13. The Horror Of Berkeley Square
Over a century ago, No. 50 Berkeley Square, W1 was London's most famous haunted house. Some of the residents to have lived on the street are William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham (No. 6), Horace Walpole (No. 11) and Lord Clive (No. 45, which is where he committed suicide in 1774).
A certain Mr Myers occupied No. 50 for many years; he brought the house and was due to move in with his fiancée when she changed her mind at the last minute. Mr Myers was left to live in the house by himself. He lived in a small top room as a hermit and once in a while his shadow was seen through the curtains as he moved round his room in the late hours of the night. The only company he ever had was his manservant, and he never allowed a woman to enter his house.
After Mr Myers’s death, the house often stood quite empty. In the 1870s the house became notorious for its ghost sightings, which were said to have been seen in the small top room.
As a bet, Lord Lyttleton spent the night in this room in 1872. He took with him, as a precaution, two shotguns and some silver coins to avert any evil. As dawn approached, after not much sleep, he saw something move towards him. He picked up his gun in a panic, aimed it at the threatening form and fired it. In the morning, he and his friends searched for what he claimed he had shot, but nothing dead or alive could be found. Their only finding was the shotgun pellets that had pierced the wall.
In 1879, a girl who had stayed at the house went mad after experiencing a terrible fright. She was never able to describe what had happened. And a man who spent the night in the small top room, like Lord Lyttleton but without any shotguns or silver, was found dead the next morning. Rumour has it that the spectre in the room took on the form of a brown mist, although more recent residents have not reported anything untoward.
By Neil Arnold
Photo courtesy of Liz and Colin.