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Title: Ghostly Phenomena
Author: O'Donnell, Elliott, 1872-1965
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Libraries.)



  GHOSTLY
  PHENOMENA


  BY


  ELLIOT O'DONNELL

  AUTHOR OF

  "Some Haunted Houses of England and Wales."
  "Haunted Houses of London."
  "True Ghost Stories," etc., etc.



  LONDON
  T. WERNER LAURIE
  CLIFFORD'S INN



CONTENTS.


PART I.

  CHAPTER                                                         PAGE

    I. "ELEMENTALS"                                                  3

   II. PHANTASMS OF THE LIVING AND DEAD--DEATH WARNINGS AND DREAMS  35


PART II.

PHENOMENA WITNESSED BY OTHER PEOPLE.

  III. "ELEMENTALS"                                                 59

   IV. PHANTASMS OF THE DEAD                                        90


PART III.

    V. THE HAUNTINGS OF THE OLD SYDERSTERNE PARSONAGE (1833),
         NEAR FAKENHAM, AND A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IN SYDENHAM      123


PART IV.

   VI. SUGGESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES                                  143



PART I.



GHOSTLY PHENOMENA



CHAPTER I.

"ELEMENTALS."


I have, from time to time, witnessed many manifestations which I believe
to have been superphysical, both from the peculiarity of their
properties, and from the effects their presence invariably produced on
me--an effect I cannot associate with anything physical.

One of the first occult phenomena I remember, appeared to me when I
was about five years of age. I was then living in a town in the West
of England, and had, according to the usual custom, been put to bed at
six o'clock. I had spent a very happy day, playing with my favourite
toys--soldiers--and not being in the least degree tired, was amusing
myself with planning a fresh campaign for the following morning, when
I suddenly noticed that the bedroom door (which I distinctly
remembered my nurse carefully latching) was slowly opening. Thinking
this was very curious, but without the slightest suspicion of ghosts,
I sat up in the bed and watched.

The door continued to open, and at last I caught sight of something so
extraordinary that my guilty conscience at once associated it with the
Devil, with regard to whom I distinctly recollected to have spoken that
afternoon in a sceptical, and I frankly admit, very disrespectful
manner. But far from feeling the proximity of that heat which all those
who profess authority on Satanic matters ascribe to Satan, I felt
decidedly cold--so cold, indeed, that my hands grew numb and my teeth
chattered. At first I only saw two light, glittering eyes that fixed
themselves on me with an expression of diabolical glee, but I was soon
able to perceive that they were set in a huge, flat face, covered with
fulsome-looking yellow spots about the size of a threepenny bit. I do
not remember noticing any of the other features, save the mouth, which
was large and gaping. The body to which the head was attached was quite
nude, and covered all over with spots similar to those on the face. I
cannot recall any arms, though I have vivid recollections of two thick
and, to all appearances, jointless legs, by the use of which it left
the doorway, and, gliding noiselessly over the carpet, approached an
empty bed, placed in a parallel position to my own. There it halted, and
thrusting its misshapen head forward, it fixed its malevolent eyes on me
with a penetrating stare. On this occasion, I was far less frightened
than on any of my subsequent experiences with the occult. Why, I cannot
say, for the manifestation was certainly one of the most hideous I have
ever seen. My curiosity, however, was far greater than my fear, and I
kept asking myself what the Thing was, and why it was there?

It did not seem to me to be composed of ordinary flesh and blood,
but rather of some luminous matter that resembled the light
emanating from a glow-worm.

After remaining in the same attitude for what seemed to me an
incalculably long time, it gradually receded, and assuming, all of a
sudden, a horizontal attitude, passed head first through the wall
opposite to where I sat. Next day, I made a sketch of the apparition,
and showed it to my relatives, who, of course, told me I had been
dreaming. About two weeks later I was ill in bed with a painful, if not
actually dangerous, disease. I was giving an account of this
manifestation at a lecture I delivered two or three years ago in B., and
when I had finished speaking was called aside by one of my audience who
very shyly told me that he, too, had had a similar experience. Prior to
being attacked by diphtheria, he had seen a queer-looking apparition
that had approached his bedside and leaned over him. He assured me that
he had been fully awake at the time, and had applied tests to prove that
the phenomenon was entirely objective.

