The Ghost of a Witch in the Bloody Tower

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In his anxiety to rid himself of a wife wo could not give him a male heir, Henry VIII said Anne Boleyn committed adultery with various men (and thus treason) and incest (with her brother). She also had bewitched him. Because marrying her brought Protestantism to England, it was widely believed by Roman Catholics that Anne possessed a third nipple and a sixth finger on her left hand, and that – as a child – she had a curious dislike of church-bells. It was clear that Anne Boleyn had entered into a pact with the Devil and that the King had been a victim of her devilish sorcery…

The supposed lovers of Anne Boleyn were executed on May 17 of the year 1536 and two days later Anne was beheaded in the Tower. She wore a gay robe of damask over an underskirt of red and upon her wonderful black hair she had a pearl-embroidered hood.  As she stood there on the scaffold, her dark eyes shining, laughing in the face of death, she made a joke about her little neck and the skill of the executioner. Her bravery caused the Governor of the Tower to write that “this lady had much joy and pleasure in death”.

Anne was buried in the Church of St Peter ad Vincular, within the Tower itself, where she once wrote these haunting lines: “Oh Death, rock me asleep, bring on my quiet rest, let pass my very guiltless ghost out of my careful breast…” – But Death brought no quiet rest for the spirit of Anne Boleyn… She has been seen in various places, particularly at the several homes where she once lived, and accompanied by the phantom coaches and headless horses that have always been associated with witchcraft and devil worship. But most of all, she is one of the most famous phantoms of the Bloody Tower…

Anne Boleyn still haunts the little church where she was buried. Around 1880, an officer of the guard noticed a light shining inside the church and asked the sentry outside what it was. The soldier said he did not know, nor did he wish to investigate the phenomenon. So the officer mounted a ladder, peered into the window and saw the church filled with an eerie glowing light, and a procession of people dressed in Elizabethan costume moving along the aisle. At the head of the procession was a splendidly dressed and bejewelled woman whose face ressembled the portrait of Anne Boleyn. Suddenly, the procession vanished, leaving the church in utter darkness.

In 1817 a sentry had a fatal heart attack after meeting her on a stairway, and in 1864 a soldier was court-martialled for being found asleep on duty. He claimed to have gone in a swoon after meeting the white figure of “a woman wearing a queer-looking bonnet with no head in it.” – “Who goes there?” he yelled, and when he got no reply he made a thrust with his fixed bayonet. The following moment “a fiery flash” ran up his rifle and gave him a burning shock. Several witnesses told the court that they had seen the same headless woman in white near the Lieutenant’s Lodgings that night. One officer who was in the Bloody Tower had heard the sentry yelling and saw him thrusting at the ghostly intruder with his bayonet. He saw the spectre walking through the bayonet… and through the sentry as well. The court-martial found the sentry not guilty.

In 1933, according to some newspaper reports, the ghost of Anne Boleyn again walked straight into the bayonet of a guard, and scared him so much he fled from his post shouting for help. The headless body of Anne Boleyn also appears near the place of her execution and some have even witnessed her walking in the Tower, carrying her head…

Read here the full story, with some pictures and a video of the musical song “With her Head Tucked Underneath her Arm”:

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