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The Ghost Of Major Sydenham






Concerning the apparition of the Ghost of Major George Sydenham, (late
of Dulverton in the County of Somerset) to Captain William Dyke, late of
Skilgate in this County also, and now likewise deceased: Be pleased to
take the Relation of it as I have it from the worthy and learned Dr Tho.
Dyke, a near kinsman of the Captain's, thus: Shortly after the Major's
Death, the Doctor was desired to come to the House, to take care of a
Child that was there sick, and in his way thither he called on the
Captain, who was very willing to wait on him to the place, because he
must, as he said, have gone thither that night, though he had not met
with so encouraging an opportunity. After their arrival there at the
House, and the Civility of the People shewn them in that Entertainment,
they were seasonably conducted to their Lodging, which they desired
might be together in the same Bed: Where after they had lain a while,
the Captain knocked, and bids the Servant bring him two of the largest
and biggest Candles lighted that he could get. Whereupon the Doctor
enquires what he meant by this? The Captain answers, You know Cousin
what Disputes my Major and I have had touching the Being of a God, and
the Immortality of the Soul; in which points we could never yet be
resolv'd, though we so much sought for and desired it; and therefore it
was at length fully agreed between us, That he of us that died first,
should the third Night after his Funeral, between the Hours of Twelve
and one, come to the little House that is here in the Garden, and there
give a full account to the Survivor touching these Matters, who should
be sure to be present there at the set time, and so receive a full
satisfaction; and this, says the Captain, is the very Night, and I am
come on purpose to fulfil my promise. The Doctor dissuaded him, minding
him of the danger of following those strange Counsels, for which we
could have no Warrant, and that the Devil might by some cunning Device
make such an advantage of this rash attempt, as might work his utter
Ruin. The Captain replies, That he had solemnly engag'd, and that
nothing should discourage him, and adds, that if the Doctor would wake
awhile with him, he would thank him, if not, he might compose himself to
his rest; but for his own part he was resolv'd to watch, that he might
be sure to be present at the Hour appointed: To that purpose he sets his
watch by him, and as soon as he perceived by it that it was half an Hour
past 11, he rises, and taking a Candle in each Hand, goes out by a
back-door, of which he had before gotten the Key, and walks to the
Garden-house, where he continued two hours and a half, and at his return
declared, that he had neither saw not heard any thing more than what was
usual. But I know, said he, that my Major would surely have come, had he
been able.

About 6 weeks after, the Captain rides to _Eaton_ to place his Son a
Scholar there, when the Doctor went thither with him. They lodged there
at an Inn, the Sign was the _Christopher_, and tarried two or three
Nights, not lying together now as before at _Dulverton_, but in two
several Chambers. The morning before they went thence, the Captain staid
in his Chamber longer than he was wont to do before he called upon the
Doctor. At length he comes into the Doctor's Chamber, but in a Visage
and Form much differing from himself, with his Hair and Eyes staring,
and his whole Body shaking and trembling: Whereupon at the Doctor
wondering, presently demanded: What is the matter Cousin Captain? The
Captain replies, I have seen my Major: At which the Doctor seeming to
smile, the Captain immediately confirms it, saying, If ever I saw him in
my life, I saw him but now: And then he related to the Doctor what had
passed, thus: This morning after it was light, someone comes to my
bedside, and suddenly drawing back the Curtains, calls, _Cap. Cap._
(which was the term of familiarity that the Major used to call the
Captain by). To whom I replied, _What my Major?_ To which he returns, _I
could not come at the time appointed, but I am now come to tell you,
That there is a God, and a very just and terrible one, and if you do not
turn over a new leaf_, (the very Expressions as is by the Doctor
punctually remembered) _you will find it so_. The Captain proceeded: On
the Table by there lay a Sword, which the Major had formerly given me.
Now after the Apparition had walked a turn or two about the Chamber, he
took up the Sword, drew it out, and finding it not so clean and bright
as it ought, _Cap. Cap._ says he, _this Sword did not use to be kept
after this manner when it was mine_. After which Words he suddenly
disappeared.

The Captain was not only thoroughly persuaded of what he had thus seen
and heard, but was from that time observed to be very much affected with
it: and the Humour that before in him was brisk and jovial, was then
strangely alter'd; insomuch, as very little Meat would pass down with
him at Dinner, though at the taking leave of their Friends there was a
very handsome Treat provided: Yea it was observed that what the Captain
had thus seen and heard, had a more lasting Influence upon him, and 'tis
judged by those who were well acquainted with his Conversation, that
the remembrance of this Passage stuck close to him, and that those words
of his dead Friend were frequently sounding fresh in his Ears, during
the remainder of his Life, which was about Two Years.





Next: The Miraculous Case Of Jesch Claes

Previous: Croglin Grange



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