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Apparently the greatest proportion of deaths at the club occurred in members who had sat at one particular table – directly beneath the pike. The club decided to get rid of it, and Halls of Chester were the beneficiaries. One player told auctioneer Adrian Byrne that no-one would sit anywhere near the dreaded creature. Mr Byrne subsequently discovered that Loch Maban, where the beast was caught in 1935, is notorious for having been “fished out”, although the auctioneer did not find out whether the fisherman, Mr C.H. Turner, lived a long and healthy life.

Not that any of this provenance accompanied the pike to auction on March 29, which was a shame, because it would have been interesting to see whether or not the normally sceptical trade would have been inhibited by this supernatural tale. As it was they took a fairly dim view of the creature’s commerical potential; the auctioneers had attributed the work to J.S. Cooper and Son, but it was unclear from the faded label whether or not this reputable firm had mounted and cased the pike. The estimate of £1000-1500 was deemed too strong and the fish failed to get away. The curse, evidently, had continued to stick. The vendors insisted Halls should try again (they did not want it back) and casting a lower reserve in a general sale later that week, they managed to hook a Texan collector of taxidermy who paid £750 (plus 15 per cent premium). “The poor Texan does not know what is coming his way,” said a sympathetic Mr Byrne.