One evening in London I decided to go on a ghost tour, because it seemed a very London-esque thing to do. There’s nothing quite like walking through the back streets of London at night on a ghost tour to make you feel like you’ve travelled back to the Victorian period. I neither believe nor don’t believe in ghosts, but it’s always good fun to go and scare yourself silly with the thought of them. I love me a good story after all, and you never know where inspiration might hit you for a good story of your own. Here are some of the best stories I heard that evening.
My favourite was the haunting of St. James’ Park. As we entered the park, our spooky leader told us the story. One evening, a few years back, a guard was standing duty at Buckingham Palace. In the distance he thought he saw a white blur moving slowly towards him. As it drew closer, he realised it was a woman, dressed all in white, drifting gracefully along the ground, but something seemed off about her. He noticed a ring of red around her neck, which he presumed to be a necklace of red flowers, but beyond that he couldn’t quite figure out what it was that was wrong with her. As she drew nearer, his heart sped up. The woman approached the guard, and when she was a few feet from him, he realised what was wrong. The woman didn’t have a head. What he had thought to be a floral necklace was in fact dripping blood from her severed neck. She reached for him, and just when he thought he was done, she disappeared.
The ghost lady of this story is said to be a woman who was murdered in St. James’ Park. Her body was found but her head never was, and so now it is said that she wanders the park at night searching for her head, in good Headless Horseman fashion. Jeepers!
At 9 Carlton House Terrace, there is a little tombstone beneath the tree that sits in the square with a German inscription on it. This is in fact the burial spot of the dog of the German Ambassador in London from 1932-1936. The tiny tombstone was not always standing the way it is today however. At some point, it disappeared and was forgotten about. Then the accidents began to happen. For weeks on end, drivers would swerve and crash their vehicles. When asked about the incidents later, every driver said they saw a dog run out in front of them, but this dog was never seen before or after the accidents. Eventually the police got fed up with these accidents and the supposed dog that was causing them, so they staked an officer out by the tree one night, to wait and see if another incident occurred. It was the middle of winter then, and that night was a particularly cold one. To keep himself warm, the officer began to stamp his feet. As he stamped through the dirt, his stamping began to echo and he noticed that he was stepping on something made out of stone. He dug it up and discovered the tombstone. He propped the tombstone up and eventually a box was made around it so it wouldn’t fall over again. Ever since then, the accidents stopped and the dog was never seen again. Little guy just wanted his grave to be fixed!
We made our way into the back alley behind the Adelphi theatre. Here we were told the story of William Terriss. Terriss was murdered in the theatre, stabbed violently in the back. We were told the alley we were standing in used to have a door from the backstage of the theatre going into it, but was since removed. The version of the story I heard has Terriss getting killed at this door. Years after Terriss’ death, an actor was out in the alley on a smoke break, leaning against the wall where the door used to be. Suddenly, the actor was pulled violently against the wall, and a sharp pain went through his back, like he was being stabbed repeatedly. He was eventually released and ran away.
Terriss is also said to haunt the Covent Garden tube station, where he used to visit frequently in life a bakery that was there before the station was built. Late one evening, a woman took the side spiral staircase. She came across a man collapsed on the stairs, bleeding, struggling to breathe. Terrified she ran and found a worker to get help. When she told the worker what she saw, he just gave a small smile and said “Ah yes, him. Don’t worry about him.” Sure enough, when the two went back to the stairs, the man had disappeared as well as all traces of his blood. Workers of the Covent Garden tube station are quite familiar with the ghostly visits. Our guide warned us about going down those stairs alone at night, unless we wanted to have a similar encounter. I was half tempted to try it out, but by the end of the tour I had forgotten which tube station it was, so that was the end of that.
There were plenty of other grisly ghost tales that evening, but I’ll leave it off with those three. What are some of your favourite ghost stories? I’d love to hear them.
Signing off now travel bugs – happy reading! ♥