Meet The Ghost of Boswells of Oxford

Meet The Ghost of Boswells of Oxford

280 years is a long time for any business to survive and thrive as Boswells has, and so you may not be surprised to hear that over time we've acquired our very own ghost. With the nights growing dark, and the ghouls of Halloween creeping from their hiding places, as they do every year, we thought we'd share our own chilling tales with you.

The legend goes that George worked as a Pharmacist at Boswells in the early 20th century, and met his untimely end at the bottom of the dumb waiter shaft, which runs through the building to this day. Stories of George clattering about the building, knocking stock on the floor have been common amongst the staff ever since. And, on the odd occasion, he's even been seen in the building! He also commonly vanishes useful objects such as stationary, and so, if you're reading this George, the Web Team would like their marker pens back please!


Your Memories of George the Ghost

Dumb Waiter Lift Base Image

When gathering customer recollections of Boswells, earlier this year,  Peter reminisced about seeing George when working in our Pharmacy.

"Whilst doing a temp role in Boswells Pharmacy department/store room I had a great experience of the resident ghost. I was told of old 'George.' I saw his ghost by the dumb waiter. Not at all scary--in fact I felt his happiness to re-visit the department he worked in. But I also felt his life was ended tragically. I guess he loves the old store a lot! Good old George!"

He's typically quite a shy character, and so sightings are very rare, but other forms of spooky encounter are fairly commonplace around here.


Poltergeist or Prankster?

Ghost ImageWe asked current and former members of Boswells staff if they had ever personally encountered George the ghost, and here's what they told us...

Sharon works in our Pharmacy, and on one occasion encountered George's mischievous side. She told us: "I was in the Toys Department one day and a piece of LEGO was thrown at my leg. Nobody was there. Stock [often] falls off the shelves...George is a very cheeky ghost."

Sharon was not the only one to come across stock thrown from the shelves, in fact quite a few people mentioned this to us. Kim, a former member of Boswells staff, told us that: "One time I was speaking with [a colleague] and all the stuff fell off the shelves in Linens!" Being on the 2nd floor of the store, in an area with no external windows, she pointed out that this could not have been the wind. 

Bella used to work in our Linens department, and not only did she see stock inexplicably fall on the floor, she told us that she once also felt a hand brushing through her hair!George Writing Image

All in all, we'd have to say that George is a pretty friendly and well meaning ghost. On one recent occasion, in our web office, the printer suddenly sprang into life, unexpectedly printing off a sheet that simply said "good morning." It's certainly good to know that George has been keeping up with technological advancements since his death...

He's Behind You...

Creepy Manekins Image

Have you ever been somewhere completely by yourself, but sworn that you could hear footsteps? Perhaps you've just met George, going about his daily haunting business. Invisibly sneaking up on our staff is one of George's favourite pastimes! 

Angie from our Accessories department described her encounter with George to us. "One afternoon while I was taking some empty boxes out to the bins, I heard footsteps behind me, quite clearly. As I turned around there was no one there, just an eerie feeling!"

Creepy Moon ImageWho knows what a ghost gets up to when he has a whole department store to himself at night. Anne from Toys told us a chilling story of some of George's late-night antics.

She said that: "A couple of years ago, my manager and I were behind the till (Games) and we served a student who had not long arrived to the city. She was staying in a room that joins onto Boswells and mentioned that she could hear the night security guard walking about and banging about. Both my boss and I looked at each other, then back to the customer and informed her that we had no night security guard, nor was anyone working over night in the building." Our apologies to anyone else out there who has found our resident ghost to be a noisy neighbour while staying nearby!


The Scene of the Crime

Staircase ImageLaura from our Luggage Department has been un/fortunate enough to have had more than one run in with our resident phantom. "I was covering in China and Electrical when the till [used to be] by the stairs. It was really quiet and no one was around and I heard footsteps coming from the sub-basement stairs as they are wooden. I waited for someone to come one did." But George wasn't done there, as he felt like startling Laura once again...

"One weekend I was up on fourth-floor pricing stock. I was on my own...when I heard footsteps coming towards me. Once again, the floor was wooden. I looked, and no one was there. I assumed it was George."

We don't think that Laura is aware of this, but the sub-basement, where she first heard the footsteps, is where the base of the dumb-waiter shaft is, and the fourth floor stock room is where this shaft would have originally begun at the time of George's demise. Her two encounters were in precisely the parts of the building where George fell, and where he landed.

Spooky coincidence? We'll let you decide...


26th October 2018

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