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Ghost Story: Catherine Howard

The ghost of Catherine Howard’ has been videotaped at Hampton Court Palace – it’s a video that has shaken many people up. Below is a timeline of the story of Catherine Howard. Enjoy!

1521: Catherine Howard, also known as “the rose without thorns” was born around this year.  She was the second of the 5 daughters of Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpepper.  She was the cousin of Anne Boleyn, who was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn.  Anne was executed in 1536 on false charges of witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king.

1529 (est): Catherine sent to live with his grandmother, Isabel Tilney, who ran a guest house and received many visitors. Her grandmother was constantly at the Court, so, when she grew older, Catherine son became embroiled in amorous affairs with many people..

1539: At the age of 16, Catherine got the job of Lady-in-Waiting of the new wife of Henry VIII, the Queen Ana de Clèves. Catherine caught the attention of the King Henry VIII.

1540: King Henry VIII annulled his marriage to Anna de Clèves and married Catherine. She was 19 and her was 49. Henry, old and obese, gifted his young wife with jewelry and other expensive gifts. Despite all these riches, Catherine found that her marriage did not satisfy her. She began a romance with one of the courtiers favourites of the King, Thomas Culpeper. Prior to that, she had been in a relationship with Francis Dereham.

Queen Catherine Howard
Queen Catherine Howard

1541: Increased rumors about the conduct of the Queen reached the ears of Henry VIII. At first, the King would not believe it until the evidence were too clear to deny the fact. She was placed under surveillance. Soon thereafter, they discovered a love letter that Catherine had written to Culpeper. Queen Catherine was imprisoned in the Abbey of Middlesex in the winter of 1541. Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham were executed on December 8, 1541. The case of the Queen arrived at Parliament in January.

Legend has it that one day, while Henry VIII was attending mass at Hampton Court Palace, Catherine managed to escape from his quarters, where she had been locked up until her fate was decided. Catherine’s asked to see King Henry VIII but was refused. She ran screaming down the hall to beg for the monarch’s clemency but was captured by the guards and dragged back to the rooms crying hysterically.

1542: Catherine Howard was executed at the Tower of London on February 13, 1542. The night before her execution, Catherine spent hours practicing placing his head on the gallows. She is said to have arrived at the gallows with dignity but pale and terrified. Her death was quick and she was buried in the the Tower chapel, Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula along with her cousin Anne Boleyn. However, for many, the soul of Catherine Howard never left Hampton Court. Many claim to have heard or seen the emotional Catherine Howard ghost.

1870: Queen Victoria opened the Hampton Court Palace to the public. The Hall through which was dragged has been scene of strange phenomena for centuries. So much so that it is known as The Haunted Gallery. The Gallery has been home to unusual experiences including visions of a woman dressed in white and unexplained screams – all widely believed to come from the Catherine Howard ghost.

1915: Surreal postcards are printed that depict the ‘Hampton Court Palace Ghost’ – a ghost story that has lasted for centuries.

Hampton Court Palace postcard of ghost Katherine Howard
Hampton Court Palace postcard of ghost Katherine Howard

2003: After centuries of rumors of being haunted by the ghost of Catherine Howard, closed-circuit television cameras at Hampton Court Palace captured for the first time a so-called ghost image. It first collected pictures of doors opening, without the image of the person who pushed them. Subsequently, it captured pictures of a spectral figure who closed the door.

Hampton Court Palace ghost Catherine Howard CCTV
Hampton Court Palace ghost Catherine Howard CCTV

Ghost hunting at Hampton Court Palace – a chance to see the Catherine Howard ghost

A very limited number of evening ghost tours are offered during the winter months. They book quickly and there are up to 30 people per tour group. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside Hampton Court Palace but you do have an opportunity to walk through the dark gallery and hopefully catch a glimpse of the Catherine Howard ghost.

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Do ghosts exist? 9 Reasons they hang around

Generally, we can say that there are two types of spirits:

  1. Those who go to cross over to the other side directly after death – these are the majority of spirits
  2. Those who are lost or choose not to go to the light – these are a minority and are what we call ghosts

Here are nine (9) reasons why do ghosts exist, choosing not to cross over.

