The Tower of London is a historic castle located in central London. It was founded in 1066 by the Normans. The White Tower, that gives the name to the entire castle, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078.  So, it’s a very old castle, that has experienced several periods in humanity, and is now considered one of the most popular tourist attraction in the country. It also houses the Crown Jewels: the Jewel House was built specifically to house royal jewels, plates and symbols of royalty as the sword, and the crown.

But, this castle has also dark secrets inside it. During the 16th century, the Tower acquired an enduring reputation as a forbidding prison, and a place of torture.

The White Tower, that I just mentioned, was the highest of all the castle parts, and its sinister fame was increased by the fact that inside it there were cells, but also a torture chamber inside a crypt.

Many people were imprisoned and killed, mostly for their political or religious beliefs. William Harrison Ainsworth, an English historical novelist from Manchester, created a vivid image of underground torture chambers of this castle in his work The Tower of London: A Historical Romance.

During the years, there has been several people claiming that they have seen ghosts both inside and outside the Tower, so there are many interesting and mystic stories that can be told.

One of the most credible descriptions of upsetting stories was told by E. L. Swifte, a keeper of the crown that was sitting around a table with his family. His wife then saw a cylindrical object moving around the room. When she tried to grab it, her hands passed through it, like it was just mist.

But, the most famous ghost that supposedly haunts this castle, in particular the Chapel of St. Peter and Vincula, where she is buried, is Anne Boleyn. It is said to walk around the White Tower carrying her head under her arm.

Another female character that is said to wander inside the castle is the so called Grey Lady, real name Sybil Penn, the nurse of Henry XIII’s son. The legend has it that this nickname is due to her hair color. She has been seen mostly by children, visiting the Museum of the Tower. Her apparition begun in 1892, when her body, buried in St. Mary’s Church, was removed from there. From that moment, strange sounds have been heard there. Some people claimed that they heard a sound similar to that of someone that was working with a spinning wheel. After some researches, they discovered a secret chamber, and inside it, the strange thing is that there really was found a spinning wheel.

Nowadays, the Tower of London is part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, in recognition of its global importance and to help conserve and protect the site.

I’ve been there visiting the Museum, and seeing the Crown Jewels, and I can tell you that it’s a great and meaningful experience. So, if you’re going to London, and you’re interested in history, and mystic stories, this is one of the best places you can go.  It’s like you enter into another world, and you experience the past through this castle, with a unique atmosphere.

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Published by Iole Catanzaro