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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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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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