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Wondry Plus subscribers can binge all episodes of Ghost Story ad-free. Join Wondry Plus in the Wondry app or an Apple podcast. I want to tell you a story. Well, it's really three stories all wrapped around each other. It's a ghost story, it's a murder mystery, and it's a family drama.


By which I mean it's about my wife's family, her family's history, and there's a chance they'll disown me for doing this.


If you come out with a piece that says he was a murderer, then I will be sorry that we ever said we would contribute to it.


But before we get into any of that, let's start at the beginning with the thing that set all of this in motion.


When I was 16 back in the 90s, my family moved to an old Victorian house in London on a street called Queen's Road. I slept in a bedroom tucked into the creaky top floor and weird things would happen out there. I'd wake up and objects would have moved across the room, specifically this one vase. When I go to bed, it'd be on the mantle piece, and then in the morning, I'd find it on the desk. I put it back and the next morning I'd find it somewhere else. Lights would flash on and off on their own, and I'd get this uncomfortable cold feeling whenever I was alone in the house.


It freaked me out at the time, but the truth is, I didn't really think much of it. I was a teenager. I had other things on my mind. Every now and then, I'd ask my sister if she was messing with me, but she always swore she wasn't.


I grew up, left home, and became a journalist for Al-Jizera. I cover things like French labor strikes and the war in Ukraine. I don't believe in ghosts. So when my family moved out of the house on Queens Road, I completely forgot about the weird stuff that happened in there.


Until that is a few years ago, a man reached out, an old neighbour of ours, with a story about that very room.


I mean, it's quite a story.


His name is Charles and he knows everything about this neighborhood. You could say he's a bit of a gossip.


But you.




Shouldn't. Slanderous. Gives completely the wrong impression.


Anyway, this is what he told me. Charles was walking around my old neighbourhood one day, going door to door, collecting donations for the local museum.


I was there rattling a tin.


And definitely not gossiping.


Well, I mean, it was just sensei is still there and sensei has moved out and they've had a divorce and all that business.


Eventually, he gets to my old house and knocks on the door. A woman answers. She's the mother of the house. After chatting for a bit, she invites him inside and she tells him a story unlike anything he's ever heard before.


The story goes. The American swans up with a.


Hallow- Here's what she tells him. One day, the woman is at home at my old house. She looks out of the window and she sees a man standing on the driveway.


So the mother of the house opens the door.


It's someone who used to live in the house, an American man who'd lived there with his wife and two children. The American says to her, I'm so sorry to bother you, but I just have to know. Do you.


Still have that ghost in the top bedroom straight like that?


What the American man proceeds to tell her, the things his family experienced on the top floor, it makes her go completely white because this isn't the first time she's heard of something going on up there. She just never believed it before. This struck a.


Chord since the daughter had always insisted there was a ghost in her bedroom, which would manifest itself on occasions and sit on her bed.


The woman's daughter, starting when she was around 10, began complaining about a ghost visiting her room at night, specifically the ghost of a faceless woman.


She said to me, Oh, yes, my daughter told me about some goings on, some faceless woman who comes and sits on my bed. And she said, I always batted them away on the basis that we don't believe in that thing. So I rang your father, and he said, That was Tristram's room. So Ire. I imagine he phoned you and the cat was out of the bag.


I promise you, and I hope you believe me, that I don't normally find myself having conversations like this.


Or even entertaining these sorts of ideas. But it's weird, right?


You now have three completely unconnected families who have had some strange, inexpercable experience and the top floor of that house. I think it's wonderful.


It was definitely intriguing, but it probably wouldn't have been anything more than a story I'd tell my friends in the pub. Except I couldn't stop thinking about this faceless woman. That's because there's another coincidence, something I hadn't thought about in years.


I guess Tris and I just started going out and they invited my parents around to his house to come and say hi.


I first learned about it when my wife, Kate and I, had just started dating about 20 years ago. My family still lived in the house on Queens Road, the one with the supposed ghost, and Kate was staying with us.


