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The Innocent Devil Or Agreeable Disappointment

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

The following story is extracted from a letter I received, some time

since, from a friend, on the subject of apparitions.

"Returning, one evening in the summer, to my apartments, at a short

distance from town, I was invited by my landlady, a brisk young widow,

to partake of un petit souper, as she termed it. The invitation, of

course, I accepted; and, after a pleasant repast, the cloth being

removed, vari
us conversation ensued, and the terminating subject was

ghosts and hobgoblins. After my attention had been greatly excited by

many dreadful recitals, I thought I perceived something black glide

swiftly by my feet. My back at that time being towards the door, I

instantly turned round; and, perceiving the same to be shut, I fancied

my fear to be only a chimaera arising from the subject we had been

conversing on. I therefore replenished my glass; and the subject of

spectres was again renewed. In the midst of the discourse, when I was

all attention to some dreadful tale, I felt something gently brush the

bottom of my chair; when, on looking down, I beheld the most hideous

black figure imagination can conceive. It was a monster on all fours,

with cloven feet, horns on its head, and a long tail trailing after it

as it moved along. My terror, I will acknowledge, was so great, that I

instantly jumped up as high as the table, and loudly vociferated, 'Lord

have mercy upon me! what is it?' My friendly hostess now begged me to

sit down and be a little calm, and she would explain to me the cause of

my alarm. The figure having again disappeared, the lady of the

ceremonies thus addressed me--'I beg your pardon, Sir, for the fright I

have thus occasioned you. It is only a little joke I have been playing

off, merely to see whether you were proof against supernatural

appearances. A friend of mine having been to a masqued ball in a domino,

I prepared the stratagem, by making a head-piece to the dress, with

horns, false legs, cloven feet, and a tail. I then instructed my

servant, who was by agreement to be in the adjoining room, on hearing a

certain part of my story, to open the door as softly as possible, and to

make her entre, in this habiliment. This she attempted before the plot

was sufficiently ripe, when you turned round towards the door, and she

retreated. The second attempt too effectually succeeded; for which I

again ask your pardon, and am extremely sorry, though luckily it has had

no bad effect. But I will never, while I live, again be induced to act

so foolishly.'--"