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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


Saints.--The stories of visions, apparitions, etc. which are told in connection with the Saints are far too numerous to quote. The following, however, may be referred to as of special interest:--(1) _Phantasms of the Living._--St. Ignatius Loyala, Gennadius (the friend of St. Augustine), St. Augustine himself, twice over (he tells the story himself, Serm. 233), St. Benedict and St. Meletius, all appeared during life in places distant from their actual bodily whereabouts. (2) _Phantasms of the Dead._--St. Anselm saw the slain body of William Rufus, St. Basil that of Julian the Apostate, St. Benedict the ascent to heaven of the soul of St. Germanus, bishop of Capua--all at the moment of death. St. Augustine and St. Edmund, Archbishops of Canterbury, are said to have conversed with spirits. St. Ambrose and St. Martin of Tours received information concerning relics from the original owners of the remains. (3) _Premonitions._--St. Cyprian and St. Columba each foretold the date and manner of his own death as revealed in visions.


Harcourt, Countess when Lady Nuneham, mentioned one morning having had an agitating dream, but was met with ridicule. Later in the day Lord Harcourt--her husband's father--was missing. She exclaimed, "Look in the well," and fainted away. He was found there with a dog, which he had been trying to save.

Aksakoff, Mme., wife of Chancellor Aksakoff, on the night of May 12th, 1855, saw the apparition of her brother, who died at the time. The story is one very elaborate as to detail.

Rich, Lady Diana, was warned of her death by a vision of her own double in the avenue of Holland House.

Breadalbane, May, Lady, her sister (both daughters of Lord Holland), was also warned in vision of her death.

The Daughter of Sir Charles Lee.--This story, related by the Bishop of Gloucester, 1662, is very well known. On the eve of her intended marriage with Sir W. Perkins, she was visited by her mother's spirit, announcing her approaching death at twelve o'clock next day. She occupied the intervening time with suitable preparations, and died calmly at the hour foretold.

Beresford, Lady, wife of Sir Tristam, before her marriage in 1687, made a secret engagement with Lord Tyrone, that which ever should die first would appear to the other. He fulfilled his promise on October 15th, 1693, and warned her of her death on her forty-eighth birthday. All was kept secret, but after the fated day had passed, she married a second time, and appeared to enter on a new lease of life. Two years later, when celebrating her birthday, she accidentally discovered that she was two years younger than had been supposed, and expired before night. The story is one of the best known and most interesting in ghost-lore.

Fanshawe, Lady, when visiting in Ireland, heard the banshee of the family with whom she was visiting, one of whom did in fact die during the night. She also relates (in her "Memoirs," p. 28) that her mother once lay as dead for two days and a night. On her return to life she informed those about her that she had asked of two apparitions, dressed in long, white garments, for leave, like Hezekiah, to live for fifteen years, to see her daughter grow up, and that it was granted. She died in fifteen years from that time.

Maidstone, Lady, saw a fly of fire as premonitory of the deaths--first, of her husband, who died in a sea-fight with the Dutch, May 28th, 1672, and second, of her mother-in-law, Lady Winchilsea.

Chedworth, Lord, was visited by a friend and fellow-sceptic, saying he had died that night and had realised the existence of another world. While relating the vision the news arrived of his friend's death.