The 2nd Floor is home to a Poltergeist, who moves heavy objects around. He (or she, or it) is always moving the soaps overnight, much to the annoyance of the staff. A few years ago, Security showed us on CCTV a shape of a figure (male) at 3 am, on the Floor. On one occasion, he threw a large and extremely heavy large crystal globe across the floor. This pest has been doing his night time moving since the 1950s. New staff don’t believe old timers when they first start working on the floor, but after a few weeks of having to put everything in its right place in the morning, they are convinced.
The floor boasts the spirit of a chef, and – in the days of the Demonstration Kitchen - reputedly – cutlery, pots and pans flew about in the night. Perhaps this is the spirit of Marcel Boulestin, who was the first person at Fortnum’s to give cookery lessons, and whose life came to a tragic end?
The Ground Floor has one night-time spectral visitor, who either re-arranges goods not set out correctly, moves them to another part of the floor, or dashes them to the ground to be found in the morning. After much head scratching, I think that this might be the spirit of Gaius Backholer, the head grocery shopman from 1909 until 1946. He was beloved by the King of Norway, who came to see him when he retired, but he was reputedly a real martinet with his staff.
The Lower Ground Floor is a veritable Pandemonium. There is ‘The Pushing Ghost’, for a start. Those susceptible to spirits report that they have a sensation of being pushed out of the way, towards the Crypt. It seems especially to dislike the cleaning staff, and can exert a considerable amount of pressure on them. Small members of staff are especially wary of this one.
Next, come the ‘The Typists in the Cupboard’. In what was the archive artefact cupboard, behind the Deli Counter, conversation and typing can be heard after 10pm. When the door is knocked, they carry on talking and typing. The room was used during WW2 as an office – so maybe these are the ghosts of those sheltering from the Blitz, or still rushing to get out orders ?
VM have a tale about the night around the time the Wine Bar was installed in 2007, when the floor was completely revamped. The story goes, that the new floor had been laid along with the big wine fridges and shelves. When the staff came in one morning there was a bottle of red wine smashed all over the new floor. They couldn’t work out how it had happened and spoke to Security to look on the cameras in case there was a problem. The CCTV is said to show the bottle of wine move to the front of the shelf and tip off the edge completely on its own and no other bottle moved. The staff speculated that maybe there were spirits who didn’t approve of the refurbishment, and wished to have their displeasure known.
Finally, we have the experiences of the Security Guards in their domain in Jermyn Street. One night guard said that, sometimes when they are in the security office at the back door, they could hear the metal product cages being moved up and down the corridors above them. They have apparently become accustomed to blocking the noise out, as often it would happen only when there was no one else in the store.
So, there we have it. When it comes to Halloween at Fortnum’s, you can choose your poison: spectral or sweet. Have a frightfully good time.