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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


My hostess was the daughter of a well-known London solicitor, who, after spending her early youth in dancing and riding and other diversions of young ladies in society who have the advantage of a house in Park Lane, suddenly became possessed by a strange, almost savage, fascination for the occult lore of the ancient East. Abandoning the frivolities of Mayfair, she went to Girton, where she plunged into the study of Sanscrit. After leaving Girton, she applied herself to the study of the occult side of Theosophy. Then she married a black magician in the platonic fashion common to Occultists, early Christians, and Russian Nihilists, and since then she has prosecuted her studies into the invisible world with ever-increasing interest.

_The Thought Body._

"I see you are incredulous," she replied; "but, if you like, I will some time afford you an opportunity of proving that I am simply speaking the truth. Tell me, will you speak to me if I appear to you in my thought body?" "Certainly," I replied, "unless I am struck dumb. Nothing would please me better. But, of course, I have never seen a ghost, and no one can say how any utterly unaccustomed experience may affect him." "Unfortunately," she replied, "that is too often the case. All those to whom I have hitherto appeared have been so scared they could not speak." "But, my dear friend, do you actually mean to say that you have the faculty of----" "Going about in my Thought Body? Most certainly. It is not a very uncommon faculty, but it is one which needs cultivation and development." "But what is a Thought Body?" My hostess smiled: "It is difficult to explain truths on the plane of thought to those who are immersed body and soul in matter. I can only tell you that every person has, in addition to this natural body of flesh, bones, and blood, a Thought Body, the exact counterpart in every respect of this material frame. It is contained within the material body, as air is contained in the lungs and in the blood. It is of finer matter than the gross fabric of our outward body. It is capable of motion with the rapidity of thought. The laws of space and time do not exist for the mind, and the Thought Envelope of which we are speaking moves with the swiftness of the mind."

"Then when your thought body appears?"

"My mind goes with it. I see, I hear, and my consciousness is with my Thought Envelope. But I want to have a proper interview while on my thought journeys. That is why I ask you if you would try to speak to me if I appear."

"But," I objected, "do you really mean that you hope to appear before me, in my office, as immaterial as gas, as visible as light, and yet to speak, to touch?"

"That is just what I mean," she replied, laughing, "that and nothing less. I was in your office the other morning at six o'clock, but no one was there. I have not got this curious power as yet under complete control. But when once we are able to direct it at will, imagine what possibilities it unfolds!"

"But," said I, "if you can be seen and touched, you ought to be photographed!"

"I wish to be photographed, but no one can say as yet whether such thought bodies can be photographed. When next I make the experiment I want you to try. It would be very useful."

Useful indeed! It does not require very vivid imagination to see that if you can come and go to the uttermost parts of the world in your thought shape, such Thought Bodies will be indispensable henceforth on every enterprising newspaper. It would be a great saving on telegraphy. When my ideal paper comes along, I mentally vowed I would have my hostess as first member of my staff. But of course it had got to be proved, and that not only once but a dozen times, before any reliance could be placed on it.