Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hauntings: Tower of London

Tower of London (UK)

The Tower of London, over 900 years old, was used as a prison from 1100-1952 and has a reputation as being one of the most haunted places in Britain. Beheadings, murders, torture, and hangings have been carried out there.

Famous ghosts haunting the tower include:

Edward V and Richard Duke of York, two child princes, believed to have been murdered in 1483 on the command of their uncle and guardian, the Duke of Gloucestershire. Upon their disappearance, the Duke of Gloucestershire ascended the throne and was crowned Richard the III. Guards in the late 1400s spotted two small ghostly figures wearing the white night shirts, just as the princes wore on the night they disappeared. In 1674, workmen uncovered a chest that contained the skeletons of two children. Believed to be the remains of the princes, they were given a royal burial.

Queen Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII, after learning his queen gave birth to a still born baby, accused her of infidelity. She was taken to the tower and beheaded on May 19, 1536. Queen Anne’s ghost appears near the Queen’s House and is often seen leading a ghostly procession of Lords and Ladies down the aisle of the Chapel Royal to where she’s buried, under the Chapel’s altar. Her headless body has also been seen walking the corridors of the Tower.

Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned and then executed by order of James I. His ghost has been seen wandering the halls and looks just like the portrait that hangs in his rooms, which are still furnished as they were in the 16th century, and can be seen when visiting the Tower today.

Countess of Salisbury
. The most grisly execution and haunting is that of the 70-year-old Countess of Salisbury, the last of the Plantagenets. King Henry VIII ordered her execution for political reasons, but the proud Countess refused to put her head on the block like a common criminal. She tried to escape and her executioner chased her, striking her with his axe until she was hacked to pieces. Her ghost has been seen running and screaming, reliving her gruesome murder.

Lady Jane Grey. She was the granddaughter of Mary (Henry VIII’s younger sister) and Louis XII of France. To keep the throne from Mary (who was Catholic) Jane’s father conspired to arranged her succession to the throne when Edward VI died. She was crowned Queen of England, but the supporters of Mary overthrew her. Mary spared her life, but when Jane’s father was later involved in a rebellion against Mary, Lady Jane was beheaded. She was only 17 years old. Lady Jane Grey’s ghost appeared to two Guardsmen on February 12, 1957, the 403rd anniversary of her execution. Her husband, Guildford Dudley, also beheaded, has been seen weeping in Beauchamp Tower.

Catherine Howard. Henry VIII married Catherine when she was 17. She allegedly had an affair with one of his courtiers and was imprisoned on charges of adultery and treason before she was 20. She once escaped from her room in the Tower and ran down the hall screaming and begging for mercy. She was caught and beheaded the next day. Her ghost has been seen running down the very same hallway, screaming for someone to help her.

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