If you love mystery and look for some unique things to do in London, you should definitely visit Hannah Courtoy’s tomb at Brompton Cemetery as it’s rumored to contain a fully functional time machine!
We all love to travel but have you ever considered traveling through time? If time travel was possible, what would be your first trip? Or when…
What if I told you that a real time machine may be hidden in the heart of London?
Unique Things To Do In London: Is Hannah Courtoy’s Tomb A Real Time Machine?
London has many cemeteries filled with graves of the well-known and not so well-known residents of London past.
These old cemeteries are filled with a multitude of stories, that not only tell us more about London’s residents but also draw in lovers of the supernatural. Many of these tales are as eerie as the cold damp mists that swirl throughout the graveyards in winter, tentacles of mystery, myth and fiction that keep drawing people in, desperate to learn more.
Brompton Cemetery nestles between Fulham and Chelsea in London. This sprawling cemetery is open to anyone who wants to visit and whilst not officially haunted many people have reported strange occurrences and ghostly happenings.
Some of these occurrences relate to the curious tomb of Hannah Courtoy (1781-1849).
Hannah Courtoy was a housekeeper of a Merchant called John Courtoy. She gave birth to three daughters and claimed Courtoy was the father.
Hannah Courtoy was much younger than John and when he died she inherited his fortune, in mysterious circumstances. John Courtoy’s will was disputed in court as although Hannah took his name she wasn’t his wife.
When Hannah died in 1849, she was laid to rest in a large “Egyptian style” tomb, along with two of her three daughters, at Brompton Cemetery in London.
Many who visit Brompton Cemetery to search out Hannah Courtoy’s tomb see a large imposing mausoleum, nestled as though protected, under tree boughs, but as the mists swirl, so do the continuing stories of what may be locked inside, and it’s this myth that draws them.
Hannah Courtoy’s tomb is thought to be more than a tomb, many believe it’s a working time travel device.
This speculation has been fuelled by the Reuters report of 1998, numerous articles and recordings made by the musician Stephen Coates.
Ghost hunters and lovers of the paranormal are drawn to the site fascinated by the mystery of the tomb. They say they have witnessed strange paranormal activity around the tomb, some even think it housed a ghost or some kind of fantasy creature that had been locked in, unable to escape.
The tomb even inspired the famous writer HG Wells to write the novel “The Time Machine“.
The Mysteries Of Egypt
Ancient Egyptians believed their lives, including the natural environment, the afterlife, and their mystical world was controlled by ancient gods and goddesses. They even had their own deity Weret Hekau, who was the embodiment of all supernatural powers.
Egyptian temples and tombs were covered with colorful hieroglyphs and depictions of how they lived. The most important thing to Ancient Egyptians however was the afterlife.
Nowadays, Ancient life being controlled by mystical gods and goddesses seems unexplainable and unbelievable, but to the Egyptians, this was how they lived. Everything they did in their daily lives was governed by otherworldly beings, ensuring a safe journey into the afterlife once they died.
In the 1700s The Grand Tour became popular, and many traveled overseas to explore the remains of ancient civilizations.
Upon return to England, these travelers weaved aspects of their discoveries into their lives and death. One such man was the artist Joseph Bonomi who traveled to Egypt to sketch tombs, temples and pyramids.
He fully embraced his Egyptian life, even dressing as locals, learning the language and deciphering numerous hieroglyphs in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor.
Upon his return to England, Bonomi turned his hand to embellishing London buildings with ancient Egyptian flourishes. He also assisted the British Museum with exhibitions.
A Time Travel Plan Is Hatched
Bonomi became friends with Hannah Courtoy, was said to be fascinated by the magical tales Bonomi regaled of his trips to Egypt and the ancient Egyptian texts he had discovered including astrology, iconography, and a fascinating secret to unlock the key to ancient Egyptian time travel.
