To many people, “Spooky Season” happens once a year during October, where the ghouls, witches, and vampires come out for the night of Halloween. To the city of London, however, Spooky Season lasts all year long. Being about 2000 years old and full of history, there’s no doubt this iconic city has skeletons in its closet. Here, we unpack a few of these skeletons – or ghosts – in a list of some of the most haunted places in London, England.
Ten Bells Pub
Starting strong with the Ten Bells Pub in East London, this 200-year-old pub is said to be the last place two of the infamous Jack the Ripper’s victims were seen before meeting a terrible fate. The pub opened in 1752 as the Eight Bells Alehouse, following the church bells across the street, and had several name changes over the years, including “The Jack the Ripper” in 1976. This name faced backlash for what seemed to be the celebration of a serial killer and was changed back to Ten Bells Pub in 1988.
It’s been said that Jack the Ripper himself was a regular at the pub, possibly staking out his potential prey. This includes Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly, who spent their last moments here before becoming two of his most famous victims. Annie Chapman enjoyed her last drink at the Ten Bells, while Mary Kelly was a prostitute who frequented the pub in search of rich clients. Since these gruesome events in the late 1800s, there have been many reports of paranormal activity in this establishment. Typical ghost activity has occurred – such as moving objects, voices, and footsteps – but also strong gusts of wind inside, drastic temperature changes, the feeling of being watched or followed, and even smelling Annie Chapman’s perfume and seeing her spirit.
If the lingering souls of Jack the Ripper’s victims weren’t enough, employees have also described seeing the ghost of a very old-fashioned man on the upper floors, where another bar and a lounge is located. In 2000, the new landlord came across an old box while cleaning out the cellar, which contained an old wallet and a newspaper clipping detailing the death of George Roberts. Roberts was the pub’s landlord from the late 1800s to the early 1900s and was murdered at a cinema close by. Since discovering the identity of this spirit, several tenants have discussed hearing the old landlord’s laughter, seeing his ghost, and even feeling invisible hands pushing them. If you decide to visit this pub in the Spitalfield district, don’t worry, you’ll never find yourself drinking alone!
The largest of London’s Royal Parks, Hyde Park covers 350 acres and was officially established in 1637. Before that, however, it was created in 1536 for Henry VIII to hunt privately. 28 years after its establishment, during the Great Plague, many Londoners would leave the city to camp in the park, hoping to avoid the deadly disease. Later, in the 18th century, many duels would occur on the park grounds, taking as many as 63 recorded lives.
Of course, with all its history, paranormal activity is inevitable; and surprisingly, a large amount of it comes from a small section of the park. The Hyde Park pet cemetery dates back to the 1800s and holds the remains of over 300 beloved pets who have moved on to the next realm… or have they?
Many visitors have claimed to see small shadowy figures trotting around, hearing little footsteps and growling noises, or even spotting the pet owners, who would then disappear by what they assume is their furry friend’s headstone. The cemetery is rarely open to the public, but the park sometimes offers special tours.
Not far from the little graveyard, also on the Northside of the park, sits the old Tyburn tree – which served as a public execution site for over 600 years. Just over a thousand people, most of whom were criminals, met their fate at this tree – so it doesn’t come as a shock to know that many people have seen or heard eerie things at this location. Some of these sounds include disturbing moaning, crying, phantasmal voices, and screams. Visitors have also claimed to see incredibly vivid spirits from different time periods. This lovely park has a dark history, so prepare for your leisure activities to be a little spine-chilling.
One of the oldest standing English brick houses comes with great mystery and of course, a creepy backstory. Formerly known as Lordship House, the Bruce Castle Museum was bought by famous historian Henry Hare in the late 17th century and is said to be haunted by his wife, Lady Constantia Lucy. There are a few different accounts of their unhappy marriage, but when Hare couldn’t take it anymore, he locked his wife up in a tiny room upstairs. Miserable with no other way to escape her cruel husband, Lady Constantia jumped off the balcony, taking her helpless child with her. It is said that each year on November 3rd, the day of her death, you can see Lady Constantia roaming the grounds of the castle. If you can’t pay a visit on the anniversary of her death, the castle has a free mini-museum that’s open Wednesday through Sunday.
Tower of London
Last but certainly not least, a significant piece of British history and known as one of the most haunted places in the world – the Tower of London, located on the north bank of the River Thames. Built-in 1066, this historic castle has had various functions, such as a prison and execution site. The White Tower was built ten years later but didn’t serve as a prison until 1100, used to isolate political prisoners. The towers use for confinement, execution, torture, and the interrogation continued throughout several centuries – even when it was opened as a tourist attraction in the 1800s. The prison would finally close in 1952, but the ghost activity would remain.
Sights of several different apparitions have been reported, including the famous spirit of Queen Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII. The Queen was tragically killed when she birthed a stillborn son, which was considered a crime during the Reformation. Visitors have claimed to see her roaming around, holding her head in her hands. The chilling stories about this historic sight are endless, as there are likely thousands of spirits at the Tower. Visitors recall horrid smells, cold rooms, screams, strange fog and shadows, and seeing Royal ghosts.
London is a fascinating place full of spooky places and daunting history, and we’ve only scratched the surface. Do you dare to explore any of these creepy places?