A number of other cases, too, have been reported to me, in which various
species of phantasms have been seen before different illnesses. Hence I
believe that certain spirits are symbolical of certain diseases, if not
the actual creators of the bacilli from which those diseases arise. To
these phantasms I have given the name of Morbas. I have seen two other
morbas in addition to the one I have already described. The first case
happened to me when I was in Dublin, reading for the Royal Irish
Constabulary at the then well-known Queen's Service Academy, Ely Place.
I lodged in Merrion Street, and above my rooms were those of a Mr.
Charles Clifford, at that time a briefless barrister, but who afterwards
established a big reputation in the West Indies, where he eventually
died. I became very friendly with Mr. Clifford, whose father had been a
contemporary with several of my relations--also barristers--at Trinity
College. One particularly mild evening,--if I remember rightly it was in
the beginning of September--I was chatting away with him in his
sitting-room, when he suddenly complained of feeling extremely cold, and
asked me if I would mind shutting the window, as I was nearest to it. As
I got up in order to carry out his wishes, I noticed that the curtain on
the near side of the recess (it was a bay window) was rustling in a very
peculiar manner, and I was just going to call my friend's attention to
it when I perceived the most odd-looking, yellow hand suddenly emerge
from the drapery. Sick with fear, but urged on by a curiosity I could
not restrain, I approached the curtain, and, pulling it aside
vigorously, found myself confronted by the tall, nude, yellow figure of
something utterly indefinable. It seemed to me to be wholly composed of
some vibrating, luminous matter. Its head was large and round, its eyes
light green, oblique and full of intense hatred. I did not notice any
other features. Its awful expression of malignity so fascinated me that
I could not remove my gaze from its face, and I was standing still and
staring at it helplessly, unable to move or speak, when Clifford asked
what in the world was the matter. The moment he spoke the phenomenon
vanished, and the spell which its appearance had cast over me being thus
broken, I shut the window and returned to my seat.

I did not mention what I had seen to Clifford, as he was of an extremely
nervous temperament, and, like the majority of Irishmen, very
superstitious. I made, however, a note of the occurrence in my diary,
and was not surprised when, eight or nine days later, Clifford was ill
in bed with a malignant disease.

The second instance happened when I was on tour with No. 1 Company of
"The Only Way." We were performing in Plymouth, and I was sharing rooms
with an actor of the name of Cornelius, who had lately joined us from a
Dramatic School in Oxford Street. Saturday night, as every one in the
profession knows, is the most tiring night in the week, for apart from
there being a matinée that day, there is packing to be done after the
evening performance, and one rarely, if ever, leaves the theatre before
half-past twelve or one o'clock. On the Saturday night I am about to
speak of, Cornelius, who did not appear in the last act, had gone home
before me, and on my leaving the theatre an hour or so later, I found
the streets in the vicinity of our lodgings silent and deserted. I was
hastening along, thinking, I admit, of the good things that awaited us
at supper, for Cornelius, who arranged the meals, was an excellent
caterer, when, just as I was turning in at our gate, I saw a tall figure
come out of the house and approach me with a peculiar, gliding motion. A
cold terror at once ran through me, for I instinctively felt that the
figure was nothing human. Overcoming, with a desperate effort, a sudden
sensation of helplessness, I moved aside, and, as I did so, the figure
halted; I then perceived that it was exactly like the yellow phantasm I
had seen in Dublin some nine or ten years previously. It remained
stationary for, perhaps, forty seconds, when it seemed to dissolve into
the mist. I then pushed open the gate and entered the house. I made a
note of the vision, and learned some few weeks later that an actor, who
was then in the rooms we had occupied, had fallen a victim there to the
same malady that had attacked Clifford.

From the numerous cases that have been related to me, as well as from my
own experience, I have come to the conclusion that certain species of
phantasms prefer to appear to children, and only under exceptional
circumstances manifest themselves to adults.

One of these species bears a slight resemblance to Pixies, inasmuch as
they are exceedingly diminutive; but there the likeness ends. For
whereas Pixies, from most of the statements I have heard regarding them,
are an intelligent race of fairies that prefer places remote from the
haunts of men, these phantasms do not seem to possess any intelligence
or feeling at all, and are frequently to be seen in houses occupied by
living people. Their visits, apparently, have no object--they are merely
forms consisting of matter without mind. Night after night, when I was a
little boy, I used to lie awake watching half a dozen or so of these
tiny phantasms moving about the floor or turning round and round on the
top of a wardrobe that faced the bed. In appearance they were more or
less like men--never women--but always grotesque, with big heads, long
beards, and something odd in the shape of their limbs and bodies. Their
faces were uniformly white, and utterly devoid of expression. I was
never in the least degree afraid of them, but often felt very much
annoyed because they did not do anything sensible. On the slightest
sound or movement on my part they instantly vanished, and would not
appear again till the following evening.

I daresay some writers on Occultism would classify them with Nature
Spirits, but I prefer to designate them a species of the genus
"Elemental"--that is to say, a species of the phantasm that has never
inhabited any kind of earthly body.

One afternoon in May, many years ago,--I was a very young child at the
time,--I happened to be staying with some friends in the country, and on
running to the nursery window to look at what I thought was one of the
household behaving in a very odd manner in the garden, I perceived to my
astonishment the figure of a woman with a long beard, rolling about on
the lawn as if in great agony.

