The GroundsWhile the Tower is composed of many different Towers used to hold prisoners, the grounds themselves are large and used to execute many of these unfortunates. It is therefore home to many spirits.
Another famously executed lady, Anne Boleyn, is said to haunt several areas of the Tower.
Her headless body has also been seen walking the corridors of the Tower. The most famous story of Anne’s ghost ended with a guard almost being court marshaled! One early morning while on guard duty, he saw a figure in a brown velvet gown emerge from the mist and move toward him. He challenged the figure several times and received no reply. The guard approached with bayonet fixed, and as he did, he noticed that the figure’s bonnet appeared completely empty. The figure did not stop advancing, and the soldier ran it through with his bayonet. Later that morning, his superiors found him and accused him of sleeping on duty. Luckily, several other guards said they had seen the mysterious lady and the man was found innocent. The men concluded that it must have been Anne Boleyn’s spirit, as legend has her ghost occasionally appearing outside the little chapel where she spent her last night before execution.
The Tower was once home to the Royal Menagerie. Occasional sounds of animals, including lion, monkeys, and bears have been heard but not seen. One guard at the Tower even claimed to have seen a spectral bear who charged at him only to disappear when the man thrust his bayonet at it.
A group of phantom soldiers have also been seen marching about the grounds.
The White Tower
The White Tower is the oldest of all the Tower of London’s buildings, and its winding stone corridors are the spooky haunt of several ghosts. The most famous is the “White Lady” who once stood at a window waving to a group of children. The strong smell of a cheap perfume around the entrance to St John’s Chapel has caused many guards to gag upon inhaling it is also attributed to her.
Another incident occurred when a guard stopped to rest as he made his nightly rounds. Sitting on a window ledge, he slipped off his shoe and began rubbing his foot. A voice behind him whispered, “There’s only you and I here.” The guard responded, “Just let me get this bloody shoe on and there’ll only be you!”
The Salt Tower
The Salt Tower has a very ominous presence about it. According to legend, dogs refuse to enter the Tower. Another legend has one of the Yeoman Warders being nearly strangled by a unseen presence. No one will go in the area after dark, for fear of the evil presence that haunts the Tower.
The Beauchamp Tower
Lady Jane Grey’s husband Guildford Dudley has been seen in Beauchamp Tower, sobbing. He was held here before his execution. Many think that he carved “Jane” into the Tower’s wall. It can still be seen there today.
The Bloody Tower
The Bloody Tower is reputably haunted by the young “Princes of the Tower,” Edward V (12) and Richard, Duke of York (10). They were thought to have been murdered in 1483, possibly on the command of their uncle Richard III.
In 1674, workmen discovered a chest containing the skeletons of two young children behind the staircase the young boys are seen descending. The bones were given a royal burial.
Sir Walter Raleigh was held in the Bloody Tower by James I, and eventually executed. According to legend, he has been seen looking exactly as he does in his portrait hanging in the Bloody Tower where he was kept. His ghost is also said to wander the Tower as he did when he was imprisoned.
The Wakefield Tower
The Wakefield Tower is reputedly haunted by the weak and ineffectual King Henry VI. After his defeat and imprisonment by Edward IV, he was stabbed to death around 11pm on 21st May 1471, as he knelt at prayer in the Wakefield Tower. On the anniversary of his murder, Henry’s sad specter is said to appear as the clock ticks towards midnight, pacing around the interior of the Wakefield Tower. Upon the last stroke of midnight, he dissolves gradually into the stone.