50 Berkeley Square
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50 Berkeley Square is a reportedly haunted townhouse on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, in Central London. In the late 19th Century, it became known as one of the most haunted houses in London . Modern interest in the site was spurred by its inclusion in Peter Underwood's 1975 book, Haunted London.
History and occupants
The four-story brick townhouse was constructed in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century. Until 1827 it was the home of British Prime Minister George Canning, commemorated by a plaque on the house today. The house was then bought by the Viscount Bearsted, who rented the property to one Mr. Myers. It was later bought by BP.
Legend varies, but mostly states that the attic room of the house is haunted by a spirit of a young woman who committed suicide there. She purportedly threw herself from a top floor window after being abused by her uncle; and is said to be capable of frightening people to death. The spirit is said to take the form of a brown mist; though sometimes it is reported as a white figure. A rarer version of the tale is that a young man was locked in the attic room, fed only through a hole in the door, until he eventually went mad and died. One story states that the attic room is haunted by the ghost of a little girl that was killed by a sadistic servant in that room.
At least two deaths were attributed. The first ghostly happenings were reported by George Canning, who claimed to have heard strange noises and have experienced psychic phenomena whilst living there.
After George Canning's residency in 1885, the house was bought by a Mr. Myers, who had recently been jilted by his fiancee. It was said that he would lock himself in the room and slowly went mad over the rest of his life. During his stay at the house, it fell into gross disrepair and it is during this time that it's reputation began to build.
As a bet, in 1872, Lord Lyttleton stayed a night in the building's attic. He brought his shotgun with him, and during the night fired at an apparition. In the morning, he attempted to find the apparition, but could only find shotgun cartridges. The next year the local council brought a summons to the house's owners for failure to pay taxes, but due to the house's reputation as haunted they were not prosecuted.
In 1879, The Mayfair Magazine reported that a maid who had stayed in the attic room had been found mad. It was later reported that she died in an asylum the day after. On the day she was found, a nobleman purportedly took up the challenge to spend a night in the room, and his was the first death recorded in the house. The coroner pronounced him dead of fright.
It is said that after one nobleman had spent the night in the attic room, he was so paralysed with fear that he couldn't speak.
In 1887, sailors from HMS Penelope stayed a night in the house. By morning one was found dead, having tripped as he ran from the house. The other reported having seen the ghost of Mr. Myers, approaching them aggressively.
No phenomena have been reported since the house was bought by the Maggs Brothers in the late 1930s and though many contemporary media outlets reported happenings at the house, more recent investigators claim nothing unusual has ever taken place there. They remark that Lord Lytton's story "The Haunted and the Haunters" bears a remarkable resemblance to the supposed hauntings at 50 Berkeley Square.
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- 50 Berkeley Square Haunted House
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