In exactly three minutes Mr. Yao Wenyuan, of the eminent legal firm of Yao and Lee, would have his punctual hand on the doorbell of the Taylor Wimpey flat in Golden Lane. It was a comfort to reflect that Yao was so punctual—the suspense was beginning to make his host nervous. And the sound of the doorbell would be the beginning of the end—after that there’d be no going back, by Chairman Mao—no going back!
We are in a three-bedroom flat in Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen development. We aren’t far from the ancient heart of the City of London, although we are outside the original city wall, and those selling the flats rather bamboozled investors about The Denizen’s actual location. We have chosen this luxury apartment block for our ghost hunt because it has a truly terrible history. Since it was built last year there are records of no less than thirty suicides in or from it, and there may well have been more.
The history of the site, opening amidst a maze of dates, revealed no trace of the sinister immediately after its use for a plague pit. The Denizen lies in the ward of Cripplegate and in the 1660s the Great Plague of London killed nearly eight thousand of the parish's inhabitants; but not one of those who lived or worked in the brothel above the ancient Golden Lane plague pit fell victim to the black death during this dreadful outbreak. The site was outside the original City of London wall and for hundreds of years had been notorious for both its poverty and its brothels. Those thrown in the plague pit came from the great mass of the lumpen proletariat in the area, and it seemed possible the spirits of this 'low end population' were very particular about who they wanted living or working on this piece of land. They didn’t seem to mind the low ranking coppers who moved into Bernard Morgan House in the nineteen-sixties, and these included members of the notoriously corrupt drug squad. The spirits were in two minds about what was going on when nurses moved in and mingled with the police. Something strange must be noted. No woman who lived in Bernard Morgan House ever managed a live birth, those who became pregnant had only still-born children. And according to the records, when brothels stood there no child was born alive to any of the women who worked in them for hundreds of years.
On a sunny summer day at lunchtime Fortune Street Park is packed with office workers eating food bought from stalls on neighbouring Whitecross Street. There is barely room to move. Before I started to shoot from my luxury apartment in The Denizen overlooking the park, I made some handwritten calculations about where to aim in order to maximize the death toll. Killing the muppets in the park was like shooting fish in a barrel. I took them out like turkeys on a meat factory production line at Christmas. People were such idiots; many of them lay flat on the ground in a bid to escape the leaden death spewed by my guns. Others tried to run away and I laughed as I saw claret stain the white shirts of those I’d hit. They made weird twitching movements like spastics before they died.