Wednesday, 9 May 2012

THE HAUNTED CONVENT OF GIBRALTAR


One of the alleged most haunted public buildings in Europe is that of the Convent in Main Street, Gibraltar.
The Convent has been the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar since 1728, and was originally a convent of Franciscan Friars which was completed in 1531.
After the capture of Gibraltar by an Anglo-Dutch fleet in the name of the Archduke Charles, the Franciscan friars did not follow the exodus of the Spanish population and remained in Gibraltar, at least for some years (their presence was recorded in 1712).

The Franciscan friary was later taken over as the residence of the British governors in 1728 and has remained so ever since. The building was heavily rebuilt during the 18th and 19th centuries in the Georgian style with Victorian elements.
The convent is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a nun, known as "Lady in Grey" who is said to roam the corridor outside one of the guest rooms. It is said that she considers it to be her room, as she was walled up alive in it.

There are various versions of the "Grey Lady" story. The most popular being that she was the daughter of an affluent Spanish family who had married against her father's wishes. When he learnt of it, he placed her in the "Convent of Santa Clara" situated in the Main Street, where under the eyes of the Mother Superior, the girl was forced to take her vows and become a nun. Her lover was not discouraged; he joined the Franciscan Order and settled in the Convent. The couple are said to have met in the confessional of the King's Chapel where they hatched plans for their escape.

On the night of their escape they made their way to the harbour where a boat was waiting for them. However, the alarm was raised and in the ensuing chase the lover fell into the water and drowned. The bride was arrested for breaking her vows and as punishment was walled up alive in one of the rooms in the Convent.

However, the story does not end there. Over the years there have been innumerable sightings of the "Grey Lady", by staff and residents.

The wife of a former Governor - Lady Anderson - is on record as having seen this lady in grey disappear into a bedroom that was locked.

More recently Lady Luce's niece saw it. And even more recently, a Maltese guest described the nun's appearance at a dinner in The Convent.

Here is an account from the `Above Top Secret` website where a poster describes an episode involving his father.

"Now, my father worked most of life there in the convent.
He was a police MOD officer. I have been there many times personally to the Convent, which is now the Governors residence.

Inside there is a patio leading to a garden. There are many rooms. Each room has a security button, like a light switch, so if the Governor is in some kind of trouble, in whatever room he is in all he has to do is press the button.

The switch or button is a bell that rings in the police post inside of the Convent. I have been there and there is a panel on the wall with all the room numbers and underneath them there are lights. These lights come on when the button is pressed.

My father and his work colleagues have told me many times that during night shifts, the light from the nuns room comes on, sounding the alarm.
Every time they checked, they found nothing.
That room is also never used and always locked.

One night my father got a call from the Governor telling him to go look in the patio because he could hear something strange.

Three officers went to inspect. As they approached they could hear what seemed to be the sound of chains. They found that a wooden statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson had been moved. Nelson is holding a chain in the statue!
They picked it up and placed it back where it was supposed to be. They searched the entire residence and found no one.

When they got back to the post the light from the nuns room was flashing and the alarm ringing!
My father tells me that most of his colleagues hated the night shift, I can only guess why.
Many other men and women of authority who work inside the Convent have also been witness to various paranormal activities relating to 'The Lady in Grey'."

Suffice to say, the `Grey Lady` is a very persistent apparition which has survived since the British arrived in the 18th century, and will no doubt continue into the future.


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