In central Beijing there is a beautiful 19th century mansion built in the French Baroque style. It lies abandoned and overgrown with weeds which is perhaps surprising given that this is prime real estate in the middle of one of the world’s biggest cities. The reason is that Chinese buyers shun this building because of its reputation as a haunted house.
Chaonei No.81 was built during the Qing Dynasty as a residential property for British residents of Beijing. In the 1940s it was bought by a high ranking official of the Kuomintang Party. He lived there with his young wife until in 1949 the Communists overran the city. The official was forced to flee with his party to Taiwan, leaving his wife behind in the house. Distraught at being abandoned like this she hanged herself from the rafters. Her ghost is said to haunt the house which has lain empty since her death and few dare to venture inside. During the Cultural Revolution the Red Guard were stationed in the house but quickly left after several spooky experiences. During the 1970s the Chinese government attempted to renovate the building but several of the construction workers disappeared without a trace. The house is popular with legend-trippers and warnings are spray-painted all over the house telling of the ghost and dire consequences for anyone who enters.
By P A McHugh