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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


The symptoms returned; the native Christian was sent for, and found Mr. Chang's establishment full of buckets of water for extinguishing the sudden fires. Mrs. Chang's daughter-in-law was now possessed, and "drank wine in large quantities, though ordinarily she would not touch it". She was staring and tossing her arms wildly; a service was held, and she soon became her usual self.

In the afternoon, when the devils went out of the ladies, the fowls flew into a state of wild excitement, while the swine rushed furiously about and tried to climb a wall.

The family have become Christians, the fires have ceased; Mr. Chang is an earnest inquirer, but opposed, for obvious reasons, to any public profession of our religion. {233b}

In Mr. Niu's case "strange noises and rappings were frequently heard about the house. The buildings were also set on fire in different places in some mysterious way." The Christians tried to convert Mr. Niu, but as the devil now possessed his female slave, whose success in fortune-telling was extremely lucrative, Mr. Niu said that he preferred to leave well alone, and remained wedded to his idols. {234}

We next offer a recent colonial case, in which the symptoms, as Mr. Pecksniff said, were "chronic".


On 13th February, 1888, Mr. Walter Hubbell, an actor by profession, "being duly sworn" before a Notary Public in New York, testified to the following story:--

In 1879 he was acting with a strolling company, and came to Amherst, in Nova Scotia. Here he heard of a haunted house, known to the local newspapers as "The Great Amherst Mystery". Having previously succeeded in exposing the frauds of spiritualism Mr. Hubbell determined to investigate the affair of Amherst. The haunted house was inhabited by Daniel Teed, the respected foreman in a large shoe factory. Under his roof were Mrs. Teed, "as good a woman as ever lived"; little Willie, a baby boy; and Mrs. Teed's two sisters, Jennie, a very pretty girl, and Esther, remarkable for large grey eyes, pretty little hands and feet, and candour of expression. A brother of Teed's and a brother of Mrs. Cox made up the family. They were well off, and lived comfortably in a detached cottage of two storys. It began when Jennie and Esther were in bed one night. Esther jumped up, saying that there was a mouse in the bed. Next night, a green band-box began to make a rustling noise, and then rose a foot in the air, several times. On the following night Esther felt unwell, and "was a swelling wisibly before the werry eyes" of her alarmed family. Reports like thunder peeled through her chamber, under a serene sky. Next day Esther could only eat "a small piece of bread and butter, and a large green pickle". She recovered slightly, in spite of the pickle, but, four nights later, all her and her sister's bed-clothes flew off, and settled down in a remote corner. At Jennie's screams, the family rushed in, and found Esther "fearfully swollen". Mrs. Teed replaced the bed-clothes, which flew off again, the pillow striking John Teed in the face. Mr. Teed then left the room, observing, in a somewhat unscientific spirit, that "he had had enough of it". The others, with a kindness which did them credit, sat on the edges of the bed, and repressed the desire of the sheets and blankets to fly away. The bed, however, sent forth peels like thunder, when Esther suddenly fell into a peaceful sleep.

Next evening Dr. Carritte arrived, and the bolster flew at his head, _and then went back again under Esther's_. While paralysed by this phenomenon, unprecedented in his practice, the doctor heard a metal point scribbling on the wall. Examining the place whence the sound proceeded, he discovered this inscription:--