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The Thing in Berkeley Square


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#1    dancin'hamster

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 11:22 AM

I'm sure most of you have probably heard the stories about Bereley Square in London, but I'm posting this anyway.......
A programme on Channel 4 last year interviewed the new owners of the house and they claim that a black shape is still being seen, as well as the sound of eerie footsteps.......

In 1840, the 20-year-old dandy and notorious rake Sir Robert Warboys heard the eerie rumours about the Berkeley Square Thing in a Holborn tavern one night, and laughingly dismissed the tales as 'unadulterated poppycock'.

Sir Robert's friends disagreed with him, and dared him to spend a night in the haunted second-floor room in Berkeley Square.

Warboys raised his flagon of ale in the air and announced: 'I wholeheartedly accept your preposterous harebrained challenge!'

That same night, Sir Robert visited the haunted premises to arrange an all-night vigil with the landlord. The landlord tried to talk Sir Robert out of the dare, but the young man refused to listen, and demanded to be put up for the night in the haunted room. The landlord finally gave in to Sir Robert's demands, but stipulated two conditions; if the young man saw anything 'unearthly' he was to pull a cord that would ring a bell in the landlord's room below. Secondly, Sir Robert would have to be armed with a pistol throughout the vigil. The young libertine thought the conditions were absurd, but agreed to them just to get the landlord out of his hair.

The landlord handed Warboys a pistol and left as a clock in the room chimed the hour of midnight. Sir Robert sat at a table in the candlelit room and waited for the 'Thing' to put in an appearance.

Forty-five minutes after midnight, the landlord was startled out of his sleep by the violent jangling of the bell. A single gunshot in the room above echoed through the house. The landlord raced upstairs and found Sir Robert sitting on the floor in the corner of the room with a smoking pistol in his hand. The young man had evidently died from traumatic shock, for his eyes were bulged, and his lips were curled from his clenched teeth. The landlord followed the line of sight from the dead man's terrible gaze and traced it to a single bullet hole in the opposite wall. He quickly deduced that Warboys had fired at the 'Thing', to no avail.

Three years after Warboys' death, Edward Blunden and Robert Martin, two sailors from Portsmouth, wandered into Berkeley Square in a drunken state and noticed the 'To Let' sign at number 50. They had squandered most of their wages on drink and couldn't afford lodgings, so they broke into number 50. Finding the lower floors too damp, the sailors staggered upstairs and finally settled down on the floor of the infamous room.

It proved to be a serious mistake. Blunden told his friend he felt nervous in the room, and felt a 'presence', but Martin told his shipmate he'd been at sea too long, and was soon snoring.

A little over an hour later, the door of the room burst open, and the enormous shadowy figure of a man floated towards the sailors. Martin woke up and found himself unable to move. He was paralysed with fear. Blunden tried to get to his feet, but the entity seized him by the throat with its cold, misty-looking hands and started to choke him.

Martin suddenly gained enough courage to enable him to spring to his feet. He tried to confront the apparition, but was so horrified by its deformed face and body, he found himself fleeing from the house. He encountered a policeman in the square outside and told him of the vapoury assailant that was throttling his friend. The bemused policeman followed the distressed sailor into number 50 and when the two men entered the room up on the second floor, there was no sign of Blunden. They searched the entire house, and found the missing sailor's body in the basement. His neck had been broken and his face was contorted in a terror-stricken grimace.

Documentary evidence for the aforementioned incidents is very scant, but the eminent psychical researcher Harry Price unearthed a great deal of data on the Berkeley Square bogeyman while investigating the case in the 1920s. Price scoured periodicals and newspapers from the mid 18th century onwards for a reference to the ghost of Berkeley Square, and discovered that in the 1790s, a gang of counterfeiters and coin-clippers had used number 50 as their headquarters. Price speculated that the criminals had invented the ghost to disguise the true nature of the bumps in the night: the printing presses churning out bank notes. But the theory could not explain how the ghost was heard decades after the counterfeit gang had been detected and thrown into prison. Price discovered more intriguing references to the ghost. In 1840, several neighbours of number 50 Berkeley Square heard a medley of strange sounds emanating from the haunted house; bumps on the stairs, dragging noises as if heavy objects were being moved around, jangling of signal bells below the stairs, and the tramping of footsteps. Price read that one of the braver neighbours who had grown weary of the noisy spectre obtained a key and dashed into the house one night during the creepy cacophony. There was no one in the house. Down in the kitchen, the signal bells were still bouncing on their curled springs.

Price found another thought-provoking account of the ghost in Notes and Queries, a magazine published during the 1870s. An article in the publication by the writer W. E. Howlett stated: The mystery of Berkeley Square still remains a mystery. The story of the haunted house in Mayfair can be recapitulated in a few words; the house contains at least one room of which the atmosphere is supernaturally fatal to body and mind. A girl saw, heard and felt such horror in it that she went mad, and never recovered sanity enough to tell how or why.

