Spirits of London Halloween / Samhain walk

This is the time of year when the veil between this world and the otheworld is more porous allowing spirits and other entities to walk abroad amongst us. So I stalked the streets around Holborn and Covent Garden seeing what I could detect.

I passed by the Kingsway Tram Tunnel then strolled along Sicilian Avenue to Swedenborg House. Emmanuel Swedenborg believed he’d been granted the gift of being able to visit heaven and hell at will and commune with this he found there. The society created in his honour is still active in Bloomsbury (I’ve frequented its marvellous hall myself on occasion). Drifting past the Princess Louise I wander down Great Queen Street to Freemasons’ Hall – which seemed apt and if nothing else its grand art deco architecture is worthy of the theme. This Halloween walk then visits one of the most haunted theatres in London (or so they say), Theatre Royal Dury Lane and having done a shift or two in the bar there in a former life I can tell you that the staff are keen to vacate the building after the show and the old timers there all had a tale to tell of their ghostly encounters.
The spooky trail ends with two locations from Ben Aaronovitch’s marvellous Rivers of London book – The Royal Opera House where the book reaches its climax, and St. Paul’s Actors Church on Covent Garden Piazza where Peter Grant spots his first ghost at the beginning of the story.

Happy All Hallows Eve to you!!


  1. Russell Dean   •  

    I am not sure of the lineage of halloween – no doubt it predates the gunpowder plot? – but I much prefer the latter, sadly in seemingly permanent decline, than the increasingly American Trick and cheat nonsense, not least as a reminder that the Houses of Parliament have long been regarded as a repository of Scheisse.

  2. christine slike   •  

    Nice and moody! 👍👍I was surprised at the number of people and traffic!

  3. Andy Asp   •  

    Fun video and a good little walk…. I’m rusty on my ancient Celtic but I’ve heard ‘Samhain’ pronounced something like ‘so-WHEN’ by those in the know.

    We actually have a Swedenborg church here in San Francisco, though I’m unsure just how much of his peculiar mysticism they still follow:

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