Today is Halloween, the time of year when all the spooks come out to play, with plenty of ghostly goings on. But where are the best places to spot a spook in Boston? Read on, if you dare....
Legend has it Blackfriars is now haunted by the ghost of a monk. Although a theatre today, the site was originally a friary, built in the 13th century by the side of an ancient burial ground. Between 1288 and 1309, the original friary was burned to the ground as part of a number of fires started by rioters. Visitors and employees at Blackfriars have claimed to have spotted the ghostly monk over the years, with many witnesses claiming he has seen headed towards a wall near what is now the stage area. Behind the wall is a disused tunnel, where bodies of the Black Death were piled up between 1348 andf 1350. Could this monk be a spook who died in the fire or passed away in the Plague, ordered to walk the Earth for eternity?
CHURCH KEY STUDIO
The Church Key Studio was once a shop named Spookys. But there may well be no coincidence there, as the building - which has also been a restaurant and body-piercing studio - is claimed to be haunted. The Grade II-listed building, built on the banks of the Witham and in the shadow of St Botolph’s, was once the home of the infamous Sarah Preston, perhaps better known as the Grey Lady. Stories suggest that this was Sarah’s marital home, where she would entertain lovers when her husband was away on business. One night she is claimed to have returned home with a sailor - the man who legend states brought the plague to Boston, killing 460 townsfolk. With Bostonians blaming Sarah for the deaths, the guilt-ridden woman climbed the stairs of the Stump before throwing herself to her death. It is claimed her ghost still haunts the building, and that on occasions a female figure in a grey cloak can be see around The Stump.
Nicknamed the ‘grandest house in town’, the property - which was built in the early 1700s - is said to be haunted by at least two different aparitions. A woman in a grey outfit has been spotted inside the building, while it is also believed that a figure resembling a butler has been spotted in the garden. However, there may be also be some ghouls working for good in the property. It is said that if you touch the portrait of Elizabeth Fydell - known as the ‘lucky painting’ - you are to be brought devilishlygood fortune.
THE SCALA THEATRE (now Poundstretcher)
Up in the roof of what is today’s Boston Poundstretcher store, remains the steps leading up to the balcony of the old Scala Theatre. For years in the early part of last century, the place was a social hub - where shows, films and bands were enjoyed. However, since the 1980s, people working in the building claim there has been a ghostly presence. Footsteps can sometimes be heard up and down those aforementioned steps, while workers today still suggest a spooky presence on the top floor.
More information about these haunted happenings and further places in the area said to be the homes of spooks are available in the book Haunted Boston by Gemma King (RRP £9.99 - ISBN 978-0-7524-8624-6)