From fowl around Fenchurch Street to spooks in Shoeburyness, the c2c route has an abundance of haunted happenings and we’ve pulled together a few of our favourites on the network to give you a fright this Halloween. Do you dare take on the trail?
1. Over at Liverpool Street station in the year 2000, CCTV footage captured a blurry spectre on the closed Eastbound Central line platform. Workers went to check and initially saw nothing until an ethereal set of white overalls appeared to be sitting on a nearby bench.
2. Wandering through to Leadenhall Market and you find the tale of the goose Old Tom. Old Tom came from Belgium with a flock of geese to be butchered and sold, but Tom escaped and was given a reprieve. Tom lived out the rest of his days waddling around the Inns until he reached the grand old age of 37 years, 9 months, and 6 days; he was so admired his obituary was in The Times. Some say you can still hear him honking around the market and Old Tom’s bar.
3. Closer to Fenchurch Street station you can find the Tower of London, originally built by William the Conqueror and expanded throughout the ages by various Kings. Several ghostly occurrences have been noted throughout history but perhaps the most frightening inhabitant is that of Old Martin, a terrifying ghost bear and the only remaining resident of the Royal menagerie that was once housed in the tower.
4. Travelling out to East London and built during the reign of Elizabeth I, Eastbury Hall in Barking is rumoured to have connections to the gunpowder plot. Visitors have reported seeing a little girl in Elizabethan clothing in the upper rooms.
5. The only surviving of the five manor houses in Dagenham, Valence House was built in 1280 and is now a museum. However two of the past residents, Agnes de Valence and Eliza Luxmore, have been seen around the house and grounds.
6. Following the route of the Thames, it is rumoured Bram Stoker frequently travelled from Fenchurch St to Southend and Purfleet, taking inspiration from the places for his novel. The eponymous vampire’s house ‘Carfax’ is reputed to be based on ‘Purfleet House’ and a plaque can be found on the nearby St Stephen’s church.
7. The old port town of Tilbury has numerous reports of ghostly goings on thanks to the rich history of Tilbury and Coalhouse forts. A little less known is that William Nevison, the Highwayman dubbed ‘Swift Nick’ by Charles II, can still be found at the World’s End pub near Tilbury ferry. There are even some literary connections with the area as when sailing from Rotterdam to London Dr Frankenstein, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, remarks on passing Tilbury Fort.
8. It’s not just phantoms and spectres that roam along the route, All Saints Church in East Horndon was once home to a dragon who lived amongst the tombs until it was slain by Sir James Tyrell.
9. In Thurrock, during the 18th and 19th century there were numerous commercial wells in use. Vange well number 5 was once owned by Edwin Cash who bottled the water and sold it due to its high mineral content. Although abandoned since 1924 due to suspected water contamination from the local tuberculosis sanatorium, screams have been reported down at the old well.
10. Take care when you head down Church road, Basildon, a ghost in the early 1900s would throw men in bushes as they walked back from the pub. Thankfully they haven’t been seen for a good few years!
Southend and beyond
11. Known to roam the Essex coastline and countryside, Black Shucks, ghostly black dogs with glowing red eyes have been seen around Pitsea Mount, Hadleigh Castle, Shoeburyness and on the road between Fobbing and Vange.
12. Having met at the former Manor house on Benfleet high street, Lady Hamilton is said to still be waiting for Lord Horatio Nelson and seen wandering the corridors at the Conservative Club.
13. There are reports of several apparitions across Canvey Island but perhaps the saddest is at Canvey Island Point when the tide is low, Hasten the viking appears looking sorrowfully for his long departed crew.
14. Hadleigh Castle is reportedly haunted by a lady in white. There have been numerous sightings of her over the castle’s history, but perhaps the most retold encounter is when the white lady became enraged with a young milkmaid named Sally and hit her in the head with a bucket.
15. In Leigh-on-Sea is the Sarah Moore pub reportedly named after an alleged sea witch that is said to have lived in the area and told fortunes down by the estuary. Flying into a fit of rage she doomed the sailors on the Old Smack by conjuring up a huge storm for their journey. The Captain hastily hit his boat’s mast with an axe three times, appeasing the storm and saving his crew. When they returned to Leigh, they found the body of Sarah Moore with three wounds as if hit by an axe.
16. Southend has numerous hauntings across the city from the sea front to the historic Prittlewell Priory. Said to wander around the building still is a monk who dabbled in black magic and makes the local birdlife go crazy when he appears.
17. The Black Shucks aren’t the only ethereal animals spotted around Shoeburyness; ghostly hooves from concealed horses have been heard but not seen.
For more spooky goings on along the route, check out our things to do page.