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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang

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that he stayed at the Mains of Mause all night, but left it early next
morning, when David Soutar with his dog accompanied him to show him
the road; but that with the assistance of the dog he murdered the
drover and took his money at the place mentioned; that there was a
tailor at work in his father's house that morning when he returned
after committing the murder (according to the custom at that date by
which tailors went out to make up customers' own cloth at their own
houses), and that his mother being surprised at his strange
appearance, asked him what he had been about, to which inquiry he made
no reply; that he did not remain long in the country afterwards, but
went to England and never returned. The last time he was seen he went
down by the Brae of Cockridge. A man of the name of Irons, a
fisherman in Blairgowrie, says that his father, who died a very old
man some years ago, was present at the getting of the bones. Mr.
Small, Finzyhan, when bringing his daughter home from school in
Edinburgh, saw a coffin at the door of a public house near Rychalzie
where he generally stopped, but he did not go in as usual, thinking
that there was a death in the family. The innkeeper came out and
asked him why he was passing the door, and told him the coffin
contained the bones of the murdered man which had been collected, upon
which he went into the house.

"The Soutars disliked much to be questioned on the subject of the Dog
of Mause. Thomas Soutar, who was tenant in Easter Mause, formerly
named Knowhead of Mause, and died last year upwards of eighty years of
age, said that the Soutars came originally from Annandale, and that
their name was Johnston; that there were three brothers who fled from
that part of the country on account of their having killed a man; that
they came by Soutar's Hill, and having asked the name of the hill,
were told 'Soutar,' upon which they said, 'Soutar be it then,' and
took that name. One of the brothers went south and the others came
north." {155a}

The appearance of human ghosts in the form of beasts is common enough;
in Shropshire they usually "come" as bulls. (See Miss Burne's
Shropshire Folklore.) They do not usually speak, like the Dog o'
Mause. M. d'Assier, a French Darwinian, explains that ghosts revert
"atavistically" to lower forms of animal life! {155b}

We now, in accordance with a promise already made, give an example of
the ghosts of beasts! Here an explanation by the theory that the
consciousness of the beast survives death and affects with a
hallucination the minds of living men and animals, will hardly pass
current. But if such cases were as common and told on evidence as
respectable as that which vouches for appearances of the dead,
believers in these would either have to shift their ground, or to
grant that

Admitted to that equal sky,
Our faithful dog may bear us company.

We omit such things as the dripping death wraith of a drowned cat who
appeared to a lady, or the illused monkey who died in a Chinese house,
after which he haunted it by rapping, secreting objects, and, in
short, in the usual way. {155c} We adduce


A naval officer visited a friend in the country. Several men were
sitting round the smoking-room fire when he arrived, and a fox-terrier
was with them. Presently the heavy, shambling footsteps of an old
dog, and the metallic shaking sound of his collar, were heard coming
up stairs.

"Here's old Peter!" said his visitor.

"_Peter's dead_!" whispered his owner.

The sounds passed through the closed door, heard by all; they pattered
into the room; the fox-terrier bristled up, growled, and pursued a
viewless object across the carpet; from the hearth-rug sounded a
shake, a jingle of a collar and the settling weight of a body
collapsing into repose. {156}

This pleasing anecdote rests on what is called _nautical evidence_,
which, for reasons inexplicable to me, was (in these matters)
distrusted by Sir Walter Scott.


More Ghosts with a Purpose. Ticonderoga. The Beresford Ghost.
Sources of Evidence. The Family Version. A New Old-Fashioned Ghost.
Half-past One o'clock. Put out the Light!

The ghost in the following famous tale had a purpose. He was a
Highland ghost, a Campbell, and desired vengeance on a Macniven, who
murdered him. The ghost, practically, "cried Cruachan," and tried to
rouse the clan. Failing in this, owing to Inverawe's loyalty to his
oath, the ghost uttered a prophecy.

The tale is given in the words of Miss Elspeth Campbell, who collected
it at Inverawe from a Highland narrator. She adds a curious
supplementary tradition in the Argyle family.


It was one evening in the summer of the year 1755 that Campbell of
Inverawe {157} was on Cruachan hill side. He was startled by seeing a
man coming towards him at full speed; a man ragged, bleeding, and
evidently suffering agonies of terror. "The avengers of blood are on
my track, Oh, save me!" the poor wretch managed to gasp out.
Inverawe, filled with pity for the miserable man, swore "By the word
of an Inverawe which never failed friend or foe yet" to save him.

Inverawe then led the stranger to the secret cave on Cruachan hill

None knew of this cave but the laird of Inverawe himself, as the
secret was most carefully kept and had been handed down from father to
son for many generations. The entrance was small, and no one passing
would for an instant suspect it to be other than a tod's hole, {158a}
but within were fair-sized rooms, one containing a well of the purest
spring water. It is said that Wallace and Bruce had made use of this
cave in earlier days.

Here Inverawe left his guest. The man was so overcome by terror that
he clung on to Inverawe's plaid, {158b} imploring him not to leave him
alone. Inverawe was filled with disgust at this cowardly conduct, and
already almost repented having plighted his word to save such a
worthless creature.

On Inverawe's return home he found a man in a state of great
excitement waiting to see him. This man informed him of the murder of
his (Inverawe's) foster-brother by one Macniven. "We have," said he,
"tracked the murderer to within a short distance of this place, and I
am here to warn you in case he should seek your protection." Inverawe
turned pale and remained silent, not knowing what answer to give. The
man, knowing the love that subsisted between the foster-brothers,
thought this silence arose from grief alone, and left the house to
pursue the search for Macniven further.

The compassion Inverawe felt for the trembling man he had left in the
cave turned to hate when he thought of his beloved foster-brother
murdered; but as he had plighted his word to save him, save him he
must and would. As soon, therefore, as night fell he went to the cave
with food, and promised to return with more the next day.

Thoroughly worn out, as soon as he reached home he retired to rest,
but sleep he could not. So taking up a book he began to read. A
shadow fell across the page. He looked up and saw his foster-brother
standing by the bedside. But, oh, how changed! His fair hair clotted
with blood; his face pale and drawn, and his garments all gory. He
uttered the following words: "Inverawe, shield not the murderer;
blood must flow for blood," and then faded away out of sight.

In spite of the spirit's commands, Inverawe remained true to his
promise, and returned next day to Macniven with fresh provisions.
That night his foster-brother again appeared to him uttering the same
warning: "Inverawe, Inverawe, shield not the murderer; blood must
flow for blood". At daybreak Inverawe hurried off to the cave, and
said to Macniven: "I can shield you no longer; you must escape as
best you can". Inverawe now hoped to receive no further visit from
the vengeful spirit. In this he was disappointed, for at the usual
hour the ghost appeared, and in anger said, "I have warned you once, I
have warned you twice; it is too late now. We shall meet again at

Inverawe rose before dawn and went straight to the cave. Macniven was

Inverawe saw no more of the ghost, but the adventure left him a
gloomy, melancholy man. Many a time he would wander on Cruachan hill
side, brooding over his vision, and people passing him would see the
far-away look in his eyes, and would say one to the other: "The puir
laird, he is aye thinking on him that is gone". Only his dearest
friends knew the cause of his melancholy.

In 1756 the war between the English and French in America broke out.
The 42nd regiment embarked, and landed at New York in June of that
year. Campbell of Inverawe was a major in the regiment. The lieut.-
colonel was Francis Grant. From New York the 42nd proceeded to
Albany, where the regiment remained inactive till the spring of 1757.
One evening when the 42nd were still quartered at this place, Inverawe
asked the colonel "if he had ever heard of a place called
Ticonderoga". {160} Colonel Grant replied he had never heard the name
before. Inverawe then told his story. Most of the officers were
present at the time; some were impressed, others were inclined to look
upon the whole thing as a joke, but seeing how very much disturbed
Inverawe was about it all, even the most unbelieving refrained from
bantering him.

In 1758 an expedition was to be directed against Ticonderoga, on Lake
George, a fort erected by the French. The Highlanders were to form
part of this expedition. The force was under Major-General

Ticonderoga was called by the French St. Louis [really "Fort
Carillon"], and Inverawe knew it by no other name. One of the
officers told Colonel Grant that the Indian name of the place was
Ticonderoga. Grant, remembering Campbell's story, said: "For God's
sake don't let Campbell know this, or harm will come of it".

The troops embarked on Lake George and landed without opposition near
the extremity of the lake early in July. They marched from there,
through woods, upon Ticonderoga, having had one successful skirmish
with the enemy, driving them back with considerable loss. Lord Howe
was killed in this engagement.

On the 10th of July the assault was directed to be commenced by the
picquets. {162} The Grenadiers were to follow, supported by the
battalions and reserves. The Highlanders and 55th regiment formed the

In vain the troops attempted to force their way through the abbatis,
they themselves being exposed to a heavy artillery and musket fire
from an enemy well under cover. The Highlanders could no longer be
restrained, and rushed forward from the reserve, cutting and carving
their way through trees and other obstacles with their claymores. The
deadly fire still continued from the fort. As no ladders had been
provided for scaling the breastwork, the soldiers climbed on to one
another's shoulders, and made holes for their feet in the face of the
work with their swords and bayonets, but as soon as a man reached the
top he was thrown down. Captain John Campbell and a few men succeeded
at last in forcing their way over the breastworks, but were
immediately cut down.

After a long and desperate struggle, lasting in fact nearly four
hours, General Abercromby gave orders for a retreat. The troops could
hardly be prevailed upon to retire, and it was not till the order had
been given for the third time that the Highlanders withdrew from the
hopeless encounter. The loss sustained by the regiment was as
follows: eight officers, nine sergeants and 297 men killed; seventeen
officers, ten sergeants and 306 men wounded.

Inverawe, after having fought with the greatest courage, received at
length his death wound. Colonel Grant hastened to the dying man's
side, who looked reproachfully at him, and said: "You deceived me;
this is Ticonderoga, for I have seen him". Inverawe never spoke
again. Inverawe's son, an officer in the same regiment, also lost his
life at Ticonderoga.

On the very day that these events were happening in far-away America,
two ladies, Miss Campbell of Ederein and her sister, were walking from
Kilmalieu to Inveraray, and had reached the then new bridge over the
Aray. One of them happened to look up at the sky. She gave a call to
her sister to look also. They both of them saw in the sky what looked
like a siege going on. They saw the different regiments with their
colours, and recognised many of their friends among the Highlanders.
They saw Inverawe and his son fall, and other men whom they knew.
When they reached Inveraray they told all their friends of the vision
they had just seen. They also took down the names of those they had
seen fall, and the time and date of the occurrence. The well-known
Danish physician, Sir William Hart, was, together with an Englishman
and a servant, walking round the Castle of Inveraray. These men saw
the same phenomena, and confirmed the statements made by the two
ladies. Weeks after the gazette corroborated their statements in its
account of the attempt made on Ticonderoga. Every detail was correct
in the vision, down to the actual number of the killed and wounded.

But there was sorrow throughout Argyll long before the gazette

* * * * *

We now give the best attainable version of a yet more famous legend,
"The Tyrone Ghost".

The literary history of "The Tyrone Ghost" is curious. In 1802 Scott
used the tale as the foundation of his ballad, The Eve of St. John,
and referred to the tradition of a noble Irish family in a note. In
1858 the subject was discussed in Notes and Queries. A reference was
given to Lyon's privately printed Grand Juries of Westmeath from 1751.
The version from that rare work, a version dated "Dublin, August,
1802," was published in Notes and Queries of 24th July, 1858. In
December, 1896, a member of the Beresford family published in The
Nines (a journal of the Wiltshire regiment), the account which
follows, derived from a MS. at Curraghmore, written by Lady Betty
Cobbe, granddaughter of the ghost-seer, Lady Beresford. The writer in
The Nines remembers Lady Betty. The account of 1802 is clearly
derived from the Curraghmore MS., but omits dates; calls Sir Tristram
Beresford "Sir Marcus "; leaves out the visit to Gill Hall, where the
ghost appeared, and substitutes blanks for the names of persons
concerned. Otherwise the differences in the two versions are mainly


"There is at Curraghmore, the seat of Lord Waterford, in Ireland, a
manuscript account of the tale, such as it was originally received and
implicitly believed in by the children and grandchildren of the lady
to whom Lord Tyrone is supposed to have made the supernatural
appearance after death. The account was written by Lady Betty Cobbe,
the youngest daughter of Marcus, Earl of Tyrone, and granddaughter of
Nicola S., Lady Beresford. She lived to a good old age, in full use
of all her faculties, both of body and mind. I can myself remember
her, for when a boy I passed through Bath on a journey with my mother,
and we went to her house there, and had luncheon. She appeared to my
juvenile imagination a very appropriate person to revise and transmit
such a tale, and fully adapted to do ample justice to her subject-
matter. It never has been doubted in the family that she received the
full particulars in early life, and that she heard the circumstances,
such as they were believed to have occurred, from the nearest
relatives of the two persons, the supposed actors in this mysterious
interview, viz., from her own father, Lord Tyrone, who died in 1763,
and from her aunt, Lady Riverston, who died in 1763 also.

