Chaonei No.81 is an abandoned Baroque-style house in the Chaoyangmen neighborhood in Beijing, China.
It is also known as the Chaonei Church and it is best-known as “Beijing’s most celebrated haunted house”. After a popular 3D horror movie was made for the house in 2014 called The House That Never Dies it became a popular site for the local Chinese youth.
There are no historical records about its building and its purpose. It was used as offices for many government agencies in the period of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and it was occupied for a short time by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.
Currently, the house is owned by the Beijing’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese who had plans to make it the Vatican embassy just to save it from demolishing. It was restored in 2016, and since 2017 is opened for renting.
The house is part of a bigger property which is surrounded with a concrete wall and it has a metal gate which allowes entrance from the street. There are three buildings and the Chanoei No. 81 is the main house.
It is a two-and-a-half story house and below the first floor, a part of an exposed stone basement can be seen. In front of the main entrance there are stone steps and the house is sheltered by a stone balcony. It was designated as a historical building by the municipality of Beijing.
The heritage listing prevented the house from being torn down but at the same time, it also made it difficult for renovations because there were many strict rules that have to be followed for preservation. The entrance to the house was blocked up by the diocese because of its structural deficiencies.
However, a lot of teenagers were always around painting graffiti on the walls and having parties. There are many ghost stories about the mansion and mysterious disappearances. One of the ghost stories is about the wife or mistress of a government official who fled the house during the Communist war in 1949 and left her.
She hung herself in desperation and since then she haunt the house. But, there are no records that the house ever belonged to an officer. It is also believed that the Red Guards stayed at the house for few days because they were frightened by something.
Another story is of a British priest who built the house to be a church and before the construction was finished he went missing. These scary stories are one of the reasons why the house can’t be sold today. The most interesting part is the chalked notice next to the entrance that states that there are no ghosts in the house.