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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead

Chapter III. Premonitory Warnings.

One of the most curiously detailed premonitory dreams that I have ever seen is one mentioned in Mr. Kendall's "Strange Footsteps." It is supplied by the Rev. Mr. Lupton, Primitive Methodist minister, a man of high standing in his Connection, whose mind is much more that of the lawyer than that of poet or dreamer:--

"By the District Meeting (Hull District) of 1833, I was restationed for the Malton Circuit, with the late Rev. T. Batty. I was then superintendent of the Lincoln Circuit; and, up to a few days before the change, Mrs. Lupton and myself were full of anticipation of the pleasures we should enjoy among our old friends on being so much nearer home. But some time before we got the news of our destination, one night--I cannot now give the date, but it was during the sittings of the Conference--I had a dream, and next morning I said to my wife, 'We shall not go to Malton, as we expect, but to some large town: I do not know its name, but it is a very large town. The house we shall occupy is up a flight of stairs, three stories high. We shall have three rooms on one level: the first--the kitchen--will have a closed bed in the right corner, a large wooden box in another corner, and the window will look down upon a small grass plot. The room adjoining will be the best room: it will have a dark carpet, with six hair-seated mahogany chairs. The other will be a small bed-room. We shall not worship in a chapel, but in a large hall, which will be formed like a gallery. There will be a pulpit in it, and a large circular table before it. The entrance to it will be by a flight of stairs, like those in a church tower. After we have ascended so far, the stairs will divide--one way leading up to the left, to the top of the place. This will be the principal entrance, and it leads to the top of the gallery, which is entered by a door covered with green baize fastened with brass nails. The other stairs lead to the floor of the place; and, between the door and the hall, on the right-hand side, in a corner, is a little room or vestry: in that vestry there will be three men accustomed to meet that will cause us much trouble; but I shall know them as soon as ever I see them, and we shall ultimately overcome them, and do well.'

"By reason of some mishap or misadventure, the letter from Conference was delayed, so that only some week or ten days prior to the change I got a letter that informed me my station was Glasgow. You may judge our surprise and great disappointment; however, after much pain for mind, and much fatigue of body and expense (for there were no railways then, and coaching was coaching in those days), we arrived at No. 6, Rotten Row, Glasgow, on the Saturday, about half-past three. To our surprise we found the entrance to our house up a flight of stairs (called in Scotland _turnpike stairs_) such as I saw in my dream. The house was three stories high also, and when we entered the kitchen door, lo, there was the closed bed, and there the box (in Scotland called a _bunker_). I said to Mrs. Lupton, 'Look out of the window,' and she said, 'Here is the plot of grass.' I then said, 'Look into the other rooms,' and she replied, 'Yes, they are as you said.' My colleague, Mr. J. Johnson, said, 'We preach in the Mechanics' Institution Hall, North Hanover Street, George Street, and you will have to preach there in the morning.' Well, morning came; and, accompanied by Mr. Johnson, I found the place. The entrance was as I had seen in my dream. But we entered the hall by the right; there was the little room in the corner. We entered it, and one of the men I had seen in my dream, J. M'M----, was standing in it. We next entered the hall; there was the pulpit and the circular table before it. The hall was galleried to the top; and, lo, the entrance door at the top was covered with green baize and brass nails. Only one man was seated, J. P----; he was another of the men I saw in my dream. I did not wait long before J. Y----, the other man, entered. My dream was thus so far fulfilled. Well, we soon had very large, overflowing congregations. The three men above named got into loose, dissipated habits; and, intriguing for some months, caused us very much trouble, seeking, in conjunction with my colleague, to form a division and make a party and church for him. But, by God's help, their schemes were frustrated, and I left the station in a healthy and prosperous state."