"These two were both with their mother, Lady Beresford, on the day of
her decease, and they, without assistance or witness, took off from
their parent's wrist the black bandage which she had always worn on
all occasions and times, even at Court, as some very old persons who
lived well into the eighteenth century testified, having received
their information from eyewitnesses of the fact. There was an oil
painting of this lady in Tyrone House, Dublin, representing her with a
black ribbon bound round her wrist. This portrait disappeared in an
unaccountable manner. It used to hang in one of the drawing-rooms in
that mansion, with other family pictures. When Henry, Marquis of
Waterford, sold the old town residence of the family and its grounds
to the Government as the site of the Education Board, he directed Mr.
Watkins, a dealer in pictures, and a man of considerable knowledge in
works of art and vertu, to collect the pictures, etc., etc., which
were best adapted for removal to Curraghmore. Mr. Watkins especially
picked out this portrait, not only as a good work of art, but as one
which, from its associations, deserved particular care and notice.
When, however, the lot arrived at Curraghmore and was unpacked, no
such picture was found; and though Mr. Watkins took great pains and
exerted himself to the utmost to trace what had become of it, to this
day (nearly forty years), not a hint of its existence has been
received or heard of.

"John le Poer, Lord Decies, was the eldest son of Richard, Earl of
Tyrone, and of Lady Dorothy Annesley, daughter of Arthur, Earl of
Anglesey. He was born 1665, succeeded his father 1690, and died 14th
October, 1693. He became Lord Tyrone at his father's death, and is
the 'ghost' of the story.

"Nicola Sophie Hamilton was the second and youngest daughter and co-
heiress of Hugh, Lord Glenawley, who was also Baron Lunge in Sweden.
Being a zealous Royalist, he had, together with his father, migrated
to that country in 1643, and returned from it at the Restoration. He
was of a good old family, and held considerable landed property in the
county Tyrone, near Ballygawley. He died there in 1679. His eldest
daughter and co-heiress, Arabella Susanna, married, in 1683, Sir John
Macgill, of Gill Hall, in the county Down.

"Nicola S. (the second daughter) was born in 1666, and married Sir
Tristram Beresford in 1687. Between that and 1693 two daughters were
born, but no son to inherit the ample landed estates of his father,
who most anxiously wished and hoped for an heir. It was under these
circumstances, and at this period, that the manuscripts state that
Lord Tyrone made his appearance after death; and all the versions of
the story, without variation, attribute the same cause and reason,
viz., a solemn promise mutually interchanged in early life between
John le Poer, then Lord Decies, afterwards Lord Tyrone, and Nicola S.
Hamilton, that whichever of the two died the first, should, if
permitted, appear to the survivor for the object of declaring the
approval or rejection by the Deity of the revealed religion as
generally acknowledged: of which the departed one must be fully
cognisant, but of which they both had in their youth entertained
unfortunate doubts.

"In the month of October, 1693, Sir Tristram and Lady Beresford went
on a visit to her sister, Lady Macgill, at Gill Hall, now the seat of
Lord Clanwilliam, whose grandmother was eventually the heiress of Sir
J. Macgill's property. One morning Sir Tristram rose early, leaving
Lady Beresford asleep, and went out for a walk before breakfast. When
his wife joined the table very late, her appearance and the
embarrassment of her manner attracted general attention, especially
that of her husband. He made anxious inquiries as to her health, and
asked her apart what had occurred to her wrist, which was tied up with
black ribbon tightly bound round it. She earnestly entreated him not
to inquire more then, or thereafter, as to the cause of her wearing or
continuing afterwards to wear that ribbon; 'for,' she added, 'you will
never see me without it'. He replied, 'Since you urge it so
vehemently, I promise you not to inquire more about it'.

"After completing her hurried breakfast she made anxious inquiries as
to whether the post had yet arrived. It had not yet come in; and Sir
Tristram asked: 'Why are you so particularly eager about letters to-
day?' 'Because I expect to hear of Lord Tyrone's death, which took
place on Tuesday.' 'Well,' remarked Sir Tristram, 'I never should
have put you down for a superstitious person; but I suppose that some
idle dream has disturbed you.' Shortly after, the servant brought in
the letters; one was sealed with black wax. 'It is as I expected,'
she cries; 'he is dead.' The letter was from Lord Tyrone's steward to
inform them that his master had died in Dublin, on Tuesday, 14th
October, at 4 p.m. Sir Tristram endeavoured to console her, and
begged her to restrain her grief, when she assured him that she felt
relieved and easier now that she knew the actual fact. She added, 'I
can now give you a most satisfactory piece of intelligence, viz., that
I am with child, and that it will be a boy'. A son was born in the
following July. Sir Tristram survived its birth little more than six
years. After his death Lady Beresford continued to reside with her
young family at his place in the county of Derry, and seldom went from
home. She hardly mingled with any neighbours or friends, excepting
with Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, of Coleraine. He was the principal
personage in that town, and was, by his mother, a near relative of Sir
Tristram. His wife was the daughter of Robert Gorges, LL.D. (a
gentleman of good old English family, and possessed of a considerable
estate in the county Meath), by Jane Loftus, daughter of Sir Adam
Loftus, of Rathfarnham, and sister of Lord Lisburn. They had an only
son, Richard Gorges, who was in the army, and became a general officer
very early in life. With the Jacksons Lady Beresford maintained a
constant communication and lived on the most intimate terms, while she
seemed determined to eschew all other society and to remain in her
chosen retirement.

"At the conclusion of three years thus passed, one luckless day "Young
Gorges" most vehemently professed his passion for her, and solicited
her hand, urging his suit in a most passionate appeal, which was
evidently not displeasing to the fair widow, and which, unfortunately
for her, was successful. They were married in 1704. One son and two
daughters were born to them, when his abandoned and dissolute conduct
forced her to seek and to obtain a separation. After this had
continued for four years, General Gorges pretended extreme penitence
for his past misdeeds, and with the most solemn promises of amendment
induced his wife to live with him again, and she became the mother of
a second son. The day month after her confinement happened to be her
birthday, and having recovered and feeling herself equal to some
exertion, she sent for her son, Sir Marcus Beresford, then twenty
years old, and her married daughter, Lady Riverston. She also invited
Dr. King, the Archbishop of Dublin (who was an intimate friend), and
an old clergyman who had christened her, and who had always kept up a
most kindly intercourse with her during her whole life, to make up a
small party to celebrate the day.

"In the early part of it Lady Beresford was engaged in a kindly
conversation with her old friend the clergyman, and in the course of
it said: 'You know that I am forty-eight this day'. 'No, indeed,' he
replied; 'you are only forty-seven, for your mother had a dispute with
me once on the very subject of your age, and I in consequence sent and
consulted the registry, and can most confidently assert that you are
only forty-seven this day.' 'You have signed my death-warrant, then,'
she cried; 'leave me, I pray, for I have not much longer to live, but
have many things of grave importance to settle before I die. Send my
son and my daughter to me immediately.' The clergyman did as he was
bidden. He directed Sir Marcus and his sister to go instantly to
their mother; and he sent to the archbishop and a few other friends to
put them off from joining the birthday party.

"When her two children repaired to Lady Beresford, she thus addressed
them: 'I have something of deep importance to communicate to you, my
dear children, before I die. You are no strangers to the intimacy and
the affection which subsisted in early life between Lord Tyrone and
myself. We were educated together when young, under the same roof, in
the pernicious principles of Deism. Our real friends afterwards took
every opportunity to convince us of our error, but their arguments
were insufficient to overpower and uproot our infidelity, though they
had the effect of shaking our confidence in it, and thus leaving us
wavering between the two opinions. In this perplexing state of doubt
we made a solemn promise one to the other, that whichever died first
should, if permitted, appear to the other for the purpose of declaring
what religion was the one acceptable to the Almighty. One night,
years after this interchange of promises, I was sleeping with your
father at Gill Hall, when I suddenly awoke and discovered Lord Tyrone
sitting visibly by the side of the bed. I screamed out, and vainly
endeavoured to rouse Sir Tristram. "Tell me," I said, "Lord Tyrone,
why and wherefore are you here at this time of the night?" "Have you
then forgotten our promise to each other, pledged in early life? I
died on Tuesday, at four o'clock. I have been permitted thus to
appear in order to assure you that the revealed religion is the true
and only one by which we can be saved. I am also suffered to inform
you that you are with child, and will produce a son, who will marry my
heiress; that Sir Tristram will not live long, when you will marry
again, and you will die from the effects of childbirth in your forty-
seventh year." I begged from him some convincing sign or proof so
that when the morning came I might rely upon it, and feel satisfied
that his appearance had been real, and that it was not the phantom of
my imagination. He caused the hangings of the bed to be drawn in an
unusual way and impossible manner through an iron hook. I still was
not satisfied, when he wrote his signature in my pocket-book. I
wanted, however, more substantial proof of his visit, when he laid his
hand, which was cold as marble, on my wrist; the sinews shrunk up, the
nerves withered at the touch. "Now," he said, "let no mortal eye,
while you live, ever see that wrist," and vanished. While I was
conversing with him my thoughts were calm, but as soon as he
disappeared I felt chilled with horror and dismay, a cold sweat came
over me, and I again endeavoured but vainly to awaken Sir Tristram; a
flood of tears came to my relief, and I fell asleep.

"'In the morning your father got up without disturbing me; he had not
noticed anything extraordinary about me or the bed-hangings. When I
did arise I found a long broom in the gallery outside the bedroom
door, and with great difficulty I unhooded the curtain, fearing that
the position of it might excite surprise and cause inquiry. I bound
up my wrist with black ribbon before I went down to breakfast, where
the agitation of my mind was too visible not to attract attention.
Sir Tristram made many anxious inquiries as to my health, especially
as to my sprained wrist, as he conceived mine to be. I begged him to
drop all questions as to the bandage, even if I continued to adopt it
for any length of time. He kindly promised me not to speak of it any
more, and he kept his promise faithfully. You, my son, came into the
world as predicted, and your father died six years after. I then
determined to abandon society and its pleasures and not mingle again
with the world, hoping to avoid the dreadful predictions as to my
second marriage; but, alas! in the one family with which I held
constant and friendly intercourse I met the man, whom I did not regard
with perfect indifference. Though I struggled to conquer by every
means the passion, I at length yielded to his solicitations, and in a
fatal moment for my own peace I became his wife. In a few years his
conduct fully justified my demand for a separation, and I fondly hoped
to escape the fatal prophecy. Under the delusion that I had passed my
forty-seventh birthday, I was prevailed upon to believe in his
amendment, and to pardon him. I have, however, heard from undoubted
authority that I am only forty-seven this day, and I know that I am
about to die. I die, however, without the dread of death, fortified
as I am by the sacred precepts of Christianity and upheld by its
promises. When I am gone, I wish that you, my children, should unbind
this black ribbon and alone behold my wrist before I am consigned to
the grave.'

"She then requested to be left that she might lie down and compose
herself, and her children quitted the apartment, having desired her
attendant to watch her, and if any change came on to summon them to
her bedside. In an hour the bell rang, and they hastened to the call,
but all was over. The two children having ordered every one to
retire, knelt down by the side of the bed, when Lady Riverston unbound
the black ribbon and found the wrist exactly as Lady Beresford had
described it--every nerve withered, every sinew shrunk.

