DELRAY BEACH — If you’ve ever popped into Blue Anchor Pub for a spirit, the occasional mysterious tapping of footsteps or clanking of pots may not be what you had in mind.
But the new owners of the longtime Delray Beach bar knew what they were getting into when they purchased a business supposedly haunted by the ghost of Bertha Starkley, a British woman gruesomely stabbed to death by a jealous husband in 19th-century London.
“So many people are just fascinated by the history of this place,” said Mark Snyder, who bought the pub with his wife, Peggy, in March.
The theme of Maxwell’s Blue Anchor episode is “Boo-zy Haunt,” for spooky bars frequented by the spirit realm.
The Bertha Starkley story is a real draw to the bar, said Snyder, who was an eight-year patron before he decided to buy the Blue Anchor.
Legend has it — as told by the previous own Lee Harrison, a former tabloid reporter who brought the facade and interior of the bar over from London in the 1990s — that Starkey was killed by her jealous seafaring husband after he found her in the arms of another man at the pub.
Her ghost haunted the original pub, built on London’s Chancery Lane in 1865, until the owners tore it down 20 years later, Harrison told The Palm Beach Post in 2004. Harrison brought the pub, a favorite of British expatriates, to Atlantic Avenue in 1996.
Over the years, longtime employees have seen and heard the strange and inexplicable, only fueling the haunted tale.
“They’ve all had experiences,” Snyder said. “They’ve heard pots drop, pans clatter, noises.”
Shortly after the Snyders bought the bar, Peggy Snyder was bruised on the arm by a knick-knack that fell off a bookshelf, the couple said. She had teased: “You think that was Bertha?”
Then an ox horn that hung on the wall immediately fell off.
“It was eerie,” Peggy Snyder said.
That was the only time they’d experienced anything supposedly supernatural, the couple says.
A 21-year of tradition, the restaurant rings a bell at the bar at 10 p.m. each evening to keep Bertha at bay.
“The guests love it,” Mark Snyder said.
Mark and Peggy Snyder weren’t around when the Travel Channel filmed the segment in December, they said. So they’ve planned a public watch party at the pub Monday to see the spooky episode for the first time, along with any other interested patrons.
“We’re going to dim all the lights and watch the episode,” Peggy Snyder said. “And who knows, maybe Bertha will come out.”
Pin this to Pinterest!