Rune Hellestad/Corbis
Beatrice Aidin
October 27, 2014

In medieval times, villains were put in stocks and locals gathered to throw rotten vegetables at them. In Elizabethan times, one could be banished to the Tower.  These days, London is a bit less harsh with its treatment of criminals. The tortured souls of the capital, however, continue to roam the streets and alleyways, and the city’s gruesome past lingers.  Take the ghost of the insane woman who allegedly murdered her children: many report that an old woman with long gray locks can be seen weaving through the rows of gravestones at Highgate Cemetery. If you love a fright and tales of torture, then the London Dungeon is your one-way ticket to hell and delight. This theatrical, multi-faceted experience will teach you about London’s grisly past and leave you relieved you can step into its liberal present at the end of the visit. 

The Tower of London

Some might go to the Tower of London to catch sight of the Crown Jewels, while others hope for a glimpse of a harrowed ghost as well. Intrigue, torture, and centuries of executions have left countless tormented souls hanging around the Tower. Be certain to join a free, guided tour with the Yeoman Warders. These noble warriors, also called Beefeaters, are as funny as they are knowledgeable. 

The London Dungeon

At the London Dungeon, theatrical actors and 360-degree sets with special effects will give you a thrilling and terrifying walkthrough experience. It is an assault on all the senses that is sure to get your heartbeat racing. During the 90-minute tour, you’ll adventure through more than a thousand years of London’s history. 

Highgate Cemetery

Karl Marx, Douglas Adams, and many other illustrious individuals are buried in this famous graveyard. Keeping them company is a cast of phantoms, ghouls, and ghosts.  Numerous peculiar paranormal occurrences have been reported, including the regular sighting of a 7-foot-tall dark male figure with piercing eyes. If you spot him, he’ll vanish into thin air.

The Ten Bells Pub

In Spitalfields, East London, stands arguably the most famous pub in Ripper history. Cross the threshold and step into the days of the Autumn of Terror.  Dine on English classics (treacle-smoked salmon; royal potatoes) beneath a dense display of newspaper clippings with gruesome reports about Jack the Ripper, a list of his mutilated victims, and myriad theories about who the serial killer was.

Bleeding Heart Yard

Urban legend has it that Bleeding Heart Yard—a cobbled courtyard in Farringdon in the City of London—is so-named to mark the death of Lady Elizabeth Hatton. The murdered wife of Sir William Hatton, the local landowner, was found in this yard with her body ripped apart but her heart still pumping blood. Fortunately, her specter has never been seen. 

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