would look at the thick fur and yellow fangs and think better of laying a hand upon his fur.

And as for dogs, Nemesis disliked them and the few times they arrived the battles could be heard from several streets away. So Nemesis was left to sleep by the fire his bowl of raw meat and an occasional poorly guarded pint of beer. Only the most foolish rodent would dare his lair so there wasn’t much work for him.

And this situation would probably have carried on for as long as Nemesis was living upon this earth.

If Nemesis was ever truly alive….. To peer into the eyes of Nemesis was to see into the eyes of an ancient, evil intelligence. One that perhaps belonged to a highwayman or maybe the hangman, who hanged them,

If only he hadn’t met Mr Pickles, in an encounter that was to prove fatal for Mr Pickles. Mr Pickles was a pure bread Chihuahua and the exact size of a well-fed rat. Mr Pickle’s owners (or as they preferred to be called his parents) brought him to the pub one fateful Tuesday.

Pickle’s parents weren’t the kind of people to be put off by a mere sign reading

“No dogs.”

And laughed at the one that read

“Beware of the cat.”

And laughed even harder at the one that read

“No really beware of the cat.”

Mr Pickles lived exactly three seconds after Nemesis spotted him and thought

“That’s a particularly cheeky looking rat sauntering in.”

All that was left was of poor Mr Pickles was his pink diamante collar, which is a shame as it didn’t suit Nemesis even slightly.

Well, enough was enough; the occasional scratching or piece of malodorous poop was one thing, but the crime of homicide (as the devouring of small dogs is called) was too much. Mr and Mrs Pickle wrote to the council and a death warrant was issued for Nemesis.

On the day the animal control officers descended upon the pub, the clouds gathered, the rain fell and thunder and lightning struck.

To this day none of the officers will speak of how Nemesis met his end or how he fought. But of the three of them that were there that day, two of them had their hair turn white. Except Chris, who was bald as an egg and his girlfriend say the fluffy hair on his bottom turned white.

Nemesis may no longer patrol here. But to this day no mouse dare enter Nemesis’s lair and you’d be best advised to leave the dog with the neighbours.

The Stag Hunt

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 3

People often view pubs as a man's world; a place of warmth, copious beer, dreary conversations about football and comforting odours.

But it’s not a man’s world and it never has been. Over 2000 years ago the Roman Empire was to learn this to their cost when Queen Boudica led a near successful revolt against them, avenging the rape of her daughters by rampaging centurions.

After burning the mighty city of Londinium to the ground and offering the hated invaders to her pagan Gods in bloody sacrifice, sometimes by flaying the very skin from their bodies while they still lived, her revolt eventually ended in bloody failure.

Boudica’s body was never found after that last terrible battle at Wattling Street, though some say she traveled as far as this very site. Upon arrival she collapsed in exhaustion and swore eternal vengeance against those who would wrong women. This warning should have been passed on through the generations for all eternity, and it was for a while, but today, thanks to hip-hop, porn and TV soaps women rights are right back to the level of the dark ages.

It is a warning that Barry, Timothy and Pete wished that they had heard when they decided to celebrate their best mate Richard’s stag night.

That fateful night they arrived bedecked in party hats, T-Shirts bearing the logo Team Shagger FC and wanton, plastic false boobies. If perhaps they had stuck to drinking yards of ale they might have survived, if their aim hadn’t gone beyond stealing Richard’s trousers and handcuffing him to a lamp post to die of exposure, the others might at least have lived. But the new barmaid Tiffany caught their blurry eyes, Tiffany was as young as the new year, fresh as a spring morning and definitely didn’t need a pair of fake boobies.

So the stags mischief began; lousy chat up lines and requests for packets of crisps from the very bottom box behind the bar. When Barry, who was not subtle even before enough yards of ale to make a mile told her for the third time that her father must have been a baker as she had great buns, she murmured Oh God under her breath. Or rather Oh Goddess, when Timothy told her to cheer up it might never happen she murmured it again, finally when Richard the man who was supposedly going to swear his eternal love for the rest of his days asked for her telephone number she said Oh Goddess for the third time.

She was an atheist with a well-thumbed copy of the God Delusion so she had no idea why she offered this pagan prayer, it just felt right and praying to Richard Dawkins was just silly.

But on the third evocation the windows rattled, the lights went out, and the urinals in gents spat out their yellow bleach tablets as if in a rage.

Barry, Richard, Timothy and Pete staggered out into the night to steal Richard’s trousers but first to find a kebab shop.

They found far more than a kebab shop that night, as the thing about stags is that they are there to be hunted for sport. Sometimes to be hunted by forces ancient, dark and relentless, forces that are avenging an ancient insult that can never be forgiven by those that first wronged by them.

No one knew who found the four stags that night, hung them by their ankles from a tree and skinned them, judging by the looks on their faces alive. Nor who carefully reattached their comedic fake boobs to their chest.

