Indian Ghost Stories by S. Mukerji
A STRANGE INCIDENT.
The first thing they could think of was to go and inform Mr. Jones.
So one of the young sons of Smith came to Mr. Jones's house. The servant admitted him and told him where to find the master.
Young Smith knocked at the door leading to the staircase but got no reply. "After his watchful nights he is sleeping soundly" thought young Smith.
But then Jones must be awakened.
The whole household woke up but not Mr. Jones. One of the servants then procured a ladder and got upon the roof. Mr. Jones was not upon his bed nor under it either. The servant thought he would open the door leading to the staircase and admit the people who were standing outside beyond the door at the bottom of the stairs. There was a number of persons now at the door including Mrs. Jones, her children, servants and young Smith.
The servant stumbled upon something. It was dark but he knew it was the body of his master. He passed on but then he stumbled again. There was another human being in the way. "Who is this other?--probably a thief" thought the servant.
He opened the door and admitted the people who were outside. They had lights with them. As they came in it was found that the second body on the stairs two or three steps below the landing was the dead body of Smith while the body on the landing was the unconscious form of Mr. Jones.
Restoratives were applied and Jones came to his senses and then related the story that has been recorded above. A doctor was summoned and he found the wound caused by Jones's hammer on Smith's head. There was a deep cut but no blood had come out, therefore, it appeared that the wound must have been caused at least two or three hours after death.
The doctors never investigated whether death could have been caused by the blow given by the hammer. They thought there was no need of an investigation either, because they had left Smith quite dead at eight in the evening.
How Smith's dead body was spirited away and came to Jones's house has been a mystery which will probably never be solved.
* * * * *
Thinking over the matter recorded above the writer has come to the conclusion that probably a natural explanation might be given of the affair.
Taking however all the facts of the case as given above to be true (and there is no reason to suppose that they are not) the only explanation that could be given and in fact that was given by some of the sceptical minds of Agra at that time was as follows:--
"Smith was dead. Jones was a very old friend of his. He was rather seriously affected. He must have, in an unconscious state of mind like a somnambulist, carried the dead body of Smith to his own house without being detected in the act. Then his own fevered imagination endowed Smith with the faculty of speech, dead though the latter was; and in a moment of--well--call it temporary insanity, if you please--he inflicted the wound on the forehead of Smith's dead body."
This was the only plausible explanation that could be given of the affair; but regard being had to the fact that Smith's dead body was lying in an upper storey of the house and that there was a number of servants between the death chamber and the main entrance to the house, the act of removing the dead body without their knowing it was a difficult task, nay utterly impracticable.
Over and above this it was not feasible to carry away even at night, the dead body along the road, which is a well frequented thoroughfare, without being observed by anybody.
Then there is the third fact that Jones was really not such a strong person that he could carry alone Smith's body that distance with ease.
Smith's dead body as recovered in Jones' house had bare feet; whether there was any dust on the feet, had not been observed by anybody; otherwise some light might have been thrown on this apparently miraculous incident.