Frankie's boss, Richard (pictured), says he understands his Halloween phobia is real. Photo: PA
A man who's employed to recreate macabre scenes from history to inform - and scare - tourists at the London Dungeon can't work at Halloween because he has a phobia of it.
And, yes, there is an actual word for the condition, called samhainophobia.
Frankie Spires claims to feel sick and breaks out in cold sweats at his job in one London's biggest attractions in the run-up to Halloween.
And his boss, performance manager Richard Quincey, has confirmed his condition, telling the Express: 'Frankie went pale and visibly trembled when preparing for Halloween.
'Now the rest of the team realise he is not faking it they are happy to cover for him.'
Frankie, who's happy to recreate gory scenes from history throughout the rest of the year, explained: 'I think it's the paranormal aspect of Halloween, the idea of restless spirits entering the waking world, that I find disturbing.'
And what Halloween experiences are the London Dungeon offering that Frankie has to be scared of?
For starters, Stingy Jack - the evil mythical character from Irish folklore damned by the devil and made to walk in darkness for all eternity with his turnip lantern - will be stalking the dark 'hellish' corridors of the gruesome attraction and could appear at any moment.
And Jack's lair is in a 'mirrored labyrinth' full of other horrific goings on this Halloween.
There's also three chilling rides to choose from: the Vengeance, billed as the 'UK's first 5D laser ride only at the London Dungeon - the ride of your afterlife!'; Extremis: Drop Ride to Doom, 'an adrenaline-charged "last drop" in the dark'; and Traitor: Boat Ride to Hell, 'a chilling water ride'.
Fancy a Halloween getaway? Check out these haunted hotels for scary holidays:
Haunted properties for spooky stays
Man who makes a living scaring tourists has 'Halloween phobia'
Widely regarded as one of the most haunted places in England, Chillingham Castle is in the heart of Northumberland and was one of the first lines of defence against the invading Scots. It’s horrific history is evident in its vast dungeons and torture chamber (pictured above) and it is renowned for its many ghostly inhabitants – the Blue Boy, Lady Mary and her child, as well as the royal procession, are well-documented sightings. If you’re brave enough, stay in one of the eight self-catering apartments within the castle and old coaching rooms. Prices start from £100 for a night in a Coaching Room.
Dating to the Middle Ages, Kokkedal Castle is frequented by the daughter of Knight Lykke, who succumbed to the popular medieval punishment of being immured alive in the external wall when she became pregnant out of wedlock. Several guests have heard her footsteps, but you’ll sleep safe in your canopied bed, we’re sure. Prices for a double room range from £105-£198 per night.
Dover Castle’s turbulent history, which dates back to Roman times, has been played out in a multitude of ghostly sightings over the years. For a chance to witness the woman in red and the Napoleonic drummer, stay in Peverell’s Tower – an apartment sleeping two inside one of the castle’s towers – which allows you access to the castle’s grounds when the public has gone. Prices start at £415 for a three-night break through English Heritage.
Mingle with the spirit of the miller’s wife, who shows herself to guests and staff in the most historic parts of Klekotki Mill, a 17th-century water mill in the Masuria lake district. The mill has been transformed into a 42-room hotel in the heart of the forest and the miller’s wife is said to appear in the part of the building once inhabited by her family. If your ghost hunt is unsuccessful, though, there’s plenty to do – including a spa and winery – and you can explore the mysterious anonymous graves and celtic stone circle in the nearby forest ravine. Prices start from £78per night for a double room, including breakfast.
Renowned as one of the UK’s most haunted hotels, this 16th-century manor house is steeped in history. The Mercure Telford Madeley Court has been the location of numerous sightings of a forlorn-looking monk who glides across the grounds and one family has even spotted a whole group of monastic figures sitting in the crossbeams of the Main Hall. Staff and guests have also spotted Victorian maids going about their duties on the top floor. Look out for the coalminers’ cottages that sometimes reappear, despite being demolished years ago, or take part in one of the hotel’s regular ghost hunts. Prices start from £30 per person per night in a double room, including breakfast.
Brave holidaymakers should head for a haunted holiday in the Yorkshire Dales, where guests at Thorns Hall Country House regularly experience the sound of the slave boy who was left shackled to starve to death and was then hidden behind a wooden partition. Listen out for his sobbing in the dead of night and for the sound of his dragging shackles and chains. Prices start at £99 per night for a double room, including breakfast.
Book into one of the self-catering cottages in the grounds of Chambercombe Manor – once owned by the father of Lady Jane Grey – and you’ll have the opportunity to peep into the Haunted Room. Discovered in the 18th century, when the owner was renovating, the room – which adjoins that used by Lady Jane Grey – is said to be haunted by the ghost of a titled lady who was visiting the manor house. Shipwrecked off the nearby coast, she later died at Chambercombe and the bedroom was sealed off – only to be discovered by the 18th century owner, who opened it up and found the woman’s skeleton on the bed. Prices start at £165 for a three-night, self-catering cottage break and guided tours are available.
If you’d rather share your space with an amenable apparition, then take a break in the remote farmhouse Alltwinea with Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages in the Cambrian mountains. Check out the visitor book, which is filled with guests’ reports of sightings of a friendly presence. A week’s stay at Alltwinea starts from £430.
Bernstein Castle has apparently been haunted since 1498, when Katharina Frescobaldi was walled up in the cellar by her jealous husband, Count Uylaky. After appearing every day at the same time, she was captured on camera in 1914 (pictured above). Two rooms in particular – Vinzenz and Tantalouis – are available to guests who aren’t afraid to meet the ‘white lady’ on their way down the corridor to their private bathrooms. She’s not been seen since 2010, but it could be your lucky night. Prices start from £132 per night for a double room, including breakfast (minimum two nights).