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Group Iii
We now come to the third group of this chapter, in whic...

The Empty House
Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow ...

The Subterranean Traveller Or Ghost And No Ghost
The following record is copied verbatim from an old n...

His Lord
...

The Lady In Black
A ghost in a haunted house is seldom observed with anyt...

Sir George Villiers' Ghost
The variations in the narratives of Sir George Villiers...

The Rival Ghosts
The good ship sped on her way across the calm Atla...

The Warder Of The Door
"If you don't believe it, you can read it for yourself,...

The Grocer's Cough
A man of letters was born in a small Scotch town, where...

The Slaying Of Sergeant Davies
We now examine a ghost with a purpose; he wanted to hav...





The School-boy Apparition






A few years since, the inhabitants of Dorking, in Surrey, entertained a
notion, that a ghost walked in a certain place in that neighbourhood;
and that she (for it was an ancient lady, lately dead) was seen hovering
about the mansion-house, which was left uninhabited for some time; that
she would be up and down in the house very often in the day-time, making
a rumbling and a clattering noise; and in the night-time she walked in
the neighbouring fields, with a candle in her hand, and though the wind
blew ever so hard, it would not blow the candle out; that sometimes she
would appear in the open fields, sometimes up in the trees; and, in
particular, there was a little heath near Dorking, called Cotman Dean,
where, it was said, she was frequently seen.

There was a boarding-school of boys in that town, some of whom were
particularly roguish, and contrived all this walking, from the beginning
to the end. First, they got a small rope; and, tying one end of it to an
old chair which stood in an upper room of the house (for they had found
the means to get in and out of the house at pleasure), they brought the
other end of the rope down on the other side of the house, in a private
place, where it could not easily be seen; and by this they pulled the
old chair up, and then let it fall down again: this made a great noise
in the house, and was heard distinctly by many of the neighbours. Then
other boys of the same gang took care to call out the old women in the
next houses, that now they might hear the old lady playing her pranks;
and, accordingly, they would all assemble in the court-yard, where they
could plainly hear the noises, but not one of them would venture to go
up stairs. If any one offered to go a little way up, then all was quiet;
but, as soon as ever they retired, the rumbling would begin again. This
was the day's deception.

In the night, one of these unlucky boys got a dark lanthorn, which was
a thing, at that time, the country-people did not understand; and with
this he walked about the orchard, and two or three closes near the
house, shewing the light in different directions. His comrades would
then call all the old women about them to see it. Then, on a sudden, the
light would seem to go out, as the boy closed up the lanthorn. Then he
would run swiftly across the whole field, and shew his light again on
the other side. Now he would be up in a tree, then in the road, then
upon the middle of the heath; so that the country-people made no more
question, but that the old lady walked with a candle in her hand, and
that they saw the light of it; in a word, it passed for an apparition,
and was generally conceived as such by the neighbourhood, till the
knavery was discovered, the boys punished, and the towns-people laughed
at for their credulity.





Next: The Credulous Peasants

Previous: The Ventriloquist



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