The Wild Man, on Bedford Street, stands at the top of London Street opposite the Nat West Bank. It used to be an asylum (hence the name) and is said to be haunted by the ghost of a wild German boy who was kept locked in the cellar and eventually perished in a fire.
''Occasionally I sleep in the flat above the pub. Sometimes at night you can hear the barrels in the cellar clanging together''.
''There are all sorts of other noises as well, but this is an old building," said Matt Nudd, the pub's manager
''One of the girls who used to work here once saw a little boy run across the bar and disappear up the stairs, a previous manageress who was staying in the flat once awoke to find her clothes strewn around the hall, too''.
''I don't think it's anything to worry about though, he's just a little boy who likes to cause mischief'' says Matt.
But Matt does not know the full story of the ghost boy of the Wild Man.
The building was also used as an overflow from the prison and around late Victorian times this is what it was used for. At the time a group of Gipsies lived on Mousehold Heath on the edge of the City. One of their number, a young boy, came into the City, attempting to do some petty thieving but was caught red handed. The Summer Assizes were in session and he was quickly brought before the judge who sented him to death by hanging that very weekend.
The cells were full and so he was brought to the Wild Man and taken below to the overflow facility. He would remain there only for a few days before meeting his fate. His family decided to try to rescue him. They crept into the area under cover of darkness and tried to break into the building. However the doors and windows were made of stern stuff and they had no luck in gaining entry.
Plan B was hatched, to burn down the doors and then get the boy out. Unfortunately they belonged to the 'Italian Job' school of incendiary expertise and soon the whole building was aflame. regretably the boy died.
Other landlords before Matts time tell of pictures turning around to face the wall, of tables and chairs moving and of incredibly cold temperatures in the beer cellar. Most intriguing is the moving barrel of beer. One night a former landlord named Keith, was awoken by scraping noises from below. He went to the cellar to find a full barrel of beer had been dragged from its correct place and was now at the far end of the cellar. It took help from two strong potmen the next day to get the beer back to its usual stand.
Not only is the ghost mischievous but it is also incredibly strong.
Could it be the gypsy boy, or is there another story to be told about the Wild Man?