It’s almost All Hallow’s Eve, the night when the thin veil between the living and spirit world becomes more gossamer, and London you’ll not be surprised to know has it‘s own share of stories.
Often the most obvious and typically spectral appear in literature, like the Limehouse Golem rather than in everyday reality of people, who live in the city. Perhaps as we bustle about we have little time to notice the ghosts who walk amongst us, though it always pays to keep an eye open.
The night tube maintenance workers, who walk the tunnels to check for debris,often tell stories as they sometimes see figures in the distance on the tracks, though more recently a ghostly figure was found to be an inebriated man who thought he might be able to walk home through the tunnels as he had missed the last tube. Though other have seen more unnerving things, at Kings Cross station people have reported seeing a young woman wandering the tube corridors with her arms outstretched screaming, but when concerned passers by approach to see if she's ok, she vanishes, the sighting has been linked to the King's Cross fire of 1987, in which 31 people died.
Since 1882 in London there has been a Society for Psychical Research [SPR], which was, the first scientific organisation to examine claims of psychic and paranormal phenomena, examining such cases as the haunting of Alma Fielding in 1930’s Croydon, South London
[ now the subject of a very interesting book by Kate Summerscale] .
Also the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain has been in existence since 1872 formerly in a grand and spooky building in Belgrave Square, it has been holding group meetings and private sitting with mediums since that time and for the time being operates sessions online.
There is another explanation that some members of the psychiatric profession have put forward for these manifestations. That at this time of year as the nights draw in that people since ancient times have always looked for guidance as they worry about what the winter would bring , and that a “Sense Memory” locked into our DNA stays with us from the distant past, so a message or declaration from a loved one who had passed on would console and reassure them, and that whatever hardships they face in the here and now, that all life goes on in some form.
So if you see or feel something strange as you walk London’s darkening streets it maybe your own needs talking back to you rather than a true spectre, but it’s a good idea to ask them why they are here, if you can bear to wait for the answer!