By John Macklin
It took four workmen well over an hour to remove it from their van and carry in with much difficulty up the stone steps and into the hall of Smithwood House.
“I hope no-one wants us to move that again in a hurry,” said one of the removal men, looking at the enormous oriental cedar-wood chest, rich with carvings and ornamental brass-work, which looked incongruous, to say the least, in the austere hall of a granite Cornish Georgian manor house.
But his worst fears were to come true–three months later the removal men were putting the Chinese chest back into their van after some of the most violent and baffling incidents in the history of psychical research.
FOR 12 weeks during the summer of 1948, the occupants of the house near Bude in Cornwall claimed to have been subjected to a tyranny of violence from something they couldn’t see…a malevolent being seemingly anxious for its freedom.
Mrs Claudine Harris, whose husband, Colonel Charles Harris owned Smithwood House, had bought the chest at auction in St Austell and had it transported by train to Bude where it was loaded on to a removal van for the last stage of the trip.
It was an enormous construction, weighing over two hundredweight with heavy brass hinges and ornate locks. Colonel Harris, who had spent many years in the East, was thrilled by his wife’s purchase and had it repaired and polished.
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