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The Radiant Boy Of Corby Castle

The haunted room forms part of the old house, with windows looking into
the court. It adjoins a tower built for defence, for Corby was,
properly, more a border tower than a castle of any consideration. There
is a winding staircase in this tower, and the walls are from eight to
ten feet thick.

When the times became more peaceable, our ancestors enlarged the
arrow-slit windows, and added to that part of the building which looks
towards the river Eden; the view of which, with its beautiful banks, we
now enjoy. But many additions and alterations have been made since that.

To return to the room in question: I must observe that it is by no means
remote or solitary, being surrounded on all sides by chambers that are
constantly inhabited. It is accessible by a passage cut through a wall
eight feet in thickness, and its dimensions are twenty-one by eighteen.
One side of the wainscotting is covered with tapestry, the remainder is
decorated with old family pictures, and some ancient pieces of
embroidery, probably the handiwork of nuns. Over a press, which has
doors of Venetian glass, is an ancient oaken figure, with a battle-axe
in his hand, which was one of those formerly placed on the walls of the
City of Carlisle, to represent guards. There used to be also an
old-fashioned bed and some dark furniture in this room; but so many were
the complaints of those who slept there, that I was induced to replace
some of these articles of furniture by more modern ones, in the hope of
removing a certain air of gloom, which I thought might have given rise
to the unaccountable reports of apparitions and extraordinary noises
which were constantly reaching us. But I regret to say, I did not
succeed in banishing the nocturnal visitor, which still continues to
disturb our friends.

I shall pass over numerous instances, and select one as being especially
remarkable, from the circumstance of the apparition having been seen by
a clergyman well known and highly respected in this county, who, not six
weeks ago, repeated the circumstances to a company of twenty persons,
amongst whom were some who had previously been entire disbelievers in
such appearances.

The best way of giving you these particulars will be by subjoining an
extract from my journal, entered at the time the event occurred.

_Sept. 8, 1803._--Amongst other guests invited to Corby Castle came the
Rev. Henry A., of Redburgh, and rector of Greystoke, with Mrs A., his
wife, who was a Miss S., of Ulverstone. According to previous
arrangements, they were to have remained with us some days; but their
visit was cut short in a very unexpected manner. On the morning after
their arrival we were all assembled at breakfast, when a chaise and four
dashed up to the door in such haste that it knocked down part of the
fence of my flower garden. Our curiosity was, of course, awakened to
know who could be arriving at so early an hour; when, happening to turn
my eyes towards Mr A., I observed that he appeared extremely agitated.
"It is our carriage," said he; "I am very sorry, but we must absolutely
leave you this morning."

We naturally felt and expressed considerable surprise, as well as
regret, at this unexpected departure, representing that we had invited
Colonel and Mrs S., some friends whom Mr A. particularly desired to
meet, to dine with us on that day. Our expostulations, however, were
vain; the breakfast was no sooner over than they departed, leaving us in
consternation to conjecture what could possibly have occasioned so
sudden an alteration in their arrangements. I really felt quite uneasy
lest anything should have given them offence; and we reviewed all the
occurrences of the preceding evening in order to discover, if offence
there was, whence it had arisen. But our pains were vain; and after
talking a great deal about it for some days, other circumstances
banished the matter from our minds.

It was not till we some time afterwards visited the part of the county
in which Mr A. resides that we learnt the real cause of his sudden
departure from Corby. The relation of the fact, as it here follows, is
in his own words:--

"Soon after we went to bed, we fell asleep; it might be between one and
two in the morning when I awoke. I observed that the fire was totally
extinguished; but, although that was the case, and we had no light, I
saw a glimmer in the centre of the room, which suddenly increased to a
bright flame. I looked out, apprehending that something had caught fire,
when, to my amazement, I beheld a beautiful boy, clothed in white, with
bright locks resembling gold, standing by my bedside, in which position
he remained some minutes, fixing his eyes upon me with a mild and
benevolent expression. He then glided gently towards the side of the
chimney, where it is obvious there is no possible egress, and entirely
disappeared. I found myself again in total darkness, and all remained
quiet until the usual hour of rising. I declare this to be a true
account of what I saw at Corby Castle, upon my word as a clergyman."

Mrs Crowe, alluding to this story in her "Night Side of Nature," said
that she was acquainted with some of the family and several of the
friends of the Rev. Henry A., who, she continued, "is still alive,
though now an old man; and I can most positively assert that his own
conviction with regard to the nature of this appearance has remained
ever unshaken. The circumstance made a lasting impression upon his mind,
and he never willingly speaks of it; but when he does, it is always with
the greatest seriousness, and he never shrinks from avowing his belief
that what he saw admits of no other interpretation than the one he then
put upon it."

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