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Michael Street of Faversham in Kent, who is a regular customer at the Shipwrights Arms pub, claims to have seen a ghost four times in the neighbouring boatyard. The Shipwrights Arms stands by a creek that flows into the River Swale. The pub is dated from the early 18th century, although there is evidence of a building on the site since the 13th century. Throughout the ages, the pub has been visited by pirates, smugglers and sailors, and once a Viking king arrived, who called the area the "Holy Shore" and from this came its present name, Hollowshore.
The ghost that haunts the pub and manifested itself to Michael Street is of a sailor. Mr. Street and others describe him with staring, haunted eyes and wearing a reefer jacket. He "smells of death and decay," says Michael, shuddering. It's claimed by the locals that this is the ghost of a captain who was the only survivor of a shipwreck of a Spanish galleon.
A Horrible Sight and a Vile Smell of Decay
One night, in the 1700s, a storm blew up, wrecking the foreign vessel, but the captain managed to struggle to shore. He staggered up to the Shipwrights Arms begging for help. Sadly for him, the landlord thought he was a yokel who just wanted to drink after hours, and so he refused the half-drowned sailor admission. The poor man collapsed onto the ground and died.
Michael Street's sighting of the captain's ghost is frightening. "He looks as though he's all in black and he only ever shows himself in winter," says Mr. Street. The pub's landlord, Derek Cole, claims there is often a dreadful smell of decay that occurs in one part of the pub. When Derek Cole and his family first moved in, they thought the smell was caused by the drains and tried to treat it with special chemicals, freshener, candles, etc. It made little difference. The vile smell continued for days.
Other Ghosts Haunt This Old Kent Inn
The Coles claim there had been many strange things happening in the pub:
Furniture has moved or been mysteriously rearranged.
A shelf holding books for customers to use is tidied up at night, but when the family come down in the morning, there is often a book lying open on a table.
The bar is affected by sudden temperature chills.
Someone making a TV documentary about the hauntings brought in his dog. To test the dog, a customer placed a biscuit in the corner of the pub, an area that was prone to turn freezing cold. The poor dog desperately wanted that biscuit, but it didn't dare go into the haunted corner to retrieve it.
Neil Cole's brother Carl heard his mobile phone ring. The number on the display was that of the bar telephone. He went downstairs to look, as it was out of hours, and sure enough, the bar was empty.
One of the customers also reported a strange meeting with a lady in twin-set and pearls called Helen in the ladies' cloakroom. But no one else came out because there was no one there.
Adapted from Haunted Kent, Janet Cameron, Tempus Publishing, 2005.
The Cole Family.
Mr. Michael Street.