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The Leeds Pub


I'm not sure if this is a ghost story at all, but it really happened and it really frightened me at the time.

About five years ago I was driving back from Scotland to London with my family. We stopped overnight in the city of Leeds and stayed in a rented apartment near the railway station.

The apartment was great, but after the kids had gone to bed and my wife had settled down for X-Factor, I got a bit bored and went out for a pint.

Areas in cities near railway stations are often a bit scuzzy and Leeds is no exception. The streets were pretty empty and I wandered around for a bit looking for a pub. Eventually I found one near the railway arches, a small, traditional pub that looked quiet. Just what I had in mind.

When I entered, I found that it was really full with lots of people laughing, drinking and smoking. I went to the bar and waited to be served for about 4 or 5 minutes before giving up as the barmaid seemed to want to serve everyone but me. She didn't just ignore me, she didn't even seem to see me. I told myself that this must be a locals' pub and that they just didn't like strangers, but in reality I couldn't wait to get out of there as I had a really bad feeling about the place. I wasn't being stared at or menaced or anything like that, it just all felt "wrong" somehow. I walked around the corner, found a chain bar (All Bar One or something) and drank an overpriced beer in a totally empty bar.

As I sat, I figured that there were a number of things that were just not quite right about my experience in the other pub.

1. Everyone was smoking. This was a long time after the smoking ban and people just didn't smoke in pubs anymore. A landlord could lose his license if the police caught even one smoker, and there must have been 20 or 30 puffing away.

2. There was no smell of smoke. It should have reeked in there and my clothes ought to have smelled of smoke even after just a few minutes, but there was no smell at all.

3. The pub was very loud inside and there was music playing, but from the street there was no sound at all, which is why I thought it was empty.

4. The other customers seemed to look dated. Not old-fashioned, but the under-30s all appeared to have hairstyles and clothes that didn't seem up-to-date.

5. Everyone seemed small. I'm 5'11 but I felt like I towered over everyone there.

6. The fear that I felt, the fear that made me leave so quickly, had no cause. It was just a pub with a lot of people having a good time.

I made some joke to the east European barmaids before I left about everyone being at the pub round the corner but I just got blank looks.

Back at the apartment I didn't tell my wife about my experience for some reason. It all felt wrong and I wished I'd stayed in watching X-Factor.

I've never been back to Leeds so I can't tell you if the pub is still there or even what its name is.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, billburns, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Cat7777 (9 posts)
6 years ago (2017-03-12)
Leeds is my hometown, I wish I could figure which pub you mean! I would love to check it out and give feedback. Maybe have a look on google street maps to see if you can see the name?
Jetson (2 stories) (67 posts)
6 years ago (2016-12-02)
Argette... I wanted to ask you if your experience in France occurred in city of Dieppe? You can read my experience to know why I am asking. Thanks.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2016-12-02)
Wow! What an experience, Bill! And so well related! It almost sounds as if the old ones might have had a hand in it...

Excellent sleuthing, Biblio - I always look forward to your comments!
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1088 posts)
6 years ago (2016-11-22)
Greetings billburns & hello to everyone else who has commented thus far.

I realize that I'm arriving late to this particular conversation; initially, Argette's comment led me to filling in the gaps in my knowledge of Liverpool's temporal discontinuum (yes, I co-opted a term from computer science, but I like it).

I've been looking around on-line to locate closed, defunct, and demolished pubs of Leeds near the train station on the map. They don't exactly match up with your description of the area, but Leeds is probably constantly battling to "renew" the city center to keep punters heading in every night. I keep coming back to The Crown Hotel, where the landlord allegedly committed suicide in the 1980s (it's #3 on this website of Leeds' closed pubs:, though from your description, I was expecting something more like #6, The Star and Garter.

You may want to look at this website listing closed pubs in Leeds by street name: I'd recommend using it in conjunction with Google Maps to orient by the "All Bar One" (there are two of them in Leeds, and it looks like they're about a mile apart) and by the apartment in which you were staying. Though I don't think this is the right one, The Queen Hotel looks like it was built to be the center of good cheer, but collapsed into depressed befuddlement:

If those are not helpful, I found that "johnnyg1955" had an impressive array of photographs of Leeds and London on his Flickr page: He seems to have taken up photography in the mid-1970s, and he has paid particular attention to decaying urban structures (especially pubs in Leeds). Perhaps they will jog your memory.


