People are discovering the harrowing dark theory behind the nursery rhyme London Bridge Is Falling Down
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There are a fair few nursery rhymes from our childhood that have probably been seared into our memories since we were tots.
However, it seems that while we may be able to effortlessly recite all the lyrics to the likes of 'Humpty Dumpty' and 'Rock-A-Bye-Baby' - there's one little known dark theory behind one particular tune that is leaving people beyond creeped out.
People are only just now discovering the eerie theory after one person took to TikTok to share the harrowing symbolism behind 'London Bridge Is Falling Down' and, in doing so, ruined all of our childhoods.
While the song has a load of different verses, one particular verse seems to stand out amid the rest.
It goes: "London Bridge is falling down, / Falling down, falling down. / London Bridge is falling down, / My fair lady."
Now, although there is a bunch of speculation about the actual meaning of the rhyme, one TikToker, who goes by the handle @blaycewilson, shared his theory on it and - heads up - it's not for the faint-hearted.
He began: "It's said that this song is based upon child sacrifice."
Already off to a bone-chilling start there.
"So back in time, there was a rumour that a bridge would fall down and collapse if it didn't have a human sacrifice in the foundations," he went on.
"Also, if you think about the game that was played during this song, where two kids formed an arch and then all the kids ran through it until the end, where there was one kid trapped in between the arms then it kind of makes sense."
He concluded: "But yeah, it's kind of scary."
I'd say that's an understatement.
One folklorist from the 19th century, Alice Bertha Gomme, suggested that the origin of 'London Bridge Is Falling Down' refers to the use of a medieval punishment known as immurement.
Don't know what that is?
Well, immurement is effectively when a person is trapped into a room with no openings or exits and pretty much just left there to die.
While it's clearly a proper sinister form of punishment, immurement was also a form of sacrifice.
Gomme points to the rhyme's lyric 'take the key and lock her up' as a nod to the archaic torture practice and the theory that the sacrifices in question may have been children.
According to her, people once believed the bridge would simply collapse on itself if there wasn't a body buried inside as a 'watchman'.
Thankfully, however, this incredibly sinister speculation has never been proven, with no archaeological evidence for any human remains in the foundation of the actual London Bridge suggesting it ever actually happened.
Well, that's my childhood ruined.