The Case of the Hammersmith Ghost

The Case of the Hammersmith Ghost

This article will be covering the Hammersmith Ghost that terrorized the London area back in the early 1800’s. The ghost became so feared that locals began arranging armed patrols at night, to keep the entity at bay…

The Paranormal Entity

1803, in Hammersmith, a district in West London, and numerous reports start surfacing regarding a male paranormal entity haunting the area.

The ghost was thought to be that of a man that had cut his own throat, and was then buried in the Hammersmith Churchyard.

Why did locals believe that this was the ghost of this particular man?

Well, religious studies point to the fact that suicides are not supposed to be placed in consecrated ground – this resulted in a restless soul that was doomed to walk the area for eternity.

The ghost was known for haunting the church and graveyard location, and the lanes that connected to one another outside the cemetery.

Most paranormal entities make do with just being seen by passers by – but this ghost was different. It opted to chase whoever it appeared to…

In one famous case, it chased a woman and actually managed to catch up with her. It then gripped onto the poor lady with a supernatural force, until she eventually passed out.

The woman was found walking aimlessly around the area in complete shock – she never recovered, and died a matter of days later.

The Paranormal Entity

The ghost always fit the same description – an extremely tall man that shone brilliant white.

Before long, local businesses in the area started to claim that the entity was effecting their profits. Apparently, certain clients and deliveries did not want to venture to that part of London…as they were afraid of bumping into this frightening paranormal force.

Tragic Events

By 1804, locals had had enough of the ghost and it’s antics – they started to form armed groups and patrol the streets at night. On the 3rd of January that year, one of these armed citizens came face to face with what he thought was the ghost of Hammersmith…

The patrolman was named Francis Smith, and he was in the process of covering Black Lion Lane. Suddenly, a figure appeared from nowhere and started making it’s way down the hedged lane towards him.

Smith called out to the figure and told it to stop and stand still…otherwise he’d shoot!

The figure in white continued to walk down the lane, and Smith eventually let off a shot. The figure then dropped to the floor, dead.

Tragic Events

Francis Smith had tragically managed to kill a bricklayer and plasterer by the name of Thomas Millwood. This unfortunate guy had been wearing traditional clothes of his trade – all white. A later investigation found out that he had actually been mistaken for the ghost before, days before his tragic death.


Francis Smith was a decent man, and he was horrified by what he had done – he contacted the authorities immediately.

Unfortunately, the authorities were rather strict with him…

He was put on trial for for willful murder, although numerous heads of the public came forward to back up his good character. The judge would have none of it – he told the jury to find the defendant guilty of murder if they believed the facts behind the case.

They eventually found Smith guilty of manslaughter…but the judge would not accept this verdict…and Smith was then found guilty of murder and sentenced to be hanged and dissected.

Luckily, Smith managed to get his verdict reduced, and ended up serving 12 months of hard labor.

The actual Hammersmith Ghost ended up being a local shoemaker named John Graham, who dressed up to scare his apprentice (or so they say…).

The tragic spirit of Thomas Millwood is said to now haunt the Black Lion Lane pub, where his body was kept, after he was shot that night.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Hammersmith Ghost, please leave them in the comment section below.

12 thoughts on “The Case of the Hammersmith Ghost

  1. This is a cool story. There are a lot of them from back then and earlier.

    So the whole time the Hammersmith ghost was John Graham?  If so, he should have been the one doing 12 months labour although I’m sure Francis Smith was elated with hard labour rather than being dissected.

  2. Scary. I haven’t read ghost stories in a long time. Is it just me, or the best ghost/mystery stories are all from the UK?

    There’s something that has always been bothering me in these types of stories where an innocent person accidentally gets killed. Why does the shooter bring a gun instead of some spiritual artifact? Shouldn’t a ghost, a spiritual entity, be dealt with spiritual ways? Just some shower thoughts.

    Great story!

    1. Hi Kevin, 

      Well I live in the UK (I’m Welsh) and we do have a LONG history over here – the longer the history…the more ghost reports on record! 🙂

  3. Hi there,

    I really enjoyed the reading!

    I am passionate about those kinds of stories, everything that speaks about ghosts, or series killers fascinate me:) I think it comes from my father as he also loved these stories. Life can be unfair for some people, poor Francis Smith, not only he felt guilty of kiling by accident an innocent man but he was also punished for it. What intrigues me, is the women that passed away because of the ghost and all the people who were scared to stroll around this area. Anyway, what would you have done instead of Francis Smith? I think I would have done the same:)

    Thank you for this excellent post!

  4. Its so sad to hear there was no real Ghost till Francis Smith Shot, and I felt so sorry for the sentence he received, the other bad side of our courts, its so hard not to be charged with murder in such circumstances no matter your evidence. But my question is why did John Graham not also charged because he was harassing many people and he led to the death of Thomas Millwood? He wasn’t supposed to come out clean

    1. I don’t think that Graham set out to scare the public mate, I think he was just trying to play some pranks on his apprentice (but the Graham angle has never been 100% proved). 

  5. Although, I do believe in “trapped” spirit walking the earth I also know that the mind and mass hysteria can also do create certain tales which will be shared with generations to come.

    Cemeteries are always eerie and will provide good stories.

    However, in religious circles, like you mentioned in your post, where suicide is a sacrilege, ghost stories always will be a good method too to scare the people off and be “more” obedient. 

    Again, just my 2 cents.

    I really enjoyed the read 🙂

  6. That was an interesting, but rather creepy, story, and what struck me was the judge was so against this poor fellow who was just trying to protect his fellow citizens.  I was happy to hear that Mr. Smith was not hanged and dissected (what exactly does this mean?) but rather had the hard labor sentence instead.  He probably suffered his entire life thinking of how he took that poor man’s life.  I’m glad to live when I do in more civilized (for the most part) times.  I would not have wanted to live back in the day when judges had this kind of raw power to tell a jury what to do.

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