site logo

The Heroic Midshipman Or Church-yard Encounter

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

At a respectable inn, in a market-town, in the west of England, some few

years since, a regular set of the inhabitants met every evening to smoke

their pipes, and pass a convivial hour. The conversation, as is usual at

those places, was generally desultory. One evening, the subject

introduced was concerning ghosts and apparitions; and many were the

dreadful stories then told. A young midshipman, having accidentally

ped in, sat a silent and an attentive hearer; and, among other

tales, heard a dreadful one of a sprite or hobgoblin dressed in white,

which every night was seen hovering over the graves, in a church-yard at

no great distance from the inn, and through which was a foot-path to one

of the principal streets in the town. Our young gentleman felt himself

stimulated with an ardour of quixotism at this relation; and was

determined in his own mind, whatever might be the consequence, to

encounter this nightly spectre, which so much disturbed the courageous

inhabitants of the place. His pride was, to perform this mighty

achievement alone. Therefore, between eleven and twelve o'clock at

night, out he sallies, without making his intentions known to any one,

and entered the church-yard. But, I should observe, that he had his

hanger by his side. Having reached about the middle of the church-yard,

he observed, sure enough, something in white moving backwards and

forwards; but the haziness of the night prevented his strict discernment

of the figure's shape. As it appeared advancing towards him, a momentary

trepidation seized him. He retreated a few steps; but, soon recovering

himself, he resolutely cried out, "Who comes here?" No answer being

made, he again cried out, "Who comes here?" Still no reply was made.

He then groped about for a stone or brick-bat, which having found, he

threw with great violence at the figure; upon which it appeared to move

much quicker than before. He again spoke to the figure; and, receiving

no answer, drew his hanger, and made a desperate stroke at this dreadful

spectre, which moving with still greater agility, now alarmed our

adventurer, and caused him to run away greatly terrified, believing he

had encountered some supernatural appearance, which had resisted all his

blows. It was not long ere he reached home, and went to bed; but his

fright was so great, that sleep could not gain any ascendancy over him.

He therefore lay ruminating on this extraordinary affair the whole

night. In the morning, while at breakfast, the bellman, or crier, came

nearly under his window, and began his usual introductory address of

"O-yez! O-yez!" These words immediately arrested the ears of our

adventurer; and, to his very great astonishment, he heard him thus

proceed--"This is to give notice, that whereas some evil-disposed

person, or persons, did wantonly cut and maim the parson's white mare,

which was grazing in the church-yard last night, a reward of ten guineas

will be given to any person who will discover the offender, or

offenders, so that they may be brought to justice! God save the King!"

Our champion now thought it prudent to decamp without beat of drum. Thus

ended this ghostly adventure; the particulars of which the inhabitants

were informed of by letter, the moment the young gentleman had got safe

on board his ship.