By Declan McHugh

London's strangest and scariest humans and locations are introduced vividly to existence during this stroll throughout the capital's darkish part. that includes serial killers, psychopaths, gangsters, ghosts and martyrs, listed here are fifty real tales from all corners of the town sure to sit back your bones.

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Additional info for Bloody London: A Shocking Guide to London's Gruesome Past and Present

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Nor were these isolated cases. In the sixteenth century a spate of burnings took place in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, a woman being burned to death in the market-place in 1515, guilty of murdering her husband, and Margaret Read suffered the same fate in 1590, accused of being a witch. Two centuries later, in 1791, the landlady of a tavern in that town was murdered by a thief who had been admitted at dead of night by one of the servant girls. The miscreant was hanged and the girl burned to death at the stake.

CYPHON This was a rare method of execution, but none the less macabre. It was described by the Greek dramatist Aristophanes (448–388 bc) as one in which the naked victim was secured by his neck and wrists in the pillory, then left to endure the burning rays of the sun and the attacks of stinging insects, which were attracted by a mixture of milk and honey with which he had been smeared. Should he, against all the odds, survive for 20 days, he was taken down and, as a degradation, dressed in women’s clothes before being escorted by large crowds to the cliffs, over which he was thrown head first.

But no matter what the outcome of that ordeal, the flames awaited. Those who, despite the torture, held fervently to their own faith were doomed to be burned alive; those who confessed their willingness to embrace the Catholic religion were also burned, but were granted the concession of first being strangled. The auto de fe, the burning, was held on a festival day, vast crowds assembling to watch the awesome procession. It was led by the Dominican friars, after whom came the penitents, each carrying a large wax candle in their hands and wearing a sanbenito, a black, sleeveless coat with flames painted in an inverted fashion.

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