Spooky Delights in London

Wardrobe Court is a glimpse of the London of the past and dates back to 1720. To stand here on a winter’s night, in the pitch black stillness, is to experience the true thrill of historic and haunted London. Massive trees tower over the three-story houses, and even the faintest of breezes will send their branches creaking and their trunks swaying.

The perfect stillness of the yard keeps you constantly on edge and glancing furtively around at the gloomy shadows; you feel certain that eyes are watching you from the inky blackness of the house windows.

Not surprisingly, the courtyard has a ghost. People going about their honest, night-time toil in the neighborhood have reported sighting a lady, dressed all in white, drifting aimlessly from door to door. Who she is and why she should choose to wander this courtyard is unknown.

She says nothing, does nothing and pays little heed to anyone or anything, being more than content to let the world pass her by as she goes about her ghostly business. However, should you be so rude as to stare at her, she becomes displeased and irritated and promptly responds by fading away, leaving you rubbing your eyes and staring at the place she once was.

The Viaduct Tavern dates back to 1875, and is the last example of a late Victorian gin palace left in the City of London. It is also prone to suffer from bouts of poltergeist activity. The restless spirit that haunts the Viaduct Tavern loves to haunt the pub cellars where several members of the staff have experienced its unwelcome attentions. In 1996, a manager was tidying the cellar one Saturday morning, when the door suddenly slammed shut and the lights went out.

Feeling his way to the door, he found that no matter how hard he pushed, it just would not open. Fortunately, his wife heard his cries for help and came down stairs to investigate. She found that the doors, which would not open from the inside, were unlocked and easily pushed open from the outside.

In May 1999 two electricians, working in one of the pub’s upstairs rooms, also attracted the ghost’s unwelcome attentions. They had rolled the carpet up and were taking up the floorboards, when one of them felt a hand tap him on the shoulder.

Thinking it was his workmate he turned round, but found that he was on the other side of the room; this happened not once, but twice. When he asked his workmate if he was playing a prank, they both witnessed the heavy carpet, that lay rolled up by the window, lift into the air and drop heavily onto the floor.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital, or Bart’s as those who study and work here know it, has the distinction of being the oldest hospital in London to still stand on its original site; its origins stretch back to 1123. In the depths of the hospital there is an elevator, which generations of doctors and nurses have come to know as the ‘coffin lift.’

In the silent hours of early mornings, it has been known to take unsuspecting passengers down to the basement, regardless of which floor they have pressed the button for. Once there, its lights go out and it will not move; after a few moments of pushing the buttons, staff will pull open the gates and walk back to the ground floor. Here they find the lift waiting, its gates open and its lights on.

Should they then choose to walk up to the original level they were trying to reach, they will have the unpleasant experience of the elevator follow them up as the stairs they must take are twisted around the lift shaft. Tradition maintains that it is the ghost of a nurse, who was once murdered in the lift in the basement by a deranged patient, is responsible for the malfunction.

When on vacation, it is often nice to do something that is not quite considered mainstream. Take a guided tour of the haunted places in London and see what kind of spooks you can rile up. Remember, this is a journey best taken by those that are not faint of heart.