Uncanny pic: The Hammersmith ‘ghost’


In 1804 the then village of Hammersmith, London, was in a state of terror and indignation thanks to a white-sheeted ‘ghost’ that hassled young women and panicked the stage coach horses after dark. Some people thought the ghost was real, others that it was a hoax – the latter were correct. One night a resident, Francis Smith, after more than a few drinks, decided to take the law into his own hands and seek out the culprit. He took a gun with him. Down Black-lion Lane he encountered a white figure approaching. When the figure failed to answer him, Smith fired a shot at it – and killed Thomas Millwood, a plasterer, who was on his way home in his white jacket and trousers covered in plaster. This contemporary illustration shows the moment Smith fires his gun at the unfortunate Millwood. I love these 19th century engravings, they are so full of character (look at that wonderful old pub, for example, and the bizarre outfit worn by the plasterer).

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About UncannyUK

I am the editor of Uncanny UK (www.uncannyuk.com), a website devoted to British ghosts and folklore. I am the former editor of Paranormal Magazine and the author five books on Welsh folklore. Just launched Apparition Developments, first product of which is Ghost Finder London - an app plotting 300 haunted sites in London for iPhone. I'm a highly experienced journalist and corporate copywriter. I'm an enthusiast on the subjects of UK folklore, the supernatural and antiquities and am fond of old horror and sci-fi movies, cult TV such as Dr Who and I collect Victorian/Edwardian magazines. I also enjoy weird art and macabre literature by the likes of M R James, E F Benson, Algernon Blackwood, W Hope-Hodgson, H P Lovecraft etc. I live in North Wales, which is a very spooky place.
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