14. The Jewel House Apparition
Mr Edmond Lenthal Swift was the Keeper of the Crown Jewels, at the Tower Of London from 1814 to 1842. It was here, as mentioned in a previous episode, that a sentry encountered a huge phantom bear, which he reported to Mr Swift, before dying of shock two days after the frightful incident in which he speared the creature with his bayonet, only for the blade to pass right through.
Mr Swift also encountered a terrifying form himself. It was during the October of 1817 when Edmond settled for an evening meal with his wife, their young son, and sister-in-law in the sitting room of the Jewel House. The room was dimly lit by flickering candles, the adults enjoying a glass of wine to relax, when suddenly Mrs Swift yelped, “Good God, what is that?” It was then that the weird spectre came into view – a figure of sorts, but tubular and the thickness of a man’s arm. The weird spook was hovering ominously above the table, its substance and colour seemingly akin to a thick cloud as it swirled.
The witnesses froze in horror as the thing moved slowly around the table, passing before Edmond and his son, before stopping near the right shoulder of Mrs Swift, when she suddenly screamed, “Oh Christ! It has seized me!”
Mr Swift’s reaction was to immediately approach the form and strike it, but his blow seemed to merely hit the wall. The phantom then eerily floated towards the end of the table before vanishing in the area of the nearby window.
Edmond sprinted upstairs to speak to the nurse who was present, and other people from the tower also rushed to Edmond’s aid, whereupon the shaken Mrs Swift retold the encounter.
Whether the cylindrical horror was sighted again no-one seems to know, and its true identity remains a mystery, but when you consider that the tower is also reputedly haunted by the spirits of Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, two young princes who were suffocated in 1483, and a variety of others, it’s no wonder that such manifestations, both obscure and well known, are sighted so often, as they remain seemingly locked in their ethereal void of limbo.
By Neil Arnold
Picture taken from G 1’s Flickr photostream under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 licence.