Monday, September 15, 2014

Phantoms & Spectres of London


A reader from London suggested I post more paranormal incidents from the United Kingdom. To be honest, I haven't received many personal accounts from the UK in the past year or so. I decided to go into the archive and pull up some ghostly tales & information from London and it's environs. BTW...check out Chris Halton's Haunted Earth TV. Chris produces amazing paranormal videos...and most of his investigations concentrate on locations throughout Great Britain.

The Faceless Phantom

Even the police stationed outside the house in Langmead Street couldn’t find an answer. They couldn’t explain the strange buzzing noises heard by 26-year-old Cecil Greenfield. They couldn’t find a suspect to arrest for the weird banging noises which kept the family awake every night. The family of eight were tormented by an unseen assailant who dragged furniture about the West Norwood residence. And then, at 2:15am on a warm July night in 1951, Dennis and his wife Gladys got the shock of their life when they entered their home and were confronted by a tall, grey figure without a face.

Inspector Sidney Candler was extremely sceptical of the fiasco until he heard the thumping noises coming from the attic, and was unnerved as a picture flew from the wall and smashed on the floor. Cutlery seemed to rattle in the drawers.

The house attracted many locals, some simply intrigued by the local haunted house, others more sceptical who howled abuse at the residents, shouting “Get your heads examined!” Even the relatives of the family were embarrassed by the situation and refused to aid the troubled family.

Father Alfred Cole of St. Matthew’s Church was called in to exorcise the building. It was the last resort for the family who’d been plagued by the noises all day, and every night. A group from the Church of the Nazarene held a vigil throughout the night, deep in prayer in hope of cleansing the house of its evil. And yet the activity refused to subside. If anything it increased.

The radio turned on by itself. Peculiar lights whizzed across the living room. A mattress lifted up and appeared to bend, and poor Dennis was accosted by an invisible intruder who tore his shirt.

The family had reached the brink. They fled. They were not followed by the spectres within.

A couple with four children moved into the property, fully aware of its reputation. They were never troubled by the phantoms, and the house on Langmead Street returned to normal.

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The Ghosts of London's Underground

Covent Garden Underground: Late-night Tube riders say they sometimes see a theatrical performer - murdered by a rival in 1897 - standing on the Covent Garden platform. He wears a hat, gray suit and gloves and waits patiently for the train he always took home to Putney. Tube stop: Covent Garden

Theatre Royal Drury Lane: The ghost of an actor slain in 1780 is said to be a frequent performer at the theater. His skeleton - with a knife sticking out of the ribs - was supposedly found during a renovation in the 1970s. Folklore has it that those who see the ghost are destined for theatrical greatness. Tube stop: Covent Garden

Newgate Prison site: Progress came to Newgate, one of England's most notorious prisons, in the 18th century in the form of a scaffold invented to hang 12 men at the same time. Among the legends emanating from this sinister place: the snarling Black Dog of Newgate, which appeared whenever executions were to take place. Old Bailey Courthouse now stands on the site. Tube stop: St. Paul's

Ten Bells pub: Two of Jack the Ripper's victims were last seen at this East End pub. Mystery still surrounds the true identity of this Victorian-era psychopath, sometimes called the world's first mass-media serial killer. Tube stop: Aldgate East

Route No. 7 Cambridge Gardens: Among the odd ghosts and goblins that haunt London is a wayward double-decker bus. In the mid-1930s, the bright red bus was often seen at the intersection of St. Marks Road and Cambridge Gardens in North Kensington, where the road curves sharply. The bus, which had no passengers or driver, hurtled toward oncoming traffic, forcing cars off the road. Tube stop: Ladbroke Grove

St. Bartholomew the Great: The hospital has a haunted "coffin lift," which began transporting passengers to the basement - regardless of the floor they requested - after a nurse was murdered within. The church has a ghostly monk who prowls it, sometimes appearing at the pulpit, sometimes in the shadows. The area also has a memorial to the Protestant martyrs burned to death nearby during the 16th-century reign of Roman Catholic Mary I, also known as Bloody Mary. Tube stop: Barbican

Kensington Palace: Kensington - home of Princess Diana from 1981 to 1997 - housed a string of famous royals, including 18th-century monarch George II. The song "God Save the King" was written during his reign, but nothing could stop the Grim Reaper when he came for the king in 1760. But before the monarch's death, he could often be seen gazing wistfully out his chamber window. Now, the story goes, his face is often glimpsed there. Tube stop: High Street Kensington

Tower of London: Unspeakable acts of murder and mayhem took place here during the 14th and 15th centuries, when beheadings were commonplace. Among the jail's inmates were Anne Boleyn, queen of England and second wife of Henry VIII. She was beheaded and is said to haunt a Tower residence and the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, where she is buried. Tube stop: Tower Hill

Greyfriars Passage: This alley off Newgate Street leads to the site of an old churchyard burial ground, said to be haunted by two beautiful, murderous women. Queen Isabella was instrumental in having her husband, King Edward II, deposed, imprisoned and brutally murdered in 1327. She was buried with his heart on her breast. Also here is Lady Alice Hungerford, who poisoned her husband. Some say she was hanged; others say she was boiled alive. Tube stop: St. Paul's

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The Heathrow Airport Spectre

As thousands of people stream into London's Heathrow Airport every day, there's little time to notice that the gentleman next to you is not what he seems. He's tall, with a bowler hat perched upon his head and he is wearing twill cavalry trousers. Nothing out of the ordinary in today's diverse culture, as millions of people rush to and fro through the terminals, some seeking a holiday in the sun, others traveling from far and wide to experience the history of the capital. And yet this chap may never find his destination, for he is a ghost!

