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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead

Chapter II. The Evidence of the Psychical Research Society.

Another case in which the double appeared was that of Dr. F. R. Lees, the well-known temperance controversialist. On communicating with the Doctor, the following is his reply:--

"The little story or incident of which you have heard occurred above thirty years ago, and may be related in very few words. Whether it was coincidence, or transference of vivid thought, I leave to the judgment of others.

"I had left Leeds for the Isle of Jersey (though my dear wife was only just recovering from a nervous fever) to fulfil an important engagement. On a Good Friday, myself and a party of friends in several carriages drove round a large portion of the island, coming back to St. Heliers from Bouley Bay, taking tea about seven o'clock at Captain ----'s villa. The party broke up about ten o'clock, and the weather being fine and warm, I walked to the house of a banker who entertained me. Naturally, my evening thoughts reverted to my home, and after reading a few verses in my Testament, I walked about the room until nearly eleven, thinking of my wife, and breathing the prayer, 'God bless you.'

"I might not have recalled all the circumstances, save for the letter I received by the next post from her, with the query put in: 'Tell me what you were _doing within a few minutes of eleven o'clock_ on Friday evening? I will tell you in my next why I ask; for something happened to me.' In the middle of the week the letter came, and these words in it:--'I had just awoke from a slight repose, when I saw you in your night-dress bend over me, and utter the words, "God bless you!" I seemed also to feel your breath as you kissed me. I felt no alarm, but comforted, went off into a gentle sleep, and have been better ever since.' I replied that this was an exact representation of my mind and words."

Here there was apparently the instantaneous reproduction in Leeds of the image, and not only of the image but of the words spoken in Jersey, a hundred miles away. The theory that the phantasmal body is occasionally detachable from the material frame accounts for this in a fashion, and that is more than can be said for any other hypothesis that has yet been stated. In neither of these cases did an early death follow the apparition of the dual body.

_An Unknown Double Identified._

Neither of these stories, however, is so wonderful as the following narrative, which is forwarded to me by a correspondent in North Britain, who received the statement from a Colonel now serving in India on the Bengal Staff, whose name is communicated on the understanding that it is not to be made public:--

"In the year 1860 I was stationed at Banda, in Bundelcund, India. There was a good deal of sickness there at the time, and I was deputed along with a medical officer to proceed to the nearest railway station at that time Allahabad, in charge of a sick officer. I will call myself Brown, the medical officer Jones, and the sick officer Robertson. We had to travel very slowly, Robertson being carried by coolies in a doolie, and on this account we had to halt at a rest-house, or pitch our camp every evening. One evening, when three marches out of Banda, I had just come into Robertson's room about midnight to relieve Jones, for Robertson was so ill that we took it by turns to watch him, when Jones took me aside and whispered that he was afraid our friend was dying, that he did not expect him to live through the night, and though I urged him to go and lie down, and that I would call him on any change taking place, he would not leave. We both sat down and watched. We had been there about an hour when the sick man moved and called out. We both went to his bedside, and even my inexperienced eyes saw that the end was near. We were both standing on the same side of the bed, furthest away from the door.

"Whilst we were standing there the door opened, and an elderly lady entered, went straight up to the bed, bent over it, wrung her hands and wept bitterly. After a few minutes she left; we both saw her face. We were so astonished that neither of us thought of speaking to her, but as soon as she passed out of the door I recovered myself and, as quickly as possible, followed her, but could not find a trace of her. Robertson died that night. We were then about thirty miles from the nearest cantonment, and except the rest-house in which we were, and of which we were the only occupants, there was not a house near us. Next morning we started back to Banda, taking the corpse with us for burial.

"Three months after this Jones went to England on leave, and took with him the sword, watch, and a few other things which had belonged to the deceased to deliver to his family. On arrival at Robertson's home, he was shown into the drawing-room. After waiting a few minutes, a lady entered--the same who had appeared to both of us in the jungle in India; it was Robertson's mother. She told Jones that she had had a vision that her son was dangerously ill, and had written the date, etc., down, and on comparing notes they found that the date, time, etc., agreed in every respect.

"People to whom I have told the story laugh at me, and tell me that I must have been asleep and dreamed it, but I know I was not, for I remember perfectly well standing by the bedside when the lady appeared."

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