EDDIE BRAZIL tells spooky tale of a man who encounters ghostly woman in Camberwell on Christmas Eve 1963
One of the misconceptions about the paranormal is that it is in some way malevolent.
Apart from extremely rare instances of poltergeist phenomena in which people have suffered minor injuries, no ghost, in the history of ghosts, ever harmed those who have encountered them.
Of course, the fear and alarm of experiencing something which is unknown and disturbing can leave the participant in a state of shock. Yet, in many cases the opposite can occur, and even bring about a feeling of benevolence and happiness.
On Christmas Eve in that harsh winter of 1963, 20 year old Stan Mathias was invited to a friends party in Camberwell.
The prospect of an enjoyable evening seemed promising, and the young man travelled the considerable distance from Thornton Heath in South London to attend.
And so it proved, for he did not leave the party until 2 am on the Christmas Day morning.
On leaving his friends house he planned to walk along Camberwell New Road, and then by way of Vassal Road to Brixton Road.
So it was that Stan found himself striding homeward along empty, Christmas, lamp lit streets.
However, the young man did come across another person that night; a strange encounter he recalls today with crisp clarity.
Radiant woman stands alone at bus stop
Some way along Camberwell New Road he noticed a woman standing alone at a bus stop.
Dressed in a white mackintosh, her blond hair and smiling face, seemed to Stan, to radiate a warm, benevolent glow.
She appeared to be staring back down the road as if looking for an on- coming bus, and completely unaware of Stan.
Somewhat surprised that the lady should be unaccompanied at that hour, he passed her and continued on his way.
It did occur to him to inform her that there was no bus service, it being Christmas day. But thought better of it lest she took it as a cheap chat up line.
He turned in to Vassal Road and soon reached the junction with the road to Brixton.
Yet, much to his utter surprise, at a bus stop stood the same woman he had seen some 15 minutes earlier in Camberwell New Road . This seemed impossible. He would have certainly noticed if she had overtaken him, and no car had passed in which she might have been offered a lift.
As he looked he noticed that she once again stared back down the road as if expecting some one to arrive, and appeared to be completely unaware of his presence.
As the young man proceeded on his way he continued to glance back over his shoulder to see if the woman was still there; which she was.
It was when Stan had covered some distance from the bus stop that he once more turned to look back, but the woman was no where to be seen.
No bus or car had appeared that she might have boarded, and she would have still been in sight had she chosen to walk in the opposite direction.
Stan stopped and looked back bewildered . The woman had gone.
Even though the appearance of the woman and her subsequent vanishing seemed uncanny, Stan recalls that he felt no threat or fear from his encounter.
On the contrary, he says that an overwhelming feeling of happiness come over him, and as he walked he started singing one of his favourite songs.
The next thing he knew he had reached home and was opening his front door.
Yet, he had no recollection of traversing the tiring six mile distance. His long trek seemed to be have been completed in a moments, blissful haze as if he was carried home by some benign energy, and the thought of the miserable miles erased from his mind.
Stan is convinced that the mystery woman at the bus stop played some caring part in his Journey back to Thornton Heath.
Was she a ghost, or a benevolent spirit which helps the weary traveller home?
For Stan, he prefers to think of her as an angel; his Christmas Angel at the bus stop.