32. The Spirit Of Christmas
Christmas ghost stories told by a crackling fire are a rare occurrence in the modern age, so let me chill your spine with a few yarns relating to festive phantoms of the wintry city.
The first haunting is said to occur on Christmas Day at the Cadogan Hotel, Sloane Street, and concerns the ghost of actress Lillie Langtry, once a mistress of Edward VII. The spook is not a troublesome one, but instead appears when the hotel is often quiet.
According to the Paranormal Database there are several other Christmas Day spectres – the first, a recurring apparition at Buckingham Palace, is that of a chained monk, although sightings are said to date back to before the construction of the palace. Another 25th December haunting takes place at Coutts Bank, The Strand, and concerns a gathering of excited children who are often heard yelling.
At Westminster Bridge, as the hour strikes twelve on December 31st, the figure of a man is said to appear and then leap into the dark waters. Many claim this spectre is that of Jack The Ripper, the gruesome Whitechapel murderer who was rumoured to have committed suicide over a century ago.
Another suicide victim also haunts Greater London, this time in the Notting Hill area at the former Coronet cinema. The female ghost was rumoured to have been a cashier at the cinema, but after an alleged incident in which she was accused by the manager of theft from the takings, the employee run upstairs and jumped to her death. Her footsteps are still heard.
And finally, a woman in a red scarf has been seen throughout each Christmas since the 1950s at Ickenham Station. She is said to stand on the platform at Uxbridge, arms flailing at the spot where she fell and was electrocuted.
By Neil Arnold