Thursday, August 05, 2010

Deptford spooks

Following on from the recent Brockley ghost tales, here's a couple from Deptford. The first comes care of Old Deptford History which recently reproduced a story from the Woolwich & Charlton Mercury 1994 (reprinted later in the Fortean Times). It tells of a resident of Watergate Street in Deptford who apparently suffered around that time from eery footsteps, doors slamming and a flying mirror, not to mention the sighting of a ghostly 'little girl with blonde curly hair'. The poltergeist activity was reported as coming to an end following the intervention of Gary Stock, a medium from Thames Street, Greenwich.

A more sceptical account of a Deptford ghost story comes from an interesting book entitled The Lone-Star of Liberia - Being the Outcome of Reflections on Our Own People by Frederick Alexander Durham. Published in 1892, this book by an African man living in London attempted to turn racist attitudes to Africans on their head by arguing that the natives of London were at least as superstitious and credulous as his compatriots.

The story, from 1891, is of a crowd of thousands turning out at St Pauls Church in Deptford to try and spot a rumoured ghost - said spirit apparently no more than a trick of the moonlight on some flyers posted on the church door.

The account remarks 'Just imagine the good people of Deptford believing in Junabaes!' The latter is obviously some kind of ghost, but does anyone know anymore? I googled that word and could find no trace of it.

Update 31 October 2016:

I have found a further account of the 1891 Deptford Ghost, from Maitland Daily Mercry (New South Wales) 15 July 1896. It adds the additional detail that 'a well-know local man who had committed suicide under somewhat romantic circumstances was at that very time awaiting inquest in the mortuary adjoining' and that this had fuelled belief in 'a ghost garbed in a flowing white sheet':

1 comment:

Jude Cowan said...

Junabaes! I have no idea ... how interesting. It's not often you find a mysterious word, used in the paper like this of which there seems to be no trace. Which makes me think it's a coined word from popular culture, perhaps the stage. But that's just speculation, of course.