There was something so odd, both in her appearance and actions, that I
was too fascinated to remove my gaze from her, and in breathless silence
watched her slowly rise up and approach the window. I then saw that her
face was hardly like that of a human being, but resembled rather some
very grotesque kind of animal, and that her fingers, which she kept
opening and shutting, were short and webbed. She did not impress me as
being either horrible or malignant, and I was noticing, with the keenest
interest, the peculiarities of her formation when one of the servants
entered the nursery, and she instantly vanished.

How to classify this phenomenon, I must confess I am somewhat puzzled.
It does not appear to me to belong altogether to the order of Vagrarian,
and yet I know of no other species of phantasm to which it is more
nearly allied. This type of ghost, _i.e._, the Vagrarian, is very often
seen by children. It is a species of Elemental, and is in my opinion a
survival (or descendant) of the earliest attempts at life on this
planet--possibly an experiment in forms of life half physical, half
superphysical--prior to the creation and selection of animal and
vegetable life as it is known to us.

In addition to the power of materialising and dematerialising at will,
Vagrarians can, at times, exercise a certain amount of physical force. I
have heard of them, for example, moving furniture, banging on doors and
walls, and making all sorts of similar disturbances. I have used the
expression, "or descendants," with regard them because I think it is
quite feasible that Vagrarians are mortal, and that they possess some
especial means of generating.

They are generally to be met within lonely places--country lanes and
spinneys, empty houses, isolated barns, and on moors, commons, and
hill-tops. In appearance they are caricatures of man and
beast--sometimes compounds of both--and would seem to possess a great
diversity of form. I have, for example, had them described to me as
tall, thin figures with tiny, rotund, or flat, rectangular, or wholly
animal heads, and again as short, squat figures with a similar variety
of heads. They are probably the most terrifying of all apparitions, as,
apart from the grotesqueness of their bodies, the expression in their
eyes is invariably diabolical; they seem, indeed, to be animated with an
intense, an absolutely unlimited, animosity to every form of earthly
life. Why, I cannot, of course, say, unless it is that they are jealous
of both man and beast, whom they might possibly regard as the usurpers
of a sphere which was at one time strictly confined to themselves. My
first experience of this kind of phantasm occurred when I was a boy. I
was staying with some friends in a large old country house in the
Midlands, and being, even at that early age, fond of adventure, I
frequently used to wander off alone in order to explore the adjacent
neighbourhood. On one of these peregrinations I arrived at a farm which,
for some reason or other, happened just then to be untenanted. Delighted
at the prospect of examining the empty buildings, I scaled a gate, and,
crossing a paved yard, entered a large barn. The sight of one or two
rats scurrying away at my approach made me wish I had my friend's
terrier with me, and I was turning to look for a stone or some missile
to throw at them, when a noise in the far corner of the building
attracted my attention. It was now twilight, and the only windows in the
place being small, dirty, and high from the ground, the further
extremities of the barn were bathed in gloom, and in a gloom that made
me feel nervous. Following the direction of the sound, I looked and saw
to my inconceivable horror a tall, luminous something with a white
rectangular head, crouching on the floor. As its long, glittering, evil
eyes met mine it sprang up (I then perceived that it was fully seven
feet high and perfectly nude), and, with its spidery arms poised high in
the air, darted forward. Shrieking at the top of my voice, I flew, and
my wild cries for help being overheard by some of my friends, who
chanced to be returning home that way, they at once came to my
assistance. I shall never forget their faces, for I am sure my cries
frightened them almost as much as the apparition had frightened me. To
assure me it must have been my imagination, they searched the building,
and, of course, saw nothing, as the phantasm had, doubtless,
dematerialised. I made enquiries, however, on the quiet about the farm,
and learned that it had always borne the reputation for being haunted,
and that it was on that account that it was then untenanted. Needless to
say, I never ventured there again alone!

When I was in Dublin in 1892, I stayed for a while at a boarding-house
in Leeson Street. The house, which was large and gloomy, impressed me
from the very first with a sense of loneliness, and I intuitively felt
that all its denizens were not of flesh and blood. I occupied a bedroom
on the first floor, on which at the time of my visit there were only two
other people, both of whom slept in rooms opposite to mine, on the other
side of the landing. The shape of my room was rendered somewhat peculiar
owing to the deep window recess on the one side, and the still deeper
alcove, in which my bed stood, on the other. In the twilight, whilst
the former of these recesses was filled with the weirdest shadows
imaginable, the latter was so bathed in gloom as to be hardly
discernible at all. The furniture, which reflected the past glories of
the proprietress, who, like so many people in that position in Dublin,
belonged to an at one time wealthy family of landed proprietors,
consisted of a massive mahogany four-poster, handsomely carved and
draped in faded yellow tapestry, a huge, mahogany wardrobe, an ottoman,
covered with tapestry, adorned at irregular intervals with the most
grotesque arabesque figures; a bog-oak chest, richly carved and always
kept locked; two antique, big, oaken chairs, and several rather damaged
and painfully modern cane-bottomed ones; a threadbare carpet that might
have been a Brussels, and just the necessary amount of ordinary bedroom
articles, several of which were very much the worse for wear.

