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Between boozing sessions in Hampstead’s antiquated pubs, we had to venture across the Heath. Reportedly used as a cruising ground for George Michael, Hampstead Heath is also one of North London’s most popular attractions.

Nearly 800 acres of woodland, lakes and rugged gorse make this space the perfect activity centre for a hot summer’s day. Swimming, rambling, cycling, bird-watching and cottaging are just some of the things that the thousands of Londoners who flock here every day can expect to enjoy. Why not take a Frisbee? Or enjoy a picnic whilst being tugged off by a senior Tory MP? The choices really are limitless.

Hampstead Heath, where people outnumber ghosts by a devastating margin.

We at Looking For Ghosts had other things on our minds, though. We were doing a different kind of cruising altogether: cruising for ghosts.

Back when Hampstead was a village on the outskirts of London, Highwaymen and robbers would hide out on the Heath to target the carriages of luminaries travelling in and out of the City. The tall, imposing trees and vast thickets made the perfect cover for sinister “Gentlemen of the road”.

Even to this day it isn’t considered unusual to be charged at by a phantom robber on horseback emerging from the trees, the hooves hitting the earth in silence even in full gallop.

So convinced was one lady she was about to be trampled, she threw herself to the ground and braced herself for the inevitable impact only to open her eyes several seconds later to find herself alone in the clearing.

"Give me your iPhone, you twat."

All of this sounded promising, until we turned up one Saturday afternoon to discover that, even when cloudy and miserable, the Heath is one of the most populated places in the capital. There was even a marathon going on. In fact, there couldn’t have been more people on the Heath that day if they had been holding a nationwide People’s Convention, with extra bloody people. We literally couldn’t move for people.

All of which made for the least scary investigation we’ve done so far, with no sign at all of ghostly apparitions, wraiths or even Tree Spirits for that matter.

We did, however, talk to a very friendly gentleman who kindly informed us that if we were to come back at night, we’d find all manner of bandit just waiting to cover us in “ectoplasm”.

Sounds like a promising lead, we’ll keep you posted…

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After the disappointment of the Tree of Death, we at Looking For Ghosts were feeling despondent and disillusioned with the paranormal world. Why couldn’t someone throw us a ghost or two? Even the ghost of Rod Hull would have been a start. At this point we’re really not being fussy.

Trudging over from Green Park to neighbouring St James’s Park we were reminded of a tale involving the seemingly serene lake that tourists so gleefully flock to.

St James's Park. Not the one in Newcastle, although horrific apparitions are frequently seen there too.

Little do they know, however, that the lake is an important aspect of a ghost story apparently so convincing that even the authorities seem to accept that it’s true.

In the 15th Century, so the story goes, a Sergeant in the military murdered his wife and to avoid her being identified he hacked her head off. As he was in the process of dumping the rest of the corpse in the lake he was disturbed by two soldiers returning to the nearby barracks. To this day, The Red Lady of St James’s Park is frequently spotted in a blood-stained smock, sometimes with the stump of her neck spurting blood, sauntering around the park looking for her head or, terrifyingly, rising slowly from the murky water.

In 1972 a motorist driving in the area crashed his car after seeing the apparition, only to be acquitted of dangerous driving after the court believed his tale. All of this leads us to ask why more misdemeanours aren’t blamed on ghosts? If only John Terry had been that creative with his excuses then England might still have a half-decent captain for the World Cup.

Try it yourselves. Late for work again? A poltergeist flung your alarm clock against the wall. Caught staring at a checkout girl’s chest? You were possessed by ZOZO. That hideous noise coming from your bedroom at night? Banshees. Help us fill the world with implausible ghost stories; if nothing else it will keep this blog in material for a lot longer.

Looking For Ghosts

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