The strange case of the Black Nun ghost of Threadneedle Street began in 1811 when the unfortunate Philip Whitehead was sentenced to death for forgery…
Philip And Sarah
Philip Whitehead worked at the cashiers office of the Bank of England which was situated on a London street named Threadneedle. In 1811 he was collared for dubious activity and charged with forgery.
Unfortunately for him, the charge of forgery was an extremely serious thing at the time and carried the death penalty.
His trial was a rather speedy affair and he was quickly found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out early in 1812.
His sister Sarah was unaware of his legal issues and had no idea he had faced the death penalty. A few weeks after his execution she showed up at the bank of England to ask “Have you seen my brother?”.
The workers at the bank had no idea who she was until she mentioned her brother’s name, Philip. They then had to break the news to her that her brother had been executed several weeks ago.
The shocking news seem to crack Sarah Whitehead and she suffered from some sort of instant mental breakdown. It was as if the news was too much and her brain was unable to digest it properly.
She began to turn up at the bank every day dressed in a long black funeral dress asking the same question time and time again…
“Have you seen my brother?”
The workers at the bank felt a great deal of sympathy for the mentally ill Sarah and tried to help her out whenever they could. They were always kind to her feelings and even handed over spare money every now and again.
After a few months of these strange daily visits she was given the nickname of the Black Nun. It was around this time that her personality took a dark turn for the worse.
Gone was the confused and frail sister that seemed to be broken by grief. Now Sarah Whitehead’s confusion led to her becoming aggressive and threatening.
The employees of the bank were put on alert whenever she entered the bank. She would often demand money she thought she was owed and scream insults at the customers.
Her actions became more and more worrying until the bank had enough. They arranged a settlement with her and paid her off – she was told she was now never allowed in the building again.
The Black Nun Ghost
Sarah Whitehead passed away approximately 30 years after her brother’s execution. Strangely enough she was eventually buried across the street from the Bank of England building.
Not long after her death the first sightings of the Black Nun ghost were reported. She was often seen inside the Bank’s building or loitering in the dark corners of Threadneedle Street.
One of the more famous encounters involved an American tourist who had never heard of Sarah Whitehead or her restless spirit.
He was walking down Threadneedle Street at night when he was approached by a lady wearing a long black mourning dress. He had just been to Victoria and Albert Museum where he had come across a similar mourning dress on display as an antique.
She stopped about a meter away from the tourist and asked him “Have you seen my brother?”. He had no idea what she was talking about and told her she must have him confused with someone else.
The strange dark lady seemed to be hurt by this response leading to a couple of male passers by stopping to see if everything was alright. When they got no response from her they walked on down the street.
The lady in black now seemed to be centered on the two men walking down the street and left the American tourist to follow them. He walked on a couple of meters before turning to see if she had caught up with the other men.
There was no sign of her, only the two men walking off into the darkness of Threadneedle Street.
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