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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


Peel, Sir Robert, and his brother, both saw Lord Byron in London in 1810, while he was, in fact, lying dangerously ill at Patras. During the same fever, he also appeared to others, and was even seen to write down his name among the inquirers after the King's health.


Trajan, Emperor, was extricated from Antioch during an earthquake, by a spectre which drove him out of a window. (Dio Cassius, lib. lxviii.)

Caracalla, Emperor, was visited by the ghost of his father Severus.

Julian the Apostate, Emperor, (1) when hesitating to accept the Empire, saw a female figure, "The Genius of the Empire," who said she would remain with him, but not for long. (2) Shortly before his death, he saw his genius leave him with a dejected air. (3) He saw a phantom prognosticating the death of the Emperor Constans. (See S. Basil.)

Theodosius, Emperor, when on the eve of a battle, was reassured of the issue by the apparition of two men; also seen independently by one of his soldiers.


Curtius Rufus (pro-consul of Africa) is reported by Pliny to have been visited, while still young and unknown, by a gigantic female--the Genius of Africa--who foretold his career. (Pliny, b. vii. letter 26.)

Julius Cæsar was marshalled across the Rubicon by a spectre, which seized a trumpet from one of the soldiers and sounded an alarm.

Xerxes, after giving up the idea of carrying war into Greece, was persuaded to the expedition by the apparition of a young man, who also visited Artabanus, uncle to the king, when, upon Xerxes' request, Artabanus assumed his robe and occupied his place. (Herodotus, vii.)

Brutus was visited by a spectre, supposed to be that of Julius Cæsar, who announced that they would meet again at Philippi, where he was defeated in battle, and put an end to his own life.

Drusus, when seeking to cross the Elbe, was deterred by a female spectre, who told him to turn back and meet his approaching end. He died before reaching the Rhine.

Pausanius, General of the Lacedæmonians, inadvertently caused the death of a young lady of good family, who haunted him day and night, urging him to give himself up to justice. (Plutarch in Simone.)

Dio, General, of Syracuse, saw a female apparition sweeping furiously in his house, to denote that his family would shortly be swept out of Syracuse, which, through various accidents was shortly the case.

Napoleon, at S. Helena, saw and conversed with the apparition of Josephine, who warned him of his approaching death. The story is narrated by Count Montholon, to whom he told it.

Blucher, on the very day of his decease, related to the King of Prussia that he had been warned by the apparition of his entire family, of his approaching end.

Fox, General, went to Flanders with the Duke of York shortly before the birth of his son. Two years later he had a vision of the child--dead--and correctly described its appearance and surroundings, though the death occurred in a house unknown to him.

Garfield, General, when a child of six or seven, saw and conversed with his father, lately deceased. He also had a premonition, which proved correct, as to the date of his death--the anniversary of the battle of Wickmauga, in which he took a brave part.

Lincoln, President, had a certain premonitory dream which occurred three times in relation to important battles, and the fourth on the eve of his assassination.

Coligni, Admiral, was three times warned to quit Paris before the Feast of St. Bartholemew but disregarded the premonition and perished in the Massacre (1572).

_Men of Letters._

Petrarch saw the apparition of the bishop of his diocese at the moment of death.