Londoners celebrate Guy Fawkes Day and Halloween
...but these haunts are all year long!
by Mary Lou F., On the List Seat Fillers
19 September 2017
A foggy day in London town won’t matter in the least. Not when you are on the trail of some cool, some relatively unknown places to haunt.
Okay, you won’t need to haunt anything (unless you have passed on yourself and are used to haunting anyway…then go ahead and haunt to your heart’s – former heart’s - desire). These places are already haunted. You might make some friends.
Historian Peter Ackroyd has called London “a spectral city, so filled with imitation of its past that it haunts its own inhabitants.”
As you seek, and possibly find the spirits, you will be in good company. Queens, Bishops, Bankers, Thespians, more than a few criminals, and even some much-loved pets.
Don’t lose your head (pun intended) and go off willy-nilly. Check some of our favorite places and do some reading up on London’s beloved/feared/scoffed at/believed in, but always captivating wraiths.
The Flask, 77 Highgate W Hill, Camden, London
You should try The Flask, but the two ghosts occupying the pub may not want your company, so try not to be conspicuous with squinting and special glasses. Look over your shoulder and calmly check it out.
The roasting fireplace may help to keep you warm as the presence of spectres are reputed to be accompanied by a chill in the air. The entire area of the pub will be covered as a young barmaid who hanged herself in the seating area decided to stick around, and the bar is home to a man in a Cavalier uniform. If you’re a bit ghoulish yourself and intend to look things over, keep in mind the menu sounds great. After your scare you might enjoy the nearby attractions of the beautiful Hampstead Heath which is perfect for ramblers and dog walkers.
History buffs will enjoy Highgate Cemetery and Karl Marx’s grave.
THE TOWER OF LONDON
If you want haunted, this is it!
Newcomers, The Tower is a MUST, and even born and bred Londoners owe it another peek. The former, and current, inhabitants of this infamous place sound like a school history book. A few of the unlucky famous include a few Williams, starting with Count of Mortain. This first occupant was a prisoner of war in 1106.
In 1297 William’le hardi’ Douglas, Lord of Douglas and Scots Governor of Betwick-Upon-Tweed was imprisoned and then murdered in 1298. Another William, William Wallace (yes – Mel Gibson in his better and better behaved days) was imprisoned in 1305 just prior to his execution. Richard II of England used the Tower as a refuge from rebels in 1399 when he was taken to Pontefract Castle and murdered. Edward V of England and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury (The Princes in the Tower) were sent to the Tower by their doting uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in 1483, “for their own protection,” and then he ordered the boys murdered.
Poor Anne Boleyn. The second wife of Henry VII was imprisoned on 2 May, 1536 on the arguably trumped up charges of high treason, adultery, incest, and witchcraft. Her beheading took place on the Tower grounds on May 19, 1536.
This is, of course, not the total list of well-known folks who were unfortunately imprisoned and just refuse to leave. It is said that one can hear the boys crying and screaming in the Bloody Tower. Just a tip, if you’re looking for signs.
There is much more to be seen when visiting The Tower of London, especially for the squeamish.. Think ravens, Crown Jewels, a King’s bedroom – which looks fairly comfortable believe it or not.
THE TEN BELLS AND JACK THE RIPPER
What would a ghost hunt in London be without Jack the Ripper? Old Jackie was responsible for several spirits, who are unable to rest in peace, during his murderous reign in 1888. His famed local, The Ten Bells, at the corner of Commercial Street and Fournier Street in Spitalfield is at the center of the supernatural goings on.
Footsteps in empty hallways, cold chills in the bar area…The interior of The Ten Bells would be familiar to Jack. The pub is almost the same as it was during the Autumn of Terror.
On the wall across from the bar is a large sign listing the victims of Jack the Ripper. Two of the victims were patrons of the Ten Bells, Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly. The others were likely to have downed a pint or two while waiting for some “clients” to show up. How many of these souls do you think are not able to rest? Maybe they are waiting around for the crimes to be solved.
THE ENFIELD HAUNTINGS
This haunting started in a quaint little home in Enfield, London, in 1977 when Peggy Hodgson, a single mother of four children, heard loud noises coming from her daughters’ bedroom. When she went to tell her daughters, Margaret, 12 and Janet, 11, to settle down and go to sleep, instead of rough-housing, she found them huddled in the corner with terrified expressions on their faces.
Peggy thought it was burglars in the house. She called the neighbours in. After searching and finding nothing, the knocking continued. Peggy called the police. The officer who arrived, WPC Carolyn Heeps, reported witnessing a chair rise up and move across the floor on its own, in full view of everyone.
“She was astounded,” Janet says. “We were all astounded.” But she didn’t know how to help, and nor did anyone else, so she decided to call the Daily Mirror. “They came down and nothing much happened. And as soon as they went to their car, it all started.” What did? “Lego bricks, marbles flying about. The photographer came back and a Lego brick hit him above the eye. He still had the mark a few days later. And then Maurice Grosse came in on the case.”
Mr. Grosse was born in London and living a rather normal life until his daughter, Janet, was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1976. Then the entire Grosse family began experiencing what could only be labeled “psychic phenomena.” Maurice then joined the Society for Psychical Research.
After undertaking a thorough investigation of poltergeist activity at the Enfield house, he reached the conclusion that ghostly intervention was causing the activities being witnessed by several people. He saw himself as an investigator and had a sincere belief in life after death.
Ed and Lorraine Warren were called in from America to help the Hodgson family.
The couple came to the conclusion the Hodgson children - and especially Janet - were the subject of a demonic possession.
Interestingly, Janet was alive and well and even giving interviews not long ago.