Ghost of Nell Gwynn saved Lauderdale House warden from rampaging evil spirit
- Credit: Dieter Perry
The warden of Lauderdale House has told of a terrifying night 17 years ago when a rampaging ghost burst into his bedroom at the mansion.
Operations manager Peter Gallagher, 58, feared for his life during the encounter shortly after he began his live-in job.
It followed a tough period in his life and his overwhelming experience on moving into the Grade II-listed house in Waterlow Park was that the historic figures who had lived there in the past did not welcome him.
Mr Gallagher, also an artist, said: “I thought I was almost being watched by history, by the characters.
“I thought am I good enough to measure up to these people, will they accept me? I felt the gravity of history on my shoulders strongly.”
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Strange sounds in the night, eerie bangs and ghostly piano playing soon began to disturb him.
But it was a few weeks later in May or June 1997 that he had a spooky sighting that was to prove the test of him.
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“I was in bed and I’d set the alarm and all of a sudden I heard a loud noise,” explained Mr Gallagher. “I could place it, that it was in the Long Gallery, there was a lot of noise, someone really angry, shouting, extremely aggressive.
“I thought something’s happening now, I don’t know what to do. The house is alarmed, there’re sensors everywhere, it’s an abnormal situation.
“I started to hear these pounding steps getting louder and louder and I just sensed they were looking for me.”
In fear for his safety he lay frozen in bed. But Mr Gallagher is absolutely certain that he was wide awake as the experience unfolded.
“I heard the pounding down the corridor and then my room started to shake,” he said. “I knew my door was locked but that wasn’t going to stop anyone.
“This figure, a really horrible looking character, someone violent and full of hatred, burst through the door charging towards me.
“Just as the person came in I thought ‘does no one care for me in the house, do all the spirits hate me?’ Then I said ‘Nell Gwynn save me’.
“Just as the figure came towards me, in that moment there was someone in bed with me, a figure laying right across me with her hands over my shoulders.
“I felt the weight of Nell Gwynn, her body pressing down, and an incredible feeling of safety and security. I was ok.
“This horrible figure disappeared just before he launched himself on me. It was from extreme terror to extreme security.
“I waited and then Nell wasn’t there anymore and I felt I’d arrived.”
He has never seen a ghost at Lauderdale since.
Eleanor, or “Nell”, Gwynn was a long-time mistress of King Charles II.
She gave birth to her two sons by the king at Lauderdale House after being sent to live there to take advantage of the clean air as opposed to the stench of central London.
Lauderdale House is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise £125,000 to secure its future.
The Ham&High is encouraging readers to share their Lauderdale ghost stories on Twitter using the hashtag #Lauderdaleghosts to support the campaign.
And don’t forgot to link to the crowdfunding site at crowdfunder.co.uk/lauderdaletransformed