Posts Tagged ‘london’

Alan Moore created the comic book character of John Constantine, later adapted into a film that starred Keanu Reeves playing the character, but Alan Moore may well have come face to face with his ceration before then. In his words:

One interesting anecdote that I should point out is that one day, I was in Westminster in London – this was after we had introduced the character – and I was sitting in a sandwich bar. All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine. He was wearing the trenchcoat, a short cut – he looked – no, he didn’t even look exactly like Sting. He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar. I sat there and thought, should I go around that corner and see if he really is there, or should I just eat my sandwich and leave? I opted for the latter; I thought it was the safest. I’m not making any claims to anything. I’m just saying that it happened. Strange little story.”

In the snakes & ladders book a fictionalised version added he once came up to say “I will tell you the ultimate secret of magic. Any c*** could do it.”

Now either Alan Moore was telling another good tale, delusional, had subconsciously made him and had seen the guy before or possibly he had brought Constantine into existence. This has been discussed before as something called the Tulpa effect, essentially this is a Buddhist belief that a thing or being can be willed into existence with the right spiritual and mental discipline. The concentration and the power of the mind is what creates it but with enough vitality the creation can free itself from its maker. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Alan Moore’s story, or come to think of it, a child with an imaginary friend….

DC Comics' Constantine No. 1 cover.jpg
DC Comics’ Constantine No. 1 cover” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

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The pneumatic railway was built near Crystal Palace in South London, around 1864 and was effectively a vacuum-driven train that ran for about a year. The power came from a giant steam-powered fan and the fan was reversed for the return journey where the carriage used brakes at each end. Remnants of the tunnel were uncovered around 1992 in the Crystal Palace Gardens.

In 1978, 19 year old Pamela Goodsell claimed she had found the tunnel and within it was an old railway carriage. Her story also included the bizarre details that the occupants were in the train still and were skeletons still dressed in their Victorian garb. The tunnel however was not found at that stage, some believe it was destroyed by construction work in 1911 for the Festival of Empire celebrations. The celebrations were to celebrate the coronation of King George V.

The story may have more origins as a creepy tale in the 1930’s from local school children, the exact origin of the story does not seem to have been found however. The children’s tale says the tunnel was shut down as a commuter train was trapped when the tunnel collapsed. The local tale goes that they couldn’t get out the train or the passengers and so walled it up with the souls left trapped inside. From looking around on the internet if there ever was a train there then it was more likely retrieved and used for scrap not left buried with people inside.

I cannot help but think it’s more likely a themed ride at Disney than an actual event! It makes for a good story… but I am going to go with urban legend on this one.

Crystal Palace Athmosperic Rly.1864

London has plenty of ghostly tales, so I’ve picked one of the stories that caught my eye. In the early hours of some mornings a number 7 bus had been witnessed around the Cambridge Gardens, the last report was May 1990.

In 1934 it got public attention, a motorist swerved for what seemed no reason and was killed when his car impacted with a wall and then set fire. An inquest was duly helped and witnesses spot about the phantom bus. It was seen pretty much at the spot of the fatal accident. It always appeared around 1.15am, the time the crash occurred. It would race towards the driver, terrifying them as it came down along the centre of the road.

There would be no sign of a driver, there were no lights on either. Motorists would be convinced of the oncoming collision and swerve to avoid the bus. When they looked around again the bus had vanished without a trace.

You can take London Bus Tours that focus on the fact London has a great many spectres and ghouls. The history of London is both impressive and lengthy, from burials grounds, coffin’s transported on trains, London Tower itself and more.

 

Ghost Bus Tours Routemaster

One of my greatest fuels for nightmares as a teen was spontaneous human combustion. I had heard an urban legend in the area I lived in about a teenager that had got into the local HMV (music store) and burnt up. I am sure it was an urban legend but it fuelled my restless sleeps for a while.

Which leads me on to the story of Paul Hayes, on the evening of 25th May, 1985, nineteen year old Hayes was walking home in Stepney Green, London, England. The computer programmer was suddenly and inexplicably engulfed in flames. he thought he had been doused in petrol, and from the accounts I found was convinced he was dying.

He curled up on the ground, even explaining he thought that he could hear his brains bubbling. Strangely as soon as it began, it was over, and Hayes stumbled into a London hospital.

He received treatment for his burns to his hands, forearms, neck and face. The police and medical investigators were left with a mystery.

 

MCDHELL EC014

The Cock Lane Ghost was a reported haunting attracting a mass of attention in 1762, following the death of William Kent’s wife in childbirth he became romantically involved with her sister, Fanny. Canon Law prevented them from marrying but they moved to London and lodged at the property in Cock Lane, then owned by Richard Parsons.

There was some accounts of knocks and noises but it seemed relatively uneventful and the couple moved out. Fanny died from smallpox and Kent successfully brought legal action against Parsons over an outstanding debt and it seems that the problems started up again. Person’s reported that Fanny was haunting his property, and she was haunting both him and his daughter.

The ghost pen-ultimately claimed that Fanny had been poisoned with arsenic, Kent was publicly the suspected murderer but a commission of people stated that the haunting was a fraud, it was also proven later on that the scam was carried out by Elizabeth Parsons pushed into it by her father. The responsible parties were found guilty and Richard Parsons himself was sentenced to two years in prison, and pilloried (put on a public display for humiliation).

Click here for a more indepth article on Wikipedia.