Mysterious Chiromo House That Has Scared Off Intruders for 144 Years

  • Chiromo House at the University of Nairobi File
  • The superstition and mystery that is written on the nooks and cracks of the old Chiromo House, has for years, faithfully served it with the solitude and loneliness it depicts.

    The house that originally sat on a 113-acre piece of land, was built 114 years ago by Ewart Grogan in 1905.

    Grogan, who was an eccentric man, was known to set records for what one can do for love. He once walked from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt, in order to prove himself worthy of Gertrude Watt’s hand in marriage.

    Chiromo House at the University of Nairobi

    On his return, Grogan named the house Chiromo, after a village in Malawi, where he was attacked by hostile tribesmen and lost all his belongings.

    The mystery grows deeper as Chiromo was no ordinary family house. Two hidden tunnels were dug beneath the house and were frequently used as escape routes.

    Within the tunnels, were spooky dungeons whose walls smell of the torture and anguish of the Africans who were tormented in there.

    The dungeons were specifically made for the imprisonment of Africans, after they had received a thorough beating from Grogan.

    Influenced by Cecil Rhodes in South Africa, Grogan believed that Africans were inferior and needed to be civilised and thus made it his personal mission to do so.

    The house, later sold in 1926 and in 1958, was donated to the British government where it served as an emergency centre.

    The building was later abandoned and used as a dumping site for several years and even then, it was never vandalized.

    The residence, whose walls have since been etched with masonic symbols, such as the occult’s evil eye and two feline idols brought by Lord William Northrop Macmillan from West Africa, displays every indication that it was a masonic Templar Lodge.

    The numerous Masonic symbols are believed to bring mystic powers to the house. This is something that has been attributed to the residence not being vandalised in the 114 years it has been up.

    Currently, the building, that was gazetted as a national monument, houses the Institute of African Studies of the University of Nairobi and boasts having hosted important Cabinet meetings, held in the building’s conference room.

    Former US President Theodore Roosevelt, is also reported to have been a guest in the dwelling, during the house's glory days. 

    Ewart Grogan in his hay days