Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Tower of London

England is steeped in rich history and intrigue, so it is no surprise that there are many famous tales of hauntings across the country. One of the more famous spots for ghostly activities is in the Tower of London. It was built in 1080 in the center of William the Conqueror’s enormous fortress and was added to by other Monarchs in later years. Because of its use as a prison and execution grounds, the Tower is rife with ghost stories. Here are just a few of the ghosts that haunt the Tower:

Arbella Stuart
Stories say that she haunts the Queen’s house, which is considered the most haunted place within the Tower grounds. She is recorded as marrying William Seymore, Lady Jane Grey’s nephew, without King James I’s permission in 1610. Arbella was put under house arrest in Lambeth while William was sent to the Tower. Being spirited and rebellious, Arbella managed to escape and disguised as a man, was able to get William released from the Tower. William missed their rendez-vous and Arbella was forced to set sail without him. She was eventually caught and sent to the Tower while William made it safely to France. She died in the Queen’s House in 1615.

To this day, she is said to haunt the Lennox room of the Queen’s House, where she was possibly murdered. In 1994, Major General Geoffrey Field and his wife, Janice came to live in the house. While making up the Lennox bedroom, Janice felt a violent push on her back which propelled her out of the room. Several women who have slept in the room, claim to have woken up in terror with a feeling that they were being strangled. Soon after, it became a house rule that no woman would stay unaccompanied in the Lennox room of the house.

The Grey Lady of Hampton Court
Dame Sybil Penn, otherwise known as the Grey Lady, is said to haunt the state apartments and the Clock Court as well as several other places on the grounds. Dame Sybil resided in Hampton Court and was the nurse of Prince Edward and also cared for Elizabeth I while she was sick with small pox in 1562. Tragically, Dame Sybil succumbed to the same disease shortly afterwards.

After her tomb was disturbed, strange noises were heard through the walls of Hampton Court. The noises sounded similar to that of someone using a spinning wheel. When the building was searched, a hidden chamber revealed an antique spinning wheel inside.

Skeletor was the name given to a ghostly spectre which appeared on the palace’s CCTV cameras in 2003. Three days in a row, palace staff had been called to close a particular fire door near the Palace’s Introductory Exhibition. On the first day, the doors were captured on CCTV camera flying open with a great force on their own. On the second day, the doors once again flew open but this time, the cameras picked up a ghostly figure dressed in period close the doors. On the third day, the doors flew open but this time there was no sign of the eerie spectre.

The Screaming Lady
Catherine Howard, known now as the Screaming Lady who haunts the Gallery of the Tower, was the fifth wife of Henry VIII. In 1541, she was accused of adultery and put under house arrest at the palace. She escaped and ran to the Gallery to plead her case to the King but she was captured and dragged, screaming, back to her room. She was later executed at the Tower of London.

Her story was so famous that when the Gallery opened to the public in 1918, it was already dubbed The Haunted Gallery and with good reason. Residents in neighbouring apartments have claimed to have heard screams coming from the Gallery and during a tour, two women fainted on exactly the same spot in the Gallery within a half hour of each other.