"Her friend, the Archbishop, had had her buried in the Cathedral of
St. Patrick, in Dublin, in the Earl of Cork's tomb, where she now

* * * * *

The writer now professes his disbelief in any spiritual presence, and
explains his theory that Lady Beresford's anxiety about Lord Tyrone
deluded her by a vivid dream, during which she hurt her wrist.

Of all ghost stories the Tyrone, or Beresford Ghost, has most
variants. Following Monsieur Haureau, in the Journal des Savants, I
have tracked the tale, the death compact, and the wound inflicted by
the ghost on the hand, or wrist, or brow, of the seer, through Henry
More, and Melanchthon, and a mediaeval sermon by Eudes de Shirton, to
William of Malmesbury, a range of 700 years. Mrs. Grant of Laggan has
a rather recent case, and I have heard of another in the last ten
years! Calmet has a case in 1625, the spectre leaves

The sable score of fingers four

on a board of wood.

Now for a modern instance of a gang of ghosts with a purpose!

When I narrated the story which follows to an eminent moral
philosopher, he remarked, at a given point, "Oh, the ghost _spoke_,
did she?" and displayed scepticism. The evidence, however, left him,
as it leaves me, at a standstill, not convinced, but agreeably
perplexed. The ghosts here are truly old-fashioned.

My story is, and must probably remain, entirely devoid of proof, as
far as any kind of ghostly influence is concerned. We find ghosts
appearing, and imposing a certain course of action on a living
witness, for definite purposes of their own. The course of action
prescribed was undeniably pursued, and apparently the purpose of the
ghosts was fulfilled, but what that purpose was their agent declines
to state, and conjecture is hopelessly baffled.

The documents in the affair have been published by the Society for
Psychical Research (Proceedings, vol. xi., p. 547), and are here used
for reference. But I think the matter will be more intelligible if I
narrate it exactly as it came under my own observation. The names of
persons and places are all fictitious, and are the same as those used
in the documents published by the S.P.R.


In October, 1893, I was staying at a town which we shall call
Rapingham. One night I and some kinsfolk dined with another old
friend of all of us, a Dr. Ferrier. In the course of dinner he asked
a propos de bottes:--

"Have you heard of the ghost in Blake Street?" a sunny, pleasant
street of respectable but uninteresting antiquity in Rapingham.

We had none of us heard of the ghost, and begged the doctor to
enlighten our ignorance. His story ran thus--I have it in his own
writing as far as its essence goes:--

"The house," he said, "belongs to my friends, the Applebys, who let
it, as they live elsewhere. A quiet couple took it and lived in it
for five years, when the husband died, and the widow went away. They
made no complaint while tenants. The house stood empty for some time,
and all I know personally about the matter is that I, my wife, and the
children were in the dining-room one Sunday when we heard unusual
noises in the drawing-room overhead. We went through the rooms but
could find no cause or explanation of the disturbance, and thought no
more about it.

"About six or seven years ago I let the house to a Mr. Buckley, who is
still the tenant. He was unmarried, and his family consisted of his
mother and sisters. They preceded him to put the place in order, and
before his arrival came to me in some irritation complaining that I
had let them _a haunted house_! They insisted that there were strange
noises, as if heavy weights were being dragged about, or heavy
footsteps pacing in the rooms and on the stairs. I said that I knew
nothing about the matter. The stairs are of stone, water is only
carried up to the first floor, there is an unused system of hot air
pipes. {177a} Something went wrong with the water-main in the area
once, but the noises lasted after it was mended.

"I think Mr. Buckley when he arrived never heard anything unusual.
But one evening as he walked upstairs carrying an ink-bottle, he found
his hand full of some liquid. Thinking that he had spilt the ink, he
went to a window where he found his hand full of water, to account for
which there was no stain on the ceiling, or anything else that he
could discover. On another occasion one of the young ladies was
kneeling by a trunk in an attic, alone, when water was switched over
her face, as if from a wet brush. {177b} There was a small pool of
water on the floor, and the wall beyond her was sprinkled.

"Time went on, and the disturbances were very rare: in fact ceased
for two years till the present week, when Mrs. Claughton, a widow
accompanied by two of her children, came to stay with the Buckleys.
{177c} She had heard of the disturbances and the theory of hauntings--
I don't know if these things interested her or not.

"Early on Monday, 9th October, Mrs. Claughton came to consult me. Her
story was this: About a quarter past one on Sunday night, or Monday
morning, she was in bed with one of her children, the other sleeping
in the room. She was awakened by footsteps on the stair, and supposed
that a servant was coming to call her to Miss Buckley, who was ill.
The steps stopped at the door, then the noise was repeated. Mrs.
Claughton lit her bedroom candle, opened the door and listened. There
was no one there. The clock on the landing pointed to twenty minutes
past one. Mrs. Claughton went back to bed, read a book, fell asleep,
and woke to find the candle still lit, but low in the socket. She
heard a sigh, and saw a lady, unknown to her, her head swathed in a
soft white shawl, her expression gentle and refined, her features much

"The Appearance said, 'Follow me,' and Mrs. Claughton, taking the
bedroom candle, rose and followed out on to the landing, and so into
the adjacent drawing-room. She cannot remember opening the door,
which the housemaid had locked outside, and she owns that this passage
is dreamlike in her memory. Seeing that her candle was flickering
out, she substituted for it a pink one taken from a chiffonier. The
figure walked nearly to the window, turned three-quarters round, said
'To-morrow!' and was no more seen. Mrs. Claughton went back to her
room, where her eldest child asked:--

"'Who is the lady in white?'

"'Only me, mother, go to sleep,' she thinks she answered. After lying
awake for two hours, with gas burning, she fell asleep. The pink
candle from the drawing-room chiffonier was in her candlestick in the

"After hearing the lady's narrative I told her to try change of air,
which she declined as cowardly. So, as she would stay on at Mr.
Buckley's, I suggested that an electric alarm communicating with Miss
Buckley's room should be rigged up, and this was done."

Here the doctor paused, and as the events had happened within the
week, we felt that we were at last on the track of a recent ghost.

"Next morning, about one, the Buckleys were aroused by a tremendous
peal of the alarm; Mrs. Claughton they found in a faint. Next morning
{179} she consulted me as to the whereabouts of a certain place, let
me call it 'Meresby'. I suggested the use of a postal directory; we
found Meresby, a place extremely unknown to fame, in an agricultural
district about five hours from London in the opposite direction from
Rapingham. To this place Mrs. Claughton said she must go, in the
interest and by the order of certain ghosts, whom she saw on Monday
night, and whose injunctions she had taken down in a note-book. She
has left Rapingham for London, and there," said the doctor, "my story
ends for the present."

We expected it to end for good and all, but in the course of the week
came a communication to the doctor in writing from Mrs. Claughton's
governess. This lady, on Mrs. Claughton's arrival at her London house
(Friday, 13th October), passed a night perturbed by sounds of weeping,
"loud moans," and "a very odd noise overhead, like some electric
battery gone wrong," in fact, much like the "warning" of a jack
running down, which Old Jeffrey used to give at the Wesley's house in
Epworth. There were also heavy footsteps and thuds, as of moving
weighty bodies. So far the governess.

This curious communication I read at Rapingham on Saturday, 14th
October, or Sunday, 15th October. On Monday I went to town. In the
course of the week I received a letter from my kinsman in Rapingham,
saying that Mrs. Claughton had written to Dr. Ferrier, telling him
that she had gone to Meresby on Saturday; had accomplished the bidding
of the ghosts, and had lodged with one Joseph Wright, the parish
clerk. Her duty had been to examine the Meresby parish registers, and
to compare certain entries with information given by the ghosts and
written by her in her note-book. If the entries in the parish
register tallied with her notes, she was to pass the time between one
o'clock and half-past one, alone, in Meresby Church, and receive a
communication from the spectres. All this she said that she had done,
and in evidence of her journey enclosed her half ticket to Meresby,
which a dream had warned her would not be taken on her arrival. She
also sent a white rose from a grave to Dr. Ferrier, a gentleman in no
sympathy with the Jacobite cause, which, indeed, has no connection
whatever with the matter in hand.

On hearing of this letter from Mrs. Claughton, I confess that, not
knowing the lady, I remained purely sceptical. The railway company,
however, vouched for the ticket. The rector of Meresby, being
appealed to, knew nothing of the matter. He therefore sent for his
curate and parish clerk.

"Did a lady pass part of Sunday night in the church?"

The clerk and the curate admitted that this unusual event _had_
occurred. A lady had arrived from London on Saturday evening; had
lodged with Wright, the parish clerk; had asked for the parish
registers; had compared them with her note-book after morning service
on Sunday, and had begged leave to pass part of the night in the
church. The curate in vain tried to dissuade her, and finally,
washing his hands of it, had left her to Wright the clerk. To him she
described a Mr. George Howard, deceased (one of the ghosts). He
recognised the description, and he accompanied her to the church on a
dark night, starting at one o'clock. She stayed alone, without a
light, in the locked-up church from 1.20 to 1.45, when he let her out.

There now remained no doubt that Mrs. Claughton had really gone to
Meresby, a long and disagreeable journey, and had been locked up in
the church alone at a witching hour.

Beyond this point we have only the statements of Mrs. Claughton, made
to Lord Bute, Mr. Myers and others, and published by the Society for
Psychical Research. She says that after arranging the alarm bell on
Monday night (October 9-10) she fell asleep reading in her dressing-
gown, lying outside her bed. She wakened, and found the lady of the
white shawl bending over her. Mrs. Claughton said: "Am I dreaming,
or is it true?" The figure gave, as testimony to character, a piece
of information. Next Mrs. Claughton saw a male ghost, "tall, dark,
healthy, sixty years old," who named himself as George Howard, buried
in Meresby churchyard, Meresby being a place of which Mrs. Claughton,
like most people, now heard for the first time. He gave the dates of
his marriage and death, which are correct, and have been seen by Mr.
Myers in Mrs. Claughton's note-book. He bade her verify these dates
at Meresby, and wait at 1.15 in the morning at the grave of Richard
Harte (a person, like all of them, unknown to Mrs. Claughton) at the
south-west corner of the south aisle in Meresby Church. This Mr.
Harte died on 15th May, 1745, and missed many events of interest by
doing so. Mr. Howard also named and described Joseph Wright, of
Meresby, as a man who would help her, and he gave minute local
information. Next came a phantom of a man whose name Mrs. Claughton
is not free to give; {182} he seemed to be in great trouble, at first
covering his face with his hands, but later removing them. These
three spectres were to meet Mrs. Claughton in Meresby Church and give
her information of importance on a matter concerning, apparently, the
third and only unhappy appearance. After these promises and
injunctions the phantoms left, and Mrs. Claughton went to the door to
look at the clock. Feeling faint, she rang the alarum, when her
friends came and found her in a swoon on the floor. The hour was

What Mrs. Claughton's children were doing all this time, and whether
they were in the room or not, does not appear.

On Thursday Mrs. Claughton went to town, and her governess was
perturbed, as we have seen.

On Friday night Mrs. Claughton _dreamed_ a number of things connected
with her journey; a page of the notes made from this dream was shown
to Mr. Myers. Thus her half ticket was not to be taken, she was to
find a Mr. Francis, concerned in the private affairs of the ghosts,
which needed rectifying, and so forth. These premonitions, with
others, were all fulfilled. Mrs. Claughton, in the church at night,
continued her conversation with the ghosts whose acquaintance she had
made at Rapingham. She obtained, it seems, all the information
needful to settling the mysterious matters which disturbed the male
ghost who hid his face, and on Monday morning she visited the daughter
of Mr. Howard in her country house in a park, "recognised the strong
likeness to her father, and carried out all things desired by the dead
to the full, as had been requested. . . . The wishes expressed to her
were perfectly rational, reasonable and of natural importance."

The clerk, Wright, attests the accuracy of Mrs. Claughton's
description of Mr. Howard, whom he knew, and the correspondence of her
dates with those in the parish register and on the graves, which he
found for her at her request. Mr. Myers, "from a very partial
knowledge" of what the Meresby ghosts' business was, thinks the
reasons for not revealing this matter "entirely sufficient". The
ghosts' messages to survivors "effected the intended results," says
Mrs. Claughton.

