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London’s Haunted 50 Berkeley Square
Since Victorian times, 50 Berkeley Square has had a reputation for being haunted and infested with “ghosts and other supernatural horrors.” The most haunted house in London. Evidently the horrors found inside of the house have even caused “death and madness.”
The building currently houses the legendary Magg Brothers Antiquarian Booksellers, established in 1853, “the longest-established antiquarian booksellers in the world.”
However, the location from which they currently display their thousands of books, 50 Berkeley Square, has been notorious since long before the Maggs Brothers moved into the building in 1938.
A Prime Minister, George Canning, living in the house at the time of his death in 1827. The house was then leased by Miss Curzon.
According to the London Directory, the Hon. Miss Curzon died in the house at 50 Berkeley Square in 1859, a very old woman.
One occupant of the house, Mr. Du Pre, is said to have locked up a crazy brother in the attic of his house. The brother was said to be very violent, and his loud shrieks could be heard all over the neighborhood.
Another inhabitant was said to be a Mr. Myers who was broken hearted because his fiancé had dumped him. He became a hermit, living in one of the upstairs bedrooms until his death. This is supposed to be the most haunted room in the house.
In 1872, the late Lord Lyttelton wrote that the house is “said to be haunted,” and that “there are strange stories about it, which this deponent cannot enter.”
The apparition has been described as having a flabby, white face “with a huge gaping mouth black as pitch.” Some have said the creature is animal-like with “many legs and tentacles” that looked to have “crawled from London’s sewers.” Others have called it “shapeless and slimy and emitting gruesome slopping noises.”
There is a story about Sir Robert Warboys, who didn’t believe the stories, and agreed to spend the night in the most haunted room in the house. He told his friends he would ring a bell if he needed any help. A few minutes after midnight, a tiny ringing sound “followed by a ferocious peeling of the bell” alerted the friends, who rushed up to the room. They found their friend “rigid with terror, his eyes bulging from their sockets.”
For many years after this time, screams were heard and strange lights were glimpsed in the old house. Another story concerns two sailors on their way home for Christmas, Ed Blunden and Bob Martin, who decided to spend the night in the empty house.
When they awakened to the sound of footsteps plodding down the stairs, they saw “a hideous, shapeless, oozing mass” filling the room. One of the two men escaped. He returned with help, to find his friend dead with a broken neck, “impaled on the railing outside.” His face was filled with the horror “that had caused him to jump to his death.”
A man with two teenage daughters is said to have moved into the house at one time. One of the girls kept talking about a smell “rather like that of the animals caged at the zoo.”
A servant of the family went crazy in one of the upstairs bedrooms, begging “don’t let it touch me,” and died in the hospital one day after encountering something in the house.
The fiancé of the eldest daughter offered to spend the night in the bedroom. He was dead thirty minutes later. The family heard a gunshot, but there was no bullet wound. He looked as if he had been frightened to death.
A few years ago, an accountant with Maggs Brothers, Julian Wilson, was working alone early one morning, when he saw a “column of brown mist,” move across the room and disappear. Other odd occurrences have also been reported.
I hope to visit 50 Berkeley Square in London at some point in my future. Not only would I love being immersed in the thousands of books, but I might get to catch a glimpse of something frightening!
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