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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online
Here my friend named a person well known to both of us, whose name I prefer not to introduce here. This person, I may add, had never been in or near the island, and was totally unknown to Bolter.
"Of course," my friend went on, "the photographs were all the time inside my pocket. Now, really, Bolter had some mystic power of seeing in the dark."
"Hyperaesthesia!" said I.
"Hypercriticism!" said the Beach-comber.
"What happened next _might_ be hyperaesthesia--I suppose you mean abnormal intensity of the senses--but how could hyperaesthesia see through a tweed coat and lining?"
"Well, what happened next?"
"Bolter's firm used to get sheep by every mail from ---, and send them regularly to their station, six miles off. One time they landed late in the afternoon, and yet were foolishly sent off, Bolter in charge. I said at the time he would lose half the lot, as it would be dark long before he could reach the station. He didn't lose them!
"Next day I met one of the niggers who was sent to lend him a hand, and asked results.
"'Master,' said the nigger, 'Bolter is a devil! He sees at night. When the sheep ran away to right or left in the dark, he told us where to follow.'"
"He _heard_ them, I suppose," said I.
"Maybe, but you must be sharp to have sharper senses than these niggers. Anyhow, that was not Bolter's account of it. When I saw him and spoke to him he said simply, 'Yes, that when excited or interested to seek or find anything in obscurity the object became covered with a dim glow of light, which rendered it visible'. 'But things in a pocket.' 'That also,' said he. 'Curious isn't it? Probably the Rontgen rays are implicated therein, eh?'"
"Did you ever read Dr. Gregory's Letters on Animal Magnetism?"
"The cove that invented Gregory's Mixture?"
"Beast he must have been. No, I never read him."
"He says that Major Buckley's hypnotised subjects saw hidden objects in a blue light--mottoes inside a nut, for example."
"Rontgen rays, for a fiver! But Bolter said nothing about seeing _blue_ light. Well, after three or four seances Bolter used to be very nervous and unwilling to sleep alone, so I once went with him to his one-roomed hut. We turned into the same bed. I was awakened later by a noise and movement in the room. Found the door open; the full moon streaming in, making light like day, and the place full of great big black dogs--well, anyhow there were four or five! They were romping about, seemingly playing. One jumped on the bed, another rubbed his muzzle on mine! (the bed was low, and I slept outside). Now I never had anything but love for dogs of any kind, and as--n'est- ce pas?--love casts out fear, I simply got up, turned them all out, shut the door, and turned in again myself. Of course my idea was that they were flesh and blood, and I allude to physical fear.
"I slept, but was anew awakened by a ghastly feeling that the blanket was being dragged and creeping off the bed. I pulled it up again, but anew began the slow movement of descent.
"Rather surprised, I pulled it up afresh and held it, and must have dozed off, as I suppose. Awoke, to feel it being pulled again; it was slipping, slipping, and then with a sudden, violent jerk it was thrown on the floor. Il faut dire that during all this I had glanced several times at Bolter, who seemed profoundly asleep. But now alarmed I tried to wake him. In vain, he slept like the dead; his face, always a pasty white, now like marble in the moonlight. After some hesitation I put the blanket back on the bed and held it fast. The pulling at once began and increased in strength, and I, by this time thoroughly alarmed, put all my strength against it, and hung on like grim death.