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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


"I often come down here," said my hostess cheerfully, "after breakfast. I just lie down in my bedroom in town, and in a moment I find myself here at Hindhead. Sometimes I am seen, sometimes I am not. But I am here; seen or unseen, I see. It is a curious gift, and one which I am studying hard to develop and to control."

"And what about clothes?" I asked. "Oh," replied my hostess airily, "I go in whatever clothes I like. There are astral counterparts to all our garments. It by no means follows that I appear in the same dress as that which is worn by my material body. I remember, when I appeared to your friend, I wore the astral counterpart of a white silk shawl, which was at the time folded away in the wardrobe."

At this point, however, in order to anticipate the inevitable observation that my hostess was insane, I think I had better introduce the declarations of my two friends, who are quite clear and explicit as to their recollection of what they saw.

My witnesses are mother and daughter. The daughter I have seen and interviewed; the mother I could not see, but took a statement down from her husband, who subsequently submitted it in proof to her for correction. I print the daughter's statement first.

"About eighteen months ago (in May, 1890) I was staying at the house of my friend in M---- Mansions. Mrs. M. had gone to her country house at Hindhead for a fortnight and was not expected back for a week. I was sitting in the kitchen reading Edna Lyall's 'Donovan.' About half-past nine o'clock I distinctly heard Mrs. M. walk up and down the passage which ran from the front door past the open door of the room in which I was sitting. I was not thinking of Mrs. M. and did not at the time realize that she was not in the flat, when suddenly I heard her voice and saw her standing at the open door. I saw her quite distinctly, and saw that she was dressed in the dress in which I had usually seen her in an evening, without bonnet or hat, her hair being plaited low down close to the back of her head. The dress, I said, was the same, but there were two differences which I noticed at once. In her usual dress, the silk front was grey; this time the grey colour had given place to a curious amber, and over her shoulders she wore a shawl of white Indian silk. I noticed it particularly, because the roses embroidered on it at its ends did not correspond with each other. All this I saw as I looked up and heard her say, 'T----, give me that book.' I answered, half mechanically, 'Yes, Mrs. M.,' but felt somewhat startled. I had hardly spoken when Mrs. M. turned, opened the door leading into the main building, and went out. I instantly got up and followed her to the door. It was closed. I opened it and looked out, but could see nobody. It was not until then that I fully realised that there was something uncanny in what I had seen. I was very frightened, and after having satisfied myself that Mrs. M. was not in the flat, I fastened the door, put out the lights, and went to bed, burying my head under the bedclothes.

"The post next day brought a letter from Mrs. M. saying that she was coming by eleven o'clock. I was too frightened to stay in the house, and I went to my father and told him what I had seen. He told me to go back and hear what Mrs. M. had to say about the matter. When Mrs. M. arrived I told her what I had seen on the preceding evening. She laughed, and said, 'Oh! I was here then, was I? I did not expect to come here.' With that exception I have seen no apparition whatever, or had any hallucination of any kind, neither have I seen the apparition of Mrs. M. again."