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Top 5 Most Haunted Places In London
London's history dates back to the Romans and has been witness to countless disasters, horrific crimes, diseases and religious turmoil over thousands of years so it's no surprise the City is said to be teeming with the spirits of those who've lived, loved, toiled and died here.
I'm fascinated by old tales and ghost stories, even more so by London's incredible historical architecture and cultural sites, both of which play host to happenings and hauntings and provide some of the most haunted places to visit!
1. 50 Berkeley Square
Widely known as one of London's most haunted locations, yet now home to antiquarian booksellers, 50 Berkeley Square was widely recognised as haunted during the 1900s. Charles Harper, author of Haunted Houses, speaks of the ghostly happenings and ominous presence of someone other than yourself lurking in the shadows.
After various residents and periods of the building being empty, the stories become widely discussed when one particular resident, an unassuming and bitter seeming man called Mr Myers, jilted by his wife to be, rented a small, gloomy room in 50 Berkeley Square, keeping a low profile, hiding high up on the top floor of the house and only coming out at night.
One particularly spooky story is that of two sailors who stayed in 50 Berkeley Square during a period of it being on the market to let. Seeing the building was empty, they settled down for the night, yet deep into their sleep one of the sailors awoke suddenly, gasping with the feeling of being choked. He saw a dark entity attacking him and tried to cry out to his friend, but when his friend tried to assist, he recoiled in fright. He decided to run and find help and eventually managed to explain the situation to a policeman who accompanied him back to the house. What he found on returning was his friends dead body, impailed on the railings; it appeared as though he had jumped - some say he was pushed - from a window on one of the upper floors.
2. Hampton Court Palace
Years have passed since King Henry VIIIs reign over England but his legend and unstoppable force will never be forgotten. The most commonly associated gossip is of course that of his six wives; divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Catherine Howard, King Henry's fifth, unfortunate wife and eventual victim of the block, was accused of adultery and although once on escaping the guards who were holding her hostage she begged Henry for her life, she was beheaded at the Tower of London in 1541.
Catherine's residence at Hampton Court has not yet ended as the Haunted Gallery, named in accordance with Catherine's frequent visits, tells tales of her running, shrieking down the gallery in the middle of the night.
Catherine is not alone however as Jane Seymour, Henry's beloved third wife who tragically died shortly after the birth of, Prince Edward, Henry's only son, is said to wander outside in the courtyard of Clock Court, dressed in a white robe and holding a lit candle.
3. Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
A Grade I listed building dating back to the 1600s, Theatre Royal, otherwise known as Drury Lane, has numerous ghostly inhabitants. Commonly referred to as one of the most haunted theatres in the UK, sightings are not a rarity and amongst them include apparitions of 'The Man In Grey' who resides in the Upper Circle, watching plays and walking amid the rows, eventually exiting through the walls.
More eerie are the sightings of two clowns, Joseph Grimaldi and Dan Leno. Grimaldi was crippled with disease at the end of his career, yet widely acknowledged as being the creator of the modern clown. He is said to visit the theatre occasionally, playfully kicking out at unsuspecting victims!
The story of Dan Leno is a tragic one. His comic act was well known yet his personal struggles eventually led to his demise at the age of 43. Leno was mentally unwell and ultimately institutionalised before his death, yet he has been seen on occasion at the theatre, returning for encores, camouflaged by the curtains yet still enjoying the spotlight.
4. Covent Garden Tube Station
The most famous ghost associated with Covent Garden tube station is that of William Terriss, a hugely successful, late 1800s actor, known for his performances in Robin Hood and Rebecca. Well known, respected and handsome, he was a popular and highly commended actor.
In December 1897, Terriss was entering the Adelphi Theatre when Richard Archer Prince, a drunk and struggling actor - whom Terriss had extensively tried to help in the past and eventually fired - who had been awaiting Terriss' arrival, crept up behind him and fatally stabbed him 3 times in the back and side.
According to his fellow actor and lover Jessie Millward, Terriss' last words were 'I will come back' and it seems he did. Terriss has been seen numerous times over the years, walking down the stairs at Covent Garden tube or roaming the platforms. Although the station wasn't established at the time of Terriss' death, he was said to visit a local baker situated on the same site.
5. Highgate Cemetery
With well over 150,000 bodies buried within Highgate Cemetery, including various, well known names such as Karl Marx and Douglas Adams, there are many reported ghostly sightings and other mythical happenings.
The legend of the Highgate Vampire caused a media sensation after one member of group of young adults interested in the occult, stayed the night within the Cemetery and claimed to have seen a figure deep within the overgrowth and shadows. This ultimately led to the other reports of similar sightings being uncovered, although there were two particularly intriguing accounts of a looming black figure that had been witnessed within the Cemetery, that didn't quite fit the usual mass community calls received when stories are leaked into the media.
Although it may be seen as mere here say or a local fairy tale, it is a haunting story and one which will undoubtedly be in your mind if you ever visit! The gravestones of Karl Marx, George Eliot and Douglas Adams, are other commonly visited sites within Highgate Cemetery.
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