In 1970, the building was in a terrible state: it had no longer foundations, because the wooden posts had rotted away, and it could collapse at any moment. The house that is now to be found at No. 17, Spaniard Street (Spanjaardstraat), was completely demolished. Only the facades and the gates were saved. The workers however, discovered in the cellars the entrance to an underground tunnel…
The house on Spaniard Street was so ancient that the original date had been lost, but a stone set into a wall said it was restored in 1616 and a map of the city showed it to have stood there already in 1562. Prior to that period, and probably since the 13th century, it formed a convent with three houses on either side of it.
It was in this house the sister of the spiritualist writer Florence Marryat went to live. Back then, it still had subterranean passages, choked with rubbish, leading nowhere - or, at least, no one knew where they were leading to. Mrs Marryat had stayed here several times, and always had unpleasant feelings about it, especially in a large room on the lower floor that had originally been the chapel of the convent.
The incidents she wrote about in her book occurred in the autumn of 1878, when she visited her sister in the company of their friends Mr and Mrs Uniacke, and of the famous medium Mr William Eglinton. They were not there “for their pleasure or edification”, as one of the control-spirits of Mr Eglinton put it, but because “there was a great work to be done”.
Click on the title to get the full story of the three séances!