Whitechapel Robbed of Its Ghosts

Given its sinister and decidedly gruesome history, Whitechapel really should be haunted. Indeed, so dark and creepy are some of the old streets and alleyways, that it would not come as any great surprise to spot all manner of spectres lurking in the East End shadows.

Whitechapel does, most certainly, have ghosts.


The Ten Bells Pub on Commercial Street, for example, has several ghosts to chill the blood and send tingles down the spine of even the most intrepid, fearless and sceptical visitor, although the claim made by a group of paranormal investigators that the pub is haunted by none other than Jack the Ripper should be taken with an extremely large pinch of salt.

A photo of the exterior of The Ten Bells Pub.
The Ten Bells On Commercial Street.


Elsewhere, the former Truman Brewery building, part of which stands on the site of the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street, where the body of Annie Chapman was found on the morning of September 8th, 1888, is said to be subjected to a distinct and, literal, chilling on the anniversary of the murder.

There is also talk of the cobblestones in Mitre Square, at the site where Catherine Eddowes was murdered  on 30th September, 1888, glowing red on the anniversary of the heinous crime – albeit, with the recent complete redevelopment of the Square, only time will tell whether the phenomenon will occur upon the modern paving that now covers the ground.


However, in August, 1897, several newspapers reported on the fact that the area around St Botolph’s Church, Aldgate had, apparently, acquired the must-have local resident – a ghost.

The South Wales Daily News took up the chilling story in its edition of Wednesday, 18th August, 1897:-


“Whitechapel is becoming thoroughly up to date. It boasts of all the latest developments of science – psychical and otherwise.

Not being situated on the coastline, it can hardly be expected to possess a sea serpent, but it cannot deny itself the luxury of a ghost.

Fashionable districts have them, and why not Houndsditch?

Full possession of a phantom was obtained on Monday, when a large crowd collected to witness the curious antics of what seemed to be a white figure in an Aldgate churchyard. Some excitement was caused by the apparition, and the police were forced to make people move on to prevent an obstruction to the traffic.


It was subsequently found that the phantom was, in fact, nothing more than the reflection of an electric lamp, to which a curious aperture in the branches of the trees gave the appearance of a shining human figure.

For a first attempt, this was a very fair beginning, and the ghost was certainly as life-like as others of much longer existence.”