Do ghosts exist? Reason #1: Belief they’re still alive

One reason that you may encounter a spirit may be that it fails to realize, or refuses to believe, that it has died. This can often seem to be the case, but not always. It is assumed that if one suffers a sudden or unexpected death, in disbelief, they may not pass on to the dimension they are supposed to go to even if it is what is called ‘Heaven’ by many. Denial or not being aware may be the key to someone remaining behind.

The tendency appears to be that they will continue to go about their daily lives as though nothing happened. There are documented cases of this instance. Take for example; a mother dies unexpectedly, obviously she would want to be home with her family. Soon, the family begins to notice strange things. They wake up one morning and the dishes have been moved to the sink. Or the aroma of Mom’s perfume permeates the house on occasion. Cases like this, coupled with the repeated documentation of similar haunting activity has reinforced the theories of denial or unawareness.

Do ghosts exist? Reason #2: Attachment to a location or object

Some spirits, seemingly exhibit their inability to let go of places or objects to which they have an emotional attachment. Some say this can be the case with ghost pets as well. For some ghosts, it could be a location that brought them much joy in life or a gift that had special meaning to them.

Do ghosts exist?  Credit: Carina Flickr
Do ghosts exist? Credit: Carina Flickr

Do ghosts exist? Reason #3: Attached to the living

A great love for someone is another reason why do ghosts exist. Love can prevent a spirit moving on to the other side. Some spirits feel compelled to continue their role as a protector of a living person. An example might be the parent who remains to watch over their children.  

Some spirits remain or return to communicate messages of hope to those they left behind. A surviving loved one’s excessive grief can keep the spirit of the deceased from crossing over. The ghost sees the grief and keeps from moving on because of the pain that their death has caused. They may feel that as long as they stay close to the survivor that is grieving, they can help alleviate the situation. After some time, the earthbound spirit may realize that their remaining earthbound is not helping the situation. They may choose to leave or to stay. For that reason, it is important that even when we are grieving a loved one’s death, we must communicate to them that it is time for them to cross over. Once they crossover, they are free to return to visit loved ones that are still alive.

On the flip side, a ghost may also remain if it harbors anger against someone who is still alive. In these cases, they may seek some sort of vengence.

Do ghosts exist? Reason #4: Attached to another ghost

Each spirit has free will and can only be attached to another ghost if they believe they must. An example might be an abusive man who dies before his wife. After she dies, if she believes the ghost of her husband still has control over her, that perception may keep her from crossing over.

Do ghosts exist? Reason #5: Unfinished Business

We all have outstanding issues such as promises we’ve made to other people or things we’ve wanted to accomplish. If we carry this sense of responsibility with us after death, it can prevent us into the Light. We all have to learn to let things go at some point, particularly when it’s time to cross over.

Do ghosts exist? Reason #6: Guilt

A spirit, to see the effect of their actions on the loved ones may feel guilty about the choice they made. They may be afraid to cross over. This is most common with the spirits of those that have committed suicide.

Do ghosts exist?  Credit: Badrs Flickr
Do ghosts exist? Credit: Badrs Flickr

Do ghosts exist? Reason #7: Violence

It is suggested that spirits, just as the living, often feel the need for justice. Seemingly, a ghost will try and communicate to the living in search of justice, sometimes leading to their killer. There is a documented case of a ghost of a woman who, every morning, would be seen searching for something at the edge of a field. After witnessing this several times, the landowners wondered why does this ghost exist. They decided to follow her. She led them to a stream in a wooded area nearby. From a distance, they saw her bend over as if reaching for something. After she had gone, the men went over to investigate. They turned up a rusty gun lying in the stream. The gun was traced back to a man who lived on an adjacent property and later admitted having killed his wife. Upon this resolution, the apparition was never seen again. It is believed that she can now rest in peace.

Do ghosts exist? Reason #8: Do not believe in the afterlife

If a ghost does not believe there is a place where we go after death, it can remain stuck on this plane of existence.  Similarly, some ghosts realize they are dead, but are afraid to move on for fear that they will cease to exist.

