I was skeptical of ghosts before the Histories of London project.
After researching several local ghost stories, including Eldon House’s, for the mini-documentary series, I’m a believer.
Eldon House has been a part of the Forest City since 1834, when the Harris family moved in. After Milly Harris’ passing in 1959, her nephews and niece donated the building to the City of London as a museum.
Various programs invite guests to experience the home as if they time traveled to the Harrises’ time.
Tara Wittmann, a curator at Eldon House, said that the museum’s team discovered guests crave ghost stories.
“Through the years, we’ve recognized that there is certainly a hunger for this topic here in London, so we have tried to respond to that wish by creating innovative programming,” she said.
Wittmann explained that the goal of the October events is to discuss the stories that have happened in the home, rather than making the house seem haunted. She added that ghost stories are important for London’s heritage.
“In any look at history, we are talking about stories, things that have happened in the past or how people associate with things that went before,” she said. “Ghost stories and re-tellings achieve that same end, whether people are looking for a tour of the house or whether people are looking for something very specific related to the paranormal.”
October events at Eldon House includes occult workshops and the Great Eldon House Ghost Hunt.
The great Eldon House Ghost Hunt
The Great Eldon House Ghost Hunt tells the spooky tales to guests. Everyone who attends gets a map with the stories to follow along.
The ambient music makes you feel like you’re in a horror film. The warm orange lighting throughout most rooms complements the autumn evening.
Every time I heard the floor creak, I reminded myself that it was likely from other guests and not a ghost.
As you shift to each room during the Eldon House Ghost Hunt, you learn about each story tied to the many rooms. The stories range from the 1960s séance to the beaded slippers spotted in the kitchen.
The ghost hunt begins in the library with the story of Sarah Harris and Wenman Wynniatt.
So, what’s the story?
Sarah Harris was John and Amelia Harris’ oldest daughter. Her parents were ready to marry her off, and she was dating Wenman Wynniatt, an 83rd Regiment British Officer.
Wynniatt was due to meet her at a ball at the Harris family home on May 14, 1841. The two met earlier at a steeplechase, where Sarah gave him a rose. Sarah waited for him, and Wynniatt arrived late at the ball while staying silent. After she laughed to her friends about his rude behaviour, she looked for him at the event, but he had left.
“The next morning, John asked his eldest daughter Sarah if she had seen Wenman the night before. She had recounted her experience saying that yes she had seen him and he didn’t speak to her,” said Wittmann. “John then broke the news to Sarah that Wenman Wynniatt’s body had been found in the river to the north of the village.”
Wynniatt’s pocket watch stopped at the same time that guests recalled seeing him.
As Wittmann recounted the tale of Wynniatt, I could feel a draft in the library. That was days before I went to the ghost hunt!
To hear more ghost stories, stop by Eldon House during the evenings of October 26 and 27 for the Great Eldon House Ghost Hunt! The tours start at 7 PM and admission is $19.50 each person plus taxes and fees.
Thanks to Wittmann and the Eldon House team for sharing the stories! An additional thank you goes out to Jason Plant and his team at MC Spirit Studios for their work on the mini-documentary series.
Share any of your spooky encounters in London in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experience.