Are London Halloween hotspots with murderous bandits real or terrifying tall tales? SWL investigates…

With Halloween lurking just around the corner, London’s ghosts and ghouls are waiting for their big night out.

South West London boasts many haunted hotspots where only the brave dare to venture on a pitch black Halloween night.

The 460 acres of heath land in Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath and Putney Lower Common are notorious for many eerie incidents all in the presence of the many imposing trees.

Most notable among the park ghouls is Jerry Abershawe, also known as “The Laughing Highwayman”.

He was a Kingston-Upon-Thames bandit who terrorized travellers in the late 18th century and was tried and hung for murder at just 22 years old.

Jerry’s Hill in Putney Heath is named after the spot where his lifeless body was publicly displayed as a warning to all potential brigands.

Three hundred years later there have been many reported sightings of Jerry mounting his trusty steed galloping through the park at night.

The Old Rectory in Cheam is said to be haunted by no fewer than seven ghosts.

Bishop Lancelot Andrews, who used to be a rector at Cheam in the 16th century, is spotted frequently roaming the premises on a floor level lower than the current one, so he appears to be cut off at the knees.

Some suggest that it was the rectory’s undead residents who protected the building from a WW II bomb explosion.

You may also not be safe from spooky manifestations when enjoying a spirit of another kind at one South West London pub.

At The Roebuck on Richmond Hill, a pillar of mist of more than 5ft woke two overnight guests and silently floated towards the window.

On the same day a strange man had walked up a staircase and then vanished, never to be seen again.

A frequent patron of the Alexandra pub in Wimbledon is the ghost of a young blond-haired boy.

His name is unknown, but staff heard him crying for ‘mummy’ and after his frequent sightings a chest full of children clothes mysteriously appeared in the pub’s attic.

Fear not though as most ghosts mean no harm even if on Halloween night the border between the living and spirit world is supposedly just a little bit frailer.

Picture courtesy of Kenth Fagerlund, with thanks

Related Articles