LES HEWITT reveals why the haunted London Borough of Bromley in South London is known as one of the capital’s most haunted places!
Bromley was first chartered as a market town in 1158. The town was originally recorded in an Anglo-Saxon charter as far back as 862 by the King of Kent Ethelbert. Originally named Bromleag, the town developed and grew over the centuries.
Bromley has had several brushes with fame and celebrity too. One location, The Royal Bell Pub, was referenced in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and notable residents include the likes of Billy idol, Brian Moore, David Bowie, Lloyd Honeyghan and Gloria Hunniford.
With such a long and extensive history, it’s little wonder that there have been substantial reports of hauntings, ghosts and supernatural occurrences. What follows is a select few events from down the years.
O’Neils Pub, East Street
Originally named the Old Drill Hall, O’Neils is one of the more lively and frequented pubs in the town. Most weekend evenings it is often the go-to place for fun and socialising. One guest in particular seems to have been appearing there for years. A spectral soldier has often been reported inside the vibrant nightspot.
Bromley United Service Club
Found on London Road, The United Services Club is among the more popular sites when it comes to paranormal phenomena. Before becoming the venue that it is today, it was generally believed to have been some kind of hospital or medical practice. During the 1980s, staff in the Club would often report seeing an old Sea Captain or sailor. In more recent times, however, reports have dwindled.
The Crown and Pepper
This public house is also said to have a resident spirit. Reports detail more about what is heard as opposed to seen. While some accounts do claim to have seen something, there are more reports of footsteps being heard. The most notable thing about these sounds is that whoever is making then, appears to have some kind of injury. The steps take on the appearance of someone with a limp. There is some speculation that the owner of these steps was a former soldier who was wounded in action. Perhaps even losing a limb. Some have also reported hearing phantom horses in the general vicinity as well.
St. Paul’s Cray
Located closer to Orpington than Bromley itself, although still classed as within Bromley’s border, is the town of St. Paul’s Cray. One family living there were plagued by apparent poltergeist activity. After several reports of a ghost of what appeared to be a young boy, one member of the family was said to been possessed. Temperatures would drop considerably and personal items would shift or move of their own accord. Things got so bad for the family involved, that they made contact with the local council in an effort to be rehoused.
Among the creepiest of all spectral encounters in and around the London Borough of Bromley, there can be few to rival the entity that was seen hovering over Keston Ponds a number of years ago. This sighting was of something that was clad in a black hooded robe or a cap and had a glowing belt. On their way home from school, a pair of schoolgirls were the witnesses to whatever this thing was.
The Old Man on the Stairs
One woman living in Elmstead would came forward to detail her experience. She was at home busy working in her bedroom when something drew her attention to the stairs outside her bedroom. At first she felt a presence, but wasn’t long before she spotted an old man at the top of the stairs. The woman went on to mention that she had a telepathic contact with the apparition. It claimed to her that “This was how I died”. The figure then lurched and tumbled down the sitars. When she checked the bottom of the stairs, she found nothing.
Investigating Beckenham Place Park
What was seen in Beckenham Place Park a number of years ago may or may not be a ghost or haunting. The witness to the event was a young man who set out to try and capture paranormal activity on video. He managed to do precisely that. On top of a children’s chute, he saw something in the darkness. While he couldn’t determine what it was, he did manage to film it. The subject leapt off of the other side of the chute and disappeared into the dark beyond.
An American TV show called Paranormal: Fact or Faked, got hold of a copy of the clip and sent a pair of investigators to the Park. After offering numerous potential solutions to the identity of what was seen, and then trying to reconstruct them, they were unable to determine what was seen that night.
The Horseman of Petts Wood
Just like whatever was spotted in Beckenham Place Park, what was seen one night in Petts Wood may not be a ghost or spectre at all. What it was, was strange to say the least.
The witness was heading home from work one snowy evening. It soon became apparent that a dull thudding noise could be heard not far behind. The noise increased in volume until the pedestrian felt like he was being watched.
Out of nowhere a man just appeared. This man was dressed in dark clothing and sat atop of a horse that was equally dark. This horse seemed to be larger than an atypical steed. The rider and horse galloped away, leaving the man covered in additional snow.
Now in two minds as to what to do, the man decided to follow the tracks left in the snow. He continued onwards until he encountered intoxicating smoke and flickering lights all around him. It was at this point when bravery gave in and he sprinted home as far as the climate would allow.
These are but a few of the stories from within the London Borough of Bromley, cited as the spookiest area of Southeast London and a respectable fourth in London overall. This is not even taking either Chislehurst Caves or Biggin Hill into account.
Have you seen something strange in the London Borough of Bromley? Tell us about it in the comments section below!