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The phantom of Cawood is Mary Lofthouse, murdered by her husband William Barwick in the 17th century. She was seeing William and found out she was pregnant by him. Thinking that this would mean they got married, he instead accused her of having other lovers and told her to vist a local gypsy to acquire herbs that would induce an abortion. Mary's brother Thomas visited William and under duress, William, who said he was not the marrying kind, agree to take Mary as his wife. Mary and William often rowed and this culminated in him drowning her when they went out to collect firewood near Cawood Castle. A few days afterward whilst returning from a friend's house, Thomas Lofthouse saw his sister and he followed her. Mary led him to the place where her body had been buried - and finally Thomas could see that her clothing was muddied, torn and soaking wet, her hair coated with slime and her face showing bruise marks. The apparition then vanished. The next day Thomas confronted William who said Mary was at an uncle's, but when this was proven to be a falsehood, William denied knowing anything more. But a search in the area that Mary's spectre had been seen revealed her battered corpse. William was arrested and denied being involved, claiming that he had sold her to a passing pedlar for five shillings, which was legally acceptable in those days. He was not believed and was hung, but Mary's phantom is reportedly still seen in the area to this very day.

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