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Captivating for some and may appear harmless to many, the gigantic spiral leading to the beautiful blue rays makes it difficult not to be enchanted by the many spiral staircases. Behind these well-crafted works of art and magnificently designed balusters holds a tale involving an innocent death.
The Queen’s House is a former royal residence built between 1616 to 1619 in Greenwich, then a few miles downriver from London. Its architect was Inigo Jones, for whom it was a crucial early commission, for Anne of Denmark, the queen of King James I of England. It was altered and completed by Jones, in a second campaign about 1635 for Henrietta Maria, queen of King Charles I. The Queen’s House is one of the most important buildings in British architectural history, being the first consciously classical building to have been constructed in Britain. It was Jones’s first major commission after returning from his 1613–1615 grand tour of Roman, Renaissance and Palladian architecture in Italy.
On June 19, 1966, Rev. Ralph Hardy, a retired clergyman from White Rock, British Columbia went to the Queen’s House together with his wife. They were interested in its architecture and went to take a tour of it. During their stay at the Queen’s House, Mr. Hardy took a photograph at the foot of the staircase that would soon change the history of this staircase forever. Upon development, the photo revealed a shrouded figure climbing the stairs, seeming to hold the railing with both hands. As what have been said by experts including some from Kodak, who examined the original negative concluded that it had not been tampered with.
The photo isn’t the only evidence of paranormal activity at the Queen’s House. The 400-year old edifice is credited with several other apparitions and phantom footsteps even today. Recently, a gallery assistant was in deep discussion about a tea break with two colleagues when he saw one of the doors to the Bridge Room close by itself. A first he thought it was one of the lecturers. He saw a woman gliding across the balcony and pass through the wall on the west balcony. They all dashed to the Queen’s Presents Room and looked down towards the ante-room and out through the wall. They all froze as the air suddenly went cold and the hair on their arms and neck stood. The lady was dressed in a white-grey col or crinoline type dress.
Other ghostly activities include the unexplained choral chanting children, shadowy figures, bells ringing, slamming of doors, tourists being pinched by unseen fingers and a figure of a pale woman frantically mopping blood at the bottom of the staircase. The pale woman was believed to be the ghost of the maid that was thrown from the highest banister, plunging 50 feet to her death 300 years ago.
Every spiral staircase has its own story. The Queen’s House will forever be remembered with its rich history, grandiose architecture and the haunting tale of the Tulip spiral staircase.