Old Mother Redcap, London
There are several British legends associated with women who wore a bright red cap to set themselves apart from the crowd, and at one time the headgear may have been a badge of office for female brewers. One such was a Liverpool inn-keeper who was involved with a gang of murderous wreckers. But more famous is the story of Jenny or Jinny Bingham who lived in Camden hundreds of years ago.
Jinny’s ghost is still said by some to haunt The World’s End pub and the next-door Underworld Club , the pub thought to have been built where once her cottage stood when Camden was still rural.
Her antecedence boded ill for the woman: it was rumoured that her parents had been hanged as witches, found culpable of child murder. But a bad reputation is still a reputation; she was sought out by those wanting to know their futures and made a good living telling them; and like many supposed witches she also acted as a folk-doctor, in those times doubtless more effective than the real thing. She did nothing to dispel the idea she was a witch, keeping the obligatory black cat; and her horrible looks helped the story. In spite (perhaps because) of all this she seems to have attracted lovers; and the story goes that she did away with at least one of them, and possibly several more than that, having a skilled hand with poisons. When she met her own end, so legend has it, the devil himself was seen coming to collect her soul.
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