William Harnett Blanch


Born into a family of gun and rifle manufacturers, he was a prolific writer of books, mainly about the local history of London.
He also founded The London Thirteen Club as a means of debunking superstitions. It met on the thirteenth of every month, with thirteen dinner tables, each with thirteen settings. Diners wore green ties with toy skeletons in their buttonholes, and meals were served by two cross-eyed waiters, who announced the start of dinner by smashing two mirrors.
To get to the dining room, guests had to follow an undertaker beneath a ladder and then sit at tables decorated with a centrepiece featuring a black cat, peacock feathers and witches' cauldrons, and were asked to spill salt before eating.