Conversations With Spirits

By E O Higgins

The story of a dissipated genius in a borrowed hat and coat

Friday, 14 December 2012

Give it up to the ghost

Submitted for your approval, another list of spurious ‘facts’ gleaned - without due care and attention - from the internet. This time, on the subject of ghosts.

1. Apparently a half-frozen chicken haunts the area of Pond Square in Highgate

In 1626, Francis Bacon decided to conduct a spontaneous experiment to test the preservative qualities of ice, whilst driving home through the square. However, after stuffing a chicken with snow with his bare hands he quickly became ill and died. 

Since then, many people have claimed to see the ghostly apparition of the distressed bird - now curiously plucked of its feathers - running around the square. 

 2. ‘The Flying Dutchman’ is probably the most famous ghost ship.

The 17th century sailing ship is said to hopelessly sail the seas, never able to make it to port - and is believed to be a portent of doom to anyone who sees her.*

Still, it’s not all bad news, Richard Wagner was so inspired by the ship’s legend that he composed the opera Der Fliegende Hollander based on it.   

3. The ancient Romans believed you could use a ghost to exact revenge on an enemy by scratching a curse on a piece of lead or pottery and placing it into a grave. 

 4. Winston Churchill, Lord Byron, Queen Elizabeth II and Mick Jagger have all claimed to have seen ghosts.

Less interestingly, silver-haired Scouse liar, Derek Acorah, makes a living out of seeing them.

Acorah's ‘spirit guide’ is a 2000 year-old Ethiopian farmer named ‘Sam’. 

‘Sam’ was also the name of Patrick Swayze’s character is the film Ghost.

 5. According to the good people at Haunted America, Britain is only the tenth most haunted country in the world, with China topping their polls. 

However, the first official group to investigate paranormal activities was founded in Britain. 

The Society for Psychical Research was formed in London in 1882.


*Surely, if this were the case, we wouldn’t know anything about The Flying Dutchman? 

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