The ghost of a heartbroken young woman won’t let the owners of one country pub turn off the lights until someone’s wished her ‘goodnight’.
That’s one of the spooky tales that revolve around The Old Ferry Boat Inn in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, which, despite its idyllic appearance, is rumoured to be one of the country’s most haunted.
Because, while it may have pretty hanging baskets outside, a bright white façade and idyllic riverside views, inside there’s a grave under the bar and plenty of examples of staff and customers alike being unnerved by strange goings-on.
She would have only been 17 years old back in March 1050, which was around the time she’d fallen passionately in love with a forester called Tom Zoul.
Sadly, Tom didn’t return her love and heartbroken Juliet hung herself from a tree nearby, so that Tom would see her body on his way to work.
In another version of the story, she drowned herself in the River Ouse
But, whatever the cause of her untimely death, Juliet was buried in the unhallowed ground close to the premises – her grave marked only with a plain stone slab.
After years of the pub being developed and extended, that grave slab has gradually become part of the interior.
Now located in the bar itself, it’s become the destination for the ghost of Juliet which reportedly rises from the river at midnight on March 17 every year and glides inside.
Jamie Toms, former team leader and duty manager at The Old Ferry Boat Inn, spoke in 2019 about some of the spooky experiences he had encountered while working – and living – in the pub.
“There’s a lot of things which go on at the pub, which people can’t really explain,” said Jamie.
“Like sometimes the lights just won’t go out unless you say ‘Goodnight Juliet’. Or menus will just appear on the floor.
“Sometimes when you’re here on your own you’ll also hear things like bangs and the noise of doors opening.
“We’ve never seen an apparition but some guests and customers have said they’ve sensed someone watching them in the bar or have felt very cold even when the heating is on full.
“Sometimes it can make you feel nervous but I’m pretty chilled about it. We know we’ve got to show respect and remember that it’s her building.”