I never liked the room, for, apart from its habitual darkness--a
darkness that seemed to me to be quite independent of the
daylight--there was in it an atmosphere of intense oppression, an
oppression that seemed to arise solely and wholly from an evil
influence. Night after night my sleep was disturbed by the most
harrowing dreams, from which I invariably awoke with a start to find
my heart beating violently, and my body bathed in perspiration. Those
sort of dreams were quite unusual to me; indeed, I had seldom had them
since I was a child; they certainly could not be in any way accounted
for by my state of health, which was quite normal, nor by my food,
which was of the simplest and most digestive nature. Though ashamed to
admit it, I at last grew to dread going to bed on account of those
dreams, and I accordingly requested the proprietress of the
establishment to give me another room. This she somewhat reluctantly
promised to do the following day. Overjoyed at the prospect of so
speedy a deliverance from a room I so cordially feared and detested, I
went to bed that night with a comparatively light heart, assuring
myself gleefully that it would be the last time I should sleep there. I
can remember even now my thoughts as I undressed. What an inadequate
light my candle gave as I placed it on the chimney-piece, and watched
its feeble, flickering flame vainly trying to dissipate the heavy folds
of darkness that seemed to roll in on me from the surrounding nooks and
crannies with unprecedented intensity! How unusually bright the surface
of the mirror looked, and with what remarkable clearness it reflected
the bog-oak chest! The bog-oak chest! I could not remove my eyes from
it, and as I stared at its image in the glass, I saw to my horror the
long-locked, heavy cover slowly begin to rise. Gradually, very
gradually, it opened, until I fancied I could detect something grey and
evil peering out at me. My terror was now so great that I dare not turn
round to look at the actual chest, but was compelled by an irresistible
fascination to keep my attention riveted on the mirror, upon the
surface of which there suddenly fell a dark and fantastically shaped
shadow that, apparently proceeding from the chest, moved stealthily
towards my bed, and disappeared in the innermost recesses of the
dimly-lighted alcove. I was so unnerved by this incident that it was
only after a series of severe mental efforts that I could persuade
myself to make a thorough examination of the room, and so satisfy
myself that what I had seen was in all probability the result of my
imagination. With timid footsteps I first of all approached the
chest--it was still locked. I then advanced more complacently to the
bed, and, falling on my hands and knees, peered under it--there was
nothing to be seen! Endeavouring to persuade myself now that there were
absolutely no grounds for fear, and that mere shadows--for whichever
way I turned, the room was full of them--could do me no harm, I
undressed, and, blowing out the candle, got into bed. Having spent the
day fishing off the Mugglestone Rocks, near Dalkey (in company with two
of my fellow students at the Queen's Service Academy), I felt healthily
tired, and, after a few preliminary turns and twists to get into a
comfortable position, was soon fast asleep. I awoke with a violent
start, just as the clock on the landing outside solemnly struck two.
The house was wrapped in complete silence, and, beyond a few occasional
creakings on the stairs and in--so I fancied--the recess of the window,
I could hear nothing. The sky, which had been covered with a thick
coating of grey mist all the day, had cleared, and a silvery stream of
moonlight, pouring in through the open window, flooded that side of the
room on which stood the bog-oak chest. Again my eyes involuntarily
wandered to the mirror, which was exactly opposite to where I lay, and
again, with even greater horror than before, I watched the lid of the
chest slowly begin to rise. Wider and wider it opened, until, with a
faint click, it fell back on its hinges and struck the wall. I then
saw a tall, grey shape climb out of it, and, with a snake-like movement
of its long limbs, advance silently towards me. Though it was in the
full glare of the moonbeams, I cannot say definitely what it was like,
saving that it impressed me with a strong sense of its utter
grotesqueness, a grotesqueness that at once pronounced it a Vagrarian.
Paralysed with terror, and unable to move or utter a sound, I was
constrained to sit bolt upright and await its approach. Though I could
see no distinct eyes, I felt they were there, and that they were fixed
on me all the time with insatiable glee and malice. Nearer and nearer
it drew, until, gliding round the foot of the bed, it passed along by
me, accompanied by a current of icy cold air that made every tooth in
my head chatter. I then became conscious of some powerful magnetic
force drawing me backwards, and as I sank gasping and panting on the
pillow, a hideous, nude form rose quivering over me, and I lost
consciousness. When I regained my senses the greyness of dawn was
struggling for mastery with the moonbeams, and the Vagrarian had
gone. That night, as I passed the door of the now vacated room on
the way to my new and somewhat brighter quarters, I heard a soft
chuckle proceeding, as I felt certain, from the bog-oak chest--but
I did not stop to investigate.

