Dave Packer is state apartment warder team leader at Hampton Court Palace
‘Hampton Court is 500 years old and the building has more than 1,200 rooms, so it has a huge number of scary stories. We have what we call our “headline ghosts”: two of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, are believed to haunt here; while our most famous one is the “Grey Lady” – she’s believed to be a woman called Sybil Penn who looked after Edward VI when he was a prince. She died here and has been spotted gliding down corridors.
‘The palace also has poltergeist activity. There have been incidents in our Privy Kitchen Café where staff have gone in to find crockery strewn everywhere. One time, there was an entire cake and cake stand on the floor. Some members of staff refused to go in there alone after that. We also used to have a problem with a seventeenth-century door at the end of a long, empty gallery that would bolt itself. One time during a live event, the scenes got messed up because the actors couldn’t go between the rooms as they were locked out. We had to get an expert to pin the bolt to stop it happening. Security guards have also heard loud banging noises coming from empty rooms at night.
‘I’ve been running our winter ghost tours here for the last 14 years, and we often get people writing in afterwards to say they have seen or heard strange things. I’ve even heard people talking late at night when there’s nobody else around. If you’ve got any imagination whatsoever, it’s hard not to be affected by this place, but you just have to get a grip and remind yourself that you’re the one who’s here now.’