The below article comes to you from Ben Piper Web Editor UK Tickets:
London’s theatres are steeped in history, so it’s not surprising that tales of ghostly goings on are rife in their buildings. Many actors and staff have had haunting experiences - from furtive figures, to possessed props and suspicious smells. Here is a rundown of some of the more famous:
In 1897 the Stage Door of the Adelphi Theatre was the scene of a grisly murder when stage star William Terriss was stabbed to death by unemployed actor Richard Arthur Prince. Described as a tall man dressed in a turn of the century suit, Terriss is said to wander the fine old building, with sightings also reported at nearby Covent Garden Underground Station.
The popular venue, just off The Strand, has tales of an unusual haunting that produces fragrances of different flowers, perfumes and even cigar smoke in different parts of the building, with no apparent source for the various strong scents.
Duke of York’s Theatre
The most bizarre incident at the Duke of York’s Theatre involved a curious item from the wardrobe department. During the 1920s ladies who wore a certain jacket suffered feelings of constriction and suffocation as the coat grew progressively tighter. The ‘strangler jacket’ was later sold to an American collector whose wife and daughter also experienced the same eerie feeling when wearing the garment.
The Woman in Black is a popular thriller which has been playing for years at the Fortune Theatre. Unfortunately, since the show began its run, another woman in black has started to haunt the venue. The dark shrouded figure is often seen in the hospitality bar and in one of the boxes during performances.
Her Majesty's Theatre
The home to Phantom of the Opera is also rumoured to house a few spirits of its own. The theatre’s first manager, Herbert Beerbohm-Tree, has made several ghostly appearances, including on stage and from a box in the auditorium. Fez-wearing comedian Tommy Cooper is also said to wander the venue, hoping to complete his act after his infamous death on stage midway through a televised performance in 1984.
A spooky incident took place in the late 1880s when a couple sitting in their box looked down at the stalls and saw a woman sitting calmly with a man’s head in her lap. When the performance began she hid the shape with a shawl, and after the show became lost in the crowd before anybody had a chance to confront her.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Believed to be the most haunted theatre in London, the old venue is home to the famous ‘man in grey’, thought to be the spirit of a gentleman killed in an 18th century stage fight. The renowned clown Grimaldi is also regularly seen, and said to guide nervous actors to good positions on stage. Music hall entertainer Dan Leno is also thought to haunt the building. The sound of his clog-dancing has been heard in empty dressing rooms and the distinctive smell of his lavender scent can sometimes be caught on a mysterious backstage breeze.
Victoria Palace Theatre
More wardrobe problems have been reported at the Victoria Palace with a wig cupboard door that opens and closes all by itself. Once open, the wigs have been seen flying through the air in a ‘hair-raising’ display of poltergeist activity.