What better time of year than Halloween, the evening of the year where the veil between the world of the living and those long gone is at its utmost thinnest, or so I read, to explore the more sinister side to the city I call home. From the capitals most ghoulish gardens to its spectacularly haunted hotels – would you dare to visit any of them on the eve of all hallows?
Now I am not talking about Casper the Friendly Ghost or apparitions lingering along hallways in white crinkled white bed sheets. I am talking about the endless sightings over the years, at various locations, which have the ability to turn even the most cynical of skeptics blood cold, with just one icy whisper. Maybe.
The Langham. The Corinthia. The Savoy. They have one thing in common, and I am not referring to their lavish suites, world class bars or celebrity clientele. Rather, to the fact that they are all haunted. Haunted happenings at The Savoy include room 502 on the fifth floor where the apparition of a lift controlled by a little girl ghost who died in the building apparently creeks long into many a night.
Across town, The Langham hotel have their very own bedeviled room, number 333, where the supposed spirit of a Victorian doctor who murdered his wife before killing himself, loiters each October. Whilst I do not know where he goes for the other 11 months of the year, also at The Langham, there is reportedly the figure of a man in military dress standing by a window on the fourth floor who is said to be the ghost of a German prince who leapt from the window when London was in the midst of World War One.
Further to even this, there is also a ghostly butler who often tries to still tend to his guests down on the third floor. There are so many spiritual sightings at The Langham that this isn’t even the end, with a gruesome ghoul with a gaping facial wound often lingering in corridors and the ghost of Napoleon the third himself often spotted chilling in the basement of the hotel, perhaps reminiscing his time in the capital with anyone brave enough to join him.
Preyed Upon Pubs
The Ten Bells pub in the east of the city is one of London’s most haunted places to get a pint. Located in Shoreditch, it is home to one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, Annie Chapman, who was brutally murdered after an evening of merriment at the venue and the wailing banshee just cannot let go of her local to this day.
The Flask, right next to a creepy London grave yard in Highgate, is haunted by the ghost of a former barmaid from Spain who hanged herself in the pub after the breakdown of her relationship with the pubs landlord. Talk about dramatic. Customers of the pub and workers over the years have reported feeling uneasy at the venue for no apparent reasons, sensations of cold air on their necks, sudden temperature drops and unusual electrical activity.
Once a recruitment station during the war, The Volunteer pub is located on Baker’s Street. Dating back to the 17th century, a family were killed in 1654 by a fire at the property. To this day, lights flicker and there has been regular sightings of the gentleman believed to have been the head of that deceased family.
We have perhaps all known a theatre with the illusive “grey lady” lerking in the bathrooms or beneath the floorboards, but the grey spirit of the Theatre Royal on Dury Lane is perhaps one of the more sinister. This theatre has several ghosts, one being not the grey lady but “A Man in Grey”. This guy is apparently from the 1700’s and is dressed in the full attire of a nobleman, complete with cape and riding boots. This chap has even been reported shushing the audience in the upper circle, during performances. Whilst the theatre was undergoing renovations, his stabbed skeleton was unearthed in a corridor near the royal box and since then his disturbed spirit has placed an eerie presence over the theatre.
Across town at the Adelphi Theatre, a Shakespearean actor was murdered by a fellow actor at the stage door in 1897. The man died in the arms of his leading lady with whom he was rumored to be having an affair, and as he died he vowed to visit her after his passing. How lovely of him? Not only that, but to this day fellow thespians at the theatre report frequent knocks on the door of what was once her dressing room.
The Dominion Theatre at Tottenham Court Road used to be a brewery back in the 1800’s. Stay with me. It was then, in 1814 when almost 4000 barrels of beer burst, causing a tsunami of ale to flood through the area, killing eight people including one of the brewers Eleanor. It is now her ghost that has been sighted at the now theatre, in addition to the sounds of multiple children laughing, which has even been caught on film. Apparently.
I guess it would be silly to mention in a post like this places such as London’s dungeons or the Tower of London to spirit spot, but if you search for ‘Covent Garden ghosts’ in Google, you don’t even yield results about Covent Garden, but rather a single name. That of William Terriss is the first result. Now who is that I hear you ask, but if you remember the Shakespearean actor that was killed at the doors of the Adelphi Theatre, well this is him; famously haunting the popular market attraction, the cobbled streets and even the tube station.
Whether you believe in ghostly apparitions or not, I think it is always fun to read about them. I have never spotted a ghost myself but with all these lost souls looming around London, who knows when it may happen.
Have you ever seen a ghost? Would you like to visit any of the above or any other haunted places? Let me know in the comments below.