My Books



THE POLTERGEIST PRINCE OF LONDON

The Remarkable True Story of the Battersea Poltergeist


(Available in paperback or for the Kindle)

Published by The History Press, 2013, 320pp, illus.

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HAUNTED LONDON

Ghosts and legends of London


(Available in paperback or for the Kindle)

Published by The History Press, 2007, 128pp, illus.

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HAUNTED WANDSWORTH

Ghosts and legends of the London Borough of Wandsworth (covers Balham, Battersea, Putney, Tooting & Wandsworth)


(Available in paperback)

Published by The History Press, 2006, 96pp, illus.

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HAUNTED LAMBETH

Ghosts and legends of the London Borough of Lambeth (covers Brixton, Clapham, North Lambeth, Norwood, Stockwell & Streatham)


(Available in paperback or for the Kindle)

Published by The History Press, 2013, 96pp, illus.

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STRANGE MITCHAM

Ghosts, legends and curiosities of Mitcham in Surrey / south London


(Paperback)



(Kindle)

Published by Shadowtime Publishing, 2nd edition 2011, illus.

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MYSTERIOUS MITCHAM

More ghosts, legends and curiosities of Mitcham in Surrey / south London


(Published online)

Mysterious Mitcham

Online sequel to 'Strange Mitcham'.

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Not tempted by anything above? Okay then, try this:


Notes from a Weird World

(August 2015)

The (Other) Stockwell Ghost

The Other Stockwell Ghost

The Stockwell Ghost was not a ghost. That was the conclusion reached after the notorious events of 6–7 January 1772, when the blame for what had originally appeared to be the work of a devilish imp was placed upon Ann Robinson.

Ann – a young woman of around 20 who had recently come into service as a maid to the elderly Mrs Golding – was accused of hoaxing a dramatic series of what we might today call poltergeist phenomena. Her intention, it seemed, had been to scare people out of her employer's house so that she might spend some time therein with her lover. It appears that Ann's accusers were correct: after Ann was discharged from Mrs Golding's service the disturbances stopped, and she even admitted her guilt to the Reverend Mr Brayfield [1].

So the Stockwell Ghost was not a ghost. Much more recently, however, disturbances in a flat very close to the likely location of Mrs Golding's house [2] suggest the activity of another Stockwell Ghost – and this time it is one that may not be so easy to explain away.

In the latter half of 2009 26-year-old 'Louise' (not her real name) moved into a flat above a pharmacy on Stockwell Road. Her new flatmate had already been living there for around 6 months and had learned to tolerate what she put down to the faulty electrics of the flat, which would result in irritations such as the television set spontaneously changing channels.

Looking north along Stockwell Road

(Above: The flat appears on the left in this photo, which was taken looking north along Stockwell Road from a point opposite Moat Place. Mrs Golding's house - the location of the original Stockwell Ghost story - probably stood a short way ahead and on the right of this picture: see my earlier post, 'On the Trail of the Stockwell Ghost')


Louise takes up the story:

'I was working in media in the City and my flatmate was a social worker, so hardly fanciful. From the minute [I] moved in, we joked that there was a ghost. The TV channel would change by itself when the remote was on the table in front of us, several times the microwave would switch itself on, the window would close by itself etc., etc., but we just put it down to [it] being a Victorian building with faulty electrics. Until one night...

'We'd just finished dinner and we decided to have a drink in front of the TV, so I went downstairs to buy a bottle of wine. When I came to the top of the stairs and walked through the door, there was a loud clicking to be heard. I pushed open the living room/kitchen door to see my flatmate pressed against the far wall from the kitchen, her mouth opening and shutting as she pointed at the kettle.

'The said electric kettle was flicking itself on and off! Very rapidly and in a staccato movement. I'm no electrician but whilst a kettle should of course be able to turn itself OFF, it requires an actual downwards force to go ON. I was worried the empty kettle would burn out so I shouted, "Stop it!" and pulled the kettle off the stand ... only for the microwave to suddenly start!

'At this I let out a scream and switched off the power for both implements at the wall ... and suddenly a massive crash could be heard from the bathroom. The huge heavy shower curtain rail had been yanked off the wall with such force that it had pulled chunks of plaster off with it.

'We had no further disturbances apart from the odd noises and occasionally, the TV. We never felt that the house had a bad atmosphere, and whatever was causing the disturbances was only doing it for fun, and in fact when the flat was sold and we had to leave, we were really sad.

'Just a little tale for you, one which I swear is completely true!'

Neither Louise nor her flatmate had ever heard of the Stockwell Ghost. If they had, perhaps they would have wondered whether they were the new victims of an old mischief-maker - that Ann Robinson was up to her tricks again, only this time playing the part of a genuine ghost.

It would certainly be poetic.


Source:


Personal communication with 'Louise' (pseudonym), July 2015.


Notes:


[1] The story of the Stockwell Ghost is included in my book ‘Haunted Lambeth’ (The History Press, 2013).

[2] See earlier blog entry: 'On the Trail of the Stockwell Ghost'.


Image credits:

© James Clark

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