The rain formed puddles which reflected the traffic lights and shop fronts on Sunday, as a small group of us huddled at the corner of The Meadway and Barnet High Street to meet our ghost walk guide. Car passengers and pedestrians stared at us as we congregated in the wet.

To be honest, it was not the most atmospheric of places.

In fact, most of the tension emanated from the possibility that a group of hoodies would cycle past and swipe the photographer's camera.

City of London guide Paul Baker reeled off a few corny jokes to introduce himself. I almost wished I was warmly housed in the cinema watching The Blair Witch Project or The Exorcism.

Mr Baker, a friendly primary school teacher by day, told us the history of what is now Louis Shoes, in the High Street, which dates back to the 1300s. Builders found an iron spoon, called a salamander, in the fireplace supposedly to ward off bad faeries when it was renovated in the 1980s. Is that supposed to be a scary story?

The ghost stories surrounding the Red Lion pub, (now The Avenue) opposite were a little more chilling.

An 18-year-old girl stayed in the pub in the late 18th Century. The curious girl was snooping around the room, and, when she opened the wardrobe, a corpse fell on top of her. The previous visitor had died the night before, but the staff had not bothered to get rid of her body.

And in the 1980s, barmaid Sue Perry complained she heard very strange noises in the middle of the night. Later, she saw a waif-like creature come down the stairs, go through the bar and out of the front door.

The manager agreed that inexplicable things were going on, and he called in a medium, Jack Lezner. He and his wife, the aptly named Zena, found out the kitchen maid, an 18-year-old girl called Maggie Entwistle, died there in 1766.

When Maggie, a blacksmith's daughter, overheard two guests making lewd comments about her, she went upstairs and eavesdropped outside their room. They caught her in the act and chased her down the corridor. It is not known whether she was pushed or she fell, but she died tumbling down the stairs.

Ghosts often haunt premises after dying in tragic circumstances, said Mr Baker, but an exorcism can help give a tormented spirit peace. After Mr Lezner performed the rite, Maggie has never rematerialised.

Mr Baker told us of another perennial Barnet ghost known as the Grey Lady. When she was alive, she abandoned her child at the Guyscliffe Girls' Home, next door to the Avenue Pub.

Sightings of her on Barnet High Street always claim that she is clutching a baby.

In one incident a motorist knocked into the ghost. He felt a loud bump, but when he got out the car there was no-one there. Still shaking, he went to report it at the nearby police station. Of course, the officers thought he was imagining things and had to calm him down.

Because Barnet is a place where people stopped on their way to London from the north, there are a lot of ghost stories involving travellers.

Indeed the town has the reputation of being the most haunted place in England bar a place in Kent called Pluckley.

As the rain subsided and we walked over to nearby Monken Hadley, the mist rose from the road and the full moon shone above. Things were beginning to feel a little eerie.

The street lights were sparse, there was no-one about and with the landscape of Georgian houses, we could have been a group of travellers finding our way to London.

Suddenly, we were in front of the site of the 1471 Battle of Barnet in Hadley Green. Mr Baker told us how Friar Bungay who had been dead for many centuries and was supposedly summoned up by King Edward IV used his mystical powers to create a mist over the green during the battle, just like the one which was rising that night. This created mayhem with soldiers slaying their own side the bloody battle resulted in between 1,500 and 3,000 dead.

We passed Hadley Manor, home of William Makepeace Thackeray, the merchant and grandfather of his namesake who wrote Vanity Fair.

Then came the house where Anthony Trollope lived with his mother, Fanny, and his sister There has been a number of sightings of Emily Trollope's ghost (in 1993 and 1848) gliding through Monken Hadley Church.

Mr Baker took us to the graveyard behind the church. Without any lights, we had to use torches to guide us, which cast eerie shadows on the ground.

We saw the graves of the grandparents of William Makepeace Thackeray and Emily Trollope. But the spookiest grave was that of Walter Walmsley who died in 1723. Imprinted on it is a skull and crossbones, and an inscription which reads: "As I am now, so you must be, prepare in time to follow me."

Chilling. Although he has a pirate's grave, Mr Baker revealed he was not actually a pirate, but that the symbol was a common theme on gravestones.

Legend has it that anyone who walks around the stone three times and knocks on it will receive three answering raps in reply.

Like a lot of ghosts, Walmsley often comes out to haunt between Hallowe'en and Christmas.

So if you decide to go on Paul Baker's ghost walk for children this week, he might be lurking in the graveyard.

* Hallowe'en walk: Things That Go Bump in High Barnet is on this Saturday and Sunday at 7.30pm. Meet at the top of Meadway. Come in costume. There is a prize for the scariest outfit. Admission is £5 (accompanied under 12s go free). For information call Paul Baker on 020 8440 6805.