The haunting of the Blue Anchor Pub

The Blue Anchor Pub is said to be haunted by the ghost of Bertha Starkey, a patron of the pub over a century ago.

Along the hustle and bustle of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida, is a pub that might look a little out of place. That’s probably because it is. The Blue Anchor Pub ghost is also a part of this story…but we’ll get to that a little later.

The Blue Anchor Pub was originally built in the mid-1800’s in foggy London Town. It remained in London on Chancery Lane for almost 150 years. Then, the facade of the pub was shipped from England to the United States in the 1990’s and now, resides in Delray Beach.

“The pub was constructed in London in 1846 and there’s just a wealth of history in this pub. The whole facade of our building, the majority of all of our contents, the brass, the windows, the bar, is all original from 1846,” said owner Peggy Snyder.

While the pub welcomed guests in London, it saw many famous and infamous guests walk in and out of its doors.

“Winston Churchill dined here,” said Snyder. “Jack the Ripper, sadly, took a couple of victims just after they dined at the pub right outside the door. And the pub is haunted.”

A photo of Queen Elizabeth pulling one of the original taps at the Blue Anchor Pub, still used at the bar today.

Snyder said she was warned by the former owners of the pub that there was a ghost in the building named Bertha Starkey. Snyder said she was told that Starkey was a longtime patron of the pub and was in her lover’s arms when her husband returned from sea early and murdered her in the pub in the heat of the moment. So the story says, the Blue Anchor Pub ghost and her soul reside in the pub and Snyder believes it.

“My first experience with her personally was the very first day I took over the pub, we closed to have a cleaning party, if you will.”

Snyder said one of the bartenders warned her that she would not be able to turn off or slow down one of the ceiling fans to clean it.

“I said there is absolutely no way I am not going to be able to turn off that fan,” she said. “I go and do cords, switches, etc. only to find out I couldn’t turn it off. So, guess what I did? I went to the main breaker box, I flipped it. Everything was turned off except for the fan. The team was laughing at me hysterically.”

In that moment, Snyder decided she was going to take control of the situation and clean the fan, dodging the blades and trying to slow it down.

“So I’m on a ladder, somehow I got clipped. Twenty minutes later, it’s turned into a huge welt on my arm. I turned to the team, I said you don’t think for a second it could have been Bertha?”

At that moment, Snyder said an ox horn fell off a shelf.

“When I said her name, it jumped off the shelf and it hit the floor, it almost hit me,” she said.

Snyder said that several mediums and a paranormal activity teams have been in the pub and have confirmed that there is indeed at least one spirit in the building and there could be more. Her team has reported flickering lights, pots and pans falling off shelves, and unexplained noises in the attic. The Blue Anchor Pub ghost is around, and doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon.

“It’s frightening, I think she’s harmless, but in the moment you get frightened, ” she said.

Regardless, the Blue Anchor Pub is one of the most popular spots to grab a pint in Delray Beach. Snyder said the best part about her job is getting to interact with the people who set foot into the charming British watering hole.

“The people really make the pub special. Everyone loves everybody and the rule is just to be nice. Don’t be scared of Bertha, no, no, no. Welcome her, welcome her,” Snyder laughed.

Click here to learn more about the Blue Anchor Pub.

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