A gentleman, a disbeliever in ghosts, dared to sleep in number 50 and was found a corpse in the middle of the floor after frantically ringing for help in vain. Rumour suggests other cases of the same kind, all ending in death, madness, or both as a result of sleeping, or trying to sleep in that room. The very party walls of the house, when touched, are found saturated with electric horror. It is uninhabited save by an elderly man and his wife who act as caretakers; but even these have no access to the room. This is kept locked, the key being in the hands of a mysterious and seemingly nameless person who comes to the house once every six months, locks up the elderly couple in the basement, and then unlocks the room and occupies himself in it for hours.

Price continued to research the history of number 50, and learned that the house had been empty for remarkably long periods, yet the address was one of the most desirable ones in London, so why had the house been left vacant for so long? Had the rumours scared off prospective occupants, or had the ghost itself frightened them away? Price could not answer this question, nor could he draw any firm conclusions to the whole case. His final surmise was that a particularly nasty poltergeist had been active at number 50 in the 1840s, but doubted that the 'thing' was still at large.

But there have been many ghostly encounters at number 50 in recent times. In January 1937, Mrs Mary Balfour, an octogenarian lady of a stately Scottish family, moved into a flat in Charles Street, which lies adjacent to Berkeley Square. One night Mrs Balfour's maid summoned her to come to the kitchen situated at the rear of the flat. The maid was staring intently through the window at the rear of a house diagonally opposite. It was the rear of Berkeley Square. The maid drew Mrs Balfour's attention to one of the rear windows of number 50, where a man stood dressed in a silver-coloured coat and breeches. He wore a periwig and had a drawn, morose ashen face. The two women thought he had been to some New Year fancy dress party, because his clothes were centuries out of date. The man moved away from the window, and Mrs Balfour and her maid were later shocked to learn from a doctor that they had sighted one of the ghosts of number 50 Berkeley Square. The doctor told them that number 50 was currently unoccupied, but workmen in the building two months back had seen the phantom of a little girl in a kilt on the stairs.

Hammy x x x

PS *hopes Cuffy doesn't read this......he'll NEVER sleep  tongue.gif




#2    LisaMHD

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 02:06 PM

Stories like this amaze and facinate me!!! I love em. Keep em comming Hammy!!!!!  

I will forever believe that anythings possible, no matter how crazy or unexplainable.

#3    Cufflink

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 05:49 PM

Another classic from The Hamster House of Horror.

I can't remember much about this case.  I'll have to dig out all those dusty tomes on my bookcase, and re-read it.

I'd love to know what you think it is, Hammy?  Surely more than negative energy?  Something demonic, perhaps?

Wasn't Price discredited over Borley Rectory?  I know it doesn't neccesarily have a bearing on this, though.

And tell me, promise me, you won't try and do an all-nighter at that place.  sad.gif  

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#4    dancin'hamster

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 05:54 PM

Cuffy sweetheart, I'd LOVE to do an all-nighter there!! Wanna come with? No? Too scared  grin2.gif  ?

What do I think it is? Well honey, I don't know..........probably an over-blown story that was touted about as 'true'. There may be a bit of residual energy there but as for slimey/hairy things chasing sailors, frightening maids and killing 'rakes' - twaddle!!

laugh.gif

Hammy x x x

PS if there is a monster there, it hasn't met me with no-make up on........I'd give it a run for its' money  original.gif  


#5    Cufflink

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 06:32 PM

QUOTE (dancin'hamster @ Sep 28 2003, 05:54 PM)
Cuffy sweetheart, I'd LOVE to do an all-nighter there!! Wanna come with? No? Too scared  grin2.gif  ?

Only if you promise to hold my hand.  tongue.gif

Nope, on second thoughts, I'll still pass.  Too scarey.

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#6    dancin'hamster

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 07:15 PM

QUOTE (Cufflink @ Sep 28 2003, 06:32 PM)
Only if you promise to hold my hand.  tongue.gif

Nope, on second thoughts, I'll still pass.  Too scarey.

*lip trembles*

are you saying I'm that scarey Cuffy  crying.gif

Hammy x x x


#7    Cufflink

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 07:19 PM

QUOTE (dancin'hamster @ Sep 28 2003, 07:15 PM)
*lip trembles*

are you saying I'm that scarey Cuffy  crying.gif

Hammy x x x

laugh.gif

You silly hamster.

You're not scarey.  original.gif

Most of the time.

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#8    Agent_21

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 07:59 PM

Interesting that there are reports of activity there again. I take it that Maggs & Co the book people are no longer there. They steadfastly denied that anything out of the ordinary ever occured there during their tenure.

As for the traditional stories, Peter Underwood utterly pulled them to pieces I'm afraid.

Borley-Price confuses me. So much of the anti-Price seems believable...but so does the pro-Price case. To me Borley is the Finnegans Wake of the paranormal and I think I will leave both for my retirement.


#9    dancin'hamster

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Posted 29 September 2003 - 04:44 PM

QUOTE (Agent_21 @ Sep 28 2003, 07:59 PM)
Interesting that there are reports of activity there again. I take it that Maggs & Co the book people are no longer there. They steadfastly denied that anything out of the ordinary ever occured there during their tenure.


