Membership & Contact Details
Membership of the Ghost Club normally runs from 31st October to 31st October, although we do accept members at any time of the year. The current annual membership fees are: £25 for a single person, £37.50 for a couple, £15 for an overseas single person or an overseas couple at the same address. Now payable by PayPal in many different currencies. (If you join between November and end of May, a full year's membership fee is payable up to 31st October in that year. For people who join after 1st June, their first year's membership will run to 31st October the following year, i.e. for up to seventeen months.)
As a member, you will receive four newsletters a year and access to Club events, such as lectures, meetings and investigations and entry to the Members Area on this web site.
For new membership and further details about the Ghost Club, please print out a completed membership questionnaire and send it, together with a cheque (in pounds sterling) made payable to "The Ghost Club" or an International Money Order, to :The Ghost Club Membership Secretary, PO Box 160 St Leonards-On-Sea, TN38 8WA
Updated with information from "The Encyclopaedia of Ghosts and Spirits" by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Its prime interest focuses on paranormal phenomena such as ghosts and hauntings. The club has been mentioned in numerous books, the most notable being "This Haunted Isle" (1984), "No Common Task" (1983), "Nights in Haunted Houses" (1994) and "The Ghosthunters Almanac" (1993) by Peter Underwood, "Some Unseen Power" (1985) by Philip Paul, and "The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits" (1992) by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.
The club has its roots in Cambridge when in 1855 fellows at Trinity College began to discuss ghosts and psychic phenomena. Formally launched in London in 1862 (attracting some light hearted ridicule in "The Times"), it counted amongst its early members Charles Dickens and Cambridge academics and clergymen.
This group undertook practical investigations of spiritualist phenomena, which was then much in vogue and would meet and discuss ghostly subjects. The Ghost Club seems to have dissolved in the 1870s following the death of Dickens but it was relaunched in 1882 simultaneously with the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) with whom there was an initial overlap of members.
The Ghost Club was revived on All Saints Day 1882 by A.A.Watts and a famous contemporary medium, the Reverend Stainton Moses. Whilst the SPR was a body devoted to scientific study the Club remained a selective and secretive organisation of convinced believers for whom psychic phenomena were an established fact. Stainton Moses resigned from the vice presidency of the SPR in 1886 and thereafter devoted himself to the Club which met monthly, with attendance being considered obligatory except for the most pressing reasons. Membership was small - 82 members over 54 years - but during this period the Club attracted some of the most original - and controversial minds in psychical research, serving almost as a place of refuge for those who were unable to pursue activities elsewhere. These included Sir William Crookes who attracted scandal after investigation into Florence Cook, a medium.
At this stage of its existence the Ghost Club might possibly be viewed as a Victorian occult or spiritualist society celebrating November 2nd, the feast of All Souls. The archives of the Club reveal that the names of members - both living and dead were solemnly recited each November 2nd. Each individual, living or dead, was recognised as still being a member of the Club. On more than one occasion deceased members were believed to have made their presence felt!
On the eartly plane, meetings discussed topics as diverse as Egyptian magic and second sight. The Principal of Jesus College, Cambridge, Arthur Grey was later to fictionalise the Ghost Club in 1919 as "The Everlasting Club" of Jesus College - a famous Cambridge ghost story that many still believe to be true.
Into this circle the poet W.B.Yeats (joined 1911) and later Frederick Bligh Bond (joined 1925) who became infamous with his obsessive investigations into spiritualism at Glastonbury. Bligh Bond later left the country and later became active in the American Society for Psychical Research and was ordained into the Old Catholic Church, rejoining the Ghost Club on his return to Britain in 1935.
However. at the Ghost Club attendance dwindled and the change in the 20th century from seance room investigation to laboratory based research meant that the Ghost Club was becoming out of touch with contemporary psychic research or parapsychology as it became known in the 1930s. Harry Price, world famous in the 1930s as a psychic researcher and for his investigation into Borley Rectory joined as a member in 1927 as did psychologist Dr.Nandor Fodor who represented the changing approach to psychical research taking place. With attendance falling, Price, Bligh Bond and a handful of surviving members agreed to wind up the Club in 1936 after 485 meetings, and this took place on November 2nd 1936. The Ghost Club records narrowly escaped being destroyed because of their confidential nature but were deposited in the British Museum under the proviso that they would be closed until 1962.
However these events proved only a temporary suspension for within 18 months Price had relaunched the Ghost Club as a society dining event where psychic researchers and mediums delivered after dinner talks. Among members in this period were Dr.C.E.M.Joad, Sir Julian Huxley and Kathleen Goldney.
Following Price's death in 1948 activites lapsed but the Club was again relaunched by members of the committee, Philip Paul and Peter Underwood. From 1962 author Peter Underwood served as President and many account of Club activities are found in his books. Tom Perrott joined the club in 1967 and served as Chairman from 1971 to 1993. In 1993, however, the club underwent a period of internal disruption. Peter Underwood left to become Life President of another society, taking some of the club members with him. During this period, Tom Perrott resigned due to the political turmoil, but was invited to return to the Ghost Club as chairman, which he accepted. With this turmoil behind the club, it was decided to implement a more democratic feel to proceedings, to abolish the "invite only" clause in its membership policy, to absorb the role of Chairman and President into one post, and to allow 'ordinary' members to have their say in council meetings, and encouraging them to become more involved in club affairs. During this period the Ghost Club also expanded its remit to take in the study of UFOs, dowsing, cryptozoology, etc. In 1998, Perrott resigned as Chairman (although he is still active in club affairs), and barrister Alan Murdie was elected as his successor. Kathy Gearing replaced Alan Murdie as Chairman in 2005.
Since its founding in 1862, the Ghost Club has welcomed many luminaries to its membership. The list includes Charles Dickens, Sir William Crookes, Air Chief Marshall Lord Dowding, Arthur Koestler, Dr.C.E.M.Joad, Donald Campbell, Sir Julian Huxley, Sir Osbert Sitwell, W.B.Yeats, Sigfreid Sassoon, Dennis Wheatley, Dennis Bardens and Peter Cushing. Present members include the explorer and founder of Operations "Drake" and "Raleigh" Colonel John Blashford-Snell, OBE, and noted paranormal investigators Maurice Grosse, John and Anne Spencer and Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe, as well as author Lynn Picknett . A previous chairman of the Ghost Club was W.T.G. (Tom) Perrott, a life member of the club and an eminent figure in the field of psychical research. The club has investigated many famous locations during its lifetime, such as Borley Church, Chingle Hall, The Queen's House, RAF Cosford Aerospace Museum, Glamis Castle, Winchester Theatre, Woodchester Mansion, Michelham Priory and the Clerkenwell House of Detention.