As summer ends we are suddenly faced with the realisation of Autumn; the dark nights and the questions of whether we should turn the heating on tend to be the topic of debate. However, alongside the vast difference of weather each day, we start to find ourselves wondering… what shall I do for Halloween?
So whilst we all decide whether to dress as a zombie or a kitchen appliance, here are five incredibly freaky ghost stories to shiver your bones from performing art venues across London, but be warned, four and five are particularly spooky.
- The Royal Albert Hall
Did you know they had a ghost? Nope, us neither. However according to certain sources, the Royal Albert Hall has had a few. Built upon a site known as Gore house it used to belong to a woman called Marguerite the countess of Blessington. She lived such an affluent lifestyle that she drove herself into bankruptcy. After, her house was destroyed but the Hall was built on its site.
Now there is rumoured to be numerous characters wondering around the halls of the Royal Albert, one is said to be the gentlemen Henry Willis who designed the 150-tonne pipe organ visiting his creation in the night. The others are slightly more uncertain and possibly even controversial, it’s rumoured that Gore house may have even been home to some ‘ladies of the night’ as they can be found wondering through the areas where the house was originally built. As reported, one employee at the Hall said, “it is as though they are walking in their time not ours.”.
- The Royal Opera House
Next is the Royal Opera House, part of the site used to be the Covent Garden Flower Market which then became part of the building in the 1990s. The Royal Opera house has been subject to fire twice, and therefore in the 1990s underwent another round of renovations. During this time, it was reported workers would find their scaffolding to be shaken, large objects to be mysteriously hurled at them and for random bolts and smaller objects to be seen flying past. One occasion saw a bucket of bolts thrown over a performer whilst on stage from the lighting rig above. There are few suggestions as to who the ghostly pranker could be; one is the visiting ghost from the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, another is an unhappy market worker showing their annoyance at the opera house from building on their site, or another is the possibility of a Saxon descendent that was settled on site long before the opera house was built. We’ll let you decide which you think…
- Theatre Royal on Drury Lane
In 2014 Actor Clive Carter underwent a slightly bazaar experience whilst in his dressing room on Drury Lane. A fellow actor came in for a natter as they were preparing for their performance, the tv was playing quietly in the background, and all seemed fine. Then as their conversation delved into the history of the building and the myth of the Drury Lane ghosts the tv started to crackle and randomly change channels. Slightly taken aback they adjusted the tv and changed it back to what they had before, once resuming their conversation of the different ghosts rumoured to inhabit the building, the tv changed again. It was reported the tv didn’t even have a remote or a means of changing the channel without having to stand next to it, which they weren’t doing either time. London’s Drury Lane has a reputation of the World’s most haunted theatre. Within the many reported ghosts are a regency era comedian called Joseph Grimaldi and a figure called ‘The Man in Grey’. The grey figure is always sighted patrolling the upper circle in a cloak and hat. Have you ever sat there?
- Richmond Theatre
The following story has been investigated by the Press & Marketing Assistant, Jack Stanley at ATG Tickets.
Within Richmond theatre is reported a plaque in memory of a gentlemen who died within the building many years ago. There isn’t much knowledge as to what caused his death however disturbances have dated back from the 1960s, between two print store rooms below the building. Despite both rooms being locked, there have been occasions where boxes have been swapped into different rooms without any knowledge of how from members of staff. Actors would return to their dressing rooms at the end of the night to hear the doors of the print stores below them slamming shut, but no one down there. Another time a box office worker walked down the steps to retrieve some papers when they heard the stairs creaking towards them, soon followed by a cold chill passing through their body.
However, the most prominent scenario was reported in the 80s when a staff member was locking up the theatre as the last to leave. On doing so he heard the microphone scratching on the tannoy, thinking it was a just an interference he continued packing down until as he was about to exit the building the scratching came back, but this time more purposeful. Sounding like scratching wood, he decided it best to check someone wasn’t in the building and wondered to where the sound was coming from. On route to the stage he felt a disorientation that made him aware the scratching was coming from down the stairs where the print stores are. Investigating further he went down, to find one print room door open, turning on the light he both heard and saw scratch marks in the cardboard boxes but no one there to make them. The lights were then said to blow out and the staff member ran out before the boxes in the room were spilled across the floor.
The next day they reported the incident but refused to go back down, so another team member ventured down to find the door open, the contents all over the floor, the bulb blown and footprints on the floor. It was then unearthed after further research that the man who died did so from receiving fatal head injuries after storage unit boxes fell on him in the 1930s in that very room.
- New Wimbledon Theatre
These stories are from Marq English, Paranormal Investigator and author of Paranormal Surrey, and Stage Door Keeper at the New Wimbledon Theatre.
In the starting days of the theatre, part of a set collapsed and was reported to kill an actress. Since then people report feeling a presence throughout the building and a few years ago an usher was clearing the upper circle when she heard a woman whistling in the bathroom. Upon hearing this, they called out that the threatre was now closed, however on entering the bathroom found it empty. Later the manager at the time described walking through the theatre to suddenly see a Victorian or Edwardian dressed woman stood in front of him, only briefly, but said she was very beautiful.
In the late 1970s, there used to be living quarters for the manageress to stay in, this is now the ticket call centre, and one evening she awoke to find an elderly woman standing over her who disappeared up through the ceiling.
In the 80s the theatre underwent a £3 million refurbishment. The fire brigade had checked and tested the equipment and all was well. Then at 2am the following morning the alarm went off and the sprinklers were set off covering the theatre in water, however no fire was found. When the fire brigade returned they found no fault with the system and no explanation for the alarm to be set off.
Next a psychic reading of the Venue was done by Alan Barnett, he detected a female presence again who walked around the stalls in front of the stage. Described as an Edwardian lady in full dress, she apparently has a great interest in the care of the theatre. Alan continued and pointed out a presence on the balcony, a gentleman who calls this his favourite theatre. He sits in the dress circle in seat B27 and is thought to be the spirit of JB Mulholland, who was seen in an apparition by the theatre staff in 2004.
Alan handled a séance on the stage and reported that the woman kept wandering quite closely to the stage, intrigued by the goings on of what they were up to. There were only two staff members back stage at the time and they were both startled when part way through, the lift suddenly came down stating “ground floor” but with no one visible in it…
Happy Halloween Everyone!