Courtoy also became friends with Inventor Samuel Alfred Warner the supposed creator of a psychic torpedo, an invisible weapon, capable of anything that got in its path.
Both Bonomi and Warner also dabbled in the occult, and the unlikely trio of Courtoy, Bonomi, and Warner, hatched a plan to build a secret time travel device inside Brompton Cemetery using Courtoy’s mausoleum as its hiding place.
The Courtoy tomb is adorned with interesting features that border on the unusual and ancient. Intriguing hieroglyphs on the exterior doors emulate Egyptian hieroglyphs. There are gates with stunning images of medieval torches, guarded by serpents. The image is similar to the Greek mythological image of the Rod of Asclepius, which represented healing.
There is also an ouroboros – a circular serpent eating itself, an ancient symbol used in many cultures including Egyptian and Greek history. Ouroboros is an alchemical symbol and can also signify death, rebirth and the cycle of life. Other strange images on the outer walls of the tomb are thought to have been copied from drawings made by Leonardo Da Vinci.
There are strange wheel motifs on the bottom of the mausoleum door and a large circular hole in the top with 8 smaller holes surrounding it resembling a clock or dial that was supposed to be in that place.
An interesting fact is that for the vast majority of structures at Brompton Cemetery there are architects’ plans, but not for Hannah Courtoy’s mausoleum.
All of the above add weight to the mystery of what may be hidden inside the tomb, and some even think the hieroglyphs on the outer door are a secret description of how to achieve time travel.
Both Warner and Bonomi are also buried at Brompton Cemetery.
Bonomi’s grave is located in the immediate vicinity of Hannah Courtoy’s mausoleum. There is a depiction of Hannah’s tomb on his headstone and an illustration of the Egyptian god of death, Anubis, looking in the direction of the mausoleum.
Mysteriously Missing Key
You may be wondering why nobody has actually checked what’s hidden inside Hannah Courtoy’s tomb. This is because the key to the mausoleum went missing and one was able to see what is inside for more than 150 years.
The original tomb key was held by Samuel Alfred Warner but records state that after dying in strange circumstances in 1853, the mausoleum key was lost and has been missing ever since. There are rumors that Warner didn’t really die but traveled in time and disappeared.
A descendant of Hannah Courtoy has tried to get a replacement key so that he can see inside the mausoleum and pay respects.
Despite rumors of the key being missing for almost 150 years, he claims the last key went missing in the 1970s, and because the lock is so old any new key would need to be specifically cast by a locksmith used to working with vintage locks. The fact that the tomb has a listed status creates more obstacles as it cannot be damaged in any way.
This is intriguing, however. If there was another key, who had it and why has no one opened the tomb before now? Or are they still using the key in secret as some believe without the cemetery or others knowing?
Teleportation Links With Paris
The connections of Samuel Alfred Warner to the tomb have led to the rise of many theories and rumors relating to metaphysical connections between Brompton Cemetery, seven other magnificent cemeteries around London and the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.
The Parisian tomb is said to be strikingly similar to the Courtoy tomb. Warner put forward ideas of all eight cemeteries being connected via a network of teleportation chambers, not only allowing people to travel across London undetected but also to France and back!
As the years pass and the mists continue to swirl around Brompton Cemetery, they hug the secrets of Hannah Courtoy’s tomb closely refusing to let them go. The supernatural secrets of the mysterious tomb are a tale that will continue to be told.
Is there really a time machine inside, or is it merely a spooky myth, pulled together from a few random pieces of information, to create an interesting tale to regale Londoners with on a dark winter’s night?
Whatever the truth it’s an enticing mystery, that continues to draw people back until the tomb is finally opened to reveal its true contents! Would you dare to step inside?
In the meantime, you can visit Brompton Cemetery in London and admire the magnificent tomb of Hannah Courtoy from the outside. If you are in a search of some unique things to do in London, it does not get any better than this!
Just before you go, you may also want to check out some more mystery travel articles down below.
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