As It Happens

This haunted pub in England just had its most famous ghost stolen

A pub in England has hosted a ghost named James for hundreds and hundreds of years. But now, the pub's owner Richard Greenwood, says a Shanghai-based artist stole the ghost and has put him on display at a gallery in Manchester.
Richard Greenwood says the famous ghost that haunts his pub the "Ye Olde Man and Scythe" was stolen by a Shanghai-based artist. (Facebook/Man n'Scythe)
As legend has it, the Ye Olde Man and Scythe pub in Bolton, England is haunted. One ghost, in particular, has been said to haunt the bar for hundreds of years.

But now, the Shanghai-based artist Lu Pingyuan says he has stolen the old ghost and put it on display in the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester.

"He claims to have stolen the ghost of the seventh Earl of Derby, James Stanley," Richard Greenwood, the owner of the pub, tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "Apparently he had a special contraption made in China."


According to Greenwood around 53 ghosts haunt the pub. But James Stanley may be the most famous spirit. In 1651, Stanley had his head chopped off outside the pub because of his involvement in the Bolton massacre.

After news of the ghost-napping broke, Greenwood says he brought in some paranormal experts to inspect the pub for his own "peace of mind."

"Amazingly, I went on a couple of rounds with them with their equipment and as soon as we played it back you could hear voices on it, which was quite strange," Greenwood explains. "But nobody said they were the seventh Earl of Derby, James Stanley."

The "Ye Olde Man and Scythe" pub. (Facebook/Man n'Scythe)

Greenwood claims that Pingyuan came to the pub and pulled off the stunt in June, which he points out is a very auspicious time in the Chinese calendar for ghosts.

"He trapped the ghost to the toilet, to the gent's toilet and caught it in there," Greenwood explains. "He made an escape and that's as much we know!"

Lu Pingyuan's exhibition "James Stanley, the Seventh Earl of Derby" runs from Aug. 5 — Oct. 17, 2016 at the CFCCA.

For more on this story and to find out whether Richard Greenwood plans to give up his ghost for good, listen to our full interview.

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