The Maid – fact or fiction?

Some of my ghost stories in When Reason Dreams are pure invention prompted maybe by a place I have visited or an idea that has come to me while driving home from a lecture or sitting on a train. Others are developed from a ‘true’ ghost story which I have been told about. Of course no ghost story can be called ‘true’ as there never any scientific evidence, but there is no doubt that many people have seen or felt the presence of a ghost. I can cite many examples of friends believing that they have witnessed something supernatural – maybe an actual vision, or more often a sound, a smell an undefinable presence which cannot be explained in a logical way.

My story ‘The Maid’ is set in an imagined dwelling – Rainsborough House – on Hornsey Lane near where it meets Highgate Hill, London N6. My friends had recently moved in and although they never saw or witnessed any ghosts, they did experience unusual behaviour. Their cats would lie on their back on the landings purring and enjoying their tummies being stroked – but nobody was stroking them. They would arch their backs and purr as if rubbing against a human hand or leg – but there was nobody there. Our friends were convinced that the cats were being stroked and adored by a supernatural presence.

                                                                                             Hornsey Lane, Highgate

Our friend decided to change an interior wall and remove some old built-in furniture. While he was doing this he experienced a very strong and hostile force which was commanding him to stop. Quite alarmed, our friend backed off and gave up on the changes.

The story of ‘The Maid’ goes far beyond these gentle ghostly experiences and I have developed it into a story of murder, hanging and suicide, but the original idea was based on a ’true’ ghostly experience.

                                                                           Archway Bridge, also known as Suicide Bridge


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