* * * * *

Of this story the only conceivable natural explanation is that Mrs.
Claughton, to serve her private ends, paid secret preliminary visits
to Meresby, "got up" there a number of minute facts, chose a haunted
house at the other end of England as a first scene in her little
drama, and made the rest of the troublesome journeys, not to mention
the uncomfortable visit to a dark church at midnight, and did all this
from a hysterical love of notoriety. This desirable boon she would
probably never have obtained, even as far as it is consistent with a
pseudonym, if I had not chanced to dine with Dr. Ferrier while the
adventure was only beginning. As there seemed to be a chance of
taking a ghost "on the half volley," I at once communicated the first
part of the tale to the Psychical Society (using pseudonyms, as here,
throughout), and two years later Mrs. Claughton consented to tell the
Society as much as she thinks it fair to reveal.

This, it will be confessed, is a round-about way of obtaining fame,
and an ordinary person in Mrs. Claughton's position would have gone to
the Psychical Society at once, as Mark Twain meant to do when he saw
the ghost which turned out to be a very ordinary person.

There I leave these ghosts, my mind being in a just balance of
agnosticism. If ghosts at all, they were ghosts with a purpose. The
species is now very rare.

The purpose of the ghost in the following instance was trivial, but
was successfully accomplished. In place of asking people to do what
it wanted, the ghost did the thing itself. Now the modern theory of
ghosts, namely, that they are delusions of the senses of the seers,
caused somehow by the mental action of dead or distant people, does
not seem to apply in this case. The ghost produced an effect on a
material object.


The Rev. D. W. G. Gwynne, M.D., was a physician in holy orders. In
1853 he lived at P--- House, near Taunton, where both he and his wife
"were made uncomfortable by auditory experiences to which they could
find no clue," or, in common English, they heard mysterious noises.
"During the night," writes Dr. Gwynne, "I became aware of a draped
figure passing across the foot of the bed towards the fireplace. I
had the impression that the arm was raised, pointing with the hand
towards the mantel-piece on which a night-light was burning. Mrs.
Gwynne at the same moment seized my arm, _and the light was
extinguished_! Notwithstanding, I distinctly saw the figure returning
towards the door, and being under the impression that one of the
servants had found her way into our room, I leaped out of bed to
intercept the intruder, but found and saw nothing. I rushed to the
door and endeavoured to follow the supposed intruder, and it was not
until I found the door locked, as usual, that I was painfully
impressed. I need hardly say that Mrs. Gwynne was in a very nervous
state. She asked me what I had seen, and I told her. She had seen
the same figure," "but," writes Mrs. Gwynne, "I distinctly _saw the
hand of the figure placed over the night-light, which was at once
extinguished_". "Mrs. Gwynne also heard the rustle of the 'tall man-
like figure's' garments. In addition to the night-light there was
moonlight in the room."

"Other people had suffered many things in the same house, unknown to
Dr. and Mrs. Gwynne, who gave up the place soon afterwards."

In plenty of stories we hear of ghosts who draw curtains or open
doors, and these apparent material effects are usually called part of
the seer's delusion. But the night-light certainly went out under the
figure's hand, and was relit by Dr. Gwynne. Either the ghost was an
actual entity, not a mere hallucination of two people, or the
extinction of the light was a curious coincidence. {186}


Haunted Houses. Antiquity of Haunted Houses. Savage Cases. Ancient
Egyptian Cases. Persistence in Modern Times. Impostures. Imaginary
Noises. Nature of Noises. The Creaking Stair. Ghostly Effects
produced by the Living but Absent. The Grocer's Cough. Difficulty of
Belief. My Gillie's Father's Story. "Silverton Abbey." The Dream
that Opened the Door. Abbotsford Noises. Legitimate Haunting by the
Dead. The Girl in Pink. The Dog in the Haunted Room. The Lady in
Black. Dogs Alarmed. The Dead Seldom Recognised. Glamis. A Border
Castle. Another Class of Hauntings. A Russian Case. The Dancing
Devil. The Little Hands.

Haunted houses have been familiar to man ever since he has owned a
roof to cover his head. The Australian blacks possessed only shelters
or "leans-to," so in Australia the spirits do their rapping on the
tree trunks; a native illustrated this by whacking a table with a
book. The perched-up houses of the Dyaks are haunted by noisy routing
agencies. We find them in monasteries, palaces, and crofters'
cottages all through the Middle Ages. On an ancient Egyptian papyrus
we find the husband of the Lady Onkhari protesting against her habit
of haunting his house, and exclaiming: "What wrong have I done,"
exactly in the spirit of the "Hymn of Donald Ban," who was "sair
hadden down by a bodach" (noisy bogle) after Culloden. {188a}

The husband of Onkhari does not say _how_ she disturbed him, but the
manners of Egyptian haunters, just what they remain at present, may be
gathered from a magical papyrus, written in Greek. Spirits "wail and
groan, or laugh dreadfully"; they cause bad dreams, terror and
madness; finally, they "practice stealthy theft," and rap and knock.
The "theft" (by making objects disappear mysteriously) is often
illustrated in the following tales, as are the groaning and knocking.
{188b} St. Augustine speaks of hauntings as familiar occurrences, and
we have a chain of similar cases from ancient Egypt to 1896. Several
houses in that year were so disturbed that the inhabitants were
obliged to leave them. The newspapers were full of correspondence on
the subject.

The usual annoyances are apparitions (rare), flying about of objects
(not very common), noises of every kind (extremely frequent), groans,
screams, footsteps and fire-raising. Imposture has either been proved
or made very probable in ten out of eleven cases of volatile objects
between 1883 and 1895. {188c} Moreover, it is certain that the noises
of haunted houses are not equally audible by all persons present, even
when the sounds are at their loudest. Thus Lord St. Vincent, the
great admiral, heard nothing during his stay at the house of his
sister, Mrs. Ricketts, while that lady endured terrible things. After
his departure she was obliged to recall him. He arrived, and slept
peacefully. Next day his sister told him about the disturbances,
after which he heard them as much as his neighbours, and was as
unsuccessful in discovering their cause. {189}

Of course this looks as if these noises were unreal, children of the
imagination. Noises being the staple of haunted houses, a few words
may be devoted to them. They are usually the frou-frou or rustling
sweep of a gown, footsteps, raps, thumps, groans, a sound as if all
the heavy furniture was being knocked about, crashing of crockery and
jingling of money. Of course, as to footsteps, people _may_ be
walking about, and most of the other noises are either easily
imitated, or easily produced by rats, water pipes, cracks in furniture
(which the Aztecs thought ominous of death), and other natural causes.
The explanation is rather more difficult when the steps pace a
gallery, passing and repassing among curious inquirers, or in this


A lady very well known to myself, and in literary society, lived as a
girl with an antiquarian father in an old house dear to an antiquary.
It was haunted, among other things, by footsteps. The old oak
staircase had two creaking steps, numbers seventeen and eighteen from
the top. The girl would sit on the stair, stretching out her arms,
and count the steps as they passed her, one, two, three, and so on to
seventeen and eighteen, _which always creaked_. {190} In this case
rats and similar causes were excluded, though we may allow for
"expectant attention". But this does not generally work. When people
sit up on purpose to look out for the ghost, he rarely comes; in the
case of the "Lady in Black," which we give later, when purposely
waited for, she was never seen at all.

Discounting imposture, which is sometimes found, and sometimes merely
fabled (as in the Tedworth story), there remains one curious
circumstance. Specially ghostly noises are attributed to the living
but absent.


A man of letters was born in a small Scotch town, where his father was
the intimate friend of a tradesman whom we shall call the grocer.
Almost every day the grocer would come to have a chat with Mr. Mackay,
and the visitor, alone of the natives, had the habit of knocking at
the door before entering. One day Mr. Mackay said to his daughter,
"There's Mr. Macwilliam's knock. Open the door." But there was no
Mr. Macwilliam! He was just leaving his house at the other end of the
street. From that day Mr. Mackay always heard the grocer's knock "a
little previous," accompanied by the grocer's cough, which was
peculiar. Then all the family heard it, including the son who later
became learned. He, when he had left his village for Glasgow,
reasoned himself out of the opinion that the grocer's knock did herald
and precede the grocer. But when he went home for a visit he found
that he heard it just as of old. Possibly some local Sentimental
Tommy watched for the grocer, played the trick and ran away. This
explanation presents no difficulty, but the boy was never detected.

Such anecdotes somehow do not commend themselves to the belief even of
people who can believe a good deal.

But "the spirits of the living," as the Highlanders say, have surely
as good a chance to knock, or appear at a distance, as the spirits of
the dead. To be sure, the living do not know (unless they are making
a scientific experiment) what trouble they are giving on these
occasions, but one can only infer, like St. Augustine, that probably
the dead don't know it either.



Fishing in Sutherland, I had a charming companion in the gillie. He
was well educated, a great reader, the best of salmon fishers, and I
never heard a man curse William, Duke of Cumberland, with more
enthusiasm. His father, still alive, was second-sighted, and so, to a
moderate extent and without theory, was my friend. Among other
anecdotes (confirmed in writing by the old gentleman) was this:--

The father had a friend who died in the house which they both
occupied. The clothes of the deceased hung on pegs in the bedroom.
One night the father awoke, and saw a stranger examining and handling
the clothes of the defunct. Then came a letter from the dead man's
brother, inquiring about the effects. He followed later, and was the
stranger seen by my gillie's father.

Thus the living but absent may haunt a house both noisily and by
actual appearance. The learned even think, for very exquisite
reasons, that "Silverton Abbey" {192} is haunted noisily by a "spirit
of the living". Here is a case:--


The following is an old but good story. The Rev. Joseph Wilkins died,
an aged man, in 1800. He left this narrative, often printed; the date
of the adventure is 1754, when Mr. Wilkins, aged twenty-three, was a
schoolmaster in Devonshire. The dream was an ordinary dream, and did
not announce death, or anything but a journey. Mr. Wilkins dreamed,
in Devonshire, that he was going to London. He thought he would go by
Gloucestershire and see his people. So he started, arrived at his
father's house, found the front door locked, went in by the back door,
went to his parents' room, saw his father asleep in bed and his mother
awake. He said: "Mother, I am going a long journey, and have come to
bid you good-bye". She answered in a fright, "Oh dear son, thou art
dead!" Mr. Wilkins wakened, and thought nothing of it. As early as a
letter could come, one arrived from his father, addressing him as if
he were dead, and desiring him, if by accident alive, or any one into
whose hands the letter might fall, to write at once. The father then
gave his reasons for alarm. Mrs. Wilkins, being awake one night,
heard some one try the front door, enter by the back, then saw her son
come into her room and say he was going on a long journey, with the
rest of the dialogue. She then woke her husband, who said she had
been dreaming, but who was alarmed enough to write the letter. No
harm came of it to anybody.

The story would be better if Mr. Wilkins, junior, like Laud, had kept
a nocturnal of his dreams, and published his father's letter, with

The story of the lady who often dreamed of a house, and when by chance
she found and rented it was recognised as the ghost who had recently
haunted it, is good, but is an invention!

A somewhat similar instance is that of the uproar of moving heavy
objects, heard by Scott in Abbotsford on the night preceding and the
night of the death of his furnisher, Mr. Bullock, in London. The
story is given in Lockhart's Life of Scott, and is too familiar for

On the whole, accepting one kind of story on the same level as the
other kind, the living and absent may unconsciously produce the
phenomena of haunted houses just as well as the dead, to whose alleged
performances we now advance. Actual appearances, as we have said, are
not common, and just as all persons do not hear the sounds, so many do
not see the appearance, even when it is visible to others in the same
room. As an example, take a very mild and lady-like case of haunting.


