The ghost of Harriet Westbrook
Shelley, the twenty-one year old first wife of the poet Percy Bysshe
Shelley haunts the Serpentine Lake in Londons Hyde Park.
On the 9th of December 1816,
Harriet, being quite unable to deal with the breakdown of her marriage,
wrote this last sad note to her husband:
"My dear Bysshe, let me
conjure you by the remembrance of our days of happiness to grant my
last wish. Do not take your innocent child from Eliza who has been
more than I have, who has watched over her with such unceasing care.
Do not refuse my last request. I never could refuse you and if you
had never left me I might have lived, but as it is I freely forgive
you and may you enjoy that happiness which you have deprived me of."
She then walked the short distance
from her lodgings in Hans Place, Knightsbridge and drowned herself
in The Serpentine.
Her body was discovered the next
day and The Times newspaper wrote "that a respectable lady,
far advanced in pregnancy, had committed suicide".
Since then there have been numerous
reports of a woman's face being seen under the water looking upwards
beseechingly, and early last century, two female American tourists
reported seeing a womens hand rising from the water desperately
clutching at the air above. Shining brilliantly on the middle finger
was a plain gold wedding band.