Agent - I think Maggs & Co still have it..............I can't really remember much about it other than there was a devastingly handsome man sitting in the famous 'haunted' room...it was his office!

Harry Price?
I think most of his work has been discredited (some perhaps wrongly) after Borely. I have a copy of 'The Poltergiest Over England'........... not a bad book  wink2.gif

Hammy x x x


#10    Agent_21

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Posted 29 September 2003 - 08:26 PM

The nearest Mr Underwood came to verifying one of these tales was when a correspondent from Canada wrote that a cousin of her's, one Carmen McKague, was in London during WWII and was due home for Christmas. What actually arrived in Canada was a letter saying she was dead. All the family could establish was that she had been seen with a friend entering a house in Berkeley Square by a policeman at 10pm. At 4am the following day the same policeman found her lifeless body impaled on the spiked railings below a window from which she had fallen or been pushed.

Peter Underwood's enquiries eventually turned up the fact that a Carmen McKague had indeed been found in similar circumstances on 10th December 1945 - in the district of Chelsea.

Unrelated to this, but also concerning London, is a tantalising snippet from one of his books:
'..there is a famous hotel in London which has a room in which a particularly unpleasant murder took place some years ago; whenever the room is occupied, the sounds of the murder are heard, the crime apparantly being re-enacted, but without anything being visible. The room is never let, and if by chance you ask for it by number, as I have, you are always told that it is taken, It must be the most difficult hotel room in London to get into.'


#11    winston zedermore

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 02:17 PM

interesting story........wouldn`t mind visiting the place.....but the whole point of the story is spoilt when you hear that people are still using that haunted room! and the many different versions of the same tale..each with a bit more added and different names hangs doubt over the authenticity.......someone should spend a night alone in the haunted reoom for a bet! devil.gif  


#12    Agent_21

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 03:48 PM

I'd like to have a go in the hotel room. Obviously hotels are sensitive about his kind of thing so I don't hold out much hope of permission ever being given. disgust.gif  


#13    dancin'hamster

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 04:08 PM

QUOTE (Agent_21 @ Oct 21 2003, 03:48 PM)
I'd like to have a go in the hotel room. Obviously hotels are sensitive about his kind of thing so I don't hold out much hope of permission ever being given. disgust.gif

Oh Agent!

You missed a treat last weekend then!
I spent two hours in the most active room - alone - the room where orbs and a strange black shape were caught on camera...............and the room where we saw the bathroom door move of its own accord.........

Hammy x x x


#14    Starlyte

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 05:16 PM

Great story Hammy!  I found some more info. (another story) about the possible identity of the ghost.

STORY LINK

Some ghosts shouldn't really be considered ghosts at all - some are so horrible and violent that they leave a bloody trail of murder and suicide in their wake. These ghosts do not always stay around - and that is definitely for the best. A good example of this is the so called "Mad Myers" of Berkley Square, in jolly old London, England.

The haunting really began in 1830, when a young woman hurled herself to her death from an upstairs window. it is unknown as to weather or not she is the ghost which plagued the house for 50 years, or if she was just the first in a long line of victims of the mysterious and horrible vision.

Then the house fell into the hands of a recluse known as Mr. Myers, who had gone insane after his fiancée eloped with another man. He has spent a small fortune refurbishing the house to his bride's liking, and he spent the rest of his life aimlessly wandering the rooms in mourning.

The house was vacant for 2 years until a family known as Bentley moved in. this was in 1880. The daughter was about to be married to an army officer, Kenfeild. The housemaid was preparing her chambers when suddenly terrified screams rang through the house. The family found the poor servant in a near catatonic state in the bedroom, where she was paralyzed with fear and unable to speak. She died in the hospital the next day after muttering that she had seen "something horrible" in the room that had put her in such a bad state.

Capt. Kenfeild insisted on staying in the room the night, despite his fiancée's pleas. He promised that he would ring a bell if he saw anything. Everything was silent until late into the night, when a frantic sound of a bell ringing filled the house, followed by a loud gunshot. Kenfeild was lying on the floor, convulsing in terror, his eyes fixed on a corner of the room, smoking pistol in hand. A bullet hole was in the corner he stared at, and he was unable to speak. Kenfeild recovered, but he was never his old self again - and was never able to speak of what he saw in that room.

It can be theorized that the ghost is really that or Mr. Myers himself, materializing in some horrible form, intent on destroying any marriage that takes place in "his" house like the one he was never to enjoy with his long-lost love. Or it could be some elemental force which resides in the house, which spurred the young woman to take her life and Myers to insanity.

Whatever the cause, the house was turned into a bookstore after World War II and no disturbances have plagued the owners.


The Earth has music for those who listen." - Shakespeare

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#15    Agent_21

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 09:13 PM

QUOTE (dancin'hamster @ Oct 21 2003, 04:08 PM)
You missed a treat last weekend then!

Bah, foiled again!  mad.gif

(BTW Hope you are well)

A:21





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