Oddly enough, that same year I had another experience of a similar
nature, whilst staying with some relatives of mine in a town many
miles remote from Dublin.

My bedroom on this occasion, however, was a cheerful contrast to the one
in which I witnessed the phenomenon in Dublin, and from the fact that
the colour of its wallpaper, carpet, curtains, bed-hangings, and
furniture was emerald, was appropriately termed the Green Room. Its
windows, large and low down, overlooked a garden that had been at one
time, so I was told, a morass, and this garden, which was even now, at
certain seasons of the year, excessively damp, was, in my opinion, the
only drawback to an otherwise charming place. The first time I saw it,
which was in my early childhood, I felt a cold, apprehensive chill steal
over me, nor did I, subsequently, ever pass by it without experiencing a
sensation of extreme horror and aversion. Consequently, much as I liked
the Green Room itself, I would have infinitely preferred sleeping on the
other side of the house. For the first few nights, however, I slept
well, and the room was so warm and sunny that I was even beginning to
get over my antipathy to its prospect, when I received a rude shock. I
had gone to bed at about eleven o'clock as usual, and, being unable to
sleep, was formulating in my brain plans for the morrow, when I suddenly
felt the bed violently agitated. My first thought was that some one was
playing a practical joke on me, but I quickly pooh-poohed that idea,
since, with the exception of one of the servants, I was by far the
youngest person in the house, and my relatives were much too staid and
sensible even to think of doing such a stupid thing. I next thought of
burglars, and being a great deal younger and, I admit, pluckier than I
am now, I struck a light, and, jumping out of bed, looked under it.
There was nothing there. Greatly relieved, I hastily got into bed again,
and, blowing out the candle, lay down. For some minutes all was still,
and then the foot of the bed rose several inches from the ground, and,
falling down with a dull crash, was shaken furiously. I was now very
much frightened, for I knew the disturbance was due to nothing purely
physical. Just at that very moment, too, a strong gust of air blowing in
through the window transported the atmosphere of the garden, and
simultaneously I was seized with a sense of utter loneliness and
despair. Lying back on my pillow, I now perceived the glistening white
figure, quite nude, of what looked like an abnormally tall, thin man,
with a cylindrical-shaped head, crawl from beneath my bed, and, suddenly
assuming an erect position, bound to the window, through which he
vanished to the darkness beyond.

The following day I made some excuse, and returned to Dublin; nor have I
ever slept in the Green Room since. From the general appearance of the
phenomenon, though I did not see its face, I have no hesitation in
saying that it was a Vagrarian, and that the primitive nature of the
garden attracted it thither.

That the famous Irish Banshee, like the Drummer and Pipers of Scotland,
the Death Candles of Wales, and the various English Family Ghosts, is
the work of a species of Elemental, to which I have given the name,
"Clanogrian," I have no doubt. The Celtic word Banshee, meaning the
woman of the barrow, may in all probability account for the popular idea
that whenever a member of one of the old Irish clans dies, their doom is
foretold (to any or every member of the family but themselves) by a
series of wails, in a woman's voice, the phantasm of the woman herself
being sometimes seen. But as a matter of fact there is a great variety
of form in these death-warnings peculiar to the Irish, and each historic
family has its own particular banshee. I have experienced the O'Donnell
Banshee (that Banshee that has ofttimes been heard in Spain, Italy,
France, and Austria, wherever, in fact, a member of the clan lives) on
one occasion. I was living at the seaside at the time, and had been in
bed about an hour, when I heard, as I thought, outside my door, not a
series, but just one wail, which, beginning in a low key, ended withal
in a scream so loud and agonising that my blood froze. Instinctively I
knew it was the Banshee. Scrambling out of bed, I opened the door, and
the moment I did so, several other doors opened, and a troup of
terrified figures, in night attire, came timidly out on to the landing.
One and all had heard the sound, which they, too, recognised as the
Banshee, but we saw nothing. That night a near relative of mine died!

As I have already hinted, our clan is numerous, and as many of its members
are now scattered throughout Europe, it is not often I come in touch with
them. Last year, however, I met one of my kinsmen, who was at that time
M.P. for a London constituency, and in the course of a long conversation
with him, I was interested to hear that on the eve of his father's death
both he and his brother had heard the single wail of the Banshee (just as
I had done) outside the door of the room in which they were sitting. They
both rushed out, as one naturally does on hearing it, but saw nothing.
Their father, it is needless to say, had been quite unconscious of the
Banshee, though he was keenly sensible of every other sound.

