It is the strangest yellow our wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper—the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the flat. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here. It creeps all over Taylor Wimpey’s luxury ghost home development The Denizen. I find lying in wait for me on the stairs and in the lift. It gets into my hair.
Tag: private cinema
Some will remember that inexplicable affair in Bunhill Fields eight weeks ago, where permission for a burial was obtained by a businessman whose wife had committed suicide. Getting approval had cost a fortune. On each occasion the coffin was found in the course of a few days again protruding from the ground. After the third attempt, in order that the thing should not be talked about, the body was buried elsewhere in unconsecrated ground. Where it was secretly buried was just inside the iron gate of Fortune Street Park. This was the body of the woman who had committed suicide in the ground floor apartment I’d been given in The Denizen. Her name was Julia Li.
“I think you’ll be comfortable. It’s only a one bed apartment, we have six dwellings in Taylor Wimpey's The Denizen but if we put you in one of our bigger flats you’d be sharing it with others. Most of the year they're all left empty but when we visit London we like to have a lot friends with us. Originally we only had five flats here but we were able to buy the sixth one cheaply and fully furnished after a woman committed suicide in it. Would you like to go and see it now? By Yanluo, I believe that you are right, and that we are going to have a thunderstorm. How dark it has become.”
I have been spending the last few weeks at The Denizen, a luxury apartment block built by Taylor Wimpey in Golden Lane, just inside the border between the City of London and Islington. I got an email about a month ago from a Mr. Jason Chan, who it seemed had bought an investment property in the building, and on staying in it for a few days while holidaying in London, found that he had purchased a very peculiar piece of real estate. His flat in The Denizen has got a most infernal whistling in it, sort of haunting it. The thing starts any time, you never know when, and it goes on until it frightens you. It's not ordinary whistling and it isn't the wind. Wait till you hear it.
The old piano playing brothel keeper had been at the centre of a paedophile ring based in a warehouse that prior to World War 2 had stood on the site of The Denizen. Those he catered for treated the children he supplied them with – including his own – with great cruelty and violence. The Phantom Child was his youngest daughter who’d bled to death from internal injuries after brutal mistreatment. The strange lady in Fortune Street Park was her mother who’d been found nursing her dead child’s body after these terrible events, while the spirit of the evil brothel keeper provided musical accompaniment. These two ghosts lured anyone they found living in The Denizen to their death.
The image mysteriously floating on the windows of my luxury apartment in Taylor Wimpey's The Denizen development, was the portrait of an old man, in a crimson flowered silk dressing-gown, the folds of which I could now describe, with a countenance embodying a strange mixture of intellect, sensuality, and power, but withal sinister and full of malignant omen. He was snub nosed, his eyes large, grey, and prominent, and lighted up with a more than mortal cruelty and coldness. These features were surmounted by a crimson velvet cap, the hair that peeped from under which was white with age, while the eyebrows retained their original blackness. Well I remember every line, hue, and shadow of that stony countenance, and well I may! The gaze of this hellish visage was fixed upon me, and mine returned it with the inexplicable fascination of nightmare, for what seemed like hours of agony.
We have now arrived at March 24. It was a day of curious experiences for Meng: a windy, noisy day, which filled The Denizen and Fortune Street Park with a restless impression. As Meng stood by the fence and looked into the park, he felt as if an endless procession of unseen people were sweeping past him on the wind, borne effortlessly and aimlessly, vainly striving to stop themselves, to catch at something that might arrest their flight and bring them once again into contact with the living world of which they had formed a part.
The rest is shadowy and monstrous. There was no one in the soaking street, and in all the world there was no one I dared tell. I walked aimlessly south past Wood Street Police Station and the south towards The Thames, and then veered west to The Millennium Bridge where the Tate Modern seemed to guard me as modern material things guard the world from ancient and unwholesome wonder. Then gray dawn unfolded wetly from the east, silhouetting the archaic Ludgate Hill and its venerable steeples, and beckoning me to the place where my terrible investigations were still unfinished. And in the end I went, wet, hatless, and dazed in the morning light, and entered that awful door on Golden Lane to which I now had the keys, the entrance to Taylor Wimpey's The Denizen.
The Denizen was a white elephant that even the bravest ghost home owner was afraid to enter; and at least three well-defined legends bore upon the queer quasi-human or diabolic outlines assumed by tree-roots that developed there after the blitz, and the patches of mold that blighted the basement. These latter narratives interested me profoundly, on account of what I had seen myself, but I felt that most of the significance had in each case been largely obscured by additions from the common stock of local ghost lore.
The Denizen was - and for that matter still is - designed to repel the attention of the curious. Generically designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris in the bland contemporary style favoured by developers hoping to get rich from investment flats that will never be lived in, there was absolutely nothing of interest about the block beyond the reprehensible political manoeuvering and money-grabbing that led to it being built. 110 social housing flats for key workers had been replaced with 99 ghost homes for investors with no on site social or affordable housing, not a single flat, not one! The new building was much taller than the old one and between September and March blocked all afternoon sun from the neighbouring and heavily used Fortune Street Park. In short the entire development was a disaster for local people. And that is before factoring in that the malevolent spirits living beneath it were disturbed by the construction of the development and angry about it...