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Rebirth for Beijing’s haunted house

BEIJING (SE): A 100-year-old building owned by Beijing diocese that has been vacated since 1949 and is believed by local residents to be haunted is set for a facelift to become a tourist attraction.

Meng Qi, the office manager of the diocese, said the Civil Affairs Bureau took over the property in 1949 and it was not returned to the diocese until 1995. Since that time, there has not been any money to pay for repairs.

A recent grant from the government has created the opportunity to rebuild the French baroque-style buildings as a historical site and architectural attraction, which is slated for reopening in October.

A rumoured suicide suspected to have occurred in the building led to stories that the house was haunted by its very own ghost, but the diocese denies that it has any knowledge of a suicide.

Tracy Wang reported for the Beijinger Blog on March 3 that the building was even the subject of a Chinese horror movie, The House that Never Dies, released in 2014. The Wang says that although the background of the house is a bit vague, the most likely story is that it was built by Catholic missionaries from the United States of America in 1910 as a language school.

Another theory is that it was the private residence of the French manager of a railway construction company.

 

Wang reports that the ghost story goes something like this. “When the Communists defeated the Kuomintang in 1949, an officer, who had taken up residence in the mansion left his wife (or concubine) behind as he fled to Taiwan. In her grief, she hung herself from the rafters of the house and has haunted the place ever since.”

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