For the vast majority of people, they see Southend as the place with miles of award winning beaches, the world’s longest pier, and home to some of the best attractions in Essex. However, little do most people know that Southend is also home to a variety of haunted locations and heavily documented cases of paranormal phenomena.
We have explored what we feel are some of the most haunted locations in the area, so turn on all the lights, check behind the sofa and under the bed, then enjoy our exploration of Southend’s Most Haunted…
Formerly an army garrison town back in the 19th Century, it is now one of Southend’s most desirable residential areas, with beautiful sea views and £million homes. However, due to it’s location at the opening of the estuary, it has played a pivotal role in protecting Southend, the Thames and London for hundreds of years. As a result, it has a history of violence, blood and death.
Cases of paranormal activity on the Garrison include the appearance of unknown apparitions within mirrors, and an encounter in which someone reportedly was breathed on within their home (which eventually resulted in the individual moving out of the home in question). The Garrison is a truly fascinating location, certainly worth visiting to wander around the public grounds in the hope you may experience your very own sighting…if you’re brave enough!
First constructed in 1830, it is the world’s longest pier, and most likely the world’s most haunted one as well. It is the jewel in Southend’s crown stretching out across miles of golden beaches and the Adventure Island Amusement Park. It has also been the supposed location for a number of suicides over the years, with individuals jumping from the pier end into the murky depths below – as a result, this has only fuelled stories of ghostly sightings.
In one particular incident in 1992, a policemen spotted a tall man wearing a long dark coat and gave chase towards the head of the pier, however upon nearing the area where the cultural centre now resides the man in question just vanished into thin air never to be seen again. Maybe he jumped off the pier, perhaps it was just in the imagination of the policemen, or perhaps it really was something from the other side…?
It was the World’s First Amusement Park, opened in 1901 and in its heyday was one of the most popular visitor destinations for not just Londoners but for people all over the UK. Sadly, with time it went into decline due to decreasing visitor numbers and closed. However, the main building still stands today containing a bowling alley and casino. Although a shadow of its former self it is still a popular attraction for locals and tourists.
Former security and cleaning staff of the Kursaal, have often spoke of sightings of a lady wearing a green coat who is attributed to a variety of unexplained events such as the music and lights being turning on by themselves, and an incident in which a security guard heard footsteps following him whilst on a night-shift. One apparent particular incident was that of a cleaner who was left in tears and distraught, after experiencing a frightening voice shout ‘leave me alone’ at her numerous times whilst she was alone cleaning an arcade machine. It may have been all the Fun of the Fair back in its heyday, but after we’ve read some of the stories of sightings we would say the term Fun of the Scare seems more appropriate.
Now, this we believe is urban myth more than anything, but it is still a ghastly tale that if true, is horrifying! To think, we are situated just 2 minutes from this…
Queensway Underpass is not exactly a ‘destination’ like the other places on this list, but it provides a service of being a key pedestrian route and also known to be the residence of the occasional homeless person in the colder months. Unfortunately, for one homeless gentleman this underpass became his final resting place. The story goes that a homeless man was seeking shelter one night, when a group of bullies walking through the underpass decided to attack the man and steal his blanket, sadly resulting in the gentleman’s death from hypothermia. An additional gruesome twist of the story, is that the gentleman’s face was then chewed off by rats whilst he lay dead on the floor.
Apparently, people have heard the sound of scratching on the walls, and others have seen a mutant ‘ratman’ in the tunnel. Whether true or false, it is a terrifying tale none the less and we will certainly be avoiding ‘ratmans tunnel’ of a night-time.
The Palace Theatre
The Palace Theatre now part of the Southend Theatres Group, is the sister theatre to the Cliffs Pavilion. Originally opened in 1912, it has been a popular location for a variety of shows – in addition, it has also been the location of a number of paranormal investigations over the years.
A tale commonly told amongst staff and regular visitors of the theatre, involves that of a former manager called George. The story goes, that in 1912 the theatre was struggling financially after opening and due to stress George hung himself within the theatre. We have been unable to find any news articles to verify this, but according to numerous accounts, sightings have occurred in the form of individuals noticing a strong smell of tobacco (with smoking now illegal indoors in public spaces, this is particularly baffling) and others sensing the touch of a hand upon their shoulder whilst seated in the theatre. Whether it is in-fact George or not, such encounters strongly indicate the Palace Theatre is home to the paranormal…
Southend certainly is home to some truly spooky places, and these locations are just the tip of the iceberg – as we will be taking you deeper into Southend’s paranormal past in our all-new attraction that is opening in May 2017. The Séance is a theatrical experience that has been based on actual events, and puts you into the heart of a home infested by a poltergeist…this is an encounter that will test everything you know about the paranormal as well as your senses, nerves and bravery! Find out more here >>> www.hideandshriek.co.uk/theseance