Monday, February 6, 2012

The Tower of London - Residual Hauntings

The Tower of London - Residual Hauntings

The Tower of London holds many fascinating and eerie secrets behind its somber, grey walls. This awesome palace (once residence of the Kings and Queens of England) and fortress of old was erected in 1066-87 with the largest 'White Tower' as its first building.

In the mid 16th century it became known as the 'Bloody Tower' when it was suspected that the imprisoned 'Princes in the Tower' (child sons of King Edward IV and nephews of Ricard III) had also become victims of the countless and brutal murders which the tower has become famous.

On entering the Tower of London through the Middle and Byward towers, you carry on through 'Traiter's Gate'. This river entrance is where many prisoners, including Queen Anne Boleyn (King Henry VIII's second wife) and her brother travelled to their doom... be it the dungeons, or to the Wakefield Tower where merciless regimes of torture were carried out.

Queen Anne Boleyn (it is believed by many) was falsely accused of treason, witchcraft, adultery and incest with her brother after Henry VIII became convinced their marriage was cursed when Anne could not bear him the son he longed for.

He was determined to be rid of Anne and pave the way for Jane Seymour to became his third wife...the only one to later bear him a son (Edward VI - 1537-1553).

Henry ordered the arrest of five men he accused of being Anne's lovers, which also included her brother. Every one of them denied this claim until tortured.

The five men were executed on Tower Hill on May 17th 1536...Anne Boleyn followed them two days later. It was said that she met her end with the dignity and beauty she was famed for during her short life.

Many of the guards of the tower have witnessed Anne Boleyn's ghost. One evening a guard reported watching as Anne lead a courtly procession across the tower green and on towards Tower Hill where she had been executed.

On another occasion, a group of guards where horrified when her apparition appeared so close - one of them was able to prod at the image before it faded before them.

The guards ('Yeoman of the Guard') have watched the towers since 1509, therefore, it is hardly surprising that many have a ghostly tale to tell. One of the most noted is that of the ghost of King Henry VI.

At the age of 49 yrs the King was savagely murdered in the Wakefield Tower whilst in his chambers in 1471 as he knelt in prayer. It is wrote: "the hour before midnight the King was stikk'ed full of deadly holes, wielded by the Duke of Gloucester".

On the anniversary of Henry VI's death, his apparition has been seen on many annual occasions by guards. They say he paces the floors of the Wakefield Tower as the clock reaches the hour of his death... then as the clock chimes the last second of midnight, he fades into the stone walls... until the following year.

Jackie Reynolds

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