York Ghost Merchants – A Quirky Little Gift Shop

york ghost merchants

The History of York Ghost Merchants Store

Angus McArthur and David Bloodworth launched The Sorrowful Guild of Master Ghost Makers. Instead of sharing ghost stories, they used their talent and created some of the finest York ghosts. This endeavour led to the launch of the ever-popular York Ghost Merchants in 2019. David Bloodworth explained that the Shambles-based store chose to focus on the 600-year-old tradition of ghost-making.

The tradition of ghost-making dates back to the 1400s. Pilgrims would buy souvenirs to take to the holy shrines to diffuse them with good energy. They would use them as a lucky charm, protecting the pilgrims from evil. York Ghost Merchants follows the very tradition, but the concept is to carve ghosts that can be used to protect against evil for years to come.

Regarded by many as the most haunted city in the world and named the City of a Thousand Ghosts, York houses this remarkable shop on 6 Shambles Street. The building occupied by the very traditional store dates to 1780. Stepping inside the doors of York Ghost Merchants, you get to experience the clear Georgian heritage and witness a piece of York’s rich history.

How Did York Ghost Merchants Become So Popular?

York Ghost Merchants offers unique handcrafted ghosts for sale without going through the traditional process of ghost hunting. Instead, you can buy original York ghosts to add to your collection.

No two ghost figurines are ever the same. The York ghosts are handmade from British materials and hand-painted. This ensures that each piece remains an exclusive and unusual souvenir. The York Ghost Merchant’s workshop is located above the store, but how it’s made remains one of the merchant’s best-kept trades secret.

The Ghostly Experience

The York Ghost Merchant store’s shelving houses more than 600 ghost figures. The walls proudly display eery imagery with spooky figurines in two sizes. What makes the shopping experience remarkable is that every ghost comes with its own ceremony when purchased.

When you find a ghost that selects you, you can photograph your souvenir on a lit pedestal compartment, cleverly hidden in the oak-panelled walls. There is a train set that delivers your ghostly figurine to you. Each ghost comes with a map of York and a carefully packed travel box designed to look like the store.

The York Ghost Product Line

York is famous for its ghost walks and rich history. As soon as you step onto the most extraordinary street in Shambles, you quickly realise why people queueing are content with the long wait. Once you own a ghostly figurine, you can be sure it’s exclusive and can’t be replicated.

Black Box Edition

The Black Box Edition is a highly desired and limited edition for collectors. The collection is sold in a commissioned black box. Each ghostly figurine is made in collaboration with selected skilled crafters and makers. The Black Box Edition includes an insert card providing information about the edition number, batch date, and initials of the Merchant that approved the ghost.

Previous Black Box Editions included polished brass, aluminium, and bronze ghosts. Other original ghosts have been made from oak, copper and stone. Since Black Box Editions are limited, you’ll have to watch the website for details of their release. What makes them so appealing is that these limited edition ghosts can only be purchased online, in-store, from The Understore, or through secret releases.

Strayghosts

Strayghosts are compelling, which may be why a TikTok trend earned York Ghost Merchants 1.2 billion views. Strayghosts figurines can appear anywhere in the world. If you fancy a ghost hunt, York Ghost Merchants will post a photograph of the ghosts and provide details of the location—anyone who finds the spooky souvenir first will get to keep it.

Strayghosts will have the letter ‘R’ or the word ‘Stray’ accompanied by a number or crossed torches to validate their authenticity. So far, ghost figurines have been found in London, New York, and Edinburgh.

Special Events and Releases

Ghost Bus Tour

In addition to the exciting events, the Ghost Bus Tour in York offers a unique and thrilling way to explore the city’s haunted history. It perfectly complements the York Ghost Merchants’ theme of celebrating the supernatural.

Ghost Week

Ghost week happens every October and runs from Saturday, the 28th of October, to Sunday, the 5th of November this year. This week-long celebration takes place in the city of York. Some events include exploring The Kirkgate Ghost Count at York Castle Museum and doing a bit of ghost hunting.

In this case, ghost hunting is not capturing disembodied voices or a glimpse of a shadow figure but refers to the ever-popular Little York Ghost Hunt. Hundreds of unique ghostly figurines are hidden in the city streets; anyone lucky to find them can keep them.

Clandestine Releases

Clandestine releases are a small batch of York ghosts that can be released without warning, with no prior announcement or can be run at unscheduled times. Ghost figurines can be released individually or in small numbers at any time and typically sell out quickly.

The Understore

A very creative concept from this impressive store is encrypted The Understore. Accessing The Understore can only be unlocked by solving a series of clues, a password, or finding the crossed torch symbol. The shop Merchants are left in the dark, and anyone asking for a hint or help will be sorely disappointed. However, their website states that an eighteenth-century bookseller can be a useful resource.

York Merchant Ghosts Online Store

The moment intrigued customers step into the store, they can fully enjoy the shopping experience. Shopping online, however, is a little different. Since every ghost is different and not mass-produced, finding an item in stock can be challenging.

The York Merchants Store regularly offers an open order for a limited time frame. They announce the release schedule on their social media pages ahead of time. However, the ghosts sell out quickly, so the store recommends creating an account beforehand to secure your York ghost.

FAQs

Does York Ghost Merchants have a refund policy?

The store does not have a refund or return policy, nor are replacements for damaged ghosts available. When purchasing your Ghost, it is advised that the receipt and the correct number of the Ghost be checked before leaving the store.

Do York Ghost Merchants accept mail orders, special requests, or email orders?

York Ghost merchants do not accommodate mail orders, special requests, or email orders. You can, however, shop online and select the size and unique spooky figurine.

Are gift vouchers available?

No gift vouchers are available, but the store plans to introduce them in the future.

Is shipping available outside the United Kingdom?

The store does offer shipping services outside the UK. You can check their website for information on shipping costs and delivery times.

Where can I find real ghosts in York?

There are many haunted places and ghosts in York. Some of its most haunted locations are the ancient York Minster, the Treasurer’s House, and the notorious Shambles. These sites, rich in history and paranormal, offer ghost hunters the chance to encounter the city’s legendary spirit first-hand.

Sources

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!