By the way... I've been living in the States for close to 3 decades, now. I am unfamiliar with the "All Bar One" chain of pubs. Frankly, having a Pub Chain sounds like owning an elastic crowbar; someone in charge failed to comprehend why the customer wanted it in the first place.
rookdygin (24 stories) (4458 posts)
6 years ago (2016-11-22)
I am reading the comments and I can not help myself, I start thinking about how clown are describing a residual haunting, and then the need of standard definitions for the Paranormal/clown Hunting community... Because until there are established STANDARD definitions true research cannot begin (my opinion)... So Here is MY standard definition of this type of 'Haunting'...

Residual Haunting: Environmentally Recorded Energy that re-plays when certain conditions 'trigger' the play back. These include, but are not limited to, Strong Emotions, Violent Events, Tragic Events, Repetitive Events, Events that happened when conditions were 'just right' to be 'recorded'. They repeat because that's all there is 'recorded energy' that plays back like a VCR tape has been rewound or a DVD that that you 'select' a scene to watch.

What a residual IS NOT... Is trapped intelligent energy doomed to repeat the same event over and over. This would be/could be an Intelligent Haunting, that is so focused of that 'one event' it's all that it 'understands' to do and makes it so hard to tell it apart from a true residual haunting. This is why/where time and research 'pays' off and which is just another reason for STANDARD DEFINITIONS.


Argette (guest)
6 years ago (2016-11-22)
Residual hauntings are heartbreaking to me. They suggest someone, a feeling, or something is trapped, in this case, trapped in a time warp.

I wonder why...
RedWolf (31 stories) (1292 posts)
6 years ago (2016-11-20)

I'm going to go along with everyone else on the time slip. One reason is with all of the smoking going on you didn't smell of smoke, and nobody seemed to have notice you. I don't know where I read it and I don't even know if it is the same pub, but I have heard of a bar called Leeds Pub that is haunted. What you stumbled on in that first Pub was a residual haunting.

A residual haunting is clowns do the same thing over and over like they are in a time loop. An intelligent haunting interacts with living clown.

PinkAngel (14 posts)
6 years ago (2016-11-18)
I love it! I had something similar happen to me once, around 15 years ago- the strangest bar I ever wandered into, in a side street of a neighborhood I thought I knew well; nobody inside except for a small old guy serving behind the bar, and a big 'Igor' type who apparently worked there, leaning against the wall near the bar. They looked so unusual! Like out of an old movie. The entire feel of the place was unreal, but somehow weirdly wonderful.
When I tried to find the bar again about a week later, it was NOWHERE.
I love the memory of that weird experience and think of it often- and with a strange longing!
Argette (guest)
6 years ago (2016-11-18)
Jetson, I had that feeling in a small village in rural France that we stopped in when we were lost due to road work and detours. Just out the f place, out of time. It was almost October, yet the air was heavy and still.
Jetson (2 stories) (67 posts)
6 years ago (2016-11-18)
I was so taken with your clown... Especially how you relayed that you were overwhelmed by the feeling of it being 'wrong' somehow and that you were 'not welcome'. Many years ago while visiting a hotel in France I too fell 'back' into a time slip experience that filled me at the time with an overwhelming emotion of it not being right and an almost deathlike feeling of dread to be where I was when it was happening to me. Thanks for sharing.
migsly (guest)
6 years ago (2016-11-18)
maybe you can go back to the second pub and ask those barmaids why the blank looks. It'd be interesting to know what they have to say.
Argette (guest)
6 years ago (2016-11-18)
That was my thought, a time slip, like the famous Bold Street time slip in Liverpool.

Great account.
RCRuskin (9 stories) (734 posts)
6 years ago (2016-11-17)
It sounds to me you had the sort of haunting I would most like to experience: a time slip.

Also, I'd really like to know the name of the pub.

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