I think any one, who is acquainted with the history of Ireland, in which
my clan figures so prominently, will not be at all astonished that I
have been visited by so many psychic phenomena.

The last experience, in connection with Elementals, to which I will allude
here, happened to me some years ago, when I was renting a house in the
extreme West of England. The house, though new--I was the first
occupant--was not only close to a ridge of rocks, where it was alleged
that wreckers used to carry on their nefarious work until quite recently,
but was within walking distance of an ancient Celtic settlement.
Furthermore, from comparatively close at hand, several skeletons, supposed
to belong to the Neolithic Age, had recently been disinterred.

I entered the house with a perfectly unbiassed mind; indeed, the thought
that it might be haunted never for one moment entered my mind. Being at
that time unmarried, I had a housekeeper, who soon complained to me of
heavy, queer noises. Not wishing to lose her, I pooh-poohed the idea of
there being anything wrong with the place, and suggested that the sounds
were produced by the wind. It was a big, oddly-constructed place, full
of long, dark passages and gloomy nooks and cupboards. I occupied a room
on the top landing, separated from my housekeeper's by a
sepulchral-looking corridor. Facing my door was that of a room connected
by means of a low doorway with a big loft, the furthest extremities of
which were totally obscured from view by a perpetual shroud of darkness,
a darkness that the feeble rays of sunlight, filtering through the tiny
skylight in the slanting roof, entirely failed to dissipate. This loft
certainly did suggest the superphysical, and I felt that if any ghostly
presence walked the house, it had its headquarters in that spot.

Still, I heard nothing, nothing beyond the occasional banging of a
door and loud creakings on the staircase. My housekeeper, however,
left me, and her successor, who, to all appearances, was a practical,
matter-of-fact sort of woman, had not been with me many days
before she, too, gave notice.

"I never believed in ghosts till I came here," she told me, "but I am
certain there are such things now. For every night I hear not only the
strangest noises in my room, but the pattering of stealthy footsteps in
the passage--sounds which I feel certain could neither be produced by
rats nor the wind. Indeed, sir, I can't bear being left alone in the
basement of the house after dusk, as I have the feeling that something
uncanny walks about the house."

The housekeeper, who succeeded her, speedily gave notice for precisely
the same reason, and every one, who subsequently slept in the house,
complained that they had the most unpleasant sensations as soon as it
was dark, and heard the most extraordinary and harrowing noises.

One woman, an ex-Salvation Army officer, whom I left in charge of the
house during my temporary absence, told me she had been awakened in the
night by the sounds of shuffling footsteps that had stopped outside her
door, the handle of which was then slowly turned.

"I was awfully frightened," she said, "for I knew at once it was a
devil; but screwing up courage, I sang as loud as my parched throat
would allow me, 'Washed in the blood of the Lamb,' when the evil spirit
ceased its disturbances and I heard the sound of its steps in full
retreat up the staircase."

When the summer season was at its height, the manageress of one of the
adjacent hotels asked me if I would mind letting her have a room for the
night, in my house, as she really did not know where to put all her
visitors; there was no accommodation left for them in the town. I
consented, and the visitor, who happened to be a middle-aged lady, told
my housekeeper the following morning that she was sure the house was
haunted, as she had been awakened about two o'clock from the most
revolting dreams to hear the most curious footsteps--like those of some
big animal--approach her door. She then heard the sound of heavy
breathing, and watched the door handle gradually turn. "I then crossed
myself and prayed with all my might," she said, "when the thing retired,
and I heard its soft footsteps die away in the distance."

One morning, between three and four o'clock, I awoke from a very nasty
dream, in which I had seen a tall figure with a grey, evil face come
bounding up the stairs, three steps at a time, and along the passages
to my bedroom. I was so shocked at the appearance of this thing in my
dreams, that for several minutes after recovering conscious my heart
palpitated violently. I then heard the sound of stealthy footsteps
coming along the passage parallel with my bed. Nearer and nearer they
came, until they halted outside my door, on the top panels of which
there suddenly came a crash so tremendous that every article in the room
quivered. I jumped out of bed, threw open the door, and saw--nothing.
The passage was silent and empty.

The following night, taking various precautions to satisfy myself and
others that the noises were due to superphysical agencies, I covered the
floor of the passage outside my room with alternate layers of chalk,
flour, and sand, fastened wires across it, and blocked it up at one end
with a table, on the edge of which I carefully balanced a bottle of ink.