The following anecdote was told to myself, a few months after the
curious event, by the three witnesses in the case. They were
connections of my own, the father was a clergyman of the Anglican
Church; he, his wife and their daughter, a girl of twenty, were the
"percipients". All are cheerful, sagacious people, and all, though
they absolutely agreed as to the facts in their experience, professed
an utter disbelief in "ghosts," which the occurrence has not affected
in any way. They usually reside in a foreign city, where there is a
good deal of English society. One day they left the town to lunch
with a young fellow-countryman who lived in a villa in the
neighbourhood. There he was attempting to farm a small estate, with
what measure of success the story does not say. His house was kept by
his sister, who was present, of course, at the little luncheon party.
During the meal some question was asked, or some remark was made, to
which the clerical guest replied in English by a reference to "the
maid-servant in pink".

"There is no maid in pink," said the host, and he asked both his other
guests to corroborate him.

Both ladies, mother and daughter, were obliged to say that unless
their eyes deceived them, they certainly _had_ seen a girl in pink
attending on them, or, at least, moving about in the room. To this
their entertainers earnestly replied that no such person was in their
establishment, that they had no woman servant but the elderly cook and
housekeeper, then present, who was neither a girl nor in pink. After
luncheon the guests were taken all over the house, to convince them of
the absence of the young woman whom they had seen, and assuredly there
was no trace of her.

On returning to the town where they reside, they casually mentioned
the circumstance as a curious illusion. The person to whom they spoke
said, with some interest, "Don't you know that a girl is said to have
been murdered in that house before your friends took it, and that she
is reported to be occasionally seen, dressed in pink?"

They had heard of no such matter, but the story seemed to be pretty
generally known, though naturally disliked by the occupant of the
house. As for the percipients, they each and all remain firm in the
belief that, till convinced of the impossibility of her presence, they
were certain they had seen a girl in pink, and rather a pretty girl,
whose appearance suggested nothing out of the common. An obvious
hypothesis is discounted, of course, by the presence of the sister of
the young gentleman who farmed the estate and occupied the house.

Here is another case, mild but pertinacious.


The author's friend, Mr. Rokeby, lives, and has lived for some twenty
years, in an old house at Hammersmith. It is surrounded by a large
garden, the drawing-room and dining-room are on the right and left of
the entrance from the garden, on the ground floor. My friends had
never been troubled by any phenomena before, and never expected to be.
However, they found the house "noisy," the windows were apt to be
violently shaken at night and steps used to be heard where no steps
should be. Deep long sighs were audible at all times of day. As Mrs.
Rokeby approached a door, the handle would turn and the door fly open.
{196} Sounds of stitching a hard material, and of dragging a heavy
weight occurred in Mrs. Rokeby's room, and her hair used to be pulled
in a manner for which she could not account. "These sorts of things
went on for about five years, when in October, 1875, about three
o'clock in the afternoon, I was sitting" (says Mrs. Rokeby) "with
three of my children in the dining-room, reading to them. I rang the
bell for the parlour-maid, when the door opened, and on looking up I
saw the figure of a woman come in and walk up to the side of the
table, stand there a second or two, and then turn to go out again, but
before reaching the door she seemed to dissolve away. She was a grey,
short-looking woman, apparently dressed in grey muslin. I hardly saw
the face, which seemed scarcely to be defined at all. None of the
children saw her," and Mrs. Rokeby only mentioned the affair at the
time to her husband.

Two servants, in the next two months, saw the same figure, alike in
dress at least, in other rooms both by daylight and candle light.
They had not heard of Mrs. Rokeby's experience, were accustomed to the
noises, and were in good health. One of them was frightened, and left
her place.

A brilliant light in a dark room, an icy wind and a feeling of being
"watched" were other discomforts in Mrs. Rokeby's lot. After 1876,
only occasional rappings were heard, till Mr. Rokeby being absent one
night in 1883, the noises broke out, "banging, thumping, the whole
place shaking". The library was the centre of these exercises, and
the dog, a fine collie, was shut up in the library. Mrs. Rokeby left
her room for her daughter's, while the dog whined in terror, and the
noises increased in violence. Next day the dog, when let out, rushed
forth with enthusiasm, but crouched with his tail between his legs
when invited to re-enter.

This was in 1883. Several years after, Mr. Rokeby was smoking, alone,
in the dining-room early in the evening, when the dog began to bristle
up his hair, and bark. Mr. Rokeby looked up and saw the woman in
grey, with about half her figure passed through the slightly open
door. He ran to the door, but she was gone, and the servants were
engaged in their usual business. {198a}

Our next ghost offered many opportunities to observers.


A ghost in a haunted house is seldom observed with anything like
scientific precision. The spectre in the following narrative could
not be photographed, attempts being usually made in a light which
required prolonged exposure. Efforts to touch it were failures, nor
did it speak. On the other hand, it did lend itself, perhaps
unconsciously, to one scientific experiment. The story is unromantic;
the names are fictitious. {198b}

Bognor House, an eligible family residence near a large town, was
built in 1860, and occupied, till his death in 1876, by Mr. S. He was
twice married, and was not of temperate ways. His second wife adopted
his habits, left him shortly before his death, and died at Clifton in
1878. The pair used to quarrel about some jewels which Mr. S.
concealed in the flooring of a room where the ghost was never seen.

A Mr L. now took the house, but died six months later. Bognor House
stood empty for four years, during which there was vague talk of
hauntings. In April, 1882, the house was taken by Captain Morton.
This was in April; in June Miss Rose Morton, a lady of nineteen
studying medicine (and wearing spectacles), saw the first appearance.
Miss Morton did not mention her experiences to her family, her mother
being an invalid, and her brothers and sisters very young, but she
transmitted accounts to a friend, a lady, in a kind of diary letters.
These are extant, and are quoted.

Phenomena of this kind usually begin with noises, and go on to
apparitions. Miss Morton one night, while preparing to go to bed,
heard a noise outside, thought it was her mother, opened the door, saw
a tall lady in black holding a handkerchief to her face, and followed
the figure till her candle burned out. A widow's white cuff was
visible on each wrist, the whole of the face was never seen. In 1882-
84, Miss Morton saw the figure about six times; it was thrice seen,
once through the window from outside, by other persons, who took it
for a living being. Two boys playing in the garden ran in to ask who
was the weeping lady in black.

On 29th January, 1884, Miss Morton spoke to her inmate, as the lady in
black stood beside a sofa. "She only gave a slight gasp and moved
towards the door. Just by the door I spoke to her again, but she
seemed as if she were quite unable to speak." {199} In May and June
Miss Morton fastened strings at different heights from the stair
railings to the wall, where she attached them with glue, but she twice
saw the lady pass through the cords, leaving them untouched. When
Miss Morton cornered the figure and tried to touch her, or pounce on
her, she dodged, or disappeared. But by a curious contradiction her
steps were often heard by several of the family, and when she heard
the steps, Miss Morton used to go out and follow the figure. There is
really no more to tell. Miss Morton's father never saw the lady, even
when she sat on a sofa for half an hour, Miss Morton watching her.
Other people saw her in the garden crying, and sent messages to ask
what was the matter, and who was the lady in distress. Many members
of the family, boys, girls, married ladies, servants and others often
saw the lady in black. In 1885 loud noises, bumps and turning of door
handles were common, and though the servants were told that the lady
was quite harmless, they did not always stay. The whole establishment
of servants was gradually changed, but the lady still walked. She
appeared more seldom in 1887-1889, and by 1892 even the light
footsteps ceased. Two dogs, a retriever and a Skye terrier, showed
much alarm. "Twice," says Miss Morton, "I saw the terrier suddenly
run up to the mat at the foot of the stairs in the hall, wagging its
tail, and moving its back in the way dogs do when they expect to be
caressed. It jumped up, fawning as it would do if a person had been
standing there, but suddenly slunk away with its tail between its
legs, and retreated, trembling, under a sofa." Miss Morton's own
emotion, at first, was "a feeling of awe at something unknown, mixed
with a strong desire to know more about it". {200}

This is a pretty tame case of haunting, as was conjectured, by an
unhappy revenant, the returned spirit of the second Mrs. S. Here it
may be remarked that apparitions in haunted houses are very seldom
recognised as those of dead persons, and, when recognised, the
recognition is usually dubious. Thus, in February, 1897, Lieutenant
Carr Glyn, of the Grenadiers, while reading in the outer room of the
Queen's Library in Windsor, saw a lady in black in a kind of mantilla
of black lace pass from the inner room into a corner where she was
lost to view. He supposed that she had gone out by a door there, and
asked an attendant later who she was. There was no door round the
corner, and, in the opinion of some, the lady was Queen Elizabeth!
She has a traditional habit, it seems, of haunting the Library. But
surely, of all people, in dress and aspect Queen Elizabeth is most
easily recognised. The seer did not recognise her, and she was
probably a mere casual hallucination. In old houses such traditions
are common, but vague. In this connection Glamis is usually
mentioned. Every one has heard of the Secret Chamber, with its
mystery, and the story was known to Scott, who introduces it in The
Betrothed. But we know when the Secret Chamber was built (under the
Restoration), who built it, what he paid the masons, and where it is:
under the Charter Room. {201} These cold facts rather take the
"weird" effect off the Glamis legend.

The usual process is, given an old house, first a noise, then a
hallucination, actual or pretended, then a myth to account for the
hallucination. There is a castle on the border which has at least
seven or eight distinct ghosts. One is the famous Radiant Boy. He
has been evicted by turning his tapestried chamber into the smoking-
room. For many years not one ghost has been seen except the lady with
the candle, viewed by myself, but, being ignorant of the story, I
thought she was one of the maids. Perhaps she was, but she went into
an empty set of rooms, and did not come out again. Footsteps are apt
to approach the doors of these rooms in mirk midnight, the door handle
turns, and that is all.

So much for supposed hauntings by spirits of the dead.

At the opposite pole are hauntings by agencies whom nobody supposes to
be ghosts of inmates of the house. The following is an extreme
example, as the haunter proceeded to arson. This is not so very
unusual, and, if managed by an impostor, shows insane malevolence.


On 16th November, 1870, Mr. Shchapoff, a Russian squire, the narrator,
came home from a visit to a country town, Iletski, and found his
family in some disarray. There lived with him his mother and his
wife's mother, ladies of about sixty-nine, his wife, aged twenty, and
his baby daughter. The ladies had been a good deal disturbed. On the
night of the 14th, the baby was fractious, and the cook, Maria, danced
and played the harmonica to divert her. The baby fell asleep, the
wife and Mr. Shchapoff's miller's lady were engaged in conversation,
when a shadow crossed the blind on the outside. They were about to go
out and see who was passing, when they heard a double shuffle being
executed with energy in the loft overhead. They thought Maria, the
cook, was making a night of it, but found her asleep in the kitchen.
The dancing went on but nobody could be found in the loft. Then raps
began on the window panes, and so the miller and gardener patrolled
outside. Nobody!

Raps and dancing lasted through most of the night and began again at
ten in the morning. The ladies were incommoded and complained of
broken sleep. Mr. Shchapoff, hearing all this, examined the miller,
who admitted the facts, but attributed them to a pigeon's nest, which
he had found under the cornice. Satisfied with this rather elementary
hypothesis, Mr. Shchapoff sat down to read Livingstone's African
Travels. Presently the double shuffle sounded in the loft. Mrs.
Shchapoff was asleep in her bedroom, but was awakened by loud raps.
The window was tapped at, deafening thumps were dealt at the outer
wall, and the whole house thrilled. Mr. Shchapoff rushed out with
dogs and a gun, there were no footsteps in the snow, the air was
still, the full moon rode in a serene sky. Mr. Shchapoff came back,
and the double shuffle was sounding merrily in the empty loft. Next
day was no better, but the noises abated and ceased gradually.

Alas, Mr. Shchapoff could not leave well alone. On 20th December, to
amuse a friend, he asked Maria to dance and play. Raps, in tune,
began on the window panes. Next night they returned, while boots,
slippers, and other objects, flew about with a hissing noise. A piece
of stuff would fly up and fall with a heavy hard thud, while hard
bodies fell soundless as a feather. The performances slowly died

On Old Year's Night Maria danced to please them; raps began, people
watching on either side of a wall heard the raps on the other side.
On 8th January, Mrs. Shchapoff fainted when a large, luminous ball
floated, increasing in size, from under her bed. The raps now
followed her about by day, as in the case of John Wesley's sisters.
On these occasions she felt weak and somnolent. Finally Mr. Shchapoff
carried his family to his town house for much-needed change of air.

