IN his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, David Ellis says that bizarrely, people in London still claim today they’ve been asked by Sarah Whitehead the same repeated question: “Have you seen my brother?”
Bizarrely, because Sarah’s brother was hanged in London in 1812 for forgery at The Bank of England where he worked, and Sarah herself died 25 years later.
But to this day, people swear they’ve been stopped near the bank on Threadneedle Street by a little old lady dressed in widow’s weeds of long black gown and black veil from another era, and asked that question…
Knowing how close Sarah was to her brother Paul (often misidentified in the media as Philip,) family members withheld from her that he had been hanged, and she began going regularly to the bank to ask his whereabouts when he didn’t return to the home that they shared.
No one would say, until a clerk finally blurted out the truth, and at that moment Sarah’s mind snapped. She donned widow’s weeds and every day for six years returned asking to see Paul, ultimately also demanding money she said the bank now owed her.
In 1818 the bank agreed to pay her a significant amount on condition she not visit them again, and Sarah agreed. But after her death, her ghost – dubbed The Black Nun – began appearing regularly in the bank and along Threadneedle Street, with scores of sightings of her continuing to this day, 179 years after her death.
And each time she politely asks those she encounters the same question: “Have you seen my brother?” and when told “No,” simply vanishes…
A SKETCHED likeness of Sarah Whitehead, London’s ghostly Black Nun, and The Bank of England she reputedly haunts to this day.