|A pedestrian crossing to the obelisk frames perfectly in picture.|
`Cleopatra`s Needle` is an ancient Egyptian obelisk that has no particular connection with Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, and was already over a thousand years old in her lifetime when it was first erected in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis on the orders of Thutmose III, around 1450 BC.
|An iconic attraction in London|
It was granted as a gift to the British people by the ruler of Egypt and Sudan Muhammad Ali, in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. Although the British government welcomed the gesture, it declined to fund the expense of transporting it to London and it wasn`t until 1877 by public subscription that the stone was eventually brought to London on a specially constructed raft.
The long journey across water was not without incident as in October of that year the obelisk broke free of it`s tow during a great storm in the Bay of Biscay.
The obelisk was eventually rescued, and after repairs to the raft in a Spanish port, it eventually arrived in London in January of 1878 and after public discussion over where it should be displayed, it was finally erected on the Victoria Embankment on 12 September 1878.
|The obelisk finally being erected|
The construction of the new site was not without error, as the two faux- Egyptian Sphinxes` were placed facing inwards rather than outwards away from the obelisk.
At the time of the obelisk`s erection, an early time capsule was placed within the foundations containing the following: A set of 12 photographs of the best looking English women of the day, a box of hairpins, a box of cigars, several tobacco pipes, a set of imperial weights, a baby's bottle, some children's toys, a shilling razor, a hydraulic jack and some samples of the cable used in erection, a 3' bronze model of the monument, a complete set of British coins, a rupee, a portrait of Queen Victoria, a written history of the strange tale of the transport of the monument, plans on vellum, a translation of the inscriptions, copies of the bible in several languages, a copy of Whitaker's Almanack, a Bradshaw Railway Guide, a map of London and copies of 10 daily newspapers.
Cleopatra`s Needle appears to be a place where people have chosen to commit suicide by drowning from the embankment into the Thames.
|One of the Sphinxes on guard|
This reputation has led to a number of phantom hauntings which are recorded as:
One story tells of two separate policemen being stopped by a woman urging them to come to the banks of the River Thames because someone was about to jump in, only for them to get to the banks near to Cleopatra’s Needle to see a woman in identical dress as the one that approached them toss herself into the River.
Mocking laughter can sometimes be heard from the area around the stone obelisk as well as unearthly screams. Whether these belong to the lost sailors is not known.
Another River Thames ghost seen here is a ghostly naked man who has been seen dashing from behind the monument and jumping into the cold water which accepts him without the faintest ripple.
Today the obelisk attracts many tourists to the city, and doubtless few have heard of it`s reputation when posing for photographs with friends or family.
I have visited this site on numerous occasions, and despite it`s awe inspiring ancient beauty, there feels within a much darker presence from antiquity, although it has to be said that I never felt anything adversely negative.
Research on the internet reveals little more than I have shared, and to date I have not seen any film or photograph depicting anything questionably paranormal.