Science, in the form of Dr. Shustoff, now hinted that electricity or
magnetic force was at the bottom of the annoyances, a great comfort to
the household, who conceived that the devil was concerned. The doctor
accompanied his friends to their country house for a night, Maria was
invited to oblige with a dance, and only a few taps on windows
followed. The family returned to town till 21st January. No sooner
was Mrs. Shchapoff in bed than knives and forks came out of a closed
cupboard and flew about, occasionally sticking in the walls.

On 24th January the doctor abandoned the hypothesis of electricity,
because the noises kept time to profane but not to sacred music. A
Tartar hymn by a Tartar servant, an Islamite, had no accompaniment,
but the Freischutz was warmly encored.

This went beyond the most intelligent spontaneous exercises of
electricity. Questions were asked of the agencies, and to the
interrogation, "Are you a devil?" a most deafening knock replied. "We
all jumped backwards."

Now comes a curious point. In the Wesley and Tedworth cases, the
masters of the houses, like the cure of Cideville (1851), were at odds
with local "cunning men".

Mr. Shchapoff's fiend now averred that he was "set on" by the servant
of a neighbouring miller, with whom Mr. Shchapoff had a dispute about
a mill pond. This man had previously said, "It will be worse; they
will drag you by the hair". And, indeed, Mrs. Shchapoff was found in
tears, because her hair had been pulled. {205}

Science again intervened. A section of the Imperial Geographical
Society sent Dr. Shustoff, Mr. Akutin (a Government civil engineer),
and a literary gentleman, as a committee of inquiry appointed by the
governor of the province. They made a number of experiments with
Leyden jars, magnets, and so forth, with only negative results.
Things flew about, both _from_, and _towards_ Mrs. Shchapoff. Nothing
volatile was ever seen to _begin_ its motion, though, in March, 1883,
objects were seen, by a policeman and six other witnesses, to fly up
from a bin and out of a closed cupboard, in a house at Worksop. {206}
Mr. Akutin, in Mrs. Shchapoff's bedroom, found the noises answer
questions in French and German, on contemporary politics, of which the
lady of the house knew nothing. Lassalle was said to be alive, Mr.
Shchapoff remarked, "What nonsense!" but Mr. Akutin corrected him.
The bogey was better informed. The success of the French in the great
war was predicted.

The family now moved to their town house, and the inquest continued,
though the raps were only heard near the lady. A Dr. Dubinsky vowed
that she made them herself, with her tongue; then, with her pulse.
The doctor assailed, and finally shook the faith of Mr. Akutin, who
was to furnish a report. "He bribed a servant boy to say that his
mistress made the sounds herself, and then pretended that he had
caught her trying to deceive us by throwing things." Finally Mr.
Akutin reported that the whole affair was a hysterical imposition by
Mrs. Shchapoff. Dr. Dubinsky attended her, her health and spirits
improved, and the disturbances ceased. But poor Mr. Shchapoff
received an official warning not to do it again, from the governor of
his province. That way lies Siberia.

"Imagine, then," exclaims Mr. Shchapoff, "our horror, when, on our
return to the country in March, the unknown force at once set to work
again. And now even my wife's presence was not essential. Thus, one
day, I saw with my own eyes a heavy sofa jump off all four legs (three
or four times in fact), and this when my aged mother was lying on it."
The same thing occurred to Nancy Wesley's bed, on which she was
sitting while playing cards in 1717. The picture of a lady of
seventy, sitting tight to a bucking sofa, appeals to the brave.

Then the fire-raising began. A blue spark flew out of a wash-stand,
into Mrs. Shchapoff's bedroom. Luckily she was absent, and her
mother, rushing forward with a water-jug, extinguished a flaming
cotton dress. Bright red globular meteors now danced in the veranda.
Mr. Portnoff next takes up the tale as follows, Mr. Shchapoff having
been absent from home on the occasion described.

"I was sitting playing the guitar. The miller got up to leave, and
was followed by Mrs. Shchapoff. Hardly had she shut the door, when I
heard, as though from far off, a deep drawn wail. The voice seemed
familiar to me. Overcome with an unaccountable horror I rushed to the
door, and there in the passage I saw a literal pillar of fire, in the
middle of which, draped in flame, stood Mrs. Shchapoff. . . . I rushed
to put it out with my hands, but I found it burned them badly, as if
they were sticking to burning pitch. A sort of cracking noise came
from beneath the floor, which also shook and vibrated violently." Mr.
Portnoff and the miller "carried off the unconscious victim".

Mr. Shchapoff also saw a small pink hand, like a child's, spring from
the floor, and play with Mrs. Shchapoff's coverlet, in bed. These
things were too much; the Shchapoffs fled to a cottage, and took a new
country house. They had no more disturbances. Mrs. Shchapoff died in
child-bed, in 1878, "a healthy, religious, quiet, affectionate woman".

Modern Hauntings

The Shchapoff Story of a Peculiar Type. "Demoniacal Possession."
Story of Wellington Mill briefly analysed. Authorities for the Story.
Letters. A Journal. The Wesley Ghost. Given Critically and Why.
Note on similar Stories, such as the Drummer of Tedworth. Sir Waller
Scott's Scepticism about Nautical Evidence. Lord St. Vincent. Scott
asks Where are his Letters on a Ghostly Disturbance. The Letters are
now Published. Lord St. Vincent's Ghost Story. Reflections.

Cases like that of Mrs. Shchapoff really belong to a peculiar species
of haunted houses. Our ancestors, like the modern Chinese, attributed
them to diabolical possession, not to an ordinary ghost of a dead
person. Examples are very numerous, and have all the same "symptoms,"
as Coleridge would have said, he attributing them to a contagious
nervous malady of observation in the spectators. Among the most
notorious is the story of Willington Mill, told by Howitt, and
borrowed by Mrs. Crowe, in The Night Side of Nature. Mr. Procter, the
occupant, a Quaker, vouched to Mrs. Crowe for the authenticity of
Howitt's version. (22nd July, 1847.) Other letters from seers are
published, and the Society of Psychical Research lately printed Mr.
Procter's contemporary journal. A man, a woman, and a monkey were the
chief apparitions. There were noises, lights, beds were heaved about:
nothing was omitted. A clairvoyante was turned on, but could only say
that the spectral figures, which she described, "had no brains".
After the Quakers left the house there seems to have been no more
trouble. The affair lasted for fifteen years.

Familiar as it is, we now offer the old story of the hauntings at
Epworth, mainly because a full view of the inhabitants, the
extraordinary family of Wesley, seems necessary to an understanding of
the affair. The famous and excessively superstitious John Wesley was
not present on the occasion.


No ghost story is more celebrated than that of Old Jeffrey, the spirit
so named by Emily Wesley, which disturbed the Rectory at Epworth,
chiefly in the December of 1716 and the spring of 1717. Yet the
vagueness of the human mind has led many people, especially
journalists, to suppose that the haunted house was that, not of Samuel
Wesley, but of his son John Wesley, the founder of the Wesleyan
Methodists. For the better intelligence of the tale, we must know who
the inmates of the Epworth Rectory were, and the nature of their
characters and pursuits. The rector was the Rev. Samuel Wesley, born
in 1662, the son of a clergyman banished from his living on "Black
Bartholomew Day," 1666. Though educated among Dissenters, Samuel
Wesley converted himself to the truth as it is in the Church of
England, became a "poor scholar" of Exeter College in Oxford,
supported himself mainly by hack-work in literature (he was one of the
editors of a penny paper called The Athenian Mercury, a sort of
Answers), married Miss Susanna Annesley, a lady of good family, in
1690-91, and in 1693 was presented to the Rectory of Epworth in
Lincolnshire by Mary, wife of William of Orange, to whom he had
dedicated a poem on the life of Christ. The living was poor, Mr.
Wesley's family multiplied with amazing velocity, he was in debt, and
unpopular. His cattle were maimed in 1705, and in 1703 his house was
burned down. The Rectory House, of which a picture is given in
Clarke's Memoirs of the Wesleys, 1825, was built anew at his own
expense. Mr. Wesley was in politics a strong Royalist, but having
seen James II. shake "his lean arm" at the Fellows of Magdalen
College, and threaten them "with the weight of a king's right hand,"
he conceived a prejudice against that monarch, and took the side of
the Prince of Orange. His wife, a very pious woman and a strict
disciplinarian, was a Jacobite, would not say "amen" to the prayers
for "the king," and was therefore deserted by her husband for a year
or more in 1701-1702. They came together again, however, on the
accession of Queen Anne.

Unpopular for his politics, hated by the Dissenters, and at odds with
the "cunning men," or local wizards against whom he had frequently
preached, Mr. Wesley was certainly apt to have tricks played on him by
his neighbours. His house, though surrounded by a wall, a hedge, and
its own grounds, was within a few yards of the nearest dwelling in the
village street.

In 1716, when the disturbances began, Mr. Wesley's family consisted of
his wife; his eldest son, Sam, aged about twenty-three, and then
absent at his duties as an usher at Westminster; John, aged twelve, a
boy at Westminster School; Charles, a boy of eight, away from home,
and the girls, who were all at the parsonage. They were Emily, about
twenty-two, Mary, Nancy and Sukey, probably about twenty-one, twenty
and nineteen, and Hetty, who may have been anything between nineteen
and twelve, but who comes after John in Dr. Clarke's list, and is
apparently reckoned among "the children". {212} Then there was Patty,
who may have been only nine, and little Keziah.

All except Patty were very lively young people, and Hetty, afterwards
a copious poet, "was gay and sprightly, full of mirth, good-humour,
and keen wit. She indulged this disposition so much that it was said
to have given great uneasiness to her parents." The servants, Robin
Brown, Betty Massy and Nancy Marshall, were recent comers, but were
acquitted by Mrs. Wesley of any share in the mischief. The family,
though, like other people of their date, they were inclined to believe
in witches and "warnings," were not especially superstitious, and
regarded the disturbances, first with some apprehension, then as a
joke, and finally as a bore.

The authorities for what occurred are, first, a statement and journal
by Mr. Wesley, then a series of letters of 1717 to Sam at Westminster
by his mother, Emily and Sukey, next a set of written statements made
by these and other witnesses to John Wesley in 1726, and last and
worst, a narrative composed many years after by John Wesley for The
Arminian Magazine.

The earliest document, by a few days, is the statement of Mr. Wesley,
written, with a brief journal, between 21st December, 1716, and 1st
January, 1717. Comparing this with Mrs. Wesley's letter to Sam of
12th January, 1716 and Sukey's letter of 24th January, we learn that
the family for some weeks after 1st December had been "in the greatest
panic imaginable," supposing that Sam, Jack, or Charlie (who must also
have been absent from home) was dead, "or by some misfortune killed".
The reason for these apprehensions was that on the night of 1st
December the maid "heard at the dining-room door several dreadful
groans, like a person in extremes". They laughed at her, but for the
whole of December "the groans, squeaks, tinglings and knockings were
frightful enough". The rest of the family (Mr. Wesley always
excepted) "heard a strange knocking in divers places," chiefly in the
green room, or nursery, where (apparently) Hetty, Patty and Keziah
lay. Emily heard the noises later than some of her sisters, perhaps a
week after the original groans. She was locking up the house about
ten o'clock when a sound came like the smashing and splintering of a
huge piece of coal on the kitchen floor. She and Sukey went through
the rooms on the ground floor, but found the dog asleep, the cat at
the other end of the house, and everything in order. From her bedroom
Emily heard a noise of breaking the empty bottles under the stairs,
but was going to bed, when Hetty, who had been sitting on the lowest
step of the garret stairs beside the nursery door, waiting for her
father, was chased into the nursery by a sound as of a man passing her
in a loose trailing gown. Sukey and Nancy were alarmed by loud knocks
on the outside of the dining-room door and overhead. All this time
Mr. Wesley heard nothing, and was not even told that anything unusual
was heard. Mrs. Wesley at first held her peace lest he should think
it "according to the vulgar opinion, a warning against his own death,
which, indeed, we all apprehended". Mr. Wesley only smiled when he
was informed; but, by taking care to see all the girls safe in bed,
sufficiently showed his opinion that the young ladies and their lovers
were the ghost. Mrs. Wesley then fell back on the theory of rats, and
employed a man to blow a horn as a remedy against these vermin. But
this measure only aroused the emulation of the sprite, whom Emily
began to call "Jeffrey".

