This is the latest tale of London ghostly appearances in our lead-up to Christmas and features a well-known pub with a spooky sleeping partner!
The Ten Bells pub is located close to Spittlefields Market but it is also not that far from Whitechapel which might give you a clue to why this tavern might have an unhappy spirit within it. For a couple of months in 1888 Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of this part of the East End. His main target was prostitutes of which there were many. One of the places they picked up their trade was in drinking houses.
And one of those associated with a Ripper killing is the Ten Bells. We believe it was built in 1753 and it has been said it was frequented by a number of the Ripper’s victims including Annie Chapman. Whether that is accurate we can’t be sure, but we do know that one of the victims – Mary Jane Kelly – was in the pub. And she was there on the night of her murder.
Having connections to such famous murder victims it is not a surprise to hear that some have claimed that it has ghosts. And there are many who claim to have seen a ghost in the pub and it has apparently been quite a frightening experience for them. The hauntings have occurred in one of the pub’s bedrooms used by staff. And their individual accounts are quite consistent. This is interesting, as it also applies to new members of staff that have supposedly been unaware of previous sightings.
The spirit’s appearance is said to be that of an elderly man dressed in clothes belonging to the Victorian era. He apparently waits until the person occupying the bedroom has fallen asleep. The witnesses then say that they suddenly awaken with a feeling of uneasiness about them. Then the shock arrives when they report the ghostly old man lying next to them on the bed. This usually results in a scream which makes the spectre immediately disappear. The stories, as I have said, remain fairly consistent.
So do we have a possible suspect for the haunting? There is one story dating from 2000, in which the landlord found a box in the cellar which contained newspaper reports of a previous landlord of the late nineteenth century being murdered with an axe in a cinema in Swansea, south-west Wales. His name was George Roberts. Whether he is responsible for the ghostly goings-on, we do not know. So why not call into the pub when you can, but make sure you don’t stay over.
For more London ghost tales, see