I'd always kept an open mind where ghosts are concerned. From an early age, I've been fascinated by the possibility of some kind of spectral DNA being deposited in the land of the living, by sight, sound or touch. While I'm aware that many reports of supernatural phenomena can be attributed to over active imaginations or fraud, it's none too easy to accept there are no genuine cases. Although some members of my family did encounter what they perceived to be manifestations at my previous home, I could make no such claim and continued to read and view anything with a supernatural theme without joining either camp of doubters or converts. In my late teens, something happened which I still don't really understand but it most definitely made me a little more sympathetic to the possibility of ghosts.
It was August, 1979. I was in London, staying at a small hotel just off the Tottenham Court Road. I'd previously pitched camp at this particular place maybe a dozen nights in total and my impression was that I'd hit the jackpot by finding a clean, comfortable place to stay that was centrally placed in relation to places I needed to visit and competitively priced. On this particular evening, I'd been to a gig at London's Marquee Club and arrived back at the hotel in need of a good nights sleep. While I sometimes got a room overlooking the busy Gower Street (with London buses and cabs providing a cacophony of sound all night long), I was given a room at the back overlooking the infinitely quieter Sussex Gardens on this visit, and soon got to sleep. After a while, I awoke and checked my alarm clock which showed me it was just a few minutes after 2.00am. Turning back to rest my head on the pillow, I was terrified to see a tall figure standing in front of the bed. He was dressed in a top hat, with a white scarf tied around his neck. While the room was pitch black, I could actually make out the features of this man, with his eyes, ears, mouth and sideburns being composed of what I can only term as gold braiding. Upon catching sight of this frightening figure, I stared for a few seconds before diving under the bedclothes where I remained for several minutes, heart pounding. When I resurfaced, the figure had gone, leaving me with a desire to see daybreak and get out into the streets, away from this room. I've stayed at the same hotel on many, many occasions since and have never seen nor sensed anything of a supernatural nature. To this day, I'm unsure if I did see a ghost in the accepted sense of the term, or maybe a recording of someone who once lived there that can be played back under certain conditions. All I know is that I did see something without a shadow of a doubt.