Haunted London: The Dark Side of the City


Each year, thousands of tourists visit London and among the shopping, pubs and historical sites are haunting tales of London throughout the ages. If you’ve ever visited the city, chances are you’ve passed by dozens of locations that are incredibly haunted. The Tower of London is the most attractive location for tourists and spirits alike. However, during your visit, you have a better chance waiting in a dreadfully long line to view the crown jewels than you have of seeing Anne Boleyn.

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It’s not just historical landmarks which attract specters, but rather any common place that is guaranteed to be a site for residual hauntings. Everywhere from abandoned tube stations, parks, parking lots and historical pubs or hospitals are home to ghostly presences that most likely aren’t aware that they’ve been dead for decades.

If you’re ready for a chilling chapter in London’s history, click ‘Start Slideshow’ to reveal how no one could end suffering.

Old Operating Theatre Museum

If you walk under the London Bridge, there’s no missing the chilling attraction of The London Bridge Experience, advertised as an interactive journey through London’s spooky history. While it’s a fun scare, just down the street, there’s a more authentic landmark that speaks for itself. The Old Operating Theatre Museum is one of the oldest surviving operating theatres and simply walking in will give you a fright.

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It was the site of St. Thomas’ Hospital, which was established in 1215. Built at the end of the 17th century, the location maintained its horrific reputation and likely still holds the screams and anguish of all the operating patients, who endured procedures with no anesthetic. Unfortunately, humans can endure an incredible amount of pain, so they screamed through the whole operation and later died of infection, because doctors didn’t sterilize equipment or use soap.

If the gore is too much, click next for a museum even more haunted.

Bruce Castle Museum

If you’d care to stay just north of London, a few sites in Tottenham might interest you, the Bruce Castle Museum being the most famous and haunted location. Named after the House of Bruce, this manor remains one of the oldest surviving brick houses in London. Historian Henry Hare gained ownership and renamed it Bruce Castle, where he lived with his wife Constantia.

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In 1680, the manor’s history took a dark turn when Constantia jumped off the balcony while holding her baby, ending their lives. It was speculated that she ended her life because her husband was having an affair, but the true reasoning remains as mysterious as her specter. For centuries, witnesses have claimed to see Constantia’s ghost in one of the windows of Bruce Castle. Some believe it is a residual haunting and Constantia is reenacting the last moments of her life, which is more prevalent in November, the month she died.

Click next to reveal the most haunted underground station.

Aldgate Underground Station

On top of its proximity to the historical Whitechapel district, this underground station is of course haunted. What else can you expect from constructing a whole underground train system on top of mass graves that date back to the Bubonic Plague outbreaks? Opened in 1876, echoes of spectral footsteps soon began following passengers and staff in the tunnel, that suddenly stopped when they turned around.

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While Aldgate began to get a spooky reputation, the real shock came when an electrician fell onto a live cable at the platform, rendering him unconscious as 20,000 volts of electricity surged through his body. This should have killed him, but he survived and witnesses swear a ghostly woman was hovering over him, stroking his hair after it happened. Ghost sightings are so common at the station that staff keep a log book of all the paranormal experiences.

If you’re ready for one of the scariest pubs, click next to uncover haunted encounters.

Ten Bells Pub

This historical pub was anchored in the Spitalfields district in the East End of London in the middle of the 18th century. Its location on the corner of Commercial Street started out quaint, first known as the Eight Bells Alehouse, and got its Ten Bells name change in 1788 when the church next door got a new set of chimes. By 1888, two of the Jack the Ripper victims were linked to the pub; Annie Chapman and Mary Jane Kelly were both last seen at the pub before their gruesome demises.

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Kelly’s corpse was found across the street from Ten Bells and it’s thought that regulars at the pub likely interacted with the infamous Ripper himself, all the while drinking ale and scouting out his victims in plain sight. There are also rumors of sightings of a Victorian landlord, screams of a murdered baby and poltergeist-like activity.

Click next to stroll in a park.

Hyde Park

While at first glance, it may seem like a nice spot of greenery for a leisurely stroll and enjoying annual festivals, it comes with a shady past. During the 18th century, dueling took place in the park, which caused the death of 63 participants on the grounds while people watched for entertainment. That alone would make the perfect place to catch a glimpse of wounded specters, but that’s not all you’ll stumble upon.

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Hyde Park was also a pet cemetery, which opened in 1881 and it’s estimated that 300 pets are buried on the grounds. Grieving owners even placed headstones for their furry companions, which still can be viewed today. If this isn’t creepy enough, walk towards the outskirts of the park by the Marble Arch. This was the location of the Tyburn gallows, where thousands of people were executed.

If you’re dying for something more dramatic, click next to reveal a grim tale.

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

This historic theatre has withstood the test of time, but not without a fight. First built in the 1660’s, it caught fire just a decade later, was rebuilt bigger and better, then burned down for the second time after its third renovation in 1809. Theatre Royal made a comeback in 1812, and is the structure that still stands today, now owned by composer Andrew Lloyd Weber.

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The theatre still holds its reputation as one of the most haunted in the world. The famous clown from the Regency Era, Joseph Grimaldi, supposedly haunts the theatre, and a sign from him or any other specter is a good omen for actors before a performance. The Man in Grey is the most famous, who wears a tricorne hat and was allegedly stabbed and his body was placed in the walls.

Click next for a place you’d expect to find bodies.

West Norwood Cemetery Catacombs

The cemetery opened in 1837 and by 2000 has housed several thousand remains in its catacombs. With a capacity for 3500 coffins and 95 vaults connected by dark tunnels, this historical resting place is bound to be haunted. The Victorians invented hydraulic coffin lifts and improved sanitation in the catacombs as a resolution to overcrowded, disease-infested cemeteries that previously existed. While this innovative system certainly seems like an improvement, they, too have now been rendered obsolete and forgotten, since they’re rarely open to the public.

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The brave few who have wandered into the damp, musky tunnels report feelings of uneasiness. Perhaps the most eerie thing is the condition of the coffins, which appear decrepit to say the least, but visitors have reported that they look to be rotting, yet the catacombs are free from rodents and infestations.

If you’d rather be in a lively area, click next to grab a pint.

The Viaduct Tavern

How would you feel about having a night of drink and laughter with friends in a haunted prison? The Viaduct Tavern may have all you’re looking for and much more than meets the eye. Between paranormal occurrences that can’t be explained and the prison cells in the basement, this place is likely very haunted. Of course, it’s just a rumor that the pub houses the cells of what used to be Newgate Prison across the street. Hangings were a regular public spectacle in the street until 1868, a year before the tavern opened.

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Some historians claim the cells in the basement were designed for that aesthetic, but they’ve always been used as storage. In its hay day, the Viaduct Tavern was a popular gin palace and ghostly sightings became a part of its reputation. If you don’t keep an eye on your drink, it may disappear due to a thirsty specter.

Click next to reveal the creepiest footsteps in the world.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Exactly what you would expect it to be, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel doesn’t disappoint in its creepiness. Narrow, dark and damp with only a spot of light at the other side, its left bare for its practical use of offering a passageway to the Isle of Dogs underneath the River Thames. This tunnel is over 100 years old and although its often closed for maintenance use, brave tourists on a stroll may enter it today.

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In the past, people walking through the tunnel were creeped out by sudden sounds of footsteps, unexplainable echoes and the overall feeling of dread until they make it out the other end. One especially creepy account not only reported the feeling of being watched, but also saw a couple dressed in Victorian style clothing appear at the opening of the tunnel, only to vanish as they were approached. Even if you avoid such locations, there is always the possibility of the impossible finding you in London.

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