Do ghosts exist? Reason #9: Profound fear of judgment

A spirit can believe that if there is a place of light, there must be a place of darkness. The fear that they could end up in the darkness (called ‘Hell’ by some) is powerful enough to keep them from crossing over.

When you encounter a ghost, you have to choice to help them cross over or not. You are free to decide what to do. In the case of wanting to help, please visit The Soul Rescue Site for information on how to get these souls back on track.

Are there any reasons missing from this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Ghost Story: Elma Sands

Our video on YouTube, ‘Ghost Story: Elma Sands’, tells the sad tale of Elma Sands, who was murdered in early NYC and continues to haunt us centuries later. Watch our video and let us know how you feel about it. Below is the story of Elma Sands in greater detail. 

The restless ghost of Elma Sands

New York City is one of the oldest and most historic cities in America. As such, it is home to millions of stories, some of them ghost stories. It is no surprise that the supernatural films like Ghostbusters, 1408, Deliver Us From Evil or Ghost take place in the Big Apple. One real-life ghost story that is among the most sad is the story of the ghost of Elma Sands, the Ghost of Spring Street.

Elma Sands lived - and died - on an early NYC block much like this.
Elma Sands lived – and died – on an early NYC block much like this.

Elma Sands: who was she and what happened to her?

‘Elma’ was the nickname of Gulielma Sands.  Her parents had died when whe was young and she eventually went to live in her cousin’s boarding house in New York City. Manhattan was an important port city much like its sister cities, Philadelphia and Boston.

Levi Weeks was a carpenter who lived in the same boardhouse as Elma Sands. He worked for his brother, a well-connected architect that designed buildings for the prominent lawyer, Alexander Hamilton. It has been reported that:

During his stay at the boardinghouse Levi Weeks was noticed paying attention to both Hope Sands and Margaret Clark, but he was also seen entering Elma Sands’s room late at night. On Sunday, December 22, 1799, the last the last day Elma was seen alive, she told Hope Sands that she and Levi Weeks planned to secretly marry that night.

On the night of December 22, 1799, 22-year old Elma Sands left her home for a walk with her fiance, Levi Weeks. Some suspected that Elma was pregnant with Levi’s child. unknown, Levi was accused of having strangled Elma to death for reasons that remain a mystery. The murdered then dumped Elma’s body in a well on Spring Street.

Elma Sands’ body was not found until the 2nd of January 1800. Her dress was torn violently according to someone who rescued the body.

Before her funeral, the public was allowed to participate in an open viewing of Elma’s body at the boardinghouse. Thousands of people traveled to view the body and pay their respects.

Levi Weeks was arrested and imprisoned. Because he was part of a wealthy and well-connected family, he was able to secure Alexander Hamilton, Henry Brockholst Livingston and Aaron Burr as his attorneys.  The case divided the New Yorkers, and was considered the first major American trial of the modern era.

The haunted well is one of Travel Channel’s 10 most haunted places in America.

The well where the body was thrown Elma still exists.  In 1817, a red-brick building was built on the location, which is now 129 Spring Street In 1980, the owner of this Spring Street location decided to excavate the basement, which was full of dirt.  During the excation, the workers managed to unearth the infamous seven-foot tall well.

Elma Sands ghost well
The well in which Elma Sands body was found – and the source of the haunting. It now sits in a clothing boutique in NYC.

For many years, the well sat in the basement of a restaurant restaurant “Manhattan Bistro”. The well was inaccessible to visitors during this time. While the restaurant was open, there were reports of dishes flying on their own through the restaurant, cups that were thrown mysteriously, and mysterious noises heard by the customers. Footsteps have reported been heard in the room where the well sits. Also, banging against the door that opens up into the room.

The Travel Channel has named this building one of the 10 most haunted places in America.

The restaurant closed down in 2014. During December 2014, COS, a trendy Dutch retailer opened up at the location.  The multi-story clothing store includes a shopping area right where the haunted well sits in full view of shoppers.

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