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ghost stories
Scary and exciting Ghost Stories from around the World . . .
 

Ghost Story Title : Hauntings Royal Part-3 by Frank Usher

 

Ghost Story:

Henry's vengeance fell upon the Boleyn family too, after he had executed Anne, but her
father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, continued to live at Hever castle after his daughter's death. He could
not have had a very easy conscience about his craven behavior, for he had publicly declared his
belief in his daughter's guilt at the trial of her reputed lovers, as indeed did Anne's uncle, the
Duke of Norfolk. Maybe they had to do this to save their own heads.
Anne's father has had no peace after his death apparently, for according to tradition he is
doomed to ride the countryside pursued by hordes of screaming devils. After Henry had executed
Anne's brother, Lord Rochford, it is said that his blood-bespattered, headless corpse was to be
seen dragged across the countryside by four headless horses.
A few days after he had disposed of the unfortunate-but apparently not unhappy-Anne
Boleyn, Henry married Jane Seymour, who died of puerperal fever in the following year (1537)
after giving birth to the child who became Edward VI. It was said that her life was deliberately
sacrificed by the performance of a Caesarean operation in order to ensure the safety of the
precious boy heir.
It was said that Jane herself had an uneasy conscience concerning the circumstances in
which she supplanted Anne, and that after her death her worries and anxious spirit remained
earthbound seeking to make contact with the ghost of Anne. She is said to haunt the Silver Stick
Gallery in Hampton Court Palace every year on the birthday of the baby prince whose birth had
meant her death. Dressed in white, she carries a lighted candle in her hand, ascends the staircase
leading to the Gallery, along which she is said to glide wreathed in a silvery light, to vanish from
sight at the end of the gallery. All this, despite the fact that she had a most lavish funeral and
1,200 masses were paid for to ensure that her soul had the peace it was considered it deserved.
Unlike the formidable Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour is an elusive ghost, and can be seen, it
appears, only to those with extra-sensory perception.
In 1540 Henry was married briefly to Anne of Cleves, and in the following year he made
Catherine Howard his Queen. She was Anne Boleyn's cousin, daughter of a younger son of the
2nd Duke of Norfolk, and was a lush, attractive girl upon whom Henry doted. She was his 'rose
without a thorn,' and he did not dream of the scandalous youth she had spent under the disorderly
household of the ancient Duchess of Norfolk, where, unknown to her grace, Catherine indulged in
fun and games with various young men of the household. Before Henry married her, she had
been enjoyed by a variety of men from spinet-teachers to page-boys. Her reputation for
immorality was the talk of the Court, and when she became Queen it could not be concealed from
the King. Henry wept, but sent her to the block, together with her lovers, past and present. She
had after all taken a lover after becoming his Queen and was thus guilty of treason.
Catherine, young and in love with her cousin Thomas Culpepper, did not want to die, and
the story is told how when she was arrested at Hampton Court she broke away from the guards
and ran along a gallery to the chapel where Henry-'the professional widower'-with a typical
touch of Tudor hypocrisy, was on his knees praying for her soul. She tried to get to him to make
a last plea for her life, but the guards seized her and dragged her screaming from the chapel where
Henry pretended not to notice the disturbance.
Shrieking and lamenting, Catherine was hurried from the royal presence, into a barge and
then down the Thames to the Tower, and, on 13 February, 1542, to the block.
Many say that there was a Protestant conspiracy against Catherine Howard, who came
from a powerful Catholic family, the Norfolks. Undoubtedly the Protestants feared any Romanist
influence on the King, and exploited Catherine's youthful indiscretions for their own political
ends. Unhappily for the foolish, amorous Catherine-a lovely young girl married to a fat, diseased
man twice her age-she provided her enemies with plenty of evidence with which to destroy her.
She went to her death bravely enough, but her young protesting spirit soon returned to
haunt Hampton Court Palace, where she was seen time and time again running frantically along
that same gallery, pursued by spectral soldiers, her screams and shrieks chilling the spines of
those who heard them.
This Haunted Gallery was closed up as a consequence of this formidable invasion by the
other-worldly spirit of the hapless Catherine, and for many years it was used as a lumber-room for worn-out furniture and moth-eaten tapestries. For centuries the rats and mice of that neglected part of Hampton Court seemed to live happily with the unquiet spirit of Catherine, while the other inhabitants of the old Palace retreated from the sound of her distressing screams.
In the twentieth century, however, the Office of Works, who don't believe in ghosts, had
the Haunted Gallery cleared out and renovated, and it was opened to the public in April, 1918.
Apparently this assault on her old stomping-ground had the effect of laying Catherine's noisy
ghost, for she does not seem to have been seen or heard since in the Haunted Gallery.
She has also been seen in more tranquil fashion flitting about the famous Hampton Court
gardens on sunny afternoons, re-living the memories of more pleasant times before she was sent
on her sad way to the Tower.
Henry VIII, the arch-villain of all these beheadings-for apart from her lovers past and
present, some members of Catherine's family lost their heads in the general melee of her
execution-sleeps peacefully in his grave. At least we have no reports to the contrary. So does his
son, born to Jane Seymour, the sickly, interesting, precociously clever Edward VI, who died of
consumption in his sixteenth year. But there is an interesting ghost story connected with Edward
VI's foster-mother.
It will be recalled that Edward's mother died as a consequence of his birth, being
deliberately sacrificed, they said, in order to ensure the survival of the much more important heir
to the throne. Henry appointed Mistress Sibell Penn as the child's foster-mother. Mrs. Penn was
an excellent woman in every respect, devoted to her charge, and respected by the King with
whom she remained in high favor. When Edward himself came to the throne at the tender age of
nine she became an important personage at Court, and when the young King died she mourned
him as though he had been her own son. Afterwards she lived in a grace-and-favor residence at
Hampton Court, dying in 1562 of smallpox and being buried in an imposing tomb in the old
church of Hampton-on-Thames.
There the worthy soul rested in peace for a full two and a half centuries until in 1829 when
the old church was demolished and the present church erected in its place. During the demolition,




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