"FOR SALE--Haunted wardrobe.--Advertiser will be glad to deliver same to anybody interested, complete with ghost, which would also no doubt feel more at home if welcomed.--Write Mrs. B. Barclay, Carterton Manor, Oxon."
August 19th, 1937, London’s ‘Morning Post.’
Not your typical advert amongst the array of personal ads- it certainly caught the attention of the public and of reporters all eager to discover more about the item in question. Mrs Barclay had acquired the unremarkable Victorian wardrobe (and attached ghostly spirit) for a mere £10 three years earlier at an estate sale in Berkshire. It was arranged in the guest room of her home where it became clear quickly enough that guests had also come with it. Servants began to hear strange knocking sounds throughout the house. Houseguests would report the odd nature of the wardrobe and how throughout the night its doors would open and shut rather loudly, even if tied shut with string. Mrs Barclay was convinced there was a logical explanation for the strange occurrences- that was until one day whilst examining the wardrobe the door swung so violently open that it broke a nearby mirror.
Activity in the home only continued to escalate and soon Mrs Barclay, her brother and secretary began to see the figure of an elderly gentleman in a deerstalker hat and old fashioned clothing emerge from the wardrobe and walk around. Fearful friends and guests began to decline invitations to visit or stay over. Staff threatened to leave en masse after the butler felt a kick to the shins by the phantom inhabiting the wardrobe. Mrs Barclay herself received little peace and often had to take solace in the garden to sleep outdoors.
With life anything but normal Mrs Barclay, placed her advert in the Morning Post and hoped she would soon be rid of the trouble it had brought. Ghost hunters and visitors from as far away as America came to inspect the curiosity. She received numerous offers from people willing to purchase the wardrobe for a variety of reasons, one of which included an offer from a group of older, unmarried women who hoped the wardrobe would guard their house at night.
Eventually the wardrobe was sold for £50 to Mr Rundle, the owner of the inn, in the nearby village of Clanfield. "My inn is being rebuilt," he told a reporter. "At the moment there is no room large enough for the haunted wardrobe, but I am having my own bedroom enlarged, and then I shall have it put in there. Anyone who wants to sleep in that room will be at liberty to do so. But personally, I do not believe in ghosts."
Despite his skepticism it would not be long before he too began to report strange disturbances. Curious as to whether he might find the cause he began to take the wardrobe apart to inspect it closer. Finding nothing unusual or out of the ordinary it was reassembled. From that moment onwards the wardrobe and its ghost fell silent.