The Ghost of Adelphi Theatre

william terriss ghostOne night in 1897, as he was entering the Adelphi Theatre from Maiden Lane, a popular and much admired stage actor called William Terriss was fatally stabbed by a loony actor by the name of Richard Prince. As Terriss lay dying in his girlfriend / leading lady Jessie Millward’s arms he whispered with his last breath “You really must get yourself some breath mints.” No, i’m kidding, what he actually said was “I’ll be back.” But hopefully not in a thick Austrian accent…

And even though it took him quite a while to do so, it seems that Terriss did indeed return to the Adelphi Theatre. In 1928 a man who was visiting London and who knew nothing of Terriss’ tragic death spied a mysterious male figure clothed in Victorian garb in Maiden Lane. As the visitor looked at the oddly garbed man, the latter suddenly vanished into thin air! After telling others of the incident, the out of towner was shown a photo from which he was able to identify the spectral figure as the late William Terriss.That very same year an actress performing at the theater and using the same dressing room once used by Jessie Millward complained that some unseen presence was grabbing her, shaking her chaise longue, and saying lewd things such as, “How ’bout a quick legover, hey, love?”

She also claimed to have frequently heard some one tapping on the room’s door, something the late actor was known to do when passing his paramour’s dressing room. She also described seeing a mysterious green light in her room, something which brings us to another notable encounter, this one taking place much later in 1962 when a workman saw a green light possessing the shape of a man inside the theatre. This glowing figure first threw open the stage curtains, then made his way to the stalls where he proceeded to tip down the seats before sitting down, putting up his feet, taking out his mobile phone and making a bloody nuisance of himself. Terriss has also been spotted at the Covent Garden train station. This might seem like an unlikely locale for the ghost of Adelphi Theatre to put in an appearance, but it has been speculated that he does so because that station stands on what in his day was a bakery at which he regularly stopped on his way to work. At this station Terriss makes himself known through sighs that seem to come from nowhere, but also has been seen, again in his Victorian style garb, walking the platforms and climbing the stairs. In recent decades sightings of the slain thespian have declined in their regularity, but he is still sometimes spotted in the train tunnels around Covent Garden looking, i presume, for a new place to buy his bread…

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