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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


After hearing this statement I asked Mrs. M. what she meant by the remark she had made on hearing Miss C.'s explanation of what she had witnessed. My hostess replied, "That night when I passed into the trance state, and lay down on the couch in the sitting-room at Hindhead, I did so with the desire of visiting my husband, who was in his retreat at Wimbledon. That, I should say, was between nine and half-past. After I came out of the trance I was conscious that I had been somewhere, but I did not know where. I started from Hindhead for Wimbledon, but landed at M---- Mansions, where, no doubt, I was more at home." "Then you had no memory of where you had been?" "Not the least." "And what about the shawl?" "The shawl was one that Miss C. had never seen. I had not worn it for two years, and the fact that she saw it and described it, is conclusive evidence against the subjective character of the vision. The originals of all the phantom clothes were at M---- Mansions at the time Miss C. saw me wearing them. I was not wearing the shawl. At the time when she saw it on my Thought Body it was folded up and put away in a wardrobe in an adjoining room. She had never seen it." I asked Miss C. what was the appearance of Mrs. M. She replied, "She just looked as she does always, only much more beautiful." "How do you account," said I to my hostess, "for the change in colour of the silk front from grey to amber?" She replied, "It was a freak."

I then asked Mr. C., the father of the last witness, what had occurred in his wife's experience. Here is the statement which his wife made to him, and which he says is absolutely reliable. "I was staying at Hindhead, in the lodge connected with the house in which you are staying. I was in some trouble, and Mrs. M. had been somewhat anxious about me. I had gone to sleep, but was suddenly aroused by the consciousness that some one was bending over me. When I opened my eyes I saw in shimmering outline a figure which I recognised at once as that of Mrs. M. She was bending over me, and her great lustrous eyes seemed to pierce my very soul. For a time I lay still, as if paralysed, being unable either to speak or to move, but at last gaining courage with time I ventured to strike a match. As soon as I did so the figure of Mrs. M. disappeared. Feeling reassured and persuaded that I had been deluded by my senses, I at last put out the light and composed myself to sleep. To my horror, no sooner was the room dark than I saw the spectral, shimmering form of Mrs. M. moving about the room, and always turning towards me those wonderful, piercing eyes. I again struck a match, and again the apparition vanished from the room.

"By this time I was in a mortal terror, and it was some time before I ventured to put out the light again, when a third time I saw the familiar presence which had evidently never left the room, but simply been invisible in the light. In the dark it shone by its own radiance. I was taken seriously ill with a violent palpitation of the heart, and kept my light burning. I felt so utterly upset that I could not remain any longer in the place and insisted next morning on going home. I did not touch the phantom, I simply saw it--saw it three times, and its haunting persistency rendered it quite impossible for me to mistake it for any mere nightmare."