From an old theater to the Underground, Musement takes a look at five of the most haunted places in London.
London, with its rich history, never fails to fascinate. With its decapitated queens, 19th-century slashers, notorious outlaws, and then some, it’s no wonder that one cannot help but be intrigued by the idea of ghosts in the English capital. If you’re in the mood for a spook, read on about five of the most haunted places in London.
1. The Tower of London
One of the world’s most haunted castles, the imposing Tower of London is aswarm with spookiness. Tens of thousands lost their heads on this former execution site, including Queen Anne Boleyn, the second wife of the tyrannical Henry VIII, and her headless apparition is often seen wandering the grounds. The term “princes in the tower” refers to the 12- and nine-year-old nephews of Richard III. They came before him in line to the throne and mysteriously disappeared when being held at the Tower for “safe-keeping.” They were never seen again, and they’re rumored to haunt the Tower as well.
2. Highgate Cemetery
Given that they’re the final resting place for the bodies of the departed, the idea of a cemetery being haunted isn’t novel — yet actual ghost sightings in a cemetery significantly elevate the creepy factor, as is the case with Highgate Cemetary in Hempstead. Its Victorian and Egyptian inspired tombs are a wonder to behold, and supernatural activity was reported here. Sightings include a tall man in a hat, a face glaring through the gates, and a man wading in the pond. However, the Highgate Vampire became a sensation in the 1970s, but it’s likely that the blood-drained dead were the work of occultists.
3. Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Old theaters are practically a magnet for paranormal activity, and London’s West End is home to several, and the Old Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the stomping ground of the “Man in Gray.” This fellow donning a cloak and tricorn hot usually appears during the day, and actors have seen him pacing the upper circle then vanishing into the wall. Also, the spirit of comedian and pantomime Joseph Grimaldi, who passed in 1837, is also said to lurk. He likes to make his presence known by kicking the actors and theater staff as they go about their work.
4. Ten Bells Pub
This historic pub in London’s East End in Shoreditch near Spitalfields Market has been around since the middle of the 18th century, and it’s perhaps best known for three of its most ill-fated patrons: Elizabeth Stride, Annie Chapman, and Marie Kelly, all Jack the Ripper victims. Though this affiliation alone isn’t enough to deem the institution haunted—Ms. Chapman’s ghost is said to haunt the pub along with an old Victorian man, believed to be a former landlord, who roams the upper floors.
5. The Underground
The most efficient way to get around London, the Underground is a vast network of trains and stations that conceals some spooky mysteries — especially late at night when the crowds have dispersed. The Liverpool Street station is built atop a mass grave site from the plague (over 3,000 black death victims were unearthed in 2015), and employees have seen unexplained flashes on the CCTV footage during the night. At the Elephant & Castle station, a young woman is said to board the train, but she never gets off. Annie Naylor, a young hat maker killed by her boss in the 18th century, ran screaming through the tunnels of Farrington station before her death, and people still report hearing her scream to this day. And these are just a small sampling of paranormal activity in the Underground.