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Haunted Lambeth by James Clark
Written by fellow ASSAP (Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena) member, James Clark, Haunted Lambeth features a collection of paranormal tales including poltergeists, apparitions, black dogs and other unexplained phenomena.
Lambeth itself covers an area including Brixton, Clapham, North Lambeth, Norwood, Stockwell and Streatham and James splits his chapters to cover each area in turn. Through his introduction James explains that the tales collated here are part of his contribution to Project Albion, which is ASSAP's on-going research programme for the recording and mapping of mysteries, legends and folklore across the British Isles. James certainly doesn't disappoint in bringing theses tales together into a fascinating and interesting read.
Starting in Brixton, James covers the Horror of Margate Road, which will strike a chord with anyone familiar with The Amityville Horror tale. In our case the house in question was reputedly haunted by the spirits of a man and woman who lived in the house and might have dabbled in black magic. Events in Margate Road included a ghostly form like a dog with horns being seen and some poltergeist like activity.
Moving on to Clapham, James features a spectral Hansom Cab which has been reported by a number of people over the years, he also features a few stories that all centre around Clapham Common including the 'Whistling Stone' and a brief mention of UFO's reported there.
With each chapter James includes a map of the local area, highlighting where the accounts take place which I find particularly useful and something I wish more books I review included. It helps not only to set the scene but gives the readers a better opportunity to walk the streets and visit locations for themselves.
Lambeth North includes the stunning Lambeth Palace where the ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn has been reputedly seen and heard. A ghost legend surrounding a local tomb states that if you dance around it twelve times as Big Ben strikes midnight then a ghost will appear, I'm almost tempted to try this one out next time I'm in London!
Before moving on to the next area it would be remiss of me not quickly mention the ghosts of the Old Vic which James features. The ghost of Lilian Baylis is reputed to haunt the building and indeed she did threaten to come back and haunt there if her work was ever put at risk! A ghostly female wringing her bloody hands is connected to the opening of the play Macbeth in 1937 and there has also been a figure of a man seen on stage during a particular scene which is possibly the ghost of an actor who died before he could perform his role.
Within Norwood there is an area called Gipsy Hill, that James mentions. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Norwood Gipsies who lived there had a reputation for occult powers who would be sought out for fortune telling.
Within Streatham James focuses on the many ghosts of Caeser's Nightclub which reputedly include Ruth Ellis and Reggie Kray along with a few others. Most Haunted featured Caeser's Nightclub within their TV series and this has obviously raised much awareness for the now closed club. I'm pleased that James takes their investigation with a pinch of salt, however he does point out that strange experiences have been recorded there long before Most Haunted arrived.
At the end of the book James gives a clear run down of his sources and where his information has come from, again, I wish more books in this series did just this. Overall the book is one of the better ones I feel in the Haunted Series. James has done his research well and for anyone living or visiting the area I'd heartily recommend this book for your coffee table, I'm not sure you'd want it for bedtime reading!
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd (1 Feb 2013)
Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.6 x 1 cm
with a bonus ghost for producing maps and a source list!