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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


"_To which the spectrum replied that was true indeed_; but withal _directed_ the young man to ride to Totness and buy for her _a ring of that value, which the spirit said she would accept of_, which being provided accordingly, she received. Since the performance of which the ghost or apparition of the old gentleman hath seemed to be at rest, having never given the young man any further trouble.

"But the next day after having delivered the ring, the young man was riding home to his master's house, accompanyed by a servant of the gentlewoman's near Totness, and near about the time of their entrance (or a little before they came) into the parish of Spraiton aforesaid, there appeared to be upon the horse behind the young man, the resemblance of the _second wife_ of the old gentleman spoken of before.

"This daemon often threw the young man off his horse, and cast him with such violence to the ground as was great astonishment, not only to the gentlewoman's servant (with him), but to divers others who were spectators of the frightful action, the ground resounding with great noise by reason of the incredible force with which he was cast upon it. At his coming into his master's yard, the horse which he rid, though very poor and out of case, leaped at one spring twenty-five foot, to the amazement of all that saw it. Soon after the she-spectre shewed herself to divers in the house, viz., the aforesaid young man, _Mistress Thomasin Gidly, Ann Langdon_, born in that parish, and a little child, which, by reason of the troublesomeness of the spirit, they were fain to remove from that house. She appeared sometimes in her own shape, sometimes in forms very horrid; now and then like a monstrous dog belching out fire; at another time it flew out at the window, in the shape of a horse, carrying with it only one pane of glass and a small piece of iron.

"One time the young man's head was thrust into a very strait place betwixt a bed's head and a wall, and forced by the strength of divers men to be removed thence, and that not without being much hurt and bruised, so that much blood appeared about it: upon this it was advised he should be bleeded, to prevent any ill accident that might come of the bruise; after bleeding, the ligature or binder of his arm was removed from thence and conveyed about his middle, where it was strained with such violence that the girding had almost stopp'd his breath and kill'd him, and being cut asunder it made _a strange and dismal noise_, so that the standers by were affrighted at it. At divers other times he hath been in danger to be strangled with cravats and handkerchiefs that he hath worn about his neck, which have been drawn so close that with the sudden violence he hath near been choaked, and hardly escaped death.

"The spectre hath shewed great offence at the perriwigs which the young man used to wear, for they are often torn from his head after a very strange manner; one that he esteemed above the rest he put in a small box, and that box he placed in another, which he set against the wall of his chamber, placing a joint-stool with other weight a top of it, but in short time the boxes were broken in sunder and the perriwig rended into many small parts and tatters. Another time, lying in his master's chamber with his perriwig on his head, to secure it from danger, within a little time it was torn from him and reduced into very small fragments. At another time one of his shoe-strings was observed (without the assistance of any hand) to come of its own accord out of its shoe and fling itself to the other side of the room; the other was crawling after it, but a maid espying that, with her hand drew it out, and it strangely _clasp'd_ and _curl'd_ about her hand like a living _eel_ or _serpent_; this is testified by a lady of considerable quality, too great for exception, who was an eye-witness. The same lady shewed Mr. C. one of the young man's gloves, which was torn in his pocket while she was by, which is so dexterously tatter'd and so artificially torn that it is conceived a cutler could not have contrived an instrument to have laid it abroad so accurately, and all this was done in the pocket in the compass of one minute. It is further observable that if the aforesaid young man, or another person who is a servant maid in the house, do wear their own clothes, they are certainly torn in pieces on their backs, but if the clothes belong to any other, they are not injured after that manner.