Not till 21st December did Mr. Wesley hear anything, then came
thumpings on his bedroom wall. Unable to discover the cause, he
procured a stout mastiff, which soon became demoralised by his
experiences. On the morning of the 24th, about seven o'clock, Emily
led Mrs. Wesley into the nursery, where she heard knocks on and under
the bedstead; these sounds replied when she knocked. Something "like
a badger, with no head," says Emily; Mrs. Wesley only says, "like a
badger," ran from under the bed. On the night of the 25th there was
an appalling vacarme. Mr. and Mrs. Wesley went on a tour of
inspection, but only found the mastiff whining in terror. "We still
heard it rattle and thunder in every room above or behind us, locked
as well as open, except my study, where as yet it never came." On the
night of the 26th Mr. Wesley seems to have heard of a phenomenon
already familiar to Emily--"something like the quick winding up of a
jack, at the corner of the room by my bed head". This was always
followed by knocks, "hollow and loud, such as none of us could ever
imitate". Mr. Wesley went into the nursery, Hetty, Kezzy and Patty
were asleep. The knocks were loud, beneath and in the room, so Mr.
Wesley went below to the kitchen, struck with his stick against the
rafters, and was answered "as often and as loud as I knocked". The
peculiar knock which was his own, 1-23456-7, was not successfully
echoed at that time. Mr. Wesley then returned to the nursery, which
was as tapageuse as ever. The children, three, were trembling in
their sleep. Mr. Wesley invited the agency to an interview in his
study, was answered by one knock outside, "all the rest were within,"
and then came silence. Investigations outside produced no result, but
the latch of the door would rise and fall, and the door itself was
pushed violently back against investigators.

"I have been with Hetty," says Emily, "when it has knocked under her,
and when she has removed has followed her," and it knocked under
little Kezzy, when "she stamped with her foot, pretending to scare

Mr. Wesley had requested an interview in his study, especially as the
Jacobite goblin routed loudly "over our heads constantly, when we came
to the prayers for King George and the prince". In his study the
agency pushed Mr. Wesley about, bumping him against the corner of his
desk, and against his door. He would ask for a conversation, but
heard only "two or three feeble squeaks, a little louder than the
chirping of a bird, but not like the noise of rats, which I have often

Mr. Wesley had meant to leave home for a visit on Friday, 28th
December, but the noises of the 27th were so loud that he stayed at
home, inviting the Rev. Mr. Hoole, of Haxey, to view the performances.
"The noises were very boisterous and disturbing this night." Mr.
Hoole says (in 1726, confirmed by Mrs. Wesley, 12th January, 1717)
that there were sounds of feet, trailing gowns, raps, and a noise as
of planing boards: the disturbance finally went outside the house and
died away. Mr. Wesley seems to have paid his visit on the 30th, and
notes, "1st January, 1717. My family have had no disturbance since I
went away."

To judge by Mr. Wesley's letter to Sam, of 12th January, there was no
trouble between the 29th of December and that date. On the 19th of
January, and the 30th of the same month, Sam wrote, full of curiosity,
to his father and mother. Mrs. Wesley replied (25th or 27th January),
saying that no explanation could be discovered, but "it commonly was
nearer Hetty than the rest". On 24th January, Sukey said "it is now
pretty quiet, but still knocks at prayers for the king." On 11th
February, Mr. Wesley, much bored by Sam's inquiries, says, "we are all
now quiet. . . . It would make a glorious penny book for Jack
Dunton," his brother-in-law, a publisher of popular literature, such
as the Athenian Mercury. Emily (no date) explains the phenomena as
the revenge for her father's recent sermons "against consulting those
that are called cunning men, which our people are given to, and _it
had a particular spite at my father_".

The disturbances by no means ended in the beginning of January, nor at
other dates when a brief cessation made the Wesleys hope that Jeffrey
had returned to his own place. Thus on 27th March, Sukey writes to
Sam, remarking that as Hetty and Emily are also writing "so
particularly," she need not say much. "One thing I believe you do not
know, that is, last Sunday, to my father's no small amazement, his
trencher danced upon the table a pretty while, without anybody's
stirring the table. . . . Send me some news for we are excluded from
the sight or hearing of any versal thing, except Jeffery."

The last mention of the affair, at this time, is in a letter from
Emily, of 1st April, to a Mr. Berry.

"Tell my brother the sprite was with us last night, and heard by many
of our family." There are no other contemporary letters preserved,
but we may note Mrs. Wesley's opinion (25th January) that it was
"beyond the power of any human being to make such strange and various

The next evidence is ten years after date, the statements taken down
by Jack Wesley in 1726 (1720?). Mrs. Wesley adds to her former
account that she "earnestly desired it might not disturb her" (at her
devotions) "between five and six in the evening," and it did not rout
in her room at that time. Emily added that a screen was knocked at on
each side as she went round to the other. Sukey mentioned the noise
as, on one occasion, coming gradually from the garret stairs, outside
the nursery door, up to Hetty's bed, "who trembled strongly in her
sleep. It then removed to the room overhead, where it knocked my
father's knock on the ground, as if it would beat the house down."
Nancy said that the noise used to follow her, or precede her, and once
a bed, on which she sat playing cards, was lifted up under her several
times to a considerable height. Robin, the servant, gave evidence
that he was greatly plagued with all manner of noises and movements of

John Wesley, in his account published many years after date in his
Arminian Magazine, attributed the affair of 1716 to his father's
broken vow of deserting his mother till she recognised the Prince of
Orange as king! He adds that the mastiff "used to tremble and creep
away before the noise began".

Some other peculiarities may be noted. All persons did not always
hear the noises. It was three weeks before Mr. Wesley heard anything.
"John and Kitty Maw, who lived over against us, listened several
nights in the time of the disturbance, but could never hear anything."
Again, "The first time my mother ever heard any unusual noise at
Epworth was long before the disturbance of old Jeffrey . . . the door
and windows jarred very loud, and presently several distinct strokes,
three by three, were struck. From that night it never failed to give
notice in much the same manner, against any signal misfortune or
illness of any belonging to the family," writes Jack.

Once more, on 10th February, 1750, Emily (now Mrs. Harper) wrote to
her brother John, "that wonderful thing called by us Jeffery, how
certainly it calls on me against any extraordinary new affliction".

This is practically all the story of Old Jeffrey. The explanations
have been, trickery by servants (Priestley), contagious hallucinations
(Coleridge), devilry (Southey), and trickery by Hetty Wesley (Dr.
Salmon, of Trinity College, Dublin). Dr. Salmon points out that there
is no evidence from Hetty; that she was a lively, humorous girl, and
he conceives that she began to frighten the maids, and only
reluctantly exhibited before her father against whom, however, Jeffrey
developed "a particular spite". He adds that certain circumstances
were peculiar to Hetty, which, in fact, is not the case. The present
editor has examined Dr. Salmon's arguments in The Contemporary Review,
and shown reason, in the evidence, for acquitting Hetty Wesley, who
was never suspected by her family.

Trickery from without, by "the cunning men," is an explanation which,
at least, provides a motive, but how the thing could be managed from
without remains a mystery. Sam Wesley, the friend of Pope, and
Atterbury, and Lord Oxford, not unjustly said: "Wit, I fancy, might
find many interpretations, but wisdom none". {220}

As the Wesley tale is a very typical instance of a very large class,
our study of it may exempt us from printing the well-known parallel
case of "The Drummer of Tedworth". Briefly, the house of Mr.
Mompesson, near Ludgarshal, in Wilts, was disturbed in the usual way,
for at least two years, from April, 1661, to April, 1663, or later.
The noises, and copious phenomena of moving objects apparently
untouched, were attributed to the unholy powers of a wandering
drummer, deprived by Mr. Mompesson of his drum. A grand jury
presented the drummer for trial, on a charge of witchcraft, but the
petty jury would not convict, there being a want of evidence to prove
threats, malum minatum, by the drummer. In 1662 the Rev. Joseph
Glanvil, F.R.S., visited the house, and, in the bedroom of Mr.
Mompesson's little girls, the chief sufferers, heard and saw much the
same phenomena as the elder Wesley describes in his own nursery. The
"little modest girls" were aged about seven and eight. Charles II.
sent some gentlemen to the house for one night, when nothing occurred,
the disturbances being intermittent. Glanvil published his narrative
at the time, and Mr. Pepys found it "not very convincing". Glanvil,
in consequence of his book, was so vexed by correspondents "that I
have been haunted almost as bad as Mr. Mompesson's house". A report
that imposture had been discovered, and confessed by Mr. Mompesson,
was set afloat, by John Webster, in a well-known work, and may still
be found in modern books. Glanvil denied it till he was "quite
tired," and Mompesson gave a formal denial in a letter dated Tedworth,
8th November, 1672. He also, with many others, swore to the facts on
oath, in court, at the drummer's trial. {221}

In the Tedworth case, as at Epworth, and in the curious Cideville case
of 1851, a quarrel with "cunning men" preceded the disturbances. In
Lord St. Vincent's case, which follows, nothing of the kind is
reported. As an almost universal rule children, especially girls of
about twelve, are centres of the trouble; in the St. Vincent story,
the children alone were exempt from annoyance.


Sir Walter Scott, writing about the disturbances in the house occupied
by Mrs. Ricketts, sister of the great admiral, Lord St. Vincent, asks:
"Who has seen Lord St. Vincent's letters?" He adds that the gallant
admiral, after all, was a sailor, and implies that "what the sailor
said" (if he said anything) "is not evidence".

The fact of unaccountable disturbances which finally drove Mrs.
Ricketts out of Hinton Ampner, is absolutely indisputable, though the
cause of the annoyances may remain as mysterious as ever. The
contemporary correspondence (including that of Lord St. Vincent, then
Captain Jervis) exists, and has been edited by Mrs. Henley Jervis,
grand-daughter of Mrs. Ricketts. {222}

There is only the very vaguest evidence for hauntings at Lady
Hillsborough's old house of Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, before Mr.
Ricketts took it in January, 1765. He and his wife were then
disturbed by footsteps, and sounds of doors opening and shutting.
They put new locks on the doors lest the villagers had procured keys,
but this proved of no avail. The servants talked of seeing
appearances of a gentleman in drab and of a lady in silk, which Mrs.
Ricketts disregarded. Her husband went to Jamaica in the autumn of
1769, and in 1771 she was so disturbed that her brother, Captain
Jervis, a witness of the phenomena, insisted on her leaving the house
in August. He and Mrs. Ricketts then wrote to Mr. Ricketts about the
affair. In July, 1772, Mrs. Ricketts wrote a long and solemn
description of her sufferings, to be given to her children.

We shall slightly abridge her statement, in which she mentions that
when she left Hinton she had not one of the servants who came thither
in her family, which "evinces the impossibility of a confederacy".
Her new, like her former servants, were satisfactory; Camis, her new
coachman, was of a yeoman house of 400 years' standing. It will be
observed that Mrs. Ricketts was a good deal annoyed even _before_ 2nd
April, 1771, the day when she dates the beginning of the worst
disturbances. She believed that the agency was human--a robber or a
practical joker--and but slowly and reluctantly became convinced that
the "exploded" notion of an abnormal force might be correct. We learn
that while Captain Jervis was not informed of the sounds he never
heard them, and whereas Mrs. Ricketts heard violent noises after he
went to bed on the night of his vigil, he heard nothing. "Several
instances occurred where very loud noises were heard by one or two
persons, when those equally near and in the same direction were not
sensible of the least impression." {223}

With this preface, Mrs. Ricketts may be allowed to tell her own tale.

"Sometime after Mr. Ricketts left me (autumn, 1769) I--then lying in
the bedroom over the kitchen--heard frequently the noise of some one
walking in the room within, and the rustling as of silk clothes
against the door that opened into my room, sometimes so loud, and of
such continuance as to break my rest. Instant search being often
made, we never could discover any appearance of human or brute being.
Repeatedly disturbed in the same manner, I made it my constant
practice to search the room and closets within, and to secure the only
door on the inside. . . . Yet this precaution did not preclude the
disturbance, which continued with little interruption."

