If any of you are keeping an old gibbet around your house, consider this one to be a cautionary tale. The "Ottawa Journal," February 4, 1956:
A hollow, rapping sound echoed eerily through a stately mansion in London's Highgate district.
"There they are," exclaimed Mrs. Doris Hatton-Wood, a wealthy widow who claims her North London home is haunted by the forces of evil.
"That's the work of devilish forces. And it has been going on for three horrible years."
Sitting in a second-floor living room of her Tudor-style home, the frail, attractive widow told of other strange manifestations--sounds of heavy boxes being dragged across the floor and of occupants of the house being "pushed" down steep flights of stairs. She told, too, of blood stains mysteriously appearing on the wall outside her room.
"The blood appeared to have been smeared on in places, spattered in others, and in spots was so thick it ran down the wall.
"I realize it sounds far-fetched, but all this is happening...happening much too frequently for comfort."
"I can vouch for that," said her housekeeper, Mrs. Winifred Allsop. "It is no wild flight of imagination. I've heard and seen these things myself. So has my husband."
There is nothing in the appearance of Olney, the Hatton-Wood home at 5 View Road, to suggest to a visitor that within its walls the forces of black magic are at work. It is a square, two-story structure of grey brick and stucco, surrounded by lawns and gardens and enclosed by a high wooden fence.
Inside, the spacious hallway, four living rooms and nine bedrooms are tastefully furnished with period furniture.
Mrs. Hatton-Wood, who admits she has been "extremely interested in things psychic since I was 12 years old," blames the "supernatural invasion" on her home on a gibbet--an upright post and arm used to execute criminals in olden days.
She said the gibbet--"a gruesome relic left in the house many years ago by a relative"--lay for years in an attic storeroom.
"The first manifestations emanated from that room. We continually hear sounds of boxes being pulled around in the room when no one is up there. The most frightening aspect is that the sounds are so real and physical."
Recently she sent the gibbet to the Kensington Palace Museum.
The widow, who guards her age as a "woman's secret" but says she has a grown-up daughter, says she has no intention of calling in the Society for Psychical Research, a group of British scientists who investigate reports of supernatural occurrences.
"I am afraid that any investigation like that would anger the forces of evil that have a hold on this house and so make matters worse."
Recently, under the urging of relatives, she had the house and grounds exorcised by Rev. Gilbert Shaw, "a priest active in combating black magic."
"I think it may have helped a little...the house seems happier now."
Just before Christmas Mrs. Hatton-Wood outlined her troubles in a television broadcast for the British Broadcasting Corporation.
"I have since learned that the priests are perturbed about the publicity attendant on their efforts to exorcise the evil spirits here and I very much doubt that they will make another attempt."
Mrs. Hatton-Wood says she is convinced the only way she will ever rid her home of evil spirits is to "wear them down."
"I'll just have to grin and bear it. In time I feel confident they will leave."
Has she ever considered selling the house and leaving?
"Never! I'll not be driven out of my home by ghosts."
Another article added that an oil painting had "hurled itself" at Mrs. Hatton-Wood. The household also experienced broken glassware and crockery, not to mention "the apparition of a Corgi dog."
I was unable to find any more about this haunting, so perhaps the doughty Mrs. Hatton-Wood did indeed wear them down.