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Richard Lea-Hair / HRP / newsteam.co.uk

Top 5: Haunted London cultural locations

29 October 2015 Marina Nenadic

As all Hallows’ Eve looms, compelling the masses to pay homage to all things spooky, we delve into London’s haunted history. With an abundance of old buildings, cemeteries and crime scenes, there’s bound to be the odd phantom around, or at least rumours to that effect (if you’re not other-worldly inclined). Here’s our pick of London’s Top 5 haunted cultural locations…

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Built in 1663, Theatre Royal Drury Lane holds the title of London’s oldest working theatre, so understandably there’s talk of more than a couple of thespian spirits still lurking in the wings. The most famous of which is the Man in Grey who has been seen by many a cast member in his tricorn hat and grey cloak, crossing from one side of the Upper Circle to the other. Legend has it that in the 1870’s the skeletal remains of a man with a dagger still protruding through his rib cage were found in the walls behind the very spot where the Man in Grey has been seen to disappear, leading to the belief that he was murdered and left there, his soul bound to haunt the theatre.

West End hit show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is currently on at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, for tickets, see website.


Highgate Cemetery

Where better to search for spectres than in your local cemetery? Highgate’s famous residents mean you may even get a coveted celeb spot with your ectoplasm.  A popular burial spot with the macabre Victorians, Highgate hit the headlines in the late ’60s with sightings of what was formally referred to as the ‘Highgate Vampire’. Described as a tall dark apparition with a ghostly white face, the various sightings were reported in the local newspaper of the time and incited a mass vampire hunt in March 1970. Highgate is open daily for guided tours, garlic wreaths not included.

For more information on Highgate Cemetery, see website.


Handel House Museum

The 18th Century home of seminal composer George Frideric Handel has seen a number of residents pass through it’s doors since Handel’s death in 1759, some of which (including one time lodger Jimi Hendrix!) have reported suspicious activity of the paranormal kind. Later down the line in 2001 whilst preparing the premises for opening as a museum, two members of staff reported experiencing an eerie female presence around the house. So the Handel House Trust did the only thing they could do on such an occasion, and got a Roman Catholic Priest in to exorcise the place.

Handel House Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, more details here.


The Adelphi Theatre

Well known Victorian stage actor William Terriss has been spotted by countless actors wandering backstage at the West End theatre, since his brutal murder in 1897. Terriss is said to have fired young actor Richard Arthur Price after his alcohol problems and mental illness made it difficult to work with him. Price later returned to the theatre enraged, and stabbed Terriss in the back as he was unlocking the front door. Terriss’ lover, actress Jessie Millward, caught him as he fell through the door.  Terriss uttered his last words ‘I will come back’ as he died in her arms. The sound of someone knocking on what was once Jessie Millward’s dressing room doors, as well as sightings of ghostly figures around nearby Covent Garden tube station have been reported, indicating that Terriss was indeed true to his word.

Broadway smash hit Kinky Boots is currently showing at The Adelphi Theatre, to book your tickets see website.


The Tower of London

Considered one of the most haunted places in England, the Tower of London is home to the lingering impressions of former royals, political prisoners, an Archbishop and even a bear. Now a popular tourist attraction, the Tower has played home to the changing landscape of British History since its conception by William the Conqueror in 1078, which somewhat explains why so many well knows characters elected to stick around. The beheaded wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn has been spotted close to her execution site, as well as in the chapel, headless or otherwise. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas à Becket is said to have interrupted the construction of a new wall in the fortress, and a shrieking Guy Fawkes is said to have been heard echoing through the tower.

The Tower of London is open daily, see website for more details.
 

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