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REAL GHOST STORIES (Collected and Edited by William T. Stead) online for Halloween

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


Part I.--The Ghost That Dwells in Each of Us.
Chapter I. The Unconscious Personality
  II. Louis V. and His Two Souls
  III. Madame B. and Her Three Souls
  IV. Some Suggested Theories

Part II.--The Thought Body, or the Double.
Chapter I. Aerial Journeyings
  II. The Evidence of the Psychical Research Society
  III. Aimless Doubles
  IV. The Hypnotic Key

Part III.--Clairvoyance.--The Vision of the Out of Sight.
Chapter I. The Astral Camera
  II. Tragic Happenings Seen in Dreams
  III. My Own Experience

Part IV.--Premonitions and Second Sight.
Chapter I. My Own Extraordinary Premonitions
  II. Warnings Given in Dreams
  III. Premonitory Warnings
  IV. Some Historical and Other Cases

Part V.--Ghosts of the Living on Business.
Chapter I. Warnings of Peril and Death
  II. A Dying Double Demands its Portraits!

Part VI.--Ghosts Keeping Promise.
Chapter I. My Irish Friend
  II. Lord Brougham's Testimony

Appendix.--Some Historical Ghosts


During the last few years I have been urged by people in all parts of the world to re-issue some of the wonderful stories of genuine psychic experiences collected by my Father several years ago.

These stories were published by him in two volumes in 1891-92; the first, entitled _Real Ghost Stories_, created so much interest and brought in so large a number of other stories of genuine experiences that the first volume was soon followed by a second, entitled _More Ghost Stories_.

The contents of the two volumes, slightly curtailed, were, a few years later, brought out as one book; but the three volumes have long been out of print and are practically unknown to the present generation.

I remember when I was a child my Father read some of these stories aloud to us as he was making his collection; and I remember, too, how thrilled and awed we were, and how at times they brought a creepy feeling when at night I had to mount many flights of stairs to my bedroom at the top of the house.

Reading these stories again, after many years' study of the subject, I have realised what a wealth of interesting facts my Father had gathered together, and that not only the gathered facts, but his own contributions, his chapter on "The Ghost That Dwelleth in Each One of Us" and his comments on the stories, show what an insight he had into and what an understanding he had of this vast and wonderful subject.

I felt as I read that those who urged re-publication were right, that if not a "classic," as some have called it, it at least merits a place on the shelves of all who study psychic literature and are interested in
psychic experiences.

I demurred long as to whether I should change the title. The word "Ghost" has to a great extent in modern times lost its true meaning to the majority and is generally associated in many minds with something uncanny--with haunted houses and weird apparitions filling with terror those who come into contact with them.

"Stories from the Borderland," "Psychic Experiences," were among the titles which suggested themselves to me; but in the end I decided to keep the old title, and in so doing help to bring the word "ghost" back to its proper and true place and meaning.

"Ghost," according to the dictionary, means "the soul of man; the soul of a deceased person; the soul or spirit separate from the body; apparition, spectre, shadow":--it comprises, in fact, all we mean when we think or speak of "Spirit." We still say "The Holy Ghost" as naturally and as reverently as we say "The Holy Spirit." So for the sake of the word itself, and because it covers everything we speak of as Spirit to-day; these two considerations take away all reason why the word should not be used, and it gives me great pleasure in re-issuing these stories to carry on the title originally chosen by my Father.

There is a large collection of stories to be drawn upon, for besides those given in the two volumes mentioned, many of equal interest and value appeared in _Borderland_, a psychic quarterly edited and
published by my Father for a period of four years in the nineties and now long out of print.

If this first volume proves that those who advised me were right in thinking that these experiences will be a valuable addition to psychic literature, I propose to bring out two further volumes of stories from
my Father's collection, and I hope to add to these a volume of stories of a later date, of which I already have a goodly store. For this purpose I invite those who have had experiences which they consider will
be of interest and value for such a collection, to send them to me so that, if suitable and appropriate, they may be placed on record.

In bringing this Introduction to a close I should like to quote what my Father wrote in his Preface to the last edition published by him, as it embodies what many people are realising to-day. To them, as to him, the reality of the "Invisibles" is no longer a speculation. Therefore I feel that these thoughts of his should have a place in this new edition of his collection of _Real Ghost Stories_.

"The reality," he wrote, "of the Invisibles has long since ceased to be for me a matter of speculation. It is one of the things about which I feel as certain as I do, for instance, of the existence of the people of
Tierra del Fuego; and while it is of no importance to me to know that Tierra del Fuego is inhabited, it is of vital importance to know that the spirits of the departed, and also of those still occupying for a
time the moveable biped telephone which we call our body, can, and given the right conditions _do_, communicate with the physical unconsciousness of the man in the street. It is a fact which properly
apprehended would go far to remedy some of the worst evils from which we have to complain. For our conception of life has got out of form, owing to our constant habit of mistaking a part for the whole, and everything looks awry."

Estelle W. Stead

Bank Buildings,
Kingsway, London, W.C.2.

_Easter_, 1921.