Real Scary Place to Visit This Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner and all things spooky are very much in demand. For those of you not heading to the great Halloween events at the UK's theme parks, here's some REALLY spooky places to investigate this All Hallow's Eve.
1) The Tower Of London
The tower has served many a grim purpose since the iconic central White Tower was built in 1078. Generations of British monarchs expanded and improved the fortress; adding vast curtain walls, towers and battlements, but don't let its imposing beauty trick you.
The tower has been a place of torture, a venue for high-profile executions, and even home to lions, leopards and bears. The tower's menagerie was open to the public in the 18th century, admission would be granted for three half pence or one dog or cat to feed to the lions.
Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, was beheaded at the tower for high treason in 1536. Some say her ghost still haunts the chapel of St Peter-ad-Vincula, where she was buried. Others claim to have seen Boleyn in the White Tower, her head tucked neatly under her arm.
Other ghosts spotted in the tower include a phantom bear, murdered princes Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury and de facto monarch, Lady Jane Grey.
For more information on the Tower, visit: www.hrp.org.uk.
2) Glamis Castle
A stunning castle set in a 14,000 acre estate, Glamis Castle is surely one of the most charming buildings in all of Scotland. However, the fairytale castle hides more than its fair share of dark secrets.
Now home to the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the castle was the childhood home of the late Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, better known as the Queen Mother. Another famous resident of the castle was Thomas Bowes-Lyon, a man who came to be known as The Monster of Glamis.
Thomas Bowes-Lyon was born on 21 October, 1921, the child of the Queen Mother's great-great grandparents. Allegedly born heavily deformed, Thomas' death was reported two days after his birth. However, no headstone was ever erected and rumours of his survival quickly took hold.
According to rumour and James Wentworth Day's book, The Queen Mother's Family Story, so great was the child's deformity that he was kept in one of Glamis Castle's many secret rooms, locked in forced seclusion.
Some say he never left his room until the day he died. Others say he was permitted the occasional small freedom and on the darkest moonless nights was taken for walks like a dog on the castle's battlements.
And of course some say that the monster, somehow, still lives.
To learn more about the captivating history of Glamis Castle, visit: www.glamis-castle.co.uk.
3) The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire
Apparently one of Britain's most haunted sites, it is hard to tell where truth ends and fantasy begins when researching this haunted hotel. Like something from an episode of Scooby Doo, the Ancient Ram instantly strikes many visitors as an place with an overpowering aura of menace.
Built around 1145, the Ancient Ram used to house masons working on the nearby St. Mary's Church. If rumours are to be believed, the hotel itself is built on a pagan burial site dating back millennia and on an intersection of ley lines; a powerful combo indeed.
Highwaymen were said to visit the Ancient Ram, and there is also evidence of devil worship, dark magic and ritual sacrifice on the site. The ghoulish history of this real-life spookhouse may be scary but the frights really begin when you discover the staggering number of ghosts and spirits that are said to haunt its dark and musty hallways.
The supernatural residents of the Ancient Ram include a succubus, an incubus, 13 distinguishable human spirits, two phantom cats, a spectral dog, as well as countless ghostly children. Some have suggested that the children were the victims of human sacrifice from hundreds of years ago.
Of the 13 human ghosts the most terrifying must be Michael, a violent and powerful spirit who, in life, murdered his own son. Why not call in for a pint over Halloween and meet him for yourself?
4) Chislehurst Caves, Kent
A labyrinthine warren of passageways and caves dug by hand over a period of 8000 years, Chislehurst Caves were originally carved in the search for flint and chalk. The seemingly endless passages are filled with a crushing silence and when the electric lights are turned off, inky darkness descends.
If there are ghosts to be found anywhere on Earth, Chislehurst Caves is where you'd find them. The caves have seen the slow evolution of human society, from the first druids to gouge out tunnels, to the thousands of Londoners who sheltered from the Blitz in the relative safety of the tomb-like caverns. With so many souls passing through one utterly timeless place, perhaps one or two of them chose to stay, to linger in the silence and the dark.
On 2 November, 1985 some of the most compelling evidence for the Caves' resident spooks was allegedly captured on a portable cassette recorder. Two of the caves' guides took "The Challenge", a competition to spend the night alone in the caves. Anyone who managed to complete this seemingly simple task was rewarded with the princely sum of £5. Nobody ever got that fiver.
As the guides settled down for the night one of them heard an ear-splitting scream. Rushing through the gloom to find his colleague, the first guide was stunned to find the second flailing desperately on the damp floor of the cave, his skin taught and cracked, froth building around his mouth and his eyes burning red.
Terrified, the first guide tried to calm the second despite his alarming appearance. The face of the second guide was distorted, it appeared feral, evil and very VERY old. The first guide abandoned his attempt to calm the second, ran for the door and hit the emergency buzzer.
This whole incident was allegedly recorded on a cassette tape on which you can hear the screams and some very strange noises, but it has never been released to the public.
5) Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
Obviously built to withstand regular siege, Chillingham Castle looks ancient, imposing and impenetrable. Countless Scottish armies and raiding parties have crashed ineffectually against its twelve foot-thick fortifications like waves against a cliff face and many died in the process. However, the worst of the violence carried out at Chillingham went on not outside, but deep within the castle at the hands of one man.
John Sage, a notorious and deeply sadistic torturer worked at the castle in the 13th century. One of King Edward's fiercest soldiers, Sage achieved the rank of Lieutenant before he was hit in the leg by a spear. His leg never fully recovered and his new shambling gait earned Sage the nickname Dragfoot. Unable to fight in the army but desperate to serve his King, Sage begged for a new position. He was appointed torturer of Chillingham Castle, a job he took to with alarming zeal.
Revelling in his bloody art, Sage was said to have tortured up to 50 people a week in the service of King Edward I. The twisted torturer's favourite method was to place his victim in a cage and suspend them above a fire, watching as they slowly roasted. A fan of variety, Sage also used thumbscrews, iron maidens and the rack as well as a few grisly contraptions of his own design to ensure his victims' last few moments of life were as agonising as possible.
As the war with the Scots drew to a close, John "Dragfoot" Sage found himself with an excess of prisoners. Rather than set them free, Sage threw the adults onto a bonfire and locked all the children in one of the castle's bedrooms. The children were all then brutally murdered with an axe which to this day hangs in one of the castle's stairwells.
Sage was eventually hanged and buried at a crossroads so his soul would never find its way to heaven. Many visitors to the castle have heard odd dragging footsteps echoing through the stone halls. Perhaps Sage's soul never did find peace and he stalks the castle to this day, his bad leg dragging against the flagstones for eternity as he searches for his next victim.
If these spine-chilling tales have put you off doing anything too scary this Halloween then why not join in the family-friendly fun at one of the Halloween events at Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo, Thorpe Park or Legoland instead?