At the same time in the morning, however, the footsteps again came.
First of all they came to the table, when I distinctly heard the
ink-bottle hurled to the ground with a crash; then, passing through the
wires and over the chalk, flour, and sand, they drew up to my door. Sick
with suspense I awaited the crash, and the moment it came, sprang out
on the landing. There was nothing there, save an almost preternatural
hush and the cold grey of dawn, but the instant I withdrew into my room,
every wall and beam throughout the house shook with Satanical laughter!
I was now so horrified that I never kept vigil in the place again, but
left it shortly afterwards.

I subsequently heard from two entirely independent sources that an
apparition had been seen on the site of the house some years
previously. My first informant, Mrs. T., said: "One night, at about
twelve o'clock, as I was coming home from a party, I saw, just about
the place where your house now stands, the tall figure of a man with a
tiny, rotund head. It seemed to rise out of the ground, and, striding
forward with a slightly swaying motion, vanished over the cliff
exactly opposite your front door. The night being moonlight, I saw the
thing distinctly, and can well recall the horrible expression in its
light, round eyes and leering mouth. It had small, bestial features,
close-cropped hair, and a very grey complexion. Its arms and legs were
abnormally long and thin. I should think it stood fully seven feet. I
am sure it was nothing subjective, because when I rubbed my eyes it
was still there; neither could it have been any one masquerading, as
the cliff at that particular spot is fully forty feet high, and to
have jumped, or even dropped over it, could not have been done without
incurring serious injury. I did not learn till long afterwards that
the cliff has long borne a reputation for being haunted."

My other informant, who had certainly neither met this lady nor heard
her story, gave me an account of a similar experience she had had in the
same place. Hence I am inclined to think that the house was haunted by
an Elemental, either a Vagrarian or Vice Elemental, that had been
attracted thither either by the loneliness of the locality, or the
barrow (to which I have alluded), or by the crimes formerly perpetrated
on the cliff by wreckers.

It was in this house that I witnessed a manifestation prior to the
death of a near relative of mine. As I have seen a similar apparition
since, and have heard of a thing answering to the same description
being seen separately by members of my family, I am inclined to
classify it with Family Elementals, rather than to associate it with
the Elemental I have just described.

The incident took place one morning at about four o'clock. My attention
being drawn to a bright object in one corner of my room, I sat up in bed
and looked at it, when to my horror I saw a spherical mass of vibrating,
yellow-green light suddenly materialise into the round head of Something
half human, half animal, and wholly evil! The face was longer than that
of a human being, whilst the upper part, which was correspondingly wide,
gradually narrowed till it terminated in a very pronounced and prominent
chin. The head was covered with a mass of tow-coloured, matted hair; the
face was entirely clean-shaven. The thin lips, which were wreathed in a
wicked leer, displayed very long, pointed teeth. But it was the eyes,
which were fixed on mine with a steady stare, that arrested and riveted
my attention. In hue they were of a light green, in expression they were
hellish, for no other word can so adequately express the unfathomable
intensity of their diabolical glee, and, as I gazed at them in helpless
fascination, my blood froze. I do not think the manifestation lasted
more than a few seconds, though to me, of course, it seemed an eternity.
It vanished simultaneously with a loud and utterly inexplicable crash
(as if countless crockery was being smashed) in the passage outside my
door. In the morning I learned of the death of a near relative who had
died just at the time I witnessed the phenomenon.

A striking instance of another kind of phantasm, which I can only
conclude is an Elemental of the order of Clanogrians, occurred quite
recently. In a work of mine entitled "The Haunted Houses of London,"
published last year, I narrated an instance of a lady who, prior to the
death of her husband, heard a grandfather clock (there being no clock of
that description in the house), first of all, strike thirteen, and then,
at intervals, several other numbers, which were subsequently found to
denote the exact date of her husband's death.

Some months after the appearance of this book, I went to see "The Blue
Bird," and found myself seated next but one to the lady who experienced
the phenomenon of the clock. In between the acts she leaned forward to
speak to me, and said: "Isn't it odd, I have heard that clock again, Mr.
O'Donnell, and it struck thirteen just as before? And what is still more
strange, a few days ago, as I was sitting in my drawing-room, I heard a
gong--I have no such thing in my house--very solemnly strike a certain
number of times, quite close to me. Unfortunately, I did not count the
strokes; but what do you think it means?"

I replied that I did not know; possibly, perhaps, the death of some
relative. At the same time, I instinctively felt that the sounds
foretold her own doom--a presentiment which, alas! was only too true, as
Mrs. ---- was killed a few days afterwards in a somewhat extraordinary
taxi-cab collision in Portman Square. As Mrs. ---- was a lady well known
in Society, the accident was fully reported in several of the leading
London dailies--in fact, that was how I first heard of it.



CHAPTER II.

PHANTASMS OF THE LIVING AND DEAD--DEATH WARNINGS AND DREAMS.


