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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


Epimenides, a poet contemporary with Salon, is reported by Plutarch to have quitted his body at will and to have conversed with spirits.

Dante, Jacopo, son of the poet, was visited in a dream by his father, who conversed with him and told him where to find the missing thirteen cantos of the Commedia.

Tasso saw and conversed with beings invisible to those about him.

Goethe saw his own double riding by his side under conditions which really occurred years later. His father, mother, and grandmother were all ghost-seers.

Donne, Dr., when in Paris, saw the apparition of his wife in London carrying a dead child at the very hour a dead infant was in fact born.

Byron, Lord is said to have seen the Black Friar of Newstead on the eve of his ill-fated marriage. Also, with others, he saw the apparition of Shelley walk into a wood at Lerici, though they knew him at the time to be several miles away.

Shelley, while in a state of trance, saw a figure wrapped in a cloak which beckoned to him and asked, Siete soddisfatto?--are you satisfied?

Benvenuto Cellini, when in captivity at Rome by order of the Pope, was dissuaded from suicide by the apparition of a young man who frequently visited and encouraged him.

Mozart was visited by a mysterious person who ordered him to compose a Requiem, and came frequently to inquire after its progress, but disappeared on its completion, which occurred just in time for its performance at Mozart's own funeral.

Ben Jonson, when staying at Sir Robert Cotton's house, was visited by the apparition of his eldest son with a mark of a bloody cross upon his forehead at the moment of his death by the plague. He himself told the story to Drummond of Hawthornden.

Thackeray, W. M. writes, "It is all very well for you who have probably never seen spirit manifestations, to talk as you do, but had you seen what I have witnessed you would hold a different opinion."

Mrs. Browning's spirit appeared to her sister with warning of death. Robert Browning writes, Tuesday, July 21st, 1863, "Arabel (Miss Barrett) told me yesterday that she had been much agitated by a dream which happened the night before--Sunday, July 19th. She saw _her_, and asked, When shall I be with you? The reply was, Dearest, in five years, where upon Arabel awoke. She knew in her dream that it was not to the living she spoke." In five years, within a month of their completion, Miss Barrett died, and Browning writes, "I had forgotten the date of the dream, and supposed it was only three years, and that two had still to run."

Hall, Bishop, and his brother, when at Cambridge each had a vision of their mother looking sadly at them, and saying she would not be able to keep her promise of visiting them. She died at the time.

Dr. Guthrie was directed, by repeated pullings at his coat, to go in a certain direction, contrary to previous intention, and was thus the means of saving the life of a parishioner.

Miller, Hugh, tells, in his "Schools and Schoolmasters," of the apparition of a bloody hand, seen by himself and the servant but not by others present. Accepted as a warning of the death of his father.

Porter, Anna Maria, when living at Esher, was visited one afternoon by an old gentleman--a neighbour, who frequently came in to tea. On this occasion he left the room without speaking, and fearing that something had happened she sent to inquire, and found that he had died at the moment of his appearance.

Edgworth, Maria, was waiting with her family for an expected guest, when the vacant chair was suddenly occupied by the apparition of a sailor cousin, who stated that his ship had been wrecked and he alone saved. The event proved the contrary--he alone was drowned.