Indian Ghost Stories by S. Mukerji
WHAT THE PROFESSOR SAW.
This was on the 19th December 1799.
In October 1862 Lord Brougham added a postscript.
"I have just been copying out from my journal the account of this strange dream.
"_Certissima mortis imago_, and now to finish the story begun about 60 years ago. Soon after my return to Edinburgh there arrived a letter from India announcing G's death, and that he died on the 19th December 1799."--_The Pall Mall Magazine_ (1914) pp. 183-184.
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Another very fine story and one to the point comes from Hyderabad.
A certain Mr. J---- who was an Englishman, after reading the memoirs of Lord Brougham, was so affected that he related the whole story to his confidential Indian servant. We need not mention here what Mr. J's profession was, all that we need say is that he was not very rich and in his profession there was no chance of his getting up one morning to find himself a millionaire.
The master and servant executed a bond written with their blood that he who died first would see the other a rich man.
As it happened the native servant died first, and on his death Mr. J---- who was then a young man retired altogether from his business, which business was not in a very flourishing condition. Within a couple of years he went to England a millionaire. How he came by his money remains a secret. People in England were told that he had earned it in India. He must have done so, but the process of his earning he has kept strictly to himself. Mr. J---- is still alive and quite hale.
A different event in which another friend of mine was concerned was thus described the other day. He had received a telegram to the effect that a very near relation of his was dying in Calcutta and that this dying person was desirous to see him. He started for Calcutta in all haste by the mail. The mail used to leave his station at about 3 P.M. in the afternoon and reach Calcutta early the next morning. It was hot weather and in his first class compartment there was no other passenger. He lay down on one of the sleeping berths and the other one was empty. All the lamps including the night light had been switched off and the compartment was in total darkness, but for the moonlight. The moon beams too did not come into the compartment itself as the moon was nearly overhead.
He had fallen into a disturbed sleep when on waking up he found there was another occupant of the compartment. As thefts had been a common incident on the line specially in first class compartments, my friend switched on the electric light, the button of which was within his reach. This could be done without getting up.
In the glare of the electric light he saw distinctly his dying relation. He thought he was dreaming. He rubbed his eyes and then looked again. The apparition had vanished. He got up and looked out of the window. The train was passing through a station, without stopping. He could read the name of the station clearly. He opened his time table to see that he was still 148 miles from Calcutta.
Then he went to sleep again. In the morning he thought he had been dreaming. But he observed that the railway time table was still open at the place where he must have looked to ascertain the distance.
On reaching Calcutta he was told that his relation had died a few hours ago.
My friend never related this to anybody till he knew that I was writing on the subject. This story, however, after what the professor saw loses its interest; and some suggested that it had better not be written at all. I only write this because this friend of mine--who is also a relation of mine--is a big Government servant and would not have told this story unless it was true.
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To the point is the following story which was in the papers about March 1914.
'In 1821 the Argyle Rooms were patronised by the best people, the establishment being then noted for high-class musical entertainments. One evening in March, 1821, a young Miss M. with a party of friends, was at a concert in Argyle Rooms. Suddenly she uttered a cry and hid her face in her hands. She appeared to be suffering so acutely that her friends at once left the building with her and took her home. It was at first difficult to get the young lady to explain the cause of her sudden attack, but at last she confessed that she had been terrified by a horrible sight. While the concert was in progress she had happened to look down at the floor, and there lying at her feet she saw the corpse of a man. The body was covered with a cloth mantle, but the face was exposed, and she distinctly recognised the features of a friend, Sir J.T. On the following morning the family of the young lady received a message informing them that Sir J.T. had been drowned the previous day in Southampton Water through the capsizing of a boat, and that when his body was recovered it was entangled in a boat cloak. The story of the Argyle Rooms apparition is told by Mr. Thomas Raikes in his well-known diary, and he personally vouches for the truth of it.'