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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