Nobody, in short, could enter this room, except by passing through
that of Mrs. Ricketts, the door of which "was always made fast by a
drawn bolt". Yet somebody kept rustling and walking in the inner
room, which somebody could never be found when sought for.

In summer, 1770, Mrs. Ricketts heard someone walk to the foot of her
bed in her own room, "the footsteps as distinct as ever I heard,
myself perfectly awake and collected". Nobody could be discovered in
the chamber. Mrs. Ricketts boldly clung to her room, and was only now
and then disturbed by "sounds of harmony," and heavy thumps, down
stairs. After this, and early in 1771, she was "frequently sensible
of a hollow murmuring that seemed to possess the whole house: it was
independent of wind, being equally heard on the calmest nights, and it
was a sound I had never been accustomed to hear".

On 27th February, 1771, a maid was alarmed by "groans and fluttering
round her bed": she was "the sister of an eminent grocer in
Alresford". On 2nd April, Mrs. Ricketts heard people walking in the
lobby, hunted for burglars, traced the sounds to a room whence their
was no outlet, and found nobody. This kind of thing went on till Mrs.
Ricketts despaired of any natural explanation. After mid-summer,
1771, the trouble increased, in broad daylight, and a shrill female
voice, answered by two male voices was added to the afflictions.
Captain Jervis came on a visit, but was told of nothing, and never
heard anything. After he went to Portsmouth, "the most deep, loud
tremendous noise seemed to rush and fall with infinite velocity and
force on the lobby floor adjoining my room," accompanied by a shrill
and dreadful shriek, seeming to proceed from under the spot where the
rushing noise fell, and repeated three or four times.

Mrs. Ricketts' "resolution remained firm," but her health was
impaired; she tried changing her room, without results. The
disturbances pursued her. Her brother now returned. She told him
nothing, and he heard nothing, but next day she unbosomed herself.
Captain Jervis therefore sat up with Captain Luttrell and his own man.
He was rewarded by noises which he in vain tried to pursue. "I should
do great injustice to my sister" (he writes to Mr. Ricketts on 9th
August, 1771), "if I did not acknowledge to have heard what I could
not, after the most diligent search and serious reflection, any way
account for." Captain Jervis during a whole week slept by day, and
watched, armed, by night. Even by day he was disturbed by a sound as
of immense weights falling from the ceiling to the floor of his room.
He finally obliged his sister to leave the house.

What occurred after Mrs. Ricketts abandoned Hinton is not very
distinct. Apparently Captain Jervis's second stay of a week, when he
did hear the noises, was from 1st August to 8th August. From a
statement by Mrs. Ricketts it appears that, when her brother joined
his ship, the Alarm (9th August), she retired to Dame Camis's house,
that of her coachman's mother. Thence she went, and made another
attempt to live at Hinton, but was "soon after assailed by a noise I
never before heard, very near me, and the terror I felt not to be
described". She therefore went to the Newbolts, and thence to the old
Palace at Winton; later, on Mr. Ricketts' return, to the Parsonage,
and then to Longwood (to the _old_ house there) near Alresford.

Meanwhile, on 18th September, Lady Hillsborough's agent lay with armed
men at Hinton, and, making no discovery, offered 50 pounds (increased
by Mr. Ricketts to 100 pounds) for the apprehension of the persons who
caused the noises. The reward was never claimed. On 8th March, 1772,
Camis wrote: "I am very sorry that we cannot find out the reason of
the noise"; at other dates he mentions sporadic noises heard by his
mother and another woman, including "the murmur". A year after Mrs.
Ricketts left a family named Lawrence took the house, and, according
to old Lucy Camis, in 1818, Mr. Lawrence very properly threatened to
dismiss any servant who spoke of the disturbances. The result of this
sensible course was that the Lawrences left suddenly, at the end of
the year--and the house was pulled down. Some old political papers of
the Great Rebellion, and a monkey's skull, not exhibited to any
anatomist, are said to have been discovered under the floor of the
lobby, or of one of the rooms. Mrs. Ricketts adds sadly, "The
unbelief of Chancellor Hoadley went nearest my heart," as he had
previously a high opinion of her veracity. The Bishop of St. Asaph
was incredulous, "on the ground that such means were unworthy of the
Deity to employ".

Probably a modern bishop would say that there were no noises at all,
that every one who heard the sounds was under the influence of
"suggestion," caused first in Mrs. Ricketts' own mind by vague tales
of a gentleman in drab seen by the servants.

The contagion, to be sure, also reached two distinguished captains in
the navy, but not till one of them was told about disturbances which
had not previously disturbed him. If this explanation be true, it
casts an unusual light on the human imagination. Physical science has
lately invented a new theory. Disturbances of this kind are perhaps
"seismic,"--caused by earthquakes! (See Professor Milne, in The
Times, 21st June, 1897.)


A Question for Physicians. Professor William James's Opinion.
Hysterical Disease? Little Hands. Domestic Arson. The Wem Case.
"The Saucepan began it." The Nurse-maid. Boots Fly Off.
Investigation. Emma's Partial Confession. Corroborative Evidence.
Question of Disease Repeated. Chinese Cases. Haunted Mrs. Chang.
Mr. Niu's Female Slave. The Great Amherst Mystery. Run as a Show.
Failure. Later Miracles. The Fire-raiser Arrested. Parallels. A
Highland Case. A Hero of the Forty-Five. Donald na Bocan. Donald's
Hymn. Icelandic Cases. The Devil of Hjalta-stad. The Ghost at


A physician, as we have seen, got the better of the demon in Mrs.
Shchapoff's case, at least while the lady was under his care. Really
these disturbances appear to demand the attention of medical men. If
the whole phenomena are caused by imposture, the actors, or actresses,
display a wonderful similarity of symptoms and an alarming taste for
fire-raising. Professor William James, the well-known psychologist,
mentions ten cases whose resemblances "suggest a natural type," and we
ask, is it a type of hysterical disease? {229} He chooses, among
others, an instance in Dr. Nevius's book on Demon Possession in China,
and there is another in Peru. He also mentions The Great Amherst
Mystery, which we give, and the Rerrick case in Scotland (1696),
related by Telfer, who prints, on his margins, the names of the
attesting witnesses of each event, lairds, clergymen, and farmers. At
Rerrick, as in Russia, the _little hand_ was seen by Telfer himself,
and the fire-raising was endless. At Amherst too, as in a pair of
recent Russian cases and others, there was plenty of fire-raising. By
a lucky chance an English case occurred at Wem, in Shropshire, in
November, 1883. It began at a farm called the Woods, some ten miles
from Shrewsbury. First a saucepan full of eggs "jumped" off the fire
in the kitchen, and the tea-things, leaping from the table, were
broken. Cinders "were thrown out of the fire," and set some clothes
in a blaze. A globe leaped off a lamp. A farmer, Mr. Lea, saw all
the windows of the upper story "as it were on fire," but it was no
such matter. The nurse-maid ran out in a fright, to a neighbour's,
and her dress spontaneously combusted as she ran. The people
attributed these and similar events, to something in the coal, or in
the air, or to electricity. When the nurse-girl, Emma Davies, sat on
the lap of the school mistress, Miss Maddox, her boots kept flying
off, like the boot laces in The Daemon of Spraiton.

All this was printed in the London papers, and, on 15th November, The
Daily Telegraph and Daily News published Emma's confession that she
wrought by sleight of hand and foot. On 17th November, Mr. Hughes
went from Cambridge to investigate. For some reason investigation
never begins till the fun is over. On the 9th the girl, now in a very
nervous state (no wonder!) had been put under the care of a Dr.
Mackey. This gentleman and Miss Turner said that things had occurred
since Emma came, for which they could not account. On 13th November,
however, Miss Turner, looking out of a window, spotted Emma throwing a
brick, and pretending that the flight of the brick was automatic.
Next day Emma confessed to her tricks, but steadfastly denied that she
had cheated at Woods Farm, and Weston Lullingfield, where she had also
been. Her evidence to this effect was so far confirmed by Mrs.
Hampson of Woods Farm, and her servant, Priscilla Evans, when examined
by Mr. Hughes. Both were "quite certain" that they saw crockery rise
by itself into air off the kitchen table, when Emma was at a
neighbouring farm, Mr. Lea's. Priscilla also saw crockery come out of
a cupboard, in detachments, and fly between her and Emma, usually in a
slanting direction, while Emma stood by with her arms folded. Yet
Priscilla was not on good terms with Emma. Unless, then, Mrs. Hampson
and Priscilla fabled, it is difficult to see how Emma could move
objects when she was "standing at some considerable distance,
standing, in fact, in quite another farm".

Similar evidence was given and signed by Miss Maddox, the
schoolmistress, and Mr. and Mrs. Lea. On the other hand Mrs. Hampson
and Priscilla believed that Emma managed the fire-raising herself.
The flames were "very high and white, and the articles were very
little singed". This occurred also at Rerrick, in 1696, but Mr.
Hughes attributes it to Emma's use of paraffin, which does not apply
to the Rerrick case. Paraffin smells a good deal--nothing is said
about a smell of paraffin.

Only one thing is certain: Emma was at last caught in a cheat. This
discredits her, but a man who cheats at cards _may_ hold a good hand
by accident. In the same way, if such wonders can happen (as so much
world-wide evidence declares), they _may_ have happened at Woods Farm,
and Emma, "in a very nervous state," _may_ have feigned then, or
rather did feign them later.

The question for the medical faculty is: Does a decided taste for
wilful fire-raising often accompany exhibitions of dancing furniture
and crockery, gratuitously given by patients of hysterical
temperament? This is quite a normal inquiry. Is there a nervous
malady of which the symptoms are domestic arson, and amateur leger-de-
main? The complaint, if it exists, is of very old standing and wide
prevalence, including Russia, Scotland, New England, France, Iceland,
Germany, China and Peru.

As a proof of the identity of symptoms in this malady, we give a
Chinese case. The Chinese, as to diabolical possession, are precisely
of the same opinion as the inspired authors of the Gospels. People
are "possessed," and, like the woman having a spirit of divination in
the Acts of the Apostles, make a good thing out of it. Thus Mrs. Ku
was approached by a native Christian. She became rigid and her demon,
speaking through her, acknowledged the Catholic verity, and said that
if Mrs. Ku were converted he would have to leave. On recovering her
everyday consciousness, Mrs. Ku asked what Tsehwa, her demon, had
said. The Christian told her, and perhaps she would have deserted her
erroneous courses, but her fellow-villagers implored her to pay homage
to the demon. They were in the habit of resorting to it for medical
advice (as people do to Mrs. Piper's demon in the United States), so
Mrs. Ku decided to remain in the business. {232} The parallel to the
case in the Acts is interesting.


Mr. Chang, of that ilk (Chang Chang Tien-ts), was a man of fifty-
seven, and a graduate in letters. The ladies of his family having
accommodated a demon with a shrine in his house, Mr. Chang said he
"would have none of that nonsense". The spirit then entered into Mrs.
Chang, and the usual fire-raising began all over the place. The
furniture and crockery danced in the familiar way, and objects took to
disappearing mysteriously, even when secured under lock and key. Mr.
Chang was as unlucky as Mr. Chin. At _his_ house "doors would open of
their own accord, footfalls were heard, as of persons walking in the
house, although no one could be seen. Plates, bowls and the teapot
would suddenly rise from the table into the air." {233a}

Mrs. Chang now tried the off chance of there being something in
Christianity, stayed with a native Christian (the narrator), and felt
much better. She could enjoy her meals, and was quite a new woman.
As her friend could not go home with her, Mrs. Fung, a native
Christian, resided for a while at Mr. Chang's; "comparative quiet was
restored," and Mrs. Fung retired to her family.

The symptoms returned; the native Christian was sent for, and found
Mr. Chang's establishment full of buckets of water for extinguishing
the sudden fires. Mrs. Chang's daughter-in-law was now possessed, and
"drank wine in large quantities, though ordinarily she would not touch
it". She was staring and tossing her arms wildly; a service was held,

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