But, by far the most famous ghost to roam this place is that of the man in grey - one of Theatreland's best known ghosts, and one who managers, producers and actors alike are absolutely delighted to see! You will stand on the very spot where one of the greatest actors of his age was stabbed to death by a bit part player who had grown insanely jealous of his success.
Richard will build the tension as he presents you with a full, and accurate, account of the tragedy and its immediate aftermath. He will also tell you of the numerous occasions when the ghost of the fallen heart throb has appeared at theatre, outside which his living self met his "untimely end" in But the ghost's appearances are not confined to the interior of the building. Indeed, the actor's fleeting phantom has been seen on the site of his murder, and several people on the tour have even caught an indistinct "something" on photographs which they have taken in the alleyway through which we then venture en route to our next haunted location.
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- Historical background;
You could be forgiven for thinking that our next stop is of little interest when it comes history and hauntings. But you wouldn't be more wrong. For this location is a bank to whose care the highest in the land entrust their family fortunes, and, in some cases, have done for many generations. This bank is one of the most exclusive in the country, numbering no less a person than the Queen herself - not to mention various members of the nobility - amongst its impressive list of clientele.
So the fact that a member of the nobility should have decided to pay regular visits to its illustrious interior during the 's might not seem that remarkable. From this headless diversion, we delve into the even darker recesses of the West End to encounter a rapid succession of haunted theatres.
Richard will tell you of the long ago act of infamy that, reputedly, lay behind the garment's bizarre behaviour, and he will also tell you about the various actresses who experienced the crushing hostility of the strangler jacket. It is a stunning and beautiful building which also happens to be haunted by the ghost of a former manager whose restless wraith has been seen by the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart and the late, great Sir Donald Sinden.
In Richard interviewed Sir Donald at this very theatre and at the exact spot where he saw the ghost. In addition to hearing the most up to date versions of some of the West End's best known ghost stories, Richard's walk will also take a look at various traditions and superstitions of Theatreland. John Heap and William Badger had been working on the external carved pillars when a huge block of masonry fell and crushed them.
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They were buried at Birmingham Cathedral and staff working at night in the Town Hall claim to have heard the two men still chiselling away at the pillars. And it seems Brummagem Joe, as he was affectionately known, is still keeping an eye on the city he loved. But he is a modest spook who prefers to work in private, vanishing as soon as he is spotted.
Cock Lane ghost
Sightings are usually accompanied by the smell of cut flowers, which Joe insisted on having in his office. There have also been reports of a shadowy monk shuffling along the corridors, linked perhaps to the monastery said to have been on the site centuries earlier, and the floating spectre of a former councillor who hanged himself in the entrance hall. A Jewish cemetery was dug up when the station was built in and as anyone who's seen the films Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror will know, building on burial grounds disturbs the spirits of the dead.
There have also been several suicides on Platform Four, which is said to be the station's haunted hotspot. Many passengers have reported a strange unseen presence and the two spooks we know about for sure are Walter Hartles — a retired engine driver who shot himself with a revolver after separating from his wife — and a gentleman called Claude, who is seen wearing Victorian clothing and is said to have died after poisoning himself.
There have also been some tales of supernatural activity linked to a fatal train crash at New Street Station in Two passenger trains collided at 4. What's On. By David Bentley.
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