100 Ghosts: The Battersea Poltergeist


The apparent chronic haunting over 12 years of a teenage girl, Shirley Hitchings and her family, at their home in Wycliffe Road, South London, by the ghost of the son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, nicknamed Donald. From 1956, Donald’s ‘residence’ at the Hitchings family home in Battersea was characterised by chaos and disruption: Donald chucked furniture and household objects, levitated Shirley, set fire to tea towels, stole jewellery for Shirley, wrote letters in a peculiar Franglais and even got Shirley sacked from Selfridges. The haunting became headline news, was discussed in the House of Commons and drew the attention of Harold Chibbett, tax man by day and an eminent ghost hunter by night, who investigated the case throroughly at the time, becoming pretty much part of the family. Danny Robbins’ recent Bafflegab produced podcast series on BBC Sounds is well worth a listen if you want to know more. This drawing was one of the pulling teeth ones - each constituent part seemed to work quite well, but I found it really hard to pull everything together, which is my own fault for not planning it beforehand.

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