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)



NB: You will probably be able to buy the paperback version of 'Strange Mitcham' cheaper at Lulu:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

(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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the website


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


Introduction

James Clark, photography by Sam Armstrong: www.headshot-soho.co.uk

Hello, thanks for stopping by. I'm a freelance writer and proofreader based in the darkest depths of south London, UK.

It can be a weird old place, this often overlooked hinterland of the world's greatest city*, and my published titles include the number one bestselling book 'The Poltergeist Prince of London: The Remarkable True Story of the Battersea Poltergeist', as well as several collections of local ghost stories, folklore and history: links are to the right. I also write on other subjects.

To find out what I'm up to at the moment, see my News page.



*Other cities are, of course, available.

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Announcement

For personal, financial and health reasons I have stepped away from the worlds of forteana and folklore. As much as I miss those fields and the friendships I have made, I have no intention at present to return.

For more than 20 years, I painstakingly built up a career that combined editorial work with (in whatever time that left me) researching and writing about strange real-life stories. It is not the sort of career that brings in a regular or especially lucrative income, but I was able to make it work by investing the majority of my earnings as they came in, so that I could draw on those funds later in the times I needed them. Although it was a frugal life, that had never posed a major problem - not until June 2016.

In that month, the world discovered that the xenophobia drip-fed over years by certain sections of the media, by blame-shifting politicians, and by far-right groups, had left vast swathes of the UK population prey to what they should have recognized to be empty slogans and obvious lies.

Those lies were sold, and bought. And on the strength of those lies, a narrow majority of my country's voters decided they wanted to leave the European Union, despite the many warnings, the risks, and the clear absence of any strategy to ameliorate the impact.

An early economic consequence of their decision had an important impact on me in that a large chunk of my aforementioned savings vanished. At the very moment I needed to draw on the money I'd worked so bloody hard for, it was no longer there.

After that, my situation deteriorated further. As politicians and extremists squabbled over wildly differing interpretations of what people voted for/against - and even over what Brexit actually meant! - businesses across the UK and abroad were forced to protect themselves against a rising tide of economic and regulatory uncertainty. My clients cut costs, and as they did so my own remaining income streams dried up.

That was bad enough. The aftermath has been worse. I am, to put it mildly, angry that the life I built has been ripped from me, but apparently I am not allowed to feel that anger. On the contrary, I hear time and time again (even from this country's current Government) that resenting what has happened makes me a 'remoaner' and even a traitor. That if I refuse to acknowledge the glory of their blinkered, nationalistic new order, I should pack my bags and go to live in another country. Oddly enough, this does not dissipate my anger. It makes me even angrier.

To put it simply, the last few years have broken me. My health is suffering, both mental and physical. And I can no longer afford the time and expense it would take to continue researching and writing the books I had been working on.

Moreover, I have always endeavoured to strike a balance in my books between credulity and cynicism, to respect phenomenological reality whilst also taking into account different ways in which a person's experienced reality could be interpreted. Such a nuanced approach has evidently fallen out of favour in early-21st-century Britain, where ignorance is celebrated and education is metaphorically burnt at the stake.

To return to the subject matter I have enjoyed so much would be to march back into the No-Man's Land of forteana, walking an invisible line between warring factions, entrenched in their views, screaming extreme opinions at one another.

My real life is already beset with too much of that tribal hostility. Far more than I can cope with right now.

James Clark, updated 24 January 2020




Latest News

January 2021: 'The Battersea Poltergeist podcast!'

My book 'The Poltergeist Prince of London: The Remarkable True Story of the Battersea Poltergeist', details the incredible events that began in a south London house in 1956.

Now Danny Robins has brought that story to life in a stunning new Radio 4 series, starring Dafne Keen, Toby Jones, Alice Lowe, and Burn Gorman.

Listen to the podcast now at the BBC Sounds website.



Fortean Times 312 review of The Poltergeist Prince of London '... an essential read for any fortean ...' - Fortean Times reviews The Poltergeist Prince!

"This book is a rarity: a balanced collaboration between a writer and a person who was at the centre of a poltergeist haunting. Over 12 years, Shirley Hitchings and her parents were accosted by relentless tapping sounds along with objects moving on their own, the occasional spontaneous fire, a ghostly breath or two, and floating lightforms. Beyond the (sometimes musical) tapping, the Battersea poltergeist started handwriting notes to the family, to psychical researchers and even to British teen idols! This was a poltergeist with a particularly sassy personality sometimes more than one, it seemed..."

Click here to read the full review.



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