In 1920, the writer Beverley Nichols, his brother, and a friend, Lord Saint Audries, went to a house in Torquay one evening. The house, Castel a Mare, was said to be haunted by footsteps and horrible shrieks that had been heard since someone was murdered there. With a candle to guide them they went from room to room, each one of which was more dilapidated than the last. Plaster had fallen from the ceilings, wallpaper was hanging from the walls and the rooms were cluttered with rubbish. The house had such an effect on them that they spoke in whispers as they climbed a narrow staircase to the top floor.
Beverley Nichols, disappointed that nothing odd had occurred, was in front of his friends and waited for them alone on the top floor, when he realised that his mind and body seemed to have slowed down and that even his thinking had become laboured. As though under the influence of a drug, he started to lose consciousness but managed to crawl to a window and fainted.
When he awoke, his first reaction was to leave the place as quickly as possible but his friends, who had not had the same experience, decided to investigate further and when they had spent more time in the building, including the room near which Beverley Nichols had felt the strange influence, they came to the conclusion that the house was empty and completely benign.
Lord Saint Audries decided, once his friend seemed to be recovered, to look around again on his own after agreeing that he would whistle every minute to let the others know that he was safe. For 20 minutes, carrying a candle for light, he roamed the building and was heard as he passed across the upper hall after he had climbed the stairs. His friends whistled and the sounds were replied to although, oddly, the whistles from the house seemed to get louder.
Suddenly Beverley Nichols and his brother had the impression of something leaving the house and passing them, without making any noise. They heard a terrified, pleading, shout from Lord Audries. From upstairs they heard the noise of a violent struggle and then the dishevelled, plaster and dust-stained Lord Audries came from the house into the garden and collapsed beside them.
When he was sufficiently recovered and could talk sensibly he said that, while he'was in the house, his attention had been continuously drawn to the room near which Beverley Nichols had had his terrifying experience. After sitting in the corridor for a time, he suddenly saw a greyish light in the darkness of the upper hall coming from the room. As nothing happened, he decided to leave and report to his two friends outside but, on standing up and turning to descend the stairs, something black, silent and man-shaped rushed from the room and knocked him to the floor. An overwhelming sense of evil overcame him and he struggled to keep his sanity as he forced his way down the stairs through the blackness to his friends outside.
The three discovered later that there had been two murders in the house. A mad doctor had killed his wife and their maid and the murders had been committed in a bathroom, the small room outside of which Beverley Nichols and Lord Saint Audries had had their horrifying experiences. Durham | Loch Ness | Abbotsford | Berkshire | Bruntsfield House | Canterbury | Devon | Devonshire | Edinburgh | Ely | Flat Rock | Ghost lady | Haunted | Haunted Flat in Manchester | Ireland | Lady in Black | London | London | Northern England | Nottingham | Orkney | Perthshire | Pontefract | Rathfarnham | Redcar | Rotherham | Scotland | South Africa | Steeped in sorrow | Suffolk | Surrey | The Room of Terror | Tyrone | West Germany |
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