On-campus cemeteries and cursed paintings: These are the most haunted unis in London

Students study next to Jeremy Bentham’s preserved body at UCL and it didn’t even make the list

Many London universities have histories going back centuries, so it’s no surprise that for some students here, being immersed in spookiness is not only a once-in-a-year thing during Halloween.

A recent analysis by The Knowledge Academy looked into factors like the number of cemeteries, listed historical buildings, and paranormal reports near uni campuses to reveal the most supernatural-linked universities in the UK.

From a cemetery in the middle of campus to a cursed painting that makes students fail their exams or go mad – get ready: the journey to your lectures might never feel the same again.

The London unis that made the list of the top 50 most haunted unis in the UK (Data source: The Knowledge Academy)

Queen Mary, University of London

Described by the uni as one of its “more unique features,” a massive 18th-century Jewish cemetery rests in the centre of the Mile End campus. Yes, you read that right. The uni is built around a graveyard.

Adding onto that, there have been 11 reported supernatural encounters around the campus and a legend of a “disturbed spirit” going around and stealing loo rolls from students.

The Nuevo Beth Chaim Cemetery in the middle of QMUL’s campus (Image from Google streetview)

Royal Holloway, University of London

Aside from tales of founder Thomas Holloway straying around the campus in the form of a black cat, the main culprit of spookiness at RHUL is a cursed painting.

The art, called “Man Proposes, God Disposes,” is covered by a Union Flag every year during exams because it’s believed to make students fail or go mad.

It shows two polar bears attacking ships and crew members from the doomed expedition of John Franklin to find a passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the Canadian arctic. More disturbing than being ripped apart by animals, though, is that some human remains found on the vessels afterwards had marks suggesting cannibalism. Not exactly something you want to be reminded of walking through the campus.

There’s also been a completely unfounded rumour that a student was disturbed by the image to the point of killing herself in front of it, leaving behind the ominous words: “The polar bears made me do it.”

Brunel University London

Brunel University sits partly on what was an isolation hospital for contagious diseases, which might have been related to the reported sightings of “a young girl in a hospital gown running down the corridor.” 

The campus’s wealth of historical buildings and nearby cemeteries also contributed to its unsettling place amongst the most haunted unis in the country.

Brunel University London (Image from Google streetview)

You can find the full ranking by The Knowledge Academy here.

Feature image credit: screenshot from YouTube video by Queen Mary, University of London.

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