“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

An Update on Chaonei 81 – Beijing’s Ghost Mansion

Posted: April 12th, 2019 | No Comments »

I’ve blogged before over the years about the dilapidation and then apparent restoration of Chaonei 81 (use the search box to see those previous posts), a once lovely house that has managed to avoid destruction and is considered by many in Beijing to be haunted.

Philippe Fourneraut who has been researching the life of Georges Bouillard, the head of Kin-Han railway between Peking and Hankow. M. Fourneraut tells me that, according to Beijing historian Wang Leshun, Bouillard designed and had the house constructed in 1922. He died in Peking in 1930. Apparently M. Bouillard’s wife, Zhu Derong, rented part of it to nuns, and sold it to an Irish priest in 1946.

Recently Georges sent me more details of Bouillard’s life in the house and that he had a meteorological station in this home. An example of his recordings is below, as are pictures of the house from last week. As I walked past the gates opened and a large black Mercedes swept in. Exactly what is going on inside now remains (to me at least) a mystery…

From a newspaper dated 7 August 1927 and containing Bouillard’s data for the months of June and July 1927.
Chaonei 81 from across the street…

A quick glimpse inside Chaonei 81…
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