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The Gardener's Ghost

Categories: More Ghosts With A Purpose
Scary Books: The Book Of Dreams And Ghosts
: Andrew Lang

Perhaps the latest ghost in a court of justice (except in cases about

the letting of haunted houses) "appeared" at the Aylesbury Petty

Session on 22nd August, 1829. On 25th October, 1828, William Edden, a

market gardener, was found dead, with his ribs broken, in the road

between Aylesbury and Thame. One Sewell, in August, 1829, accused a

man named Tyler, and both were examined at the Aylesbury Petty

Sessions. Mrs. E
den gave evidence that she sent five or six times

for Tyler "to come and see the corpse. . . . I had some particular

reasons for sending for him which I never did divulge. . . . I will

tell you my reasons, gentlemen, if you ask me, in the face of Tyler,

even if my life should be in danger for it." The reasons were that on

the night of her husband's murder, "something rushed over me, and I

thought my husband came by me. I looked up, and I thought I heard the

voice of my husband come from near my mahogany table. . . . I thought

I saw my husband's apparition, and the man that had done it, and that

man was Tyler. . . . I ran out and said, 'O dear God! my husband is

murdered, and his ribs are broken'."

Lord Nugent--"What made you think your husband's ribs were broken?"

"He held up his hands like this, and I saw a hammer, or something like

a hammer, and it came into my mind that his ribs were broken." Sewell

stated that the murder was accomplished by means of a hammer.

The prisoners were discharged on 13th September. On 5th March, 1830,

they were tried at the Buckingham Lent Assizes, were found guilty and

were hanged, protesting their innocence, on 8th March, 1830.

"In the report of Mrs. Edden's evidence (at the Assizes) no mention is

made of the vision." {144}

Here end our ghosts in courts of justice; the following ghost gave

evidence of a murder, or rather, confessed to one, but was beyond the

reach of human laws.

This tale of 1730 is still current in Highland tradition. It has,

however, been improved and made infinitely more picturesque by several

generations of narrators. As we try to be faithful to the best

sources, the contemporary manuscript version is here reprinted from

The Scottish Standard-Bearer, an organ of the Scotch Episcopalians

(October and November, 1894).