TALES of hauntings lurk within many pubs and inns of Dorset.

Myriad unsavoury episodes have occurred within their walls and these have echoed down the ages to tingle our modern-day spines.

Here, we take a look at some of the area's most haunted pubs.

The London Bars, 4 Bond Street, Weymouth

This pub was most recently known as Bar Twenty Twelve.

The empty building was believed to have been hunted by the spirit of an old man and his dog.

Mark Vine, of Weymouth, remembers: "In 1993,when I was having a lot of work done on my house, I got quite friendly with the builder who, confided to me that he was a medium.

"He told me that a year or two before, he had been working in this building which used to be called Twenty Twelve.

"He said that one day, he was working in the cellar, quite alone, when suddenly, he was aware of an old man and a small dog who were just stood there looking at him.

"He saw them several times more during his work there and knew they were of spirit.

"Eventually, he mentioned it to the owner .. who looked at him and she said ..."Oh thank God you can see them too. I thought I was the only one."

The Old Ship Inn, Dorchester

This is the oldest pub in town, opened in 1619 by a retired sailor.

The inn exhibits ghostly manifestations. These include the sounds of ragtime and music from the Second World War. Locals knew that the pianist, Russ Conway, who went on to star at the London Palladium.

In later years, he was stationed in the Royal Navy barracks nearby. He had been a frequent customer at this inn.

Legend is that the ghost of Russ Conway is still in residence, playing his old and favourite tunes.

There was a gibbet near here many years ago where people, who had been hanged, were contained and left to rot. Locals think that the ghost that haunts this area was either a woman from the Tudor period or Martha Brown, the last woman to be hanged for murder in Dorset.

The Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills, near Weymouth

A smuggler and the Revenue man trying to catch him are believed to be among the several ghosts that haunt this inn.

The infamous smuggler ‘French Peter’, Pierre Latour, was caught at the pub after he was heard plotting with the proprietor of the pub. While they were scheming, a Revenue man hid up a chimney to get his evidence. Both conspirators came to an untimely end.

The two ghosts have been seen in seafaring clothes from the 18th century. One local smuggler was also an angler, William Waters (1791-1827) who spent more time in jail than he did at liberty. When he was out of prison, he was at the Smugglers. He is reputed to haunt a cottage nearby. Observers describe the Waters’s ghost as a small man with a malevolent smile.

The Spice Ship, Weymouth

This inn exhibits a number of ghostly manifestations. These include strange noises in the night and the unexpectedly turning on of beer taps.

A Portuguese sailor is said to create mischief, including pulling one previous landlord out of his bed onto the floor.

This sailor drowned off the coast 200 years ago. Locals took his body to this inn for the inquest. He is now haunting the pub whilst looking for his shipmates who were all lost at sea.

The Angel Inn, Lyme Regis

It is widely believed there was some presence in this former pub, thought to be manifestation of a little girl.

Mrs Lawton was a licensee at the Angel and it has always been believed that she is the resident spirit.

Licensees have reported clear impressions of: someone sitting on the bed; a customer being pushed aside but there was nobody there; a picture in the bar turned to the wall during nights.

The Albert Inn, High Street, Wyke Regis

This now-closed pub was used as a mortuary after the East Indiaman, Abergavenny, sank in Weymouth Bay in 1805. One of those who died was Captain John Wordsworth, brother of the poet, William Wordsworth. Previously in 1795, there were three troop transporters sank and hundreds of bodies were washed ashore. The inn exhibited ghostly manifestations. These include both a sailor and a soldier in early 19th century uniforms from the second of these disasters, in 1805.

The Boot Inn, High West Street, Weymouth

The inn, which has parts dating back to the 14th century, has several phantoms. There is also believed to be the ghost of a man wearing a pinstriped suit in a 1930s style, with a Victorian sailor in heavy sea boots. Licensees are thought to have experienced poltergeist activity with severe drops in temperature. When they open up the bar, they find that furniture and pictures have been rearranged during the night. In the early hours of the morning, there has regularly been the sound of an invisible choir of men singing sea shanties.

Elm Tree Inn, Langton Herring

Ghosts in this inn, which once had a secret passage between the village church and its bar, include a fellow who witnesses see sitting in a bar muttering curses. Reports claim that he makes utterances of some sort of denial. Another man haunting the pub was a local angler who had lied about his catch in 1780. He was savagely beaten and died from his injuries.

New Inn, Cerne Abbas

Originally, an eleventh century building, the New Inn was at one time used to house pilgrims. Ghosts here are thought to include a middle-aged man wearing 19th century clothing of a long jacket, waistcoat, with riding boots. He stands with his back to the wall near the fireplace. Outside ghostly manifestations include young children wearing white cotton dresses, running, skipping, with singing.