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The Ideot's Funeral

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

The following extraordinary affair happened about ten years since, at a

village in the north of England.

About midnight, the minister of the parish was not a little alarmed at

hearing the church bell tolling. He immediately dispatched one of his

servants for the beadle, to inquire into the cause of this wonderful

event; who, when he came, appeared to be under more dreadful

apprehensions than the clergyman
himself. However, the result of their

deliberations was, that, in order to be certainly informed of the truth

and ground of the matter, they should go forward to the church: but, on

their way, what served considerably to increase their fears, was their

seeing a light within the church. The great bell gave over tolling, and

was succeeded, in its turn, by the little, or handbell (commonly used in

that country at funerals), which, in a short time, also became silent.

On their near approach to the church, they discovered, by the help of

the light within, the mort-cloth moving up and down the area thereof.

Though this last part of the dreadful scene might have been sufficient

to intimidate persons possessed of no ordinary degree of courage; yet

such was the bravery and resolution of the Reverend Doctor, that he even

ventured to accost the nocturnal disturber of their repose: when, on

lifting up the mort-cloth, to his inexpressible surprise, he

discovered the terrible apparition to be only an unhappy young man

belonging to the parish, who had for some time past been disordered in

his senses, and who had got into the church by some secret means or

other, and, as the good Doctor readily conjectured, was amusing himself

in this manner, by the representation of a funeral: a case not at all

unlikely, as ideots in general are remarkably fond of any thing relative

to a funeral procession.