There’s an old proverb suggesting that ghosts only ever linger in dwellings that have known either great misery or great happiness; the buildings, ruins and haunted streets of London have unquestionably known both in abundance.
There are various places you can visit to learn about the city’s dark past; here are a few that are infamous for chilling events that have taken place and will get your heart racing.
Jack the Ripper haunts
If you’re seeking knowledge about the East End’s most documented serial killer, a Jack the Ripper walking tour will certainly feed your fascination. As the crimes were concentrated in such a small part of East London, visitors can choose a tour that suits their stamina and appetite for gore. There are plenty of gruesome tales and sights to be pointed out. It’s recommended that you take this tour late in the evening when the streets of Whitechapel are at their quietest.
If you prefer the comfort of your own car, we’ve discovered that Hertz have put together a driving tour of such haunted hotspots – suitable for those who want to keep their distance from otherworldly beings. Our magnetism to this brutal story hasn’t lessened in 126 years; we are still presented with tales from locals seeing the spirits of Jack the Ripper’s victims in the Ten Bells Pub, on Hanbury Street and on the Westminster Bridge.
The Grenadier pub
Another place to visit is The Grenadier pub – one of London’s most captivating inns, situated in Wilton Mews, a colourful country village, laced with cobblestones and quaint houses. A chilling event is said to have taken place here, where a young subaltern caught cheating whilst playing cards was punished so brutally he died from his injuries.
It’s never been confirmed when the murder took place, but it’s suspected the man died in the month of September, as the pub experiences an onslaught of paranormal activity every September, every year: unseen hands have rattled tables and chairs, pacing footsteps have been heard in empty rooms and moaning has been heard from the cellar. One customer even claimed he was burnt by an invisible cigarette upon investigating lingering smoke surrounding him. Whether or not these “witnesses” were wasted or not is not known.
The Bleeding Heart Yard
Another part of London occupied by ghostly spirits is Farringdon. The Bleeding Heart Yard, a cobbled courtyard off Greville Street, is home to the presence of one Lady Elizabeth Hatton. Mrs Hatton’s body was apparently found on January 27th 1626, having been severely mutilated. Her limbs were scattered across the ground and her heart was still pumping blood. The Ingoldsby Legends, a collection of poetry, myths and ghost stories, wrote a passage surrounding Lady Hatton’s murder:
“Of poor Lady Hatton, it’s needless to say, No traces have ever been found to this day, Or the terrible dancer who whisk’d her away; But out in the court-yard – and just in that part, Where the pump stands – lay bleeding a LARGE HUMAN HEART!”
The story goes that she sold her soul to the devil and one night he came to collect it; the next morning Mrs Hatton’s body was found torn limb from limb.
The Tower of London
Founded in 1066, the Tower of London once served as a prison and over the centuries was conquered by treasonists and royalty. Here, torture was administered to prisoners without conscience. inmates were also isolated and driven to insanity and despair.
Visitors believe the ghosts of rulers and captives always have and continue to haunt the grounds of the Tower. Frequently spotted spirits are Lady Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn, both of whom were beheaded within the tower walls. Prisoners even engraved scrawls on the tower walls which are still visible today. On April 2nd 1559, a heart-wrenching message was carved by William Rame: “There is a time for all things… and the day of death is better than the day of birth.”
For those who are looking for a serious scare or are interested in investigating the supernatural and paranormal, these are our ultimate top four attractions. Go forth and explore…