The Tower of London ghosts are certainly some of the most famous of the many British ghosts. Everybody knows the story at least one.
Some parts of the Tower of London date back over 900 years. Many of its buildings have been a place of imprisonment, torture or execution so it is little wonder that there should be so many ghosts. What is surprising however, is the sheer variety of spectres.
Anne is one Tower ghost, of whose life and death one cannot read without being moved. It seems inconceivable that anyone could accuse one's own wife of such terrible crimes. The crimes of adultery, high treason and incest with her brother.
That her spirit seems to be unable to find peace and that Anne Boleyn's ghost has been seen both at the Tower where she met her death and at Hever Castle, where Henry courted her, is probably not too surprising.
Princes in the Tower
Perhaps the most pathetic of the Tower of London ghosts are the Princes in the Tower. Edward V, aged 12 and Richard Duke of York, aged 10 were imprisoned and probably smothered on the orders of Richard III. Their ghosts, sometimes holding hands, have been seen in various rooms in the Bloody Tower where they were incarcerated. In 1674, two small skeletons were found in a chest and given a Royal funeral. Recently, the bones were exhumed and forensically examined. Although the results were inconclusive, it was determined that the bones belonged to male children of the correct age.
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
One of the most horrifying appearances by any of the Tower of London ghosts is the annual re-enactment by phantoms of the Lady Margaret Pole execution. Supposed to be a beheading, in the end she was simple butchered
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh has also been seen around Byward Tower by modern day guards. During his 12 years imprisonment here, he was allowed to wander at will. On that occasion, he was released. However, he upset King James VI and lost his head on 29th October 1618.
Not all of the Tower of London ghosts are human. Elsewhere in these pages I recount details of the phantom bear. However, there is one non-human entity that was reported, not by an unnamed observer but by a very reliable witness. Edmund Swifte was Keeper of the Crown Jewels in 1817 when he said that saw what appeared to be a glass tube full of blue liquid that bubbled as he was having dinner with his family in their lodgings in the Jewel Tower. He hit it with a chair after his wife exclaimed that it had grabbed her but the chair went straight through whatever it was and the object disappeared through a wall.
Rumours of Ghosts
There are numerous other supposed Tower of London ghosts. These include the ghost of Lady Jane Grey, a procession of ghosts returning from Tower Hill with a headless body on a stretcher and the screams of the tortured Guy Fawkes. Just for good measure there is Thomas Becket whose ghost was blamed for causing what is now called St. Thomas Tower to collapse as it was being built by striking it with his phantom crucifix. The real cause of the destruction seems more likely to have been shoddy workmanship.
Why not visit
So, if you want to visit a place where there seems a very good chance of seeing or at least sensing something 'spooky', then check out the Tower of London ghosts. It is expensive to get in.
However, you can always leave again when you want to. Unlike the Tower's many phantoms who appear to be trapped for eternity.