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A Remarkable Story Of A Ghost






Thrice called for, as an Evidence, in a Court of Justice.


A farmer, on his return from the market at Southam, in the county of
Warwick, was murdered. A man went the next morning to his house, and
inquired of the mistress, if her husband came home the evening before;
she replied, No, and that she was under the utmost anxiety and terror on
that account. "Your terror," added he, "cannot equal mine; for, last
night, as I lay in bed quite awake, the apparition of your husband
appeared to me, shewed me several ghastly stabs in his body; told me
that he had been murdered by such a person (naming the man), and his
body thrown into such a marl-pit, which he then particularly described.
The alarm was given, the pit searched, the body found, and the wounds
answered the description given of them. The man whom the ghost had
accused was apprehended, and committed, on a violent suspicion of
murder. His trial came on at Warwick, before the Lord Chief Justice
Raymond; when the jury would have convicted, as rashly as the
magistrate had committed him, had not the judge checked them. He
addressed himself to them in words to this purpose--"I think, Gentlemen,
you seem inclined to lay more stress on the evidence of an apparition
than it will bear. I cannot say that I give much credit to these kind of
stories: but, be that as it will, we have no right to follow our own
private opinions here. We are now in a court of law, and must determine
according to it; and I know of no law now in being, which will admit of
the testimony of an apparition: not yet, if it did, doth the ghost
appear to give evidence. Crier," said he, "call the ghost." Which was
thrice done, to no manner of purpose: it appeared not. "Gentlemen of
the Jury," continued the Judge, "the prisoner at the bar, as you have
heard by undeniable witnesses, is a man of the most unblemished
character; nor has it appeared in the course of the examination, that
there was any manner of quarrel or grudge between him and the party
deceased. I do believe him to be perfectly innocent; and, as there is no
evidence against him, either positive or circumstantial, he must be
acquitted. But, from many circumstances which have arisen during the
trial, I do strongly suspect that the gentleman who saw the apparition
was himself the murderer: in which case he might easily ascertain the
pit, the wounds, &c. without any supernatural assistance; and on
suspicion, I shall think myself justified in committing him to close
custody, till the matter can be fairly inquired into. This was
immediately done, and a warrant granted for searching his house; when
such strong proofs of guilt appeared against him, that he confessed the
murder: for which he was executed.





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