Posts Tagged With: London

The Church of The Templars

While walking along Fleet Street, just past Wildly & Sons bookshop, keep an eye out for small stone arch. Just above the arch is an elaborate Jacobean Townhouse. This is the portal to “Temple”, once the stronghold of The Knights Templar.

Famously known as a Medieval order, The Knights Templar, are integral figures in The Crusades. The knights protected pilgrims along the dangerous route to Jerusalem. They became incredibly wealthy by running a sort of bank for the pilgrims. Before setting out on their journey, a pilgrim would give the knights all of their money in exchange for a promissory note to be redeemed in Jerusalem.

Fans of The Da-Vinci Code will remember the puzzling “In London lies a knight a Pope interred. His labour’s fruit a Holy wrath incurred. You seek the orb that out be on his tomb. It speaks of Rosy flesh and seeded womb.

Tom Hanks character, Robert Langdon finds himself at Temple Church to find it’s answer.

Should you be on your own Grail Quest check out the Temple’s website for information on how to visit.

http://www.templechurch.com/

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Spirited Theaters

One thing London does not have a shortage of is haunted places. On my sprint through the city, I mapped out a few spooky locations. Due to the pandemic and the hour of my journey, I wasn’t able to venture into any of them, but they still have that sense of something other worldy lurking in the shadows.

In St. Martin’s Lane, it was originally called The New Theater in 1903. The Noel Coward Theater has the distinction of being the home of it’s original manager, Sir Charles Wyndham. Sir Charles managed both the New Theater and the Wyndham Theater, which sits behind it.

If you see a debonair gray haired man walking the hallways or entering the dressing rooms, say hello to Sir Charles.

Towards the end of WWI, a group of friends were enjoying a performance at The London Coliseum. They noticed a friend of theirs walking down the aisle. Strangely, he disappeared into thin air. On his last day before being deployed, this young soldier had seen a production at The Coliseum. Later, the friends were notified that he had been killed in battle. There were sightings of the young soldier for many years after.

For more stories about Haunted London check out this book by my good friend, Rob Gutro.

Categories: Haunted Travel, hdr, London, Photography, Theaters, Theatres, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

A Sprint Through London

Travel in the time of Covid has been an adventure in and of itself. Flying over seas in a mostly empty plane and being locked in a hotel room for a 12 day quarantine made it all the more interesting. I was in the UK for work and had planned on staying in London for a few days, but the universe had other plans.

Even though London and the UK were emerging from lockdown, the country wasn’t necessarily open to foreign travelers. I had to cancel my plans and leave as soon as my work was done. Until, the flights home kept getting cancelled. In the end, I had about 4 hours in London the night before my flight.

I mapped out a route from Leicester Square down to St. Paul’s and set out to see as much as I could see.

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of Leicester Square, a series of statues depicting famous movie scenes were in stalled. If you aren’t looking for them, you may actually miss them.

A short distance from Leicester Square is where you can find Cecil Court. This hidden thoroughfare in London is the home to some of the most unique bookstores. Second-Hand books, Antiquarian books, even the residence of an 8 year old Mozart can be found on this narrow street. I didn’t get a chance to explore as most of the shops closed early or had yet to open from the lockdown.

Categories: Europe, hdr, London, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ghostly Monk of Westminster Abbey

It’s inevitable that Westminster Abbey would be haunted. More than 3,000 bodies are buried on the grounds. Long ago in the 6th century the area where Westminster sits was an island on the banks of the Thames. Originally called The Collegiate College of St. Peter, Westminster Abbey is the most important churches in London.

Many people have reported seeing the spirit of a monk floating above the ground in the cloisters. It is believed that this is Father Benedictus, who served as a Benedictine monk of the abbey. The monk is said to appear around five or six in the evening. His figure appears to be solid, and he has been known to engage visitors in conversation. It is not uncommon for a guest to encounter Father Benedictus and hold a lengthy conversation before he backs up and melts into a wall.

The facade of Westminster Abbey is covered in extremely detailed carvings of Saints and Gargoyles. Technically, a Gargoyle is a water spout, other creatures are Grotesques or Chimeras taking the place of architectural corbels or supports. My favorite is a sculpture of a little bat.

Within the Abbey lies the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, a memorial to the soldiers who died in World War 1. On 11th November 1920, an unidentified soldier’s body was given a royal funeral and buried in soil brought form the battlefield in France. Underneath a marble stone quarried in Belgium the unknown warrior lies in eternal rest. On occasion, once the crowds have left the Abbey and the halls are silent, a spectral soldier appears next to the tomb. He materializes slowly and stands quietly for a time with his head bowed. After a few minutes he simply dissolves into thin air.

If you’d like to visit The Abbey for yourself, you can find all of the important information here

https://www.westminster-abbey.org/

Categories: Haunted Travel, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bloody Tower

In the 1070s, William the Conqueror, chose to build a massive stone fortress in London. Taking about 20 years to build, the Tower of London serves to defend and proclaim William’s royal power. The mighty castle keep dominated the London skyline, but also served a reminder to the defeated Londoners.

Later Henry III and Edward I added the surrounding walls and smaller towers along it’s length. In 1533 King Henry VII modernized the castle in anticipation of his marriage to the young Anne Boleyn. Only three years later, she found herself back at the Tower charged with adultery and waiting for her death.

