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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


The following collection presents a list of names--more or less well known--with which ghost stories of some kind are associated. The authority for these stories, though in many cases good, is so varied in quality that they are not offered as evidential of anything except the wide diversity of the circles in which such things find acceptance.

_Royal._ Henry IV., of France, told d'Aubigné (see d'Aubigné Histoire Universelle) that in presence of himself, the Archbishop of Lyons, and three ladies of the Court, the Queen (Margaret of Valois) saw the apparition of a certain cardinal afterwards found to have died at the moment. Also he (Henry IV.) was warned of his approaching end, not long before he was murdered by Ravaillac, by meeting an apparition in a thicket in Fontainebleau. ("Sully's Memoirs.")

Abel the Fratricide, King of Denmark was buried in unconsecrated ground, and still haunts the wood of Poole, near the city of Sleswig.

Valdemar IV. haunts Gurre Wood, near Elsinore.

Charles XI., of Sweden, accompanied by his chamberlain and state physician, witnessed the trial of the assassin of Gustavus III., which occurred nearly a century later.

James IV., of Scotland, after vespers in the chapel at Linlithgow, was warned by an apparition against his intended expedition into England. He, however, proceeded, and was warned again at Jedburgh, but, persisting, fell at Flodden Field.

Charles I., of England, when resting at Daventree on the Eve of the battle of Naseby, was twice visited by the apparition of Strafford, warning him not to meet the Parliamentary Army, then quartered at Northampton. Being persuaded by Prince Rupert to disregard the warning, the King set off to march northward, but was surprised on the route, and a disastrous defeat followed.

Orleans, Duke of, brother of Louis XIV., called his eldest son (afterwards Regent) by his second title, Duc de Chartres, in preference to the more usual one of Duc de Valois. This change is said to have been in consequence of a communication made before his birth by the apparition of his father's first wife, Henrietta of England, reported to have been poisoned.

_Historical Women._

Elizabeth, Queen is said to have been warned of her death by the apparition of her own double. (So, too, Sir Robert Napier and Lady Diana Rich.)

Catherine de Medicis saw, in a vision, the battle of Jarnac, and cried out, "Do you not see the Prince of Condé dead in the hedge?" This and many similar stories are told by Margaret of Valois in her Memoirs.

Philippa, Wife of the Duke of Lorraine, when a girl in a convent, saw in vision the battle of Pavia, then in progress, and the captivity of the king her cousin, and called on the nuns about her to pray.

Joan of Arc was visited and directed by various Saints, including the Archangel Michael, S. Catherine, S. Margaret, etc.

_Lord Chancellors._

Erskine, Lord, himself relates (Lady Morgan's "Book of the Boudoir," 1829, vol. i. 123) that the spectre of his father's butler, whom he did not know to be dead, appeared to him in broad daylight, "to meet your honour," so it explained, "and to solicit your interference with my lord to recover a sum due to me which the steward at the last settlement did not pay," which proved to be the fact.

_Cabinet Ministers._

Buckingham, Duke of, was exhorted to amendment and warned of approaching assassination by apparition of his father, Sir George Villiers, who was seen by Mr. Towers, surveyor of works at Windsor. All occurred as foretold.

Castlereagh, Lord (who succeeded the above as Foreign Secretary), when a young man, quartered with his regiment in Ireland, saw the apparition of "The Radiant Boy," said to be an omen of good. Sir Walter Scott speaks of him as one of two persons "of sense and credibility, who both attested supernatural appearances on their own evidence."