My grandad was in London, so they invited him over too.


She was very close to her grandfather, so my folks asked if he'd join us.


Grandad arrived. He's got nice rosy cheeks, grandad, like all the men in my family. He wore a berry every day to keep his bald head warm. Then my grandad walked into the house and before he said anything else, he said, My mother was murdered in the house next door. I don't think we had ever put two and two together between where Tris lived and this big murder that happened in the family.


To be clear, I'd never heard about this murder before. In fact, Kate didn't know a lot about it either. Just that her great grandmother had been killed decades before.


She had no idea that it happened here. Neither of us had any clue at the time that my new girlfriend's family had any connection to this neighborhood, let alone the house next door. But the details of the murder make the coincidence even stranger. Because just next door to my house, the house supposedly haunted by a faceless woman, Kate's great grandmother was killed by two gunshots to the face.


From Wandry in Pineapple Street Studios, this is Ghost Story. I'm Tristan Redman. Episode one, The House Next Door.


What a life these celebrities lead. Imagine walking the red carpet, the cameras in your face, the designer clothes, the worst dress list, the big house, the world constantly peering in, the bursting bank account, the people trying to get the grubby mits on it. What do you all about? I'm just saying being really, really famous, it's not always easy. I'm Emily Lloyd-Saney. And I'm Anna-Leon-Browfy. We're the hosts of Terribly Famous from Wondery, the podcast which tells the stories of our favourite celebrities from their perspective. Each season, we show you what it's really like being famous by taking you inside the life of a British icon. We walk you through their glittering highs and eyebrow-raising lows and ask, Is fame and fortune really worth it? Follow Terribly Famous Now wherever you get your podcasts or listen early and ad-free on Wandery Plus on Apple Podcasts or The Wondery app.


We've now come to The Murder story. But before I tell it, I want to tell you a bit about my wife's family, The Dances, because The Murder didn't happen in my family. It happened in theirs. And The Dancese are a pretty impressive bunch. I'm going to take you through a tiny family tree. I'll start with the bald guy in The Berre or a Berre to you Americans. He's my wife's grandfather. He was the one who announced that his mother had been murdered in the house next door. He was a well-known headmaster of elite private schools in England, including the one Kate Middleton went to. Then there's his son, my father-in-law, Jonathan Dancy, who's also bald and wears a berre. He's a pretty famous philosopher. What if lying is ethical in this situation? What if certain actions aren't universally good or bad, like Jonathan Dancy says? So much so that his name dropped in an episode of The Good Place. Jonathan Dancy.


Are you talking about moral particularism? We never even covered that.


And then there's his son, Hugh Dancy, my brother-in-law. First positions, please. Roll the camera. That's him in the latest downtown Abbey movie. And action. Coming down the stairs. Not expecting to find him there.


Waiting for you.


Hugh is Hollywood famous. He's not bald, and frankly, he doesn't look great in a beret. He's been in a bunch of movies and TV shows. Blackhawk Down, Hannibal, and my personal favorite, obviously, Ella Enchanted. You're the first maiden I've met who hasn't swooned at the sight of me. Then maybe I've done you some good. Then there's my wife, Kate, we met at university. These days, she works for the United Nations. Before that, she was a diplomat. And as if she couldn't be more impressive, she literally used to save children for Save the Children. Let's go straight to the expert on the.


Un, Kate Redman.


Kate, what can you tell us about the decision?


I work at UNESCO, which is one of the UN agencies that works on education.


I'm not a dancey, but I'm also pretty bald these days. When I married Kate, the dancees gave me a bury of my own so I could fit in. When you.


First meet the danceys, they can be a bit intimidating, but they're also warm and funny. And after 20 years of hanging around them, they've become my family too. But in all that time, I hardly ever heard anyone talk about the murder. It wasn't a secret. But aside from that lunch with Kate's grandfather, it just never really came up in conversation, until I started asking questions about it. What story.


Did your dad tell you when you were 18?


That his mother had been murdered.


Not until you were 18? This is my father-in-law. I call him Johnny. He's the Good Place philosopher. He seems to be the only family member who was told about the murder on purpose, so he has the closest to the official version of it.


He was driving me back from Oxford. I must have been an undergraduate there, and we were just going over the Ridgeway. He just started telling me this story. Perhaps he started off by saying something like, I was younger than you when my mother died and your grandmother didn't die a natural death. But I should tell you how it happened.


The woman who was killed was Johnny's grandmother and my wife's great grandmother, named Naomi Dancy. The year was 1937, and Naomi was a pioneering doctor in London. She and her husband lived in the house on Queens Road, just next door to where I grew up.


My grandmother's brother was living in the house, Morris. He was disturbed because he had been damaged in the war.


Naomi's brother, Morris, was struggling with shell shock after World War I. He come home with a piece of shrapnel in his brain, having lost an eye. I don't know where this detail originated from, but it would later be reported that Naomi had particularly beautiful eyes. And as Morris lost sight in his own, he developed a deep jealousy of them.


Anyhow, one night, Naomi was in bed, gone to bed early, and Morris came into the room and shot her in both eyes. Then he went into the upstairs loo and cut his throat. That's a story, really. Yeah, that's a story.


This is why when I learned about the faceless woman in my childhood bedroom, I thought about Naomi. I wanted to know more about her and what happened that night.


Who was Naomi?


Well, that is a very good question. I know nothing.


I didn't even know her name until you started working on this.


Did you know anything else about her?




Except no one seems to know much about her.


I mean, as far as the family goes, there is nothing.


Is it Naomi? Am I saying the name right?


In fact, as the story has been passed down through the generations, it's become less about Naomi and more about the man who survived to tell the tale. The critical narrative part was Theta jumped.


Off the.


Stairs to dodge a bullet or something like this. Because there was someone else in the house that night, Naomi's husband, John Dancy, my wife's great-grandfather, known in the family as Fadher. The way I've always told it was.




Fathr not only.


Switched off the lights.


But also flung himself backwards down the stairs. The name Fathr is a play on the word father. Father, Fathr. Anyway, the story goes that the brother, Morris, tried to kill Fathr that night too, but Fadher dodged the bullet and narrowly escaped. It was an action story. Great-grandad had done a really cool James Bond jumping over the banisters, shooting out the light, do one of those rolls that commandos do, and then shot the guy. What are.


You doing with your hands? I'm doing the guns.


Well, like a guns slinger.


All details of Naomi have fallen away, and what remains is admiration for Fathr and his daring escape. Does that make him a hero?




This makes some sense. Fatha has an outsized influence on the family. They say it was Fadher who established an obsession with education that the dancers were to this day. Even outside of the family, his presence is larger than life. There's a BBC documentary about the guy. His portrait once hung in the Royal Academy of Arts. He's the family patriarch. One of the reasons we're calling here is that there are so many John Dancy's in this family. There's one with his name in every generation. Which brings us to the third story, the family drama. Because just two days after I heard from my old neighbour about the ghost in my teenage bedroom. My wife discovered something, something that totally called into question this heroic image of Fever and the family's story of the murder.


Can you remember the story of how you ended up finding that article? Was it like a Google wormhole you were basically in?


I go down so many Google wormholes, yeah.


Kate's helping her dad with an obituary for her grandfather, the one that was headmaster at Kate Middleton School. She's poking around online to see what's out there, and she remembers him telling us about his mother's murder in the house next door.


I looked up something like, Dancy, murder, Richmond, not expecting really to find anything. I did. I came across this crazy article on the National Archives website, and I had no idea why it was there.


It was written by an archivist who happened to stumble upon the file from Naomi's murder. Apparently, most murder files are kept in one building in London in the National Archives, and out of thousands of cases, this murder stood out to her. She found the police file so strange that she decided to write about it. She gives the broad strokes of the murder story, but then she raises some serious questions about what happened that night.


I think it says murder, suicide or double murder? It was mind-blowing for me because the article questioned who was the guilty party and suggested that potentially it was my great-grandad and not the brother. That was the first I'd considered the idea or even read any suggestion that the case was not closed and clean and that the right guilty party had been found.


Kate forwards the article to her family to see if this could be true, and none of them had heard anything like it before. It was hard to tell how seriously to take the article, but at the very least, we now realise that there was a different version of the story floating around, and it was totally unlike the official Dancy Family story.


I mean, obviously the question was, did Fethe do it? Killed them both.


Kate's family decides this blog post is no big deal. Nothing to take seriously. Better to just keep moving and let it be. But I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I did some reporting. I went back to the source and got my hands on the original police file.


Let's do it. Yeah, let's go. Let's go.


Because I'm no murder detective, I called one up to help me understand it.


I'm really.


Anxious to hear what you make of all this, Tucky.


Oh, I find the story fascinating. The hair is on the back of my neck when I read it.


Once I started reading it, my little curiosity project took on much bigger proportions. It's so cute here. On an autumn day in 2022, my producer colleague, Annie Brown, and I are standing outside a little cottage in a quaint village in Surrey, waiting to meet a retired senior police officer from Scotland Yard. We've got the police file in your bag. Yeah. Good morning. Good morning. Hello, Jackie.


Jackie Moulton spent nearly 30 years in the job and became one of the only female detective chief inspectors at a time when men dominated these jobs. There's a hit TV show in the UK that's based on a case of murder called Prime Suspect. Helen Mirren plays Jackie.


I was a career detective. That's what I ever wanted to be, was a detective. We dealt with murders, rapes, domestic violence. I was a hostage negotiator, fraud cases, is the whole gamut of crime.


After my wife, Kate, found that article raising questions about who might have actually killed Naomi, I wanted to have an expert walk us through the original police file to help us understand it. Can you explain to me what you're looking at?


In front of me, I have the file relating to the murder that was in the National Archives. It's the record of the crime and what happened. It's a storybook, really. The narrative of the criminal incident witnessed from different points of view. In this case, we have the most important statement from John Dunsey.


By the way, I should say that in my wife's family, there are a lot of people called John Dancy.


So what should we call him?


Dr. Dancy? We call him, what he's called in the family, which is Fever.


Oh, I can't say that. I can't say that because there's no evidence. Sure.


But if you don't mind, I'll call him Fever just because it's so confusing for people listening to this story. But if I'm not consistent, but from you, it's totally fine. We're going to spend much more time with Jackie and Fathir's statement later. But for now, I want to walk through the night of the murder from Fathir's point of view. His account is the most detailed version of what happened that night, as told to the cops directly after the murder.


This is a statement of John Horace Dancy, aged 46 a medical practitioner, who sayeth, I am a medical practitioner and at the moment, semi-retired. My wife, Naomi Dancy, was assistant medical officer of health at Hammersmith, where she has worked for 16 years. We had three children.


The statement is rather long, so we'll just be reading parts of it right now. In these first opening sentences, Fadher is outlining the main characters in this story. We've got Fadher himself, his wife, Naomi Dancy, and her brother, Morris Tribe.


Morris Tribe, aged 44, an army officer, pensioned with severe head wounds and with loss of an eye, was my brother-in-law.


Remember, Morris Tribe came back from World War I with a piece of shrapnel lodged in his brain, having lost an eye. Fadher tells us that Morris' mental health has been deteriorating. He's been drinking more and more, and he's staying with the Dancys on Queen's Road so they can look after him. Now let's pick up with the night of the murder. Fadher's statement starts the clock at around midnight. Naomi Dancy had arrived home late from a lecture she was giving across town. Fadher tells us what happens next.


I sent my wife to bed and went and peeled an orange for her and told her to go to sleep as she was tired. I would write to the children and get it off tonight. Then I went to my study on the first floor and started to type letters to the children.


Just after midnight, with Naomi in bed, Fadher settles into write to his three kids at boarding school, sending them updates from home. Morris is.




Still awake.


I could hear Morris who was in the next room moving about. I left my door a little ajar so that I could hear what he was doing.


Fathir is listening for Morris' movements because he says he's already nervous about what Morris is capable of. He explained earlier in the statement that Maris has recently been threatening Naomi, even specifically threatening to shoot her eyes out.


About 1:10 AM, I gauge the time because I rang the ambulance up 20 minutes afterwards. I heard him go to the lavatory and lock the door. Shortly afterwards, I heard shots. I thought it was three. I went to the door and saw Morris advancing towards me. I said, Morris, what have you done? He was advancing towards me with the revolver in his hand pointed at my head. I tried to reason with him, but he kept coming towards me saying nothing. I pretended to lean against the door, and I realised he meant to shoot me. I switched the light out and dropped flat to the floor. He shot as I fell and the bullet whizzed by my ear and went through the back window. I laid quite still and pretended that I was hit. He then went into the lavatory and closed the door behind him.


So, Fatha is lying on the floor of the landing, pretending to be injured. His wife, Naomi, is in their bedroom to his right, and his brother-in-law, Maris, has just disappeared into the lavatory off the landing.


I went to the lavatory door and tried to force it. I found it was locked from inside, and I called on him to come out and give me the gun. He said, Stand away from those panels or I'll shoot you like a dog.


I should warn you, the last section of his statement gets pretty graphic.


I then went into the bedroom. I saw my wife in bed. She had been shot through both eyes and blood was spursing from one of her eyes. Eventually, after a struggle, I forced the door of the lavatory with my shoulder. I found Morris in a somewhat sitting position with his head bent forward. A razor fell from his hand as I pushed the door open. I felt for his pulse and found him pulseless. I left him and went into the bedroom to look at my wife. After a lapse of a few minutes, I telephoned the ambulance and laid to the police. Signed John Dancy at 9:30 a. M. On the 23rd of November, 1937.


The story of the murder was picked up by newspapers all over the world, from Tennessee to Dublin, Wisconsin to Liverpool. There was something about it that seemed to grip people, maybe because women doctors were so rare in the first place, or the gruesome specifics of the crime. The headlines read, Envied his sister's eyes so killed her. Or, Brilliant woman doctor shot dead. But it was also Fathr's escape that fascinated readers. Nearly every article included a dramatic first-hand account of his standoff with Morris and the gory, cinematic details that Fathir shared with the press. But this statement is just the first document in the police report.


The more that you read, the more questions that you have to ask yourself. I would have done this investigation a lot differently.


As Jackie, Annie, and I make our way through the file, we get to a point in the story that the archivist noted in her blog post.


At this point, some anonymous letters had started to come in.


The final documents in the file are two anonymous letters sent to the police by members of the public in the aftermath of the murder. They're barely legible, but both letters urge the cops to look into the husband.


One says, quote, Believe me, I am not the only person over here who thinks he murdered his wife and brother-in-law himself. If you get one of these letters, what are you thinking?


Well, I want to have investigated it like it's been investigated in the first place, but if I received anonymous letters, that would give me a nagging doubt that I had missed something. What the police do in this is just minimise it and ignore it. I mean, it can all be true. Let's face it, it can all be true. But these are the unanswered questions.


Okay, at this point, here's where I am. There's a ghost in my teenage bedroom, a faceless woman. Somehow, I've married a woman whose ancestors just happened to live in the house next door, and one of them had her eyes shot out. Now it seems like there's a suspect in her family that no one has ever looked into. Let me throw in one more wrench. That bedroom, the one with the faceless woman in the moving vars, it's where my wife and I.


First got together.


It was actually in this house in Richmond. That was when we might have realized that there was something maybe more than just being flatmates.


Remember, Kate and I met at university, and the first few years we were really just friends. Even though we shared an apartment, nothing ever happened between us. But then the summer before our final year.


Kate came to visit me at my parents' house on Queen's Road.


The interestant's bedroom. I'm sure his parents will be delighted to hear that that's where we actually got together concretely. I'm too British to say it any other way.


The night that we got together concretely was a big turning point for us. We went from being friends to dating to married five years later. Maybe it was random, maybe it was fate, but could it have been some abnormal intervention? Listen, I don't actually believe Kate's great grandmother was there in the room with us that night, manipulating us for our own purposes. I'm not totally nuts. But has the thought crossed my mind since I started this project? Yes. Yes, it has.


You think you're going to come across as like the wacko ghost believer?


In the family? Yeah. I hope not. I realise that at best, at best, opening up a 90-year-old murder case involving your family, Katie, and wondering if there's any link between the murder and a ghost in my teenage bedroom is totally ridiculous. And at worst, it's a very bad idea. I don't think it's fair as a son-in-law to be doing this.


I mean, it is totally whacker.


But is it a terrible idea?


In many ways, yes.


But here are the questions I need to answer, right? Did your great-grandfather get away with murder? Is your great-grandmother, the faceless woman, haunting my teenage bedroom? And while we're at it, did we end up married because this ghost wants me to solve a murder that everyone's been getting wrong for a century? I mean.


It sounds like so far-fetched, but you've opened many doors and you've got to work out where they're going to go.


You don't have to be diplomatic. Do I have your blessing to pursue this story?


Oh, yeah, you do. You do have my blessing. Then at the same time, I have this strange gut reaction that's like, Oh, I hope this has done the right way. It's shit.


This season on Ghost Story.


Everything has a.


Possibility doesn't it? In murder. My dad.


Would never.


Have killed my mom. He loved her.


There's a legal term for phrases like that. This is all bullshit.


What is the actual evidence?


I feel.


Deeply disturbed by that experience. Yeah.


We're going to be traumatized by this podcast than we were about the murder, I'll tell you that.


You are deconstructing an age-old story.


That a family has told itself. You're not going to get to the truth. There is.


Going to be blowback. Follow Ghost Story on the Wondry app, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can binge all episodes ad-free right now by joining Wondry Plus in the Wondry app or on Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at wondry. Com/our survey.


Ghost Story is a production of Wondry and Pineapple Street Studios. It's hosted by me, Tristan Redman. Our lead producer is Annie Brown, and senior producers are Chloe Prasinos and Jess Hackel. Our producers are Xandra Ellen and Emerald O'Brien, and our associate producer is Natalie Peard. Our editor is Joe Lovel, with fact-checking by Maximo Anderson. The theme song and music by Darryl Griffith, supplied by APM Music. There's mixing and original music by Hannis Brown. Pineapple's head of sound and engineering is Raj Makijah, with assistant engineers Sharon Bardales and Jade Brooks. Senior audio engineer for Ghost Story is and the senior producer of development for the show is Jess Hackel. The artwork is by Brian Klogie. Legal services for Pineapple Street by Rachel Strom and Sam Cate-Gumput from Davis Wright-Tremaine. David Hears from Five R. B, and Crystal Tupia at Audit. The senior producer for Wondry is Michelle Martin, with producers Brian Taylor White and Grant Rutter. The managing producer for Wondry is Rachel Sibley, and the coordinating producer is Sarah Mathis. Our executive producers at Pineapple Street.


Are Maddie Sprung Kaiser, Max Linsky.


And Jenna Weiss-Burman.


Our executive producers for Wondry are Morgan.


Jones, Rich Knight.


Marshall Louis.




Jessica Radburn. Special thanks to Jonal, Ed and Chloe Cezar, Alison Vermulin, Jonathan Oates, Eleanor Johnson-Ward.


Barney Lee.


And Chris, Jan, Sophie, and Justine Redman. This episode contains public sector information licensed under the open government license, version 3.0..