Well, here is the article. Hope it transposes OK . . . (If it doesn’t, and for the sake of people like “Greenwitch” who are reading this, please bear with me!) Anyway, here it is . . .
GHOSTLY WALKS IN HIGHGATE
FOR SOME YEARS NOW, there have been reports of a ghostly black figure that ahs been witnessed gliding silently amongst the trees in Highgate Wood, in North London, which suddenly disappears without trace. According to some, it is the ghost of a nun. In fact, the figure may well have acquired this status through more than just fanciful romanticism. For it is a fact that an ancient nunnery once stood nearby in Muswell Hill Road – although the site is now occupied by a privately owned block of flats.
Nevertheless, there is a strong indication that the actual existence of this ghostly figure is genuine. It has been sighted by many local people over the years, many of whom have seen it by chance and had not previously believed in the existence of ghosts. One person who witnessed this figure in December 1993, was Mr Christopher Layden, of nearby Crouch End. It was in early December 1991 at about a quarter to four one afternoon, and Mr Layden and Mr Layden was out walking his dog in Highgate Woods. All of a sudden, he noticed a darkly draped figure that appeared to glide just above the ground. The dog whined and refused to go any further. Staring in disbelief, he watched as the figure glided for some distance before abruptly disappearing beside an old oak tree.
Fascinated rather than afraid, Christopher Layden then examined the area, but could find nothing untoward although he noticed that a small area just near the tree where the figure had disappeared had turned unbearingly cold. He said …
“I have always kept an open mind to such things, but I know what I saw. It looked like the figure of a nun. Whatever it was appeared from nowhere then just glided for thirty feet or so before it just disappeared.”
This report seems to confirm reports from other local residents who have described such a figure under similar circumstances; a main ingredient being that the figure only remains visible for a short time after being sighted and that it appears in moreorless the same area of the woods. Interestingly enough, this same area in the Wood was the target of an archaeological dig in 1967 and subsequent findings (including kilns, pottery and arrowheads) revealed that a large Roman settlement once occupied the site. Another historical point, and one which could provide a possible cause for these sightings is that in 1665, the time of the Black Death, a nearby area in Highgate Woods was used as a mass burial ground for victims of the plague.
The fact that this mass burial ground was not far from the old convent and that nuns were employed to nurse plague victims, suggests that many would have died whilst in care there. This fact alone could well offer a cause for the ghostly nun’s appearances, considering that the figure has been sighted so frequently at this particular location and if it is true that many ghostly phenomena tend to be connected to events of great tragedy.
Unfortunately, concerning the plague itself, not least because of its unrelenting ferocity, records from the time are scant – if at all existent – and so events that might otherwise have shed some light on the ghostly nun’s appearances can only rest in oblique antiquity. David Farrant