Dongbianmen Fox Tower and its terrible history (9 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
16 May 2024

In traditional Chinese mythology, the werewolf is one of the key characters. And this image is often used in modern culture.

Therefore, the name of this tower in Beijing is very symbolic - Dongbianmen or Fox Tower, where, according to legend, the spirits of foxes lived. And then it was inhabited by more modern ghosts.

Huli-jing - in Chinese traditional mythology, a were-fox, a nine-tailed fox

The Fox Tower in Beijing, China, has been said to be haunted almost since its construction in 1564. At first they said that these were fox spirits, but by the 20th century the historical building began to be haunted by a very real ghost - a dark, unsolved murder.

Emperor Jiajing

Built by the Jiajing Emperor, a man so cruel that his own concubines tried to strangle him together, Dongbianmen likely saw more than one murder. It is one of the few fortifications that survived the dismantling of the old city walls, which began after the dynasties crumbled into dust in 1911.

On a frosty January morning in 1937, the badly mutilated body of 19-year-old Pamela Werner was found at the base of the Fox Tower. A pretty British woman, the daughter of sinologist E. T. Werner, was brutally murdered and dismembered. The girl's heart was torn out, her face was cut with a knife. The head was turned to the west, legs to the east. Oddly enough, there was little blood.

Pamela Werner

The murder of Pamela Werner, the adopted daughter of a retired British diplomat, shocked the public. Although the murder was never fully solved, her father believed that it was the work of a prominent American expatriate who moved in the circles of Beijing's high society as well as the underworld.

Investigators tried to solve her murder before Japanese troops entered Beijing, but ran into a number of bureaucratic obstacles and made no arrests. And this small tragedy was forgotten against the backdrop of the great atrocities of the war.

Nearly 80 years later, historian Paul French released Midnight in Beijing in 2011, tracing Pamela's journey in the days and minutes leading up to her death.

Surprisingly, many of the landmarks associated with Pamela's life, including the house where she lived, still exist. The Fox Tower, an imposing fortress with pointed eaves, now a printing house, still stands. Its interior has been restored, with the original columns painted dark red. Some of Pamela's favorite places are now hidden behind high walls.

These days, the Fox Tower is also home to the Red Gate Gallery, a place for contemporary Chinese art, which has a historical section with vintage photographs of Dongbianmen's half-forgotten past.

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