Anne was escorted to the Green where she lost her head. The site is memorialized with a glass pillow. Many claim to have seen the apparition of Anne walking the grounds with her head tucked underneath her arm.

Two young princes are said to haunt The Bloody Tower. Richard and Edward met their tragic fate within the walls. Sent to the Tower by their unscrupulous and power hungry uncle, the Duke of Gloucester and kept under lock and key. In 1483, the buys mysteriously disappeared. The gossip was that Richard, Duke of Gloucester had them murdered to become Richard III. Many decades later, the skeletons of two young boys were found entombed under a staircase. The two princes were given a proper royal burial but their spirits are still restless.

Tragedy haunted The Tower in the early centuries of it’s existence. Lady Jane Grey, also known as “The Nine Day Queen” was kept prisoner within it’s confines. Only sixteen years old, on February, 12 1554, she sobbed as she watched her husband, Guildford Dudley, being led to his execution. That same day, the young girl who was forced towards the throne by an ambitious father-in-law, bravely walked to her own death. From that day forward, on the anniversary of her execution, a white shimmering mist floats from the mists of the river and strolls sadly around the Tower Green.

Look closely at this enlarged area from the other photo. Do you see the ghosts of Lady Jane Grey looking down?

For more about The Tower of London, check out these links…

https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/488/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_London

Categories: Haunted Travel, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spectral Cats and Dogs

Near The Tower of London, All Hallow’s Church shared in the bloody history of it’s neighbors. Legend states that the beheaded victims of Tower executions were sent there for temporary burial. Among it’s happier memories are the baptism of William Penn and the marriage of John Quincy Adams. Being so close to The Tower of London, one may expect All Hallow’s to have it’s share of headless spirits. This is a different kind of ghost story.

In 1920, the choir noticed a grey haired old lady in old fashioned dress watching them as they practiced Christmas Carols. The choirmaster was surprised to see the woman as he had locked the church’s door. Once they choir rehearsal had ended, the mysterious woman had vanished. The boys heard a strange sound “as if a cat was in the building and was trying to get out.” One of the boys shouted to the choirmaster, ‘There it is sir! I saw a cat rush out of the room and go down towards the south aisle!’ The group searched the aisles for the cat and found nothing, even noting that the front doors were still locked. Several years later, an old man approached the choirmaster. He explained that he thought he knew who the mysterious woman was. As a choirboy at that very church almost 60 years prior, there was an eccentric lady organist with a strong passion for cats. He told him that cats would follow the woman everywhere and she would pay him to help feed the cats.

The Atheneum Club, The Traveler’s Club and The Reform Club are located off of Pall Mall. On our last night in London, we took part in a ghost tour. As we stood in front of these old men only clubs once frequented by the likes of Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, we listened to the story of a phantom dog that caused car accidents. It has been reported that several accidents were caused when a dog ran out in front of one of the drivers. No sooner than the end of this tale, two cars next to us got into a fender bender. The first driver said she saw something jump in front of her car.

Tucked away in this square lies the grave of a German Shepherd named Giro. Giro was the companion of the German Ambassador who resided in the area. It is considered the only Nazi memorial in the UK and in recent years there has been discussion of removing it. Could Giro be running around the Mall after dark just trying to be a real dog?

You can read more about Giro and his master here…

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/london-s-hidden-memorial-to-a-nazi-dog

For more information on pets in the afterlife check out my friend Rob’s books…

http://ghostsandspiritsinsights.blogspot.com/

Categories: Haunted Travel, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ghosts Of St. Paul’s

Halloween is the perfect time of the year to experience a ghost tour. The city of London has a vast array of these tours, you can choose The Theater District, Jack The Ripper or any of a number of cool locations.

The Cathedral of St. Paul may be known the spot where Mary Poppins and the children meet the bird woman. But by night, the location takes on an eerie appearance.

The Whistler is St. Paul’s most well-known haunting. Many have seen the visage of an elderly clergyman accompanied by a tuneless whistle. Your best chance of meeting the clergyman is to visit the Cathedral’s west end. On the ground floor of the northwest tower. When the tower was rededicated after WWI, a previously hidden door was uncovered. This is the exact spot where the whistling cleric appears to fade into the wall.

London 20161_-44

There are 2 other ghost stories captured by Irish writer and Ghost Hunter, Elliott O’Donnell. In one story an American couple experience a “great black cloud” that rose out of the floor and climbed 20 feet into the air before disappearing. They described the cloud as “alive'”.

O’Donnell’s second story involves a woman who was resting in the cathedral one afternoon. This woman spotted another woman in a pew in front of her. She seemed to be frantically looking for something. The first woman got up to help the woman, but on her way down the aisle she felt a tap on her shoulder. She spun around to find no one behind and when she resumed her walk, the other woman had vanished.

Several days later, at the same time of day, the woman saw the figure of the woman once again. She rose to offer assistance but was once again stopped by a tap on her shoulder. Just as before, there was no one behind her and in front of her the woman was gone.

London 20161_-45

LINKS:

Walking Tours of London

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Categories: Church, Europe, Haunted Travel, London, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: