In the late 1800s and early 1900s, ghosts were all the rage—particularly in London. Mediums had people talking to spirits at sittings all over town. Even Queen Victoria was known to host séances in order to speak with her deceased husband, Prince Albert.
Many of these Spiritualists gathered to swap stories over dinner once a month. They were known as the London Ghost Club.
According to a 1931 article, thirty to forty men—including doctors and businessmen—were members. Of these, two of most prominent were physicist Sir Oliver Lodge and Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The group had been meeting since 1882.
The article describes the secretive club with as much detail as was possible:
No one who associates with these men in ordinary life ever knows what goes on in the private dining room in this restaurant on the first Wednesday in every month. The diners leave their everyday personalities outside, and for several hours abandon themselves to a psychic orgy. They call themselves the Ghost Club. For 50 years they have been in existence, and no one has yet revealed anything of their strange and carefully guarded proceedings. They are under an oath of secrecy not to divulge what transpires at these dinners.
In the quiet of this private dining room many a tale too gruesome for publication is told, and these are all taken down by the secretary with the solemnity of a coroner presiding over his court. The rules forbid publication of the stories. They are all stored away—many volumes of them—in a house in Kensington.”
Given the secrecy, I’m not sure how the newspaper knew the stories were too gruesome to publish. Perhaps a séance with the ghosts of the Ghost Club can enlighten us.