So don’t pester the barmaid and if there’s a hen night don’t sneer at their antics. Be nice, be a good chap or oh Goddess you might be in trouble,

He Died On Stage

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 2

As a haunt of such well-known comics as Plastered Pete and Sloshy Josh we have a long association with comedy, but surprisingly the quality was not the equal of the glory days of music hall. Time passed and live comedy became a victim of first radio comedy, then TV, then You Tube with clips of guys getting hit in the crotch.

But comedy has never left us, where once crowds of hundreds would pack in to hear obscene songs about clergy men’s daughters it changed in the 80s to an open mic. comedy night. Here the desperate and the drunk would chance their courage in front of a surly audience of the ill-tempered and the un-amused.

Laughs were few and far between and even professional stand-ups were proud to win a few laughs and a meagre round of applause.

Until one night, a group of people from Cuthberts, Cuthberts and Simpkins a local firm of accountants decided to come for a works night party. Amongst them was Terry the office joker, always with a humorous tie with a rude pattern on it, a Hawaiian shirt and a joke he’d misremember from the telly the night before.

As he sat down the compere, a down at the heels fellow called Jeff stood at the mike and called out there was a spot going that night. Well, Jeff’s colleagues good-naturedly elbowed him and encouraged him..…perhaps not all that good-naturedly, maybe they thought that to look a bit of a prat on stage might shut him up a bit?

Terry reluctantly agreed and as the evening rolled on he took a few pints of Dutch Courage until it was his turn and he climbed onto the stage. Strangely the audience seemed more crowded than it had earlier, he turned to face the audience and to his horror realised it was also works do for the local funeral directors. They’d invited their friends from a regional conference of undertakers, 200 pale faces floated with grim expressions above black suits and ties.

Terry suddenly realised he hadn’t heard any laughter for the last hour and he wanted to run, but the path back to his seat had vanished in the sea of severe expressions. He was trapped in the spotlight, unwillingly he grabbed the microphone and told a joke, then another. Then he started on about how women were a bit like dustbins, which he thought was controversial and sexist but the audience were silent, the silence one might feel if one was buried alive and woke suffocating in a claustrophobic wooden coffin.

Alas, his best mate Jeff couldn’t help, he was powerless, trapped by the barmaid who was laughing at a couple of his jokes and falsely giving him the impression she found him attractive, in spite of him being bald, potbellied and whiffing slightly of pound shop deodorant.

Terry began to cry and the poorly earthed microwave started to fizz, he said the fatal words that would be his epitaph “This isn’t comedy it’s a cry for help.” At which point the audience burst into uproarious laughter, if Terry had had one less pint of cooking lager that would have been the end of the evening, as opposed to the end of it all.

He was so surprised that he rather over wet the microphone and the audience stood and cheered at his amazing punch-line which seemed to involve his hair standing on end and catching fire.

To this day someone might tell a joke, sometimes two and but you get to three you can just smell burning hair and it get to four Terry might just decide to help you with the punchline.

Dying For A Snack

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 1

Hunger’s a terrible thing, not the “I forgot my lunch and all I’ve got is a bag of crisps hunger”, no, the real starving that maybe your grandparents felt when there was a war on or the crop failed.

Hunger is always a bad thing, generosity is worthy and self-denial is unwise.

These are lessons Jennifer, a woman new to the area should have born in mind when she rented the function room for her diet club.

Jennifer, never Jenny or anything soft, was a hard bodied and hard-faced woman of indeterminate years with hair permanently pulled back in a ponytail like a noose. Her athletic figure was the result of years of hard work, a little surgery here and there, and a few not entirely legal pills that she had found on the dark side of the internet.

Not that this was the story she was going to share with her clients, no for £50 a session she sold them miserly diet sheets, vials of wasp honey and Bai Lin Tea. As she counted the money her followers counted their sorrows.

Perhaps Jennifer should have been more of a student of history, rather than calorie content and miracle cures as there has been a pub on this site for a long, long time, right back to the times when a failed crop meant misery and death.

It is said that centuries ago the wise men of the village made a deal with the devil, at the very spot where the function room now stands. The deal was that in exchange for good crops, no one would knowingly go hungry. The devil not known for his charity assigned a minion to monitor the situation and be ready to collect his fee.

The good people of the village stuck to their word, a family in hard times would find a loaf of bread at their door, a passing beggar would get a bowl of soup from someone before being sent on his way.

Time passed, but the tears that Jennifer drew from her clients awoke something dark and perhaps best left forgotten. Every tut at a wobbly figure balanced on her specially unflattering scales, every preachy speech about the attraction of donuts and the sin of cola sealed her fate further.

Most likely it was the night she railed against beer itself, that most holy of indulgences that she sealed her fate. Not realising that everyone else had gone home she stayed up late in the function room, her face pulled back in what passed for a smile, counting her money.

Next morning she was found hanging by her ponytail and everyone wondered how a healthy (if slim) woman could starve to death in a single evening and could anyone be so hungry that they would try to eat their own breast implants?

This may be why the regulars who order a diet coke also order a packet of pork scratching’s and the landlord quietly crosses himself if anyone discusses a faddy new eating plan.

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