London is filled with ghosts and ghostly tales. Not surprising when you consider the sheer volume of people who have lived and died there over the centuries (which coincidentally was what gave me the idea of Clara’s issues with seeing dead people everywhere in the London Vampire Series…)
I’ve always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper but I only discovered recently that ghosts of his victims (and even supposedly Jack himself) can be spotted around London.
Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, is said to haunt the cobblestones of Mitre Square, where her body was discovered in the early hours of 30th September 1888. Mitre Square has changed beyond recognition since then and the patch of ground where she died a gruesome death is now flanked by modern office buildings. If you are lucky though (or perhaps unlucky) you can still glimpse a spectral figure lying on the spot where she died.
Above: Mitre Square as it was and (below) as it is today.
Annie Chapman was Jack the Ripper’s second victim and was discovered lying in a yard in Hanbury Street. The site has since been built on but there have been regular sightings of a ghostly woman. Workers in the brewery buildings which replaced it would report a strange chill on the anniversary of her death and would sometimes see the ghostly figure standing on the spot where she was killed. The brewery buildings have since been replaced by a car park. I’m guessing the ghost is still there…
Above: The yard of 29 Hanbury Street in 1888 and (below) the car park which covers the site now.
Not only are there stories of Jack’s ghostly victims, but if you stand on Westminster Bridge to bring in the new year you may see a shadowy figure emerge and throw himself into the dark waters of the River Thames below.
Legend has it that Jack the Ripper jumped to his death from this spot at midnight 1888 and he is doomed to repeat his fatal leap every year at the same time.
Intrigued? You can even go on a Jack the Ripper tour of these sites. Would you be brave enough?
If you want to read more about Jack the Ripper, take a look at my book on the subject:
The Ripper Reports: Jack the Ripper & The Whitechapel Murders as reported by the Victorian Press