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The Ghost On Ship-board

Scary Books: Apparitions; Or, The Mystery Of Ghosts, Hobgoblins, And Haunted Houses

A gentleman of high respectability in the navy relates the following


"When on a voyage to New York, we had not been four days at sea, before

an occurrence of a very singular nature broke in upon our quiet. It was

a ghost! One night, when all was still and dark, and the ship rolling

at sea before the wind, a man sprung suddenly upon deck in his shirt,

his hair erect, his eyes starting from their soc
ets, and loudly

vociferating he had seen a ghost. After his horror had a little

subsided, we asked him what he had seen?--he said, the figure of a woman

dressed in white, with eyes of flaming fire; that she came to his

hammock, and stared him in the face. This we treated as an idle dream,

and sent the frantic fellow to his bed. The story became the subject of

every one; and the succeeding night produced half a dozen more

terrified men to corroborate what had happened the first, and all agreed

in the same story, that it was a woman. This rumour daily increasing, at

length came to the ears of the captain and officers, who were all

equally solicitous to discover the true cause of this terrific report. I

placed myself night by night beneath the hammocks to watch its

appearance, but all in vain; yet still the appearance was nightly, as

usual, and the horrors and fears of the people rather daily increased

than diminished. A phantom of this sort rather amused than perplexed my

mind; and when I had given over every idea of discovering the cause of

this strange circumstance, and the thing began to wear away, I was

surprised, one very dark night, as seated under the boats, with a

stately figure in white stalking along the deck! The singularity of the

event struck my mind that this must be the very identical ghost which

had of late so much disturbed the ship's company. I therefore instantly

dropped down from the place I was in, to the deck on which it appeared,

when it passed me immediately very quickly, turned round, and marched

directly forwards. I followed it closely, through the gallery, and out

at the head-doors, when the figure instantly disappeared, which very

much astonished me. I then leaped upon the forecastle, and asked of the

people who were walking there, if such a figure had passed them? They

replied, No, with some emotion and pleasure, as I had ever ridiculed all

their reports on this subject. However, this night-scene between me and

the ghost became the theme of the ensuing day. Nothing particular

transpired till twelve o'clock, when, as the people were pricking at the

tub for their beef, it was discovered Jack Sutton was missing. The

ship's company was directly mustered, and Jack was no where to be found.

I then inquired of his messmates the character of the man; and, after a

number of interrogatories, one of them said, that poor Sutton used to

tell him a number of comical jokes about his walking in his sleep. Now

the mystery was unravelled; and this terrific ghost, which had so much

alarmed all the sailors, now proved to be the poor unfortunate Jack

Sutton, who had walked overboard in his dream."

The first fellow who spread this report, and who shewed such signs of

horror, was found on inquiry to be a most flagitious villain, who had

murdered a woman, who he believed always haunted him, and the appearance

of this sleepwalker confirmed in his mind the ghost of the murdered fair

one; for, in such cases, conscience is a busy monitor, and ever active

to its own pain and disturbance.