Monday, October 22, 2012
October Haunting - Highgate Cemetery
Like many of England's most famous places, Highgate Cemetery in Highgate, London is perhaps one of the most actively haunted cemeteries in the UK. Opened in 1839, Highgate serves as the final resting place of a long list of famous people including Douglas Adams, Karl Marx and Radclyffe Hall. Highgate Cemetery boasts ghost sightings, vampires, aliens and botanical splendor. During the pinnacle of its popularity, Highgate Cemetery was a place where the rich and aspiring rich tried to outdo each other, thus rendering the gravestones and carvings more and more gaudy as the years passed. This haunted graveyard finally succumbed to near-ruin, with no gardening or repair being done. In the 1980s, a group began, in an effort to bring back the graveyard's former glory.
Haunted Highgate Cemetery includes stories of vampires from medieval Wallachia. Some claim to have found dead animals drained of blood, while others blame negative occult practices.
Witnesses report both a man in a top hat and a bicycle rider. Stories from the early 1900s show a remarkable rise in the number of ghosts sighted and the unseen touches, winds and sounds emanating from the mausoleums and arches. A 1930s story told of a man walking through the cemetery to get home, who was confronted by an imp-like creature. The story spread and became a part of the lexicon of ghost tales about Highgate.
Victorian London perpetuated and exaggerated much of the gossip and story telling that focused on haunted Highgate Cemetery. The Victorians loved a good other worldly scare and soon reports of haunted headstones, ghosts walking among the few living visitors and evil demons abound.
Highgate Cemetery reflects a time in London's history when elegance and image were everything. The cemetery's flora and fauna show a distinct Victorian flavour and the structures borrowed ancient architecture and design from the middle east and gothic influence.
Visitors to Highgate often report icy touches on the cheeks, whispers, cries and hushed talking. Visible specters visit less frequently since the Friends of Highgate group began the cleanup and restoration. But you'll find that in London, ghosts never really leave for any significant length of time. Highgate Cemetery, one of the most haunted places in one of the most haunted cities in the world.