When it comes to hanging out with the dead, Hackney is… well, dead. Try as we might, we could only scare up a handful of ghost stories from the borough.
Maybe that’s not surprising, as Hackney is quite a lively place, whether you’re wrapped up in the area’s artistic vitality, or Dalston-drunk on youth culture.
Could that be the problem then, do ghosts hate hipsters? Are Hoxton heroes and their badly bulging skinny jeans enough to scare off even the bloodless?
Probably not so, to be serious for a moment, is it the government’s fault? Have coalition cuts extended beyond the grave, hitting our front line services in haunting and poltergeisting? Are all the ghosts on strike, and nobody’s realised because UK Uncut haven’t been checking their Ouija board inbox?
Again, maybe not. One idea is that a lack of ghosts means a lack of history, or a community unwilling or unable to face it’s own past.
Hackney without history isn’t very convincing though. Even if large parts of the borough have been overrun by people born after the fall of the Berlin Wall, that doesn’t mean the entire population has suffered an epically collective amnesia.
Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, ghost stories are often born of desire for a link to the past and a hope that there may in fact be a future beyond our own mortality. It’s difficult to believe that Hackney as a whole could be missing that.
So where are all the ghosts? I have a theory. Maybe they’re not avoiding the revellers of Dalston Junction, but following their example. A quick check on the dearly departed of Hackney throws up some interesting names.
Prankster Jeremy Beadle lived here, as did actor/comic Mike Reid (known for playing Eastenders’ Frank Butcher). Master of horror and suspected drunkard Edgar Allan Poe spent time here as a child, as did proto-feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. And let’s not forget the Kray twins, who were always up for a laugh.
Sounds like an interesting dinner party? Maybe all these famous ghosts are just off enjoying each other’s company. With companions like that, I’d certainly be too busy to bother with us living, breathing dullards.
Do you know of some ghost stories we’ve missed? Leave a comment and let us know! Check out our map below to see if any of the few Hackney ghosts we found are in your area, and why not take a look at the ghost stories from Croydon, and don’t forget to check back over the next two days for Lewisham and Tower Hamlets as well.
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