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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