I shall be including this ghost legend in the 3rd edition of Dark Journey at the end of next year.
(Yes, some two years off but I have far too much else to do before then!). We in fact, obtained permission to spend a night in the grounds with the necessary equipment but, for some reason or another (probably the cold that year), this vigil never came off. However, I hope by the time the chapter is published it will have taken place; even offer results that might make interesting reading . . .
TRAGIC WOMAN IN BLACK
Bruce Castle Museum, in Tottenham, is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a ‘lady in black’ who jumps from an upper balcony window into the courtyard below. According to legend, the ghost is that of Lady Constance Coleraine who was virtually imprisoned by her unfaithful husband in an upstairs room in the museum (originally a 16th century Manor house) but who eventually committed suicide in a desperate bid to escape.
Her ghost has been reported for many years; usually around full moon but said to be a regular occurrence on November 3rd, the anniversary of her death. Reports about this phenomenon vary considerably, but usually it is seen falling to the ground accompanied by a piteous scream, or sometimes, as a melancholy figure that beckons to unsuspecting onlookers in the grounds as if to reveal some clandestine secret about her tragic death.
Despite numerous local reports about her appearances, there would seem to have been no official investigation into this phenomenon since 1949. Then, some members of the Edmonton 100 (a group that delved into London’s ancient history) kept an all-night watch in the museum in an attempt to spot the ghost. Nothing seemingly untoward occurred, although soon after midnight it was reported that an area near the ’haunted chamber’ turned ’icy cold’ and a clock missed striking the hour of one o’clock.
More recently, the black-clad figure of a woman has been reported in the grounds at twilight, although when challenged, suddenly disappeared. Lady Coleraine’s ghost may well be in evidence today if local accounts are to be believed; but in the final analysis, it must be fact not fiction – however well documented or adhered to – that must invariably prove, or disprove, its alleged authenticity.
DAVID FARRANT © 2005
For interest, here is the newspaper account that reported the BPOS’s proposed investigation into this case:
WEEKLY HERALD, November 29th, 1984
GHOSTS, GHOULS AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT . . .
DABBLERS in the occult are planning a midnight vigil to try and capture the legendary ghost of Tottenham’s Bruce Castle on film. Members of the British Psychiuc and Occult Society led by its president, self-acclaimed “white witch” David Farrant, believe the spectre to be the late Lady Constance Coleraine who was imprisoned by her jealous husband and whose only escape was to commit suicide.
Last month was the anniversary of her death in 1680. Her ghost has been reported at full moon – the next is due on December 6 – and now Farrant is determined to prove once and for all the existence of the so-called ‘Lady in Black’. “This legend has been so long established, and so many people have sworn to seeing her over the years, that I can’t believe that it is a hoax. We must wait now until psychic forces the area are at their strongest and then hope for the best,” he told the Herald.
The British Psychic and Occult Society would welcome information from any interested readers having knowledge of this or any other “ghostly occurrences” in the North London area.
The Society can be contacted by writing to: BPOS, PO Box 1112, London, N10 3XE [UPDATE 2021 – this address is no longer functioning ~ Ed.]