11 Haunted Places in Southend-on-Sea (Updated 2017)
Stewart | On 13, Mar 2017
Table of Contents
- Haunted Places in Southend-on-Sea
- Southend Pier, Southend-on-Sea
- New Empire Theatre, Southend-on-Sea
- The Kursaal, Southend-on-Sea
- The Royal Terrace and Mews, Southend-on-Sea
- The Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea
- The Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea
- St Clement’s Church, Leigh-on-Sea
- Leigh Hill, Leigh-on-Sea
- The Sea Witch, Leigh-on-Sea
- Shoeburyness Artillery Barracks, Shoeburyness
- The Old Garrison, Shoeburyness
Haunted Places in Southend-on-Sea
Wow, there’s actually a TON OF HAUNTED PLACES IN SOUTHEND!
Southend-on-Sea is a seaside resort on the Thames Estuary in Essex.
Its main claim to fame is its pier which is said to be the longest leisure pier in the world being over a mile long!
The town was originally the ‘south end’ of the village of Prittlewell.
It really started to grow as a tourist destination in the Georgian era.
I’ve discovered that there are actually a load of haunted places in Southend-on-Sea…
Southend Pier, Southend-on-Sea
Southend’s historic pier is famous for being the longest in the world but locally it’s also infamous for being haunted.
New Empire Theatre, Southend-on-Sea
The New Empire Theatre had a few ghostly tales to tell.
The Kursaal, Southend-on-Sea
The Grade II listed Kursaal is reputed to be haunted.
The Royal Terrace and Mews, Southend-on-Sea
Paranormal activity has been reported in the properties situated along the Royal Terrace.
The Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea
The Cliffs Pavilion is said to be haunted.
The Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea
The Palace Theatre is located on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea.
The Palace Theatre has had many names over the years.
It was originally built in 1912 when it was known as the Palace of Varieties and seated up to fifteen hundred people.
Since those early heydays the theatre has had its fair share of ups and downs.
Financial problems resulted in it having to close its doors to the paying public on quite a few occasions.
Today it’s merged with the Cliffs Pavilion and is under the guidance of Southend Theatres.
One of the ghosts which is said to haunt the Palace Theatre is affectionately referred to as George.
He’s said to be a former manager of the theatre in 1912 who tragically hung himself from the fly-floor due to financial difficulties.
Shocked witnesses who’ve seen George’s apparition also tell of getting a strong whiff of Old Holborn tobacco…
Nowadays smoking is no longer permitted in the building!
Spooked visitors to the theatre have reported feeling an icy hand on their shoulder when seated.
This usually occurs when the seat behind them is empty.
Some theatre goers have had a shock of their lives when they suddenly see that the spirit of ghostly George is sitting right next to them also enjoying the performance.
Local paranormal groups love investigating the Palace Theatre…
They’ve recorded lots of paranormal activity in the old theatre coming to the conclusion that there are many more ghosts within the building other than that of George.
A white woman, a Victorian clergyman, a young Irish woman and a woman in a red evening gown singing on the stage are just some of the spirits which have come to light at the Palace Theatre!
St Clement’s Church, Leigh-on-Sea
The 15th century St Clement’s Church in Leigh-on-Sea is thought to be haunted…
Witnesses have seen small flickering lights at the church in the middle of the night.
Some people say that these strange lights are the souls of drowned fishermen!
Leigh Hill, Leigh-on-Sea
Leigh Hill has quite a few haunted tales to tell…
First, there’s an old 18th century house called Prospect House where the shocked owner witnessed a ghostly apparition of a short elderly man who was wearing breeches, stockings, a long coat and heavy shoes.
What’s more, his hair was tied back in a braid!
He simple vanished right in front of her very eyes leaving an unpleasant fishy odour behind him.
Maybe he was an old sea captain?
There must be something about Leigh Hill…
You see the house next to Prospect House is also said to be haunted by a doctor who had once lived there in the early 20th century!
A terrified owner of another 18th century house on Leigh Hill reported witnessing a ghostly apparition in her house too…
She saw a spirit of a woman dressed in an old threadbare blue muslin gown float across her landing!
There was once a nice restaurant on Leigh Hill in an old three-storey building…
Well the building is said to be haunted by a young woman who was deserted by her sailor lover.
After having her heart broken it’s said that she locked herself away on the top floor of the building and lived as a lonely recluse!
In 1990 the restaurant owner reported paranormal activity happening within the building such as unexplained crashes and bangs and lights being mysteriously turned off by their own accord.
All this spooky activity he blamed on the lonely spirit of the woman on the top floor.
A famous psychic was asked to investigate the building’s paranormal goings-on.
She picked up on a couple of unhappy spirits…
The spirit of a domineering mother who was hit and killed by a tram and the spirit of her suicidal daughter who killed herself by jumping from the top floor window after she found out about her mother’s death!
To this day a ghostly apparition of a lonely woman is still occasionally witnessed peering out of the window on the top floor of the old building.
The Sea Witch, Leigh-on-Sea
Between 1850 and 1870 a lady called Sarah Moore became known by the locals of Leigh-on-Sea as the Sea Witch…
She was said to curse unborn children so that they were born with a hare lip, cause storms at sea and cause local children who tried to break into her property to spontaneously combust!
The old local legend of the Sea Witch says that she cursed a local skipper when he refused to give her any of his hard earned cash…
You see, she often begged the sailors for pennies whilst she was down on the wharf promising them a fair wind!
Unfortunately, whilst at sea the cursed fisherman was caught in a sudden severe storm which took him by surprise.
Whilst in the storm he hacked away at his ship’s rigging with an axe three times cursing Sarah Moore all the time…
Suddenly the storm mysteriously stopped!
The strange thing is, on his return from sea, Sarah was found dead at the wharf with three deep gashes to her head which looked like it had been caused by an axe.
Today on Elm Road in Leigh-on-Sea there’s a pub called Sarah Moore which is named after the Sea Witch herself.
And it’s said that poltergeist activity has been regularly reported by members of staff in the pub…
Plus whenever Sarah Moore’s named is mentioned in the pub… the lights flicker!
Shoeburyness Artillery Barracks, Shoeburyness
In the early 19th century, Shoeburyness was a garrison town with a gunnery school and artillery ranges.
The town’s listed artillery barracks have a long and interesting history.
Today, these old military building have been converted into some very posh looking houses.
There was once an ill-fated house situated where the Woman’s Royal Army Corps were located during the Second World War.
This house caught fire and burnt down resulting in the tragic deaths of some of its inhabitants.
The new military buildings built to replace it were said to be haunted by the poor souls who were killed during the house fire.
Witnesses staying at the properties reported on many occasions hearing unexplained spooky laboured breathing…
And something unknown moving around the building in the middle of the night!
The Old Garrison, Shoeburyness
In Campfield Road, Shoeburyness there’s a pub now called the Old Garrison.
In the 1990s the former manager of the pub was often puzzled because he could hear unknown children playing in the pub even outside opening hours…
He discovered that when he opened the door at the bottom of the pub’s stairs, the eerie sound of the phantom children playing always stopped!
One day a terrified maintenance man refused outright to work in the bar area after he saw apparitions of ghostly children in Victorian clothing playing in there.
Another apparition often seen behind the bar by both punters and members of staff alike is that of a man wearing an old fashioned white medical coat…
The pub was originally built in 1898 as a hospital for the soldiers and their family from the nearby garrison!
Dee Gordon (2012) Haunted Southend. The History Press