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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


This story was told me by Mr. Talbot, who was then a boy, seated at the table at which his mother witnessed the apparition, and was regarded by him as absolutely true. Evidence in support of it now will be somewhat difficult to get, as almost all the witnesses have passed over to the majority, but I have no reason to doubt the truth of the story.

_More Doubles Seeking Help._

The story of Mrs. Lister's double appearing to Mrs. Talbot when in imminent peril of death, however it may be scouted by the sceptics, is at least entirely in accord with many other narratives of the kind.

A member of the Psychical Research Society in Southport sends me the following account of an apparition of a severely wounded man, which bears considerable resemblance to Mr. Talbot's, although its evidential value is nothing like so good. Its importance rests solely in the fact that the apparition appeared as the result, not of death, but of a very serious injury which might have had fatal consequences:--

"Some years ago, a lady named L. B. was staying with relations at Beckenham, her husband being away at a shooting party in Essex. On a certain afternoon, when she had, as she says, no especial reason for her husband being recalled to her mind, she was somewhat surprised, on looking out of her bedroom window, to see him, as she imagined, entering the front garden gate. Wondering what could have been the cause of the unexpected arrival, she exclaimed to her sister-in-law, 'Why, there's Tom!' and went downstairs thinking to meet him entering the house. He was nowhere to be seen. Not long afterwards there arrived the news that her husband had been shot accidentally and considerably injured. Directly they met she related to him her curious vision, and on comparing notes it was discovered that it had certainly taken place more or less at the same hour as the accident, the husband declaring that as he fainted away his wife was most distinctly present in his thoughts. There was, unfortunately, no means of exactly fixing the hour, but there was no doubt at the time that the two occurrences--viz. the hallucination and the accident--must have anyhow taken place within a short time of one another, if not simultaneously."

Here we have an incident not unlike that which occurred to Mrs. Talbot--the unexpected apparition of the phantasm or dual body of one who at the moment was in imminent danger of death. Tales of this class are somewhat rare, but when they do occur they indicate conclusively that there is no connection between the apparition of the wraith and the decease of the person to whom it belongs.

Here is another story that is sent me by a correspondent in Belsize Park Gardens, who vouches for the _bona fides_ of the lady on whose authority he tells the tale:--

"A Scotch waitress in my employ, whilst laying the cloth for dinner one day, was startled by perceiving her father's face looking at her through the window. She rushed out of the room and opened the front door, expecting to see him. Greatly surprised at finding no trace of him, after carefully searching the front garden, and looking up and down the road, she came in, and sitting down in the hall nearly fainted with fright. On inquiring for particulars she told me she had distinctly seen her father's face, with a distressed expression upon it, looking earnestly at her. She seemed much troubled, and felt sure something was wrong. A few days after this vision a letter came, saying that her father (a Scotch gamekeeper) had been thrown from a dog-cart and nearly killed. She left my employ to go and nurse him."