Well, if you’ve shown up for part 3 that surely must mean you’ve enjoyed the first two as well. This series continues to look into the hauntings and the possible sources of those hauntings in various locations throughout this great city of London. In city so vast and thick with historical legends like King Arthur and Robin Hood, who would be surprised to find that there are indeed a darker side of London, one upon which spirits have left their imprint.
Read on to find out more.
The Bow Bells
Opposite the railway station, Bow Bells is at the end of Mile End Road. It was built in the 1860s and has become the site of one of the oddest haunting tales every recorded. This spirit is said to haunt the lady’s toilets. Yes, that’s right the phantom flusher as he is called is known to be a playful spirit and flushes the toilets as they are in use. In 1974, during a séance, the ghost was asked to show itself and slammed the bathroom door so hard it shattered the glass in the door.
The Queen’s House
This structure was built between 1616 and 1619 and is the former royal residence in Greenwich. It was built specifically for King James I and Anne of Denmark. One of the most famous of all ghostly photographs was taken on the staircase in this house by a retired Canadian couple back in 1966. There are a number of ghost sightings reported as well as footsteps heard near the staircase by staff and visitors alike.
Hampton Court Palace
Build for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1514, it has been inhabited by British Royal Family members since the 18th century.
This property has borne witness to the death of Henry VIII’s wives and they have left their stamp on this home. Their energy can be felt everywhere.
Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII can be seen dressed in white and floating in the what is known as the Haunted Gallery. When she reaches the door of the Royal Pew, her spirit turns and screams until passing through the door.
Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour died at Hampton Court following childbirth. Her spirit carries a lighted taper and can be seen in the courtyard of Clock Court.
The Lady in Grey as she is known is said to be the spirit of Sibell Penn who was a nurse to young Prince Edward. She died in 1562 and her spirit can be seen in the rooms within which she lived in the palace. For years guests reported hearing a spinning wheel in the walls and when one of them was eventually demolished they found an aged spinning wheel in the secreted room.
Not all the ghosts are of Henry VIII’s wives. The last spirit I’ll mention is that of a dog who has been seen many times near the Wosley Closet. Most every visitor report feeling odd while standing in this corner.
Bruce Castle Museum
Built in the 16th century, this lovely manor house was built within the expanse of twenty acres of parkland. The oldest sections of the building were said to have been built by William Compton a member of Henry VII’s court.
There are a number of spirits haunting this location including one of the wives of the 2nd Lord Coleraine.
Handel’s House Museum
This museum is dedicated to famed baroque composter George Frederic Handel who was of German descent and lived in this lovely house between the years 1723 and 1759 when he passed away. Based in Mayfair this location was so haunted The Handel House Trust actually reached out to the Roman Catholic Church in an attempt to exorcise the spirits. A Roman Catholic priest was asked to carry out the ritual in 2001 when the hauntings were becoming too aggressive, frightening visitors away.
There are spirit sightings throughout the property but one of the most commonly reported ones is that of the figure of a ghostly woman wandering with hands clasped in front of her. This woman is thought to be one of the singers who would visit Handel and perform in many of his operas. Whenever she is sighted, there is a strong lingering perfume tantalizing when she vanishes.
At one time, Jimi Hendrix, the famed guitarist/singer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience lived next door and reported seeing her ghost in the late 1960s.
When the government purchased John Hunter’s famous collection in 1799 and donated it to The Company of Surgeons which is now known as The Royal College of Surgeons, they needed a space to display it. When none was available the contracted to have one built. His famed collection became the basis for the museum which was eventually built on its current site which is the south side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. This is part of the new Royal College of Surgeons.
Okay, so maybe this was a misnomer but I have a reason for adding it to the list. You see, there are actually no reported hauntings at this sight. There were no tragedies that unfolded her and there are no spirits lurking, but there is a distinct creepiness apparent throughout this building. It is not hard to imagine spirits moving through the displays of deformed bodies, infected organs, preserved monkey heads, and various body parts that were removed for study by John Hunter.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum
This museum is dedicated to surgical history and is one of the oldest surviving operating theatres in the world. Students would come to this theatre and watch surgeons perform surgery. It was built upon the old St. Thomas Hospital grounds which can be traced back all the way to 1215.
This operating theatre has a creepy feel to it. Perhaps it is the imaginings of ancient surgeries taking place at a time when there was no anesthetic which wasn’t invented until 1846. Rather, the surgeons relied upon performing the surgeries quickly to cut down on the rate of infection. They also relied upon patients ingesting large amounts of alcohol to keep them sedated. Not a pleasant experience to say the least.