Wednesday, September 18, 2013

London’s Haunted Bushy Park

Chestnut Ave
 Hampton Court
I discovered this story recently. This haunting occurs in Bushy Park, it is heard not seen. 

What is usual is this activity has been witnessed only in recent years--but its cause probably happened sixty-five years ago. 

Bushy Park encompasses 1,100 acres and is London’s second largest Royal Park. It is located north of Hampton Court in southwest London. American servicemen, not Brits haunt this park.

During the Second World War Briton’s allies--including Americans--converged upon London for it was here the partners set up their military headquarters. Most of these operations were established in central London. 

But General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, being cautious did not want to place his high command officers in the center of London’s Blitzes. Central London was being bombed regularly at this time.

Eisenhower Memorial
Photo: John Cardy
Instead, Eisenhower chose Bushy Park because it is located on the outskirts of London. In 1942 Camp Griffiss was established in this park. 

It was at this location where Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings. 

This camp remained in use after the Allied victory in 1945. Camp Griffiss was a home away from home for American serviceman until it was decommissioned and demolished in 1963. 

Bushy Park has a memorial that honors all the allies that fell on D-Day. Another monument in honor of Eisenhower stands on the spot where his tent was located.

Today, nature has reclaimed the area where Camp Griffiss stood. The park has a beautiful water garden, and it hosts, the Teddington Rugby and Hockey Clubs. It was at Bushy that field hockey was first played. The park also hosts four cricket clubs. 

The locals walk their dogs here because it considered a very peaceful place except for the occasional autumn stag attack. * 

But many people feel that the park is still inhabited by ghostly servicemen who stayed at Camp Griffiss.

One family, a father, and his son were walking their Labrador in Bushy Park in 1976 when they reached a clearing. As they crossed this grassy area, they were all of a sudden surrounded by a loud noise. 

The father later described it as if they had walked into a party. They heard laughter, cheering, and the clinking of glasses. Confounded, they saw no one in the area. They quickly picked up their pace, and within moments, all was quiet again.

Nine years after this first encounter in 1985, a similar incident was reported in the news. 

This time a group of joggers experienced a fright when they found themselves in the middle of a loud discordant mixture of sounds that they could not explain. One of these joggers, successful businessman James Blythe, stated he felt that what they were hearing was very unworldly in nature. 

One sound he picked out from this cacophony of noise was the faint American tune The Battle Hymn of the Republic. These joggers encountered this “noise” on May 10th just two days after the 40th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe.

Could this be a residual haunting? Did these witnesses hear soldiers at Camp Griffiss celebrating the Allied victory in 1945? Considering Bushy Park’s history, this possibility cannot be ruled out.

* With London having a population of over 8 million with another 2 million commuting into the city daily people forget that London also has impressive areas that are still very much natural. Here is a Daily Mail story that illustrates this point:

In 2011 a woman, a young girl and a swan had all been attacked by rutting stags “running rampant” in Bushy Park.

“An unidentified man in his fifties has become the latest victim. He was knocked off his feet when a male red deer charged him from 200 yards away. This 16-point deer threw the man back, sending his water bottle flying. He was saved by passers-by who ran to his aid and scared the animal away.

A previous article written about the swan attack was entitled, "Pick on someone your own size." The stag that attacks is known as "The Beast of Bushy Park."

Here are links to these two stories, they have photos of these attacks.

The attack on the older gentleman.

The attack on the swan.

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