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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead

Chapter III. Aimless Doubles.

_A Very Visible Double._

A correspondent, writing from a Yorkshire village, sends me the following account of an apparition of a Thought Body in circumstances when there was nothing more serious than a yearning desire on the part of a person whose phantasm appeared to occupy his old bed. My correspondent, Mr. J. G. ----, says that he took it down from the lips of one of the most truthful men he ever knew, and a sensible person to boot. This person is still living, and I am told he has confirmed Mr. G----'s story, which is as follows:--

"Sixty years ago I was a farm servant at a place in Pembrokeshire (I can give the name, but don't wish it to be published). I was about fifteen years old. I, along with three other men-servants, slept in a granary in the yard. Our bedchamber was reached by means of ten broad stone steps. It was soon after Allhallows time, when all farm servants change places in that part of the country. A good and faithful foreman, who had been years on the farm, had this time desired a change, and had engaged to service some fifteen miles off, a change which he afterwards much regretted.

"One night I woke up in my bed some time during the small hours of the morning, and obedient to the call of nature, I got up, opened the door, and stood on the upper step of the stairs. It was a beautiful moonlight night. I surveyed the yard and the fields about. To my surprise, but without the least apprehension, I noticed a man coming down a field, jump over a low wall, and walk straight towards me. He stepped the three first steps one by one, then he took two or three steps at a stride. I knew the man well and recognised him perfectly. I knew all the clothes he wore, particularly a light waistcoat which he put on on great occasions. As he drew near me I receded to the doorway, and as he lifted up his two hands, as in the act of opening the door, which was open already, I fled in screaming, and passing my own bed jumped in between two older men in the next bed. And neither time nor the sympathy of my comrades could pacify me for hours.

"I told my tale, which, after searching and seeing nobody, they disbelieved and put down to my timidity.

"Next morning, however, just as we were coming out from breakfast, in the presence of all of us the discharged foreman was seen coming down the same field, jumping the wall, walking toward the sleeping chamber, ascending the steps, lifting up his two hands to open the door in the self-same manner in every particular as I had described, and went straight to the same bed as I got into.

"I asked him, 'Were you here last night, John?'

"'No, my boy,' was the answer; 'my body was not here, but my mind was. I have run away from that horrid place, travelled most of the night, and every step I took my mind was fixed on this old bed, where my weary bones might be at rest.'"

I can supply names and all particulars, but do not wish them to be published.

_Seeing Your Own Thought Body._

In his "Footfalls" Mr. Owen records a still more remarkable case of the duplication of the body. A gentleman in Ohio, in 1833, had built a new house, seventy or eighty yards distant from his old residence on the other side of a small ravine. One afternoon, about five o'clock, his wife saw his eldest daughter, Rhoda, aged sixteen, holding the youngest, Lucy, aged four, in her arm, sitting in a rocking-chair, just within the kitchen door of the new residence. She called the attention of another sister to what she saw, and was startled to hear that Rhoda and Lucy were upstairs in the old house. They were at once sent for, and on coming downstairs they saw, to their amazement, their exact doubles sitting on the doorstep of the new house. All the family collected--twelve in all--and they all saw the phantasmal Rhoda and Lucy, the real Rhoda and Lucy standing beside them. The figures seated at the hall door, and the two children now actually in their midst, were absolutely identical in appearance, even to each minute particular of dress. After watching them for five minutes, the father started to cross the ravine and solve the mystery. Hardly had he descended the ravine when the phantasmal Rhoda rose from the rocking chair, with the child in her arms, and lay down on the threshold. There she remained a moment or two, and then apparently sank into the earth. When the father reached the house no trace could be found of any human being. Both died within a year.