Whether you're a confirmed believer or a dyed-in-the-wool sceptic, everyone loves a good ghost story – and London is chock-full of them. The city's twisted and bloody history means almost every location has a ghost or two connected to it, some friendly - some malign.
The truth is the dead are all around us in London, stacked beneath our feet, in our walls and crowding around our most famous landmarks. Until the creation of the magnificent seven cemeteries in the Victorian Era, the dead were buried alongside the living, in tiny patches of churchyard and consecrated ground that were quickly overflowing. Graves were always being disturbed and recycled.
The plague of 1665 caused the biggest problem, with people dying faster than they could be buried. You think this is long ago – the problems of burial have left indelible marks on London topography today – you just have to know where to hunt for them.
Take for example, that peaceful, raised bank of churchyard inside the beautiful grounds of St Bartholomew the Great at Spitalfields. Many a time one of our unsuspecting writers has sat there, enjoying her lunch and revelling in one of the inner city's truly quiet spots; so imagine her horror when she found her lunchtime retreat was actually an old plague pit! Church authorities raised the level of the earth to accommodate the dead and the split-level still exists today. It's thought one or two of the victims haunt the church as well.
Slightly more bizarrely, if you ever find yourself on London's Piccadilly line between South Kensington and Knightsbridge – notice the way the track bends and curves on itself in an odd fashion. This excessive turning is to avoid another plague pit, discovered during the excavation of the line – it was crammed so thick with the dead that engineers couldn't find a way through. So in typical British, can-do fashion, they went around it.
Here at London Treasure Hunts, we have to admit to being a little bit fascinated by ghost stories and will go to any lengths to bring you the most intriguing tales we can find. Pretty much all our hunts have some element of the supernatural – but if you really want goosebumps and shivers, try the East End hunt, a hunt through London's old city and the East End. This hunt is so scary, it even gave one of our researchers recurring nightmares.
As you delve into the dark heart of the city you'll find out: