A freelance journalist who has written for several regional newspapers has published two books about local history in quick succession.
Gilly Pickup published The A-Z of Curious London in July and followed this up with Haunted West End which came out at earlier this month.
The first book explores a series of spooky and gruesome goings on in the capital including a man being arrested for wearing a top hat and a dentist keeping his dead wife on view in a shop window.
It also features a shopkeeper who murdered 150 customers, a 4,000-year-old mouse made from Nile clay as well as several other accounts of eccentrics, legends, folklore and scandals.
“The ‘A-Z of Curious London’, a blend of history, lore and all things strange (but true) was great fun for me to write,” she told HTFP.
“I could have written twice as much and hope I can persuade the publisher to let me work on volume two.
“My research covered the usual channels as well as simply talking to people, all of which brought to light more interesting ideas.”
In her second book, London-based Gilly discovers more about ghostly goings on in the West End including a haunted house where two people have died of fright and the spine-chilling voices of children heard in a modern office block built over a plague pit.
“My second book, Haunted West End, was a title suggested to me by the publisher. Again, it focuses on London, well, a part of it and I enjoy writing about strange phenomena paranormal,” she added.
“Writing and researching the books and taking many of the photos, meant I learned so much about London that I didn’t know, particularly as far as the A-Z is concerned.
“There was so much more that I wished I could include, but there wasn’t enough space to do so.”
It seems the historic area is home to a multitude of terrifying ghosts with the book’s other paranormal recollections including a theatre where female spectre cradles a severed head in her lap.
Gilly, who is also a travel writer and has had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Express, is writing another book about British inventors and inventions which is set to be published in 2014.
The A-Z of Curious London: Strange Stories of Mysteries, Crimes and Eccentrics and Haunted West End have been published by the History Press and are available on Amazon.