A headless worker roams the train line to Crystal Palace and a hanged murderer still frequents her favourite Streatham nightclub, according to a new book about Lambeth’s scariest spots.
Writer James Clark, 42, has researched the borough’s darkest places for Haunted Lambeth – including phantom footsteps at Tulse Hill station and a haunted house in Shrubbery Road, Streatham.
One tale claims the ghost of Ruth Ellis – the last woman to be hanged in Britain – haunts the old Caesers nightclub in Streatham, where she once worked.
Another suggests a headless railway worker looms in the tunnel between Crystal Palace and Gipsy Hill stations, where he was tragically killed in an accident.
Despite his passion for stories about the undead, Mr Clark, a part-time horror novelist, remains unconvinced the supernatural world really exists and refuses to classify himself as a ghost hunter. He said: “I am what you might call an open-minded sceptic when it comes to ghosts.
“I have never seen a ghost and, in my opinion, many ghost stories are more akin to urban legends than anything supernatural – it’s really the stories I am interested in.
“Although I’ve spent many a night in allegedly haunted locations I’m not what people would call a ghost hunter.
“In the book, there’s a story from 1933 about an apparition reportedly seen in what is now the Odeon cinema in Streatham.
“That tale is rooted in the history of a building called Chesterfield House, which stood on the site before the cinema was built, and whose owner hadn’t wanted his beloved home to be demolished.
“I suppose I just like my local history spiced with some supernatural excitement.”
But the Lambeth-born writer, who now lives in Mitcham, admits he has always had a fascination with old-fashioned ghost stories.
His previous titles include Strange Mitcham and Haunted Wandsworth. He said: “For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed reading collections of ghost stories and they are always more interesting when you know the locations involved.”
More information about Haunted Lambeth (to be published next year) can be found at www.james-clark.co.uk.