Top Ten Ghostly Facts

Scared of things that go bump in the night? Read on, if you dare...

Haunted house

Ghostly Fact #1

A half-naked, half-frozen chicken haunts the area of Pond Square in London's Highgate! In 1626, Sir Francis Bacon decided to conduct a spontaneous experiment to test the preservative qualities of snow whilst driving through the square. However, after stuffing a chicken with snow with his bare hands he quickly became ill and died. Since then, many have claimed to hear the screeching of a chicken or even seen a half-naked bird plucked of its feathers, running around in circles in the square.

Ghostly Fact #2

The Flying Dutchman is one of the most famous ghost ships, seen by generations of sailors. The 17th century sailing ship can never make port, hopelessly sailing the oceans forever, and is an omen of doom to anyone who sees her. Inspired by the legend, Richard Wagner composed his opera Der Fliegende Hollander.

Ghostly Fact #3

In 856 AD the first poltergeist was reported at a farmhouse in Germany. The poltergeist tormented the family living there by throwing stones and starting fires, among other things.

Great British Ghosts

Great British Ghosts

Ghostly Fact #4

The ancient Romans believed a ghost could be used to exact revenge on an enemy by scratching a curse on a piece of lead or pottery and placing it into a grave.

Ghostly Fact #5

Winston Churchill, Lord Byron, Queen Elizabeth II and Mick Jagger are all reported to have seen ghosts.

Ghostly Fact #6

Britain is one of the world's most haunted countries and the first official group to come together to investigate paranormal activities was The Society for Psychical Research formed in London in 1882.

Halloween special of Great British Ghosts

Halloween special of Great British Ghosts

Ghostly Fact #7

Ghost hunter Richard Southall identified four possible reasons why a ghost might want to stick around: the ghost doesn't realize that it is actually dead, has unfinished business, wants to say goodbye or to offer guidance to a loved one.

Ghostly Fact #8

Reported ghost sightings also include orbs or streaks of light.

Ghostly Fact #9

The "classic" ghost story arose during the Victorian period, and included authors such as M. R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu, Violet Hunt, and Henry James. Famous literary apparitions from this period are the ghosts of Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come from A Christmas Carol.

Ghostly Fact #10

There's been many a sighting of famous Britons who shuffled off this mortal coil long ago. The ghosts of Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Oliver Cromwell and John Lennon have all been witnessed. Just don’t hold out for an autograph anytime soon.