Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Ghostly Tale...

I am fed up.
I have a week off and I am full of cold. I walk the dog this morning and I am soaked to the skin. Bollocks to it; I've had my moan, now on to other things.
Being cooped up indoors Mrs.C. told me about the watch again facility on the cable TV. I caught up with 'Rome' and 'Torchwood' and thoroughly enjoyed the former whilst the jury remains out regarding the latter. No.1 daughter described it as camp and silly...I have also been catching up with 'The Perfumed Garden' on Six radio. The last shows (1967) of John Peel on Radio London during its pirate days. I am happy as a pig in the proverbial being an old hippy at heart.
I promised a ghost story for Halloween...

We go back to November 1991 and the place is London. To be more precise the place is Swain's Lane, Highgate N.6. I used to work at a community rehab unit near Parliament Hill Fields and I often walked to work from my flat just off the Archway Road. A lovely walk in the summer but on a cold, damp autumnal morning...I would walk briskly. There were a number of ways to get to work but the quickest one was via Swain's Lane. It was steep and quite narrow in parts and as you near the halfway point to your left is the East section of Highgate Cemetery. I have visited the cemetery many times as a legitimate visitor and as a kid who climbed over at night with his mates. It is fair to say that I had a pretty good knowledge of the cemetery.
This particular morning I was walking towards the cemetery gates when I spotted him. He was walking directly towards the gates and about 200 yards away from me. I don't know how I knew it, but I instinctively knew something was wrong. He was extremely tall, well over six feet in height and he was extremely thin. He wore a long black cape-like coat and a top hat. His dress looked Victorian in style and he appeared all black. He also carried a small package. However, he walked directly towards the gates which I and every other local knew was locked to prevent intruders gaining entry. I watched as he walked straight at and through the gates, not once altering his stride or reaching out to open the gates. I stood frozen to the spot and stared at the gates. I kept thinking "Those gates are locked.I know they are locked".
I walked towards the gates whilst keeping to the righthand side of the road, keeping some distance between myself and the figure who had disappeared once he had entered the cemetery. The gates were securely chained and padlocked. To get in one would need the key or would have to climb over. I stared at the gates and I realised that I had seen someone not human and my instincts told me the figure I had seen was evil.It's funny what details stick in your mind because as well as his extreme height, thinness, the clothing and the blackness of the figure, he also appeared to glide and there was no sound. The ground was littered with leaves yet I heard no sound from him nor did he take any notice of me.
I have to confess I made it into work in record time and one of my colleagues stated "You look as though you've seen a ghost". When I told them what I had seen I was met with laughter and ridicule.
However, I know what I saw that morning and I remember it distinctly to this day. As to whether it was a vampire...I have absolutely no idea as to the existence of vampires although I do believe I saw an apparition. I also took another route to work for the next few months.


Blogger Anthony Hogg said...

Good morning,

I enjoyed that story but it reminds me of one I've read elsewhere. Praytell, is your name Declan Walsh?

4:46 pm  
Blogger delcatto said...

Hello Anthony. As you have discovered it is. From what I can gather I told this story on an on-line forum somewhere and I believe that is where Della picked it up from. I have to admit to being very surprised to find my story in her book and contacted her. I was happy to have it published although I still question what it was that I saw.

8:48 am  

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