Blake and I walked through The Tower of London, an historical monument to royalty, imprisonment and executions. Having psychometric gifts, the ability to obtain information from an object though touch, I was initially concerned about the tour. I didn’t want to relive any beheadings.
The tour started innocently enough, even when we walked over the waterway where prisoners, including Elizabeth I, had been rowed into the Tower. We stood in the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536. The spot didn’t hold much more unsettling energy than the rest of the Tower, so I was still fine. Of course, neither was I on my hands and knees trying to gather information. I probably could have, but wouldn’t that have been a sight for tourists and Tower employees to behold.
We saw the Queen’s jewels. Those I would have LOVED to touch, such history and exquisite story I would have had access to! Royals put up a pleasant front, but don’t you know they have some pretty engaging stories buried behind their smiles. But, sadly, touching the royal jewels is frowned upon. So, they display them behind thick, layered, bullet-proof glass. And they make you stand on a conveyor belt so you won’t gawk at the jewels too long and create a backup of angry tourists. Tragic.
We traveled through several other displays in the castle. Other than the drag of crowd energy, I was still doing well.
That is, until we were led to the area where the two princes were imprisoned and, according to history, murdered by their uncle.
The Princes in the Tower: 12 year-old Edward V, and 9 year-old Richard, Duke of York were the sons of King Edward IV. When the King died, his brother, Richard III, had the boys declared illegitimate so he could take the throne. He had them imprisoned in the Tower in 1483.
The legend is that Richard III had the princes murdered so that no one would contest his right to the crown. However, there is also a legend, that Henry Tudor, who wanted the crown as well, was the one who had the two princes murdered. This legend suggests that any guilt placed on Richard III was Tudor propaganda to enhance Henry’s image.
With several centuries between me and the murders of the two princes, and the imprinted energy of several million tourists who passed through the corridors, I wasn’t too worried about the tour. Like the spot where Anne Boleyn was murdered, I wasn’t going to drop to the floor of their small room and try to channel history. Really, I was happy to let the mystery stay a mystery.
We entered the claustrophobic, stone entry room along with what felt like several hundred unknown friends. There probably weren’t that many fellow tourists around us, but in that tiny room it definitely felt that way. Waiting our turn to wind up the narrow staircase, we stood at bottom of the stairs. Suddenly I felt someone’s distant panic, extreme distress. The kind of terror that made them drop to their knees, lose control of their bowels, because they knew their lives were over.
My breath kicked in to a pant and I lost my balance.
Blake felt me wobble and he squeezed my hand to give support. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” I smiled. “Fine.” I could do this. There had been so many people in and out of this tower over time, who knew what I was picking up on.
There’s some odd mentality among tourists when it comes to personal space. The same people who would normally afford others their own area, change in a tourist environment and begin pushing and shoving. The closer, the better, seems to be the rule of the day. Which is discouraging when the guy behind you is flooding what little oxygen is left in the room with his nicotine breath, and the gal in front of you – at least I think it was a gal – has no concept of a daily bathing habit, much less her desperate need for deodorant.
The room gave a little twirl and I squeezed Blake’s hand tighter as we continued to climb, the crowd so squished together that we looked more like a caterpillar than a group of historically curious adults.
Blake leaned in closer, “You’re sure you’re alright?”
“Yeah.” It’s not like there was a way out of this conjoined crowd, anyway. And wow, remembering that just really didn’t help.
“The two princes were murdered in this very room sometime between 1483 and 1485,” the tour guide yelled down the stairwell.
The gal, or whatever it was, behind me gave another push forward and I lost my balance. I reached for the stone wall beside me and gripped at it for safety. But what I got in return was far more than the equilibrium that I sought. The screams traveled through my hand, up my arm then took possession of my mind.
The caterpillar inched forward and I moved along, but all I could see was darkness. There was a struggle, young boys screaming. Screaming. There were several large men with knives. Then silence as they carried the bodies down the stairs. Bloody hand prints on the wall and men who lamented killing innocent children.
The farther we climbed, the more panic kicked in my heart until I finally had to stop. “I can’t go any farther,” I said breathlessly. “I just can’t.” The walls still breathed with the anxiety and despair from the two young boys who knew they would die.
I turned around and ran into the next section of the caterpillar who was still pushing forward. “Oh, come on!” she bellowed.
“Madam, step aside,” Blake said authoritatively. She grunted and leaned toward the wall, sensed nothing whatsoever.
I inched down the steps until a broad man blocked my path. “Traffic’s going that way,” he said and pointed upward toward the boys’ chamber.
“Actually, this traffic is traveling this way,” Blake said.
“Excuse me,” I said toward the man’s chest.
We stood at the impasse until Blake reached out and slammed the man toward the wall, giving me enough space to pass.
“Thank you,” I said.
When we reached the bottom of the steps I paused again as the screams faded, but the terror remained. “They were buried … here.” I pointed at a small area of the floor.
“Yes, that’s the rumor,” said another tour guide who appeared from around the corner. “But no one is certain.”
“I’m certain,” I said to Blake as we walked away.