- The Festby Lobber
This work has reached the exceptional level
The Viaduct Tavern (London) - 1989
The Fest by Lobber
Big Historical Event contest entry

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

It’s a warm Sunday night and I’m visiting The Viaduct Tavern in London to attend a special, after midnight Fest event.  It’s August 13, 1989 and I’m making this recording for The British Paranormal Society.  I’m now heading downstairs hoping to get a good seat.

These stone steps are uneven and a bit tricky to navigate.  

Wow!  A strange room.  Over here I see . . . 

Hey, the lights just went out!

This is supposed to be a dark spectacle with rituals.  Well, it is dark. But, where’s everyone?

I hear some speaker static.

"The first rule of Fest is to enter with an open mind, stay relaxed and be a willing player – After all, the game found you, didn't it."  

A game? Part of me wishes I stayed home. The room is getting a bit brighter.  I see a portable projection screen, a table and an old Kodak.  It’s a carousel for 35 millimetre slides.

It's a Welcome slide:



"You are meant to be here, exactly on this day, at precisely this time."

 As strange as it may sound, I believe him.  You know, now that I’m here, I feel there is nowhere else I could possibly be.  It’s weird.

 Another slide -



"It's 1936.  Rainey Bethea had a last meal of fried chicken, pie and ice cream." 

Well, the pie looks good.  Oh, another slide:

"An estimated 20,000 came to watch his hanging.  On August 14, 1936 - 53 years ago - Rainey Bethea was the last person publicly executed in the United States."

"The rope snapped Bethea's neck.  After 14 minutes his body was taken down."

 Dead!  . . . I hear a rustle. I feel something near me.  The lights are still dim and another slide.

It’s a picture of two men.

  "Exactly 25 years ago today, these two men, Gwynne Evans and Peter Allen – were the last people to be executed in the United Kingdom –
That is until TONIGHT!" 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

August 21, 1989
London, UK
(Associated Press)

Last Monday (Aug 14) a small pocket tape recorder was found in the basement of the famous Viaduct Tavern in London’s East End.  Above is a transcript of the tape on the recorder.  Who made the tape is unknown.  A rope, tied in a hangman’s noose, was found on the floor nearby, along with some projection slides.  These items were found by the staff when they opened the tavern on Monday morning.

The slides include pictures of two men who died from hangings exactly 25 years to the day.  Gwynne Owen Evans was hanged at Manchester's Strangeways Prison on August 13, 1964.  At the same time, Peter Anthony Allen was hanged at Liverpool's Walton Prison. These were the last two hangings in the United Kingdom.

Also found was a slide of Rainey Bethea, an Afro-American who was hanged on August 14, 1936, over 50 years ago.  It was the last public execution in America.



Author Notes
It may come as no surprise to learn that the creepy former prison cells in the Viaduct Tavern's cellar are thought to be the most haunted place in the pub. One ghost story associated with this area is particularly disturbing. It centers on a former landlord who had entered the cellar. His experience was a frightening one, as all of the lights suddenly went out and the door he had entered through slammed shut behind him. Then, whilst he was alone in the dark, he heard a voice whisper into his ear: "it's just you and me down here now."


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