The Cripplegate Ghost
The following story, well authenticated in the neighbourhood of
Cripplegate, will convince the reader, that vicious intentions are
sometimes productive of much good to the parties they intended to
A gentlewoman in that parish, having lain for some days in a trance, was
at length laid out and buried for dead, with a gold ring on her finger.
The sexton knowing thereof, he and his wife, with a lanthorn and candle,
went privately the next night, and dug up the coffin, opened it, untied
the winding sheet, and was going to cut off her finger for the sake of
the valuable ring buried with her, they not being otherwise able to
remove it; when, suddenly, the lady raised herself up (being just then
supposed miraculously to come out of her trance). The sexton and his
wife ran away in a horrible fright, leaving their lanthorn behind them;
which the lady took up, and made haste home to her house. When knocking
hard at the door, the maid-servant asked who was there? "'Tis I, your
mistress," replied the lady; "and do, for God's sake, let me in
immediately, as I am very cold." The maid, being much surprised and
terrified at this reply, neglected to open the door, ran away to her
master, and acquainted him with the circumstance; who would scarcely
believe her tale, till he went himself to the door, and heard his wife
relate the dreadful particulars. He immediately let her in, put her into
a warm bed; and, by being well looked after, she soon perfectly
recovered, and lived to have three children afterwards.
This extraordinary resuscitation is conjectured, by the faculty, to have
been occasioned by the sudden circulation of the blood on the villain's
attempting to cut off the finger.
A monument, with a curious inscription of this affair, is still to be
seen in Cripplegate church.
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