The nights are closing in and there’s a chill in the air. Late October can only mean one thing -it’s Halloween. But if you think Wimbledon is a calm and peaceful place, think again. Terrors are lurking around every corner for anyone venturing out after dark on the 31st. Read on for some of the town’s most notable hauntings.
The New Wimbledon Theatre.
Many theatres have their ghosts and this Edwardian building is no exception. It is said to be haunted by numerous spectres, in particular that of JB Mulholland, the impresario who opened the theatre in 1910 and died ten years later. He is often sited in a particular seat in the dress circle – B27. During refurbishment of the theatre in the 1990s, fire alarms and sprinklers would go off. On inspection, no fire or fault with the system was found, but photographs of the outside of the building revealed a figure at the window of a locked store cupboard.
The Alexandra pub
Many of Wimbledon’s pubs are said to be haunted. In the village, the Crooked Billet and the Hand in Hand both claim their own ghosts. The spirit of a young child with blond hair was first sighted in The Alexandra, during the 1990s by staff living upstairs. Cries of “Mummy” have also been heard. Subsequently, photographs of a child and a trunk of clothes was found in the attic.
One of Wimbledon’s most famous apparitions is that of Jeremiah “Jerry” Abershaw, 18th century highwayman, second only to Dick Turpin in public notoriety, who terrorised travellers on the Portsmouth road – now the A3. Known as the Laughing Highwayman, he caught the public imagination with his ability to evade capture. He was eventually hanged for his crimes and his body was displayed from a gibbet on Wimbledon and Putney commons, where some believe Jerry can be heard, laughing on dark winter nights – as can a ghostly clip-clopping of his horse’s hooves.
Sometimes called the most haunted street in Wimbledon, Hillside was big on spiritualism in the 1930s and 40s. It was home to one of the UK’s most famous mediums, Estelle Robert. With her native American spirit guide, she claimed to have summoned up the ghost of Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The street is popular with ghost hunters, who report seeing a young girl walking through the gardens then disappearing from view. Residents have also blamed a mischievous spirit for breaking into cars and messing with their belongings.