London boasts so many attractions that to fully enjoy and live the city we may need several lives to live, although if we get interested in the darkest side of London we may have to run for our very own one!
All the scariest things relate directly to London in the our deepest collective conscience: foggy cold streets in a dark stormy night, throwing corpses to the river, committing atrocious crimes under the effects of shape-shifting potions and many other scary stories, including ghost appearances, Egyptian mummies’ revenge and body snatching in the name of science. Victorian literature -compulsory reading throughout high-school- takes good care of it.
If you want a different view on London, come stay with us at NH Kensington or NH Harrington Hall, both four-stars hotels in central London, close to Hyde Park and Chelsea. Get a good scary MR James’ ghost story –Ghost Stories from an Antiquary is his most published work- and cuddle in your comfy bed (25 cm-thick mattresses in NH Kensington) to be safe while getting into the world of the unknown. Don’t miss a delicious and complete English breakfast because you’ll need all that extra strength to deal with scary London ahead.
Jack the Ripper may be, with the exception of Dexter, the most famous serial killer of all times, though he wasn’t the first. Ever wondered why? It’s all due to mass media. Jack’s killings were the first ones that had huge media coverage, as cheap publications started to flood England in the late 1850s.
From his death on, his popularity went up and hundreds of stories haven been written and filmed since then, placing him over a fine line between history and myth. Touring around his whereabouts is a common practise for the scary-loving London tourists and they usually meet in Ten Bells pub, where Jack supposedly murdered some of his victims. Loved by some, he was named the ‘Worst Briton’ by a BBC Magazine poll in 2006.
One of the most famous spooky things to do in London is ghost-watching at the Tower of London. Reports of supernatural apparitions and horrifying screams have been taking place since the building started serving as a royal prison and execution place. Among the spectral celebrities we find Anne Boleyn, executed by Henry VIII and buried here, who allegedly walks around holding her head in her hands, and Margaret Pole of House Plantagenet, killed after the War of the Roses because she happened to have the wrong family name.
The most famous body snatchers of London were the London Burkers, imitators of Burke and Hare Edimburgh murders and named after them. This group of ‘resurrection men’ stole up to 1000 bodies around St Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College but also killed some when science needs grew higher.
They were hanged at Newgate Prison, home for other celebrities such as Giacomo Casanova -imprisoned for bigamy- or John Walter, founder of The Times. This building was demolished in 1904 and unless you are a major criminal, you’ll find it hard to get in there; the place is currently occupied by the Central Criminal Court of London.
While these stories battle between the real world and a fantastic one, there super scary stories about London we keep on thinking they were history. Sherlock Holmes is so famous some people believed in 2008 he was a real London detective. So popular as to have his own museum, obviously located at 221b Baker St.
Following a Sherlock Holmes London itinerary will lead you to The Lyceum Theatre, the Royal Opera House and St. Paul’s Cathedral, all places where he and Dr. Watson made thoughtful inquiries and reached brainy elemental conclusions. Get a drink and a rest for your inquisitive mind at Sherlock Holmes’ Pub.