Cleopatra's Needle
      This grim granite obelisk, said to have been cursed by Queen Cleopatra herself was originally one of two erected at the entrance to the Temple of the Sun in Heliopolis in ancient Egypt some 1500 years BC. Later moved to Alexandria by the Roman Emperor Augustus, it has stood on the Thames Embankment since 1878.

      Cleopatra's Needle has long been a favourite place for suicides and some of these have returned in spirit form.

      Passers by have declared hearing keening, low moaning and strange laughter, while others have seen the ghost of a tall naked man who leaps head first into the river without creating any splash.

      One foggy night during World War II, a policeman patrolling on nearby Waterloo Bridge was approached by a hysterical young woman who informed him that someone was about to commit suicide and begged him to save them. Sprinting to the dark monolith, the constable was just in time to pull a woman to safety.

      When he shone a light on her face he was astonished to find that she was the same young woman who had pleaded with him on the bridge. Turning towards the bridge, he saw that the first woman had vanished. Turning back to the young woman he thought he had saved, he found that she also had disappeared.

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Cleopatra's Needle - The Embankment
Photograph © Anthony Bliss 2004