Many people have become wrapped up in the lengthy American television series Lost in which a plane crashes en route to Australia, and the survivors appear to time travel, back and forth from the island, whilst meeting the spectres of those who allegedly perished. On the 2nd March 1948 a DC3 aircraft crashed on to the runway of Heathrow Airport, and the facts are far stranger than the fiction of the mentioned television show.

The man in the hat is the apparition of one of the passengers aboard that fatal flight. Legend has it that after the incident on Runway 1, a man of the same description approached those attempting to rescue survivors, and asked as to whether anyone had found his briefcase. Before anyone could answer, the man vanished.

It's no surprise that Heathrow has also had its fair share of UFO activity. Local residents have often spoken about strange things in the sky above the airport. In the summer of 1979 a Mrs Godden claimed she saw an unidentified craft buzzing the Anglo-French supersonic jet Concorde. The object was reddish and appeared to be heading straight for the plane, but then seemed to fly straight through it.

Heathrow officials picked nothing up on the radar, but it seems that the airport has several mysteries under its wing.

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The Ealing Horror

In the borough of Ealing, West London a photographer, keen to set up his own studio, moves into a half-derelict house. He brings with him his staff, who although slightly unnerved by the setting, settle in comfortably. Until that is, the noises start.

It wasn’t the studio that had such a hideous history, but it was the studio that succumbed to the activity. The peculiar noises coming from unoccupied rooms, the shifting of furniture when no-one was around, members of staff beginning to sense a presence, an unseen hand which tapped them on the shoulder or tugged at their garments, and those spectral voices from within the walls soon made this an awkward place to reside.

The photographer had a strong interest in the paranormal, as had many of his staff, and so, one evening, as darkness drew in, they decided to hold a seance, at least in the hope of communicating with some unknown form. To their delight, in some instances, they did indeed contact a spirit, but the eerie presence spoke of unrest in the neighboring building, a place that had seen much evil within its walls.

A lady and her very young child had been butchered in the property, and a man, belonging to one of the forces, was accused, found guilty and hanged for his crime. It was during this detail that the photographer began to feel sore around his neck, and felt that the spirit in contact with them was indeed the alleged murderer, and this was confirmed when the spectre pleaded its innocence.

Whether such an apparition was cast from the property we’ll never know, only persistent rumour or further experiences could shed some light on as to whether the property is still in turmoil.

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The Phantom Hounds

A black hound was seen during the 1960s on the Wandsworth Road. Researchers attributed the form to the ghost of an animal killed on the road. The hound would often been seen disappearing into 523 Wandsworth Road. The haunting occurred for more than four months.

Similar harmless ghost dogs have been seen along the Thames. Phantom dogs are said to prowl a stairwell at Hampton Court, the Anchor Tavern on Bankside and the Spanish Galleon pub in Greenwich, which is apparently haunted by a large mastiff hound.

However, the lore of the black dog usually concerns more sinister beasts. At St Michael’s church, Cornhill (date unknown), a giant black hound appeared during a thunderstorm, entering via the south window, leaving claw marks scorched into the stone. A dog resembling a dachshund is said to haunt an area of Baker Street also.

But London’s most famous phantom hound is that which resides at the former Newgate Prison, a slithering, ominous spook which gives off a nauseating odor. Legend of the beast dates back to the reign of Henry III during a period of extreme famine when prisoners often fed upon one another. One victim of cannibalism, who was rumored to be a sorcerer, claimed vengeance upon the inmates when a frightful, red-eyed phantom hound materialized in the vicinity. According to legend, the evil beast ripped many of the felons limb from limb, its blood soaked jaws dripping onto the icy floor. Other prisoners simply died of fright, terrified of the oncoming sound of padded feet in the corridors.

The phantom hound was said to haunt the prison up until its demolition in 1902, yet sightings and strange odors are still reported, suggesting that this harbinger of doom is not confined to the dank annals of folkloric horror.

For some, black dogs are connected to dark deeds, appearing before a death or crisis whether in the form of extreme weather or disease. Many sightings occur on old roads, once believed to be ‘corpseways’ where funeral processions may have proceeded, and also near churchyards. Age old legends paint grim pictures of these beasts as the guardians of the gates of Hell.

NOTE: I recently posted an article referencing the Ghosts of the London Tower...Lon

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings

Walking Haunted London: 25 Original Walks Exploring London's Ghostly Past

Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia


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'CHICAGO PHANTOM' - FLYING HUMANOID SIGHTINGS
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