In one of my works I have alluded to the case of Miss D. (a signed
account of which appeared in the October number, 1899, of the "Magazine
for the Society of Psychical Research"), who unconsciously projected her
superphysical body into the presence of four witnesses, including
myself, and once when I was staying in Northampton a rather amusing
incident with regard to projection happened to me. I went to Castle
Street Station to see Mrs. W., a connection of mine, off, and as the
train steamed out of the "bay," I was very much surprised to see her
lean out of the window and wave to me. Of course, I waved back, but
thinking such a proceeding on her part was most extraordinary, as I knew
her to be extremely dignified, and averse to anything "tripperish," I
made a note of the circumstance, and resolved to allude to it when next
we met. I did so, but although I made use of all the tact I possess,
Mrs. W. was intensely annoyed, and, of course, indignantly denied
having done such a thing. Now, was this a case of unconscious
projection, or merely of suggestion? I am inclined to think the former.

The same thing happened at Temple Mead Station, Bristol, when I was
again seeing Mrs. W. off to her home. This time I rubbed my eyes, and
still her phantom was at the window, waving vigorously until the train
had travelled some distance!

In an article specially written for "Cassell's Magazine" last year, I
described how, on certain nights in the year (New Year's Eve for
example), I have seen the phantasms of people destined to play some more
or less important rôle in my subsequent life. I have referred to this
peculiar form of phenomenon, too, in my book, "The Haunted Houses of
London," and I am now afforded the opportunity of quoting a third
instance. One New Year's Eve a few years ago I was at a small country
station in the Midlands, waiting for the Birmingham train. As the
weather was very cold and wet, there were few travellers, and the
platform, gloomy and streaming with water, presented a singularly
forlorn and forbidding appearance. Having been confined indoors all
day, I was glad to snatch any opportunity for stretching my limbs, and
was pacing up and down in the rain, when I narrowly avoided collision
with a very elegantly--though unseasonably--dressed lady. Apart from
being pretty, she had a decidedly intellectual face, and I was so struck
with her, that I admit I wheeled round with the intention of passing her
again, when to my astonishment there was no one to be seen, and on my
enquiring both of the station-master and solitary porter who the lady
was, it was positively asserted that no such person had entered the
station. Some months later, when taking tea at a club in Knightsbridge,
I was introduced to Lady ----, whom I immediately recognised as the lady
I had seen on New Year's Eve. I mentioned the incident to her, and she
laughingly told me she had never been to such a place. Lady ----
is now a great friend of mine.

Also the phantasms of people, who have at any time deeply impressed
me, appear to me frequently. Some years ago I was always seeing the
phantasm of H., a boy to whom I had the strangest aversion when I was
at C. College. I recollect the first time I witnessed the phenomenon
was in the High Street, Falmouth. I was walking with an old school
friend, now Major F., of the ---- Regiment. Seeing H. suddenly cross
the road very slowly in front of us, I exclaimed, "Why, how
extraordinary! If that isn't H.! You remember H. at school, don't you?
He hasn't altered in the slightest."

F. laughed. "What are you talking about?" he said. "I certainly do
remember H., but he's not here. Whatever makes you think of him?"

I looked again, and the figure of H. had completely disappeared. Within
that year I saw the phantasm of H. five or six times, but always in
different places, and always when my thoughts were far removed from him.
The question now arises as to whether what I saw was subjective or
objective; if the former, whether it was due to telepathy, suggestion,
or hallucination; if the latter, whether it was superphysical or
illusionary? And here again, I am inclined to attribute the phenomenon
both to the objective and superphysical.

I have alluded in one of my former works to the only really satisfactory
instance in which I have consciously projected my superphysical body,
though I have made various attempts. My failures are, I think, due to
the difficulty I experience in obtaining the necessary conditions of
perfect tranquillity of mind and absolute physical silence. An
interesting experiment I have tried, and in which I hope eventually to
succeed, is as follows:--I lean my forehead against the door of a room
in which several people are seated with cameras. Concentrating
tremendously hard, I bring before my mind a vivid picture of the
contents of that room. The picture becomes clearer and clearer, until I
can see every little detail in it, when I suddenly find myself passing
through the door into the brilliantly illuminated space beyond. An
instant more, and I feel my presence would be revealed to the sitters,
but at the critical moment something mysterious happens, and my
superphysical ego is sharply recalled to my physical body.

Before I refer to my experiences with phantasms of the Dead,
I think some allusions to death warnings by dreams and otherwise
may be of interest.

When I was a little boy, I well remember a Miss C. coming into the room
in which I was sitting, and observing to my companion, "I am sure
something is going to happen to my mother, for as I was crossing the
road just now I distinctly saw her standing on the edge of the pavement
beckoning to me. As I approached, she suddenly vanished."

Two hours later Miss C. again came into my room. This time she was
holding a telegram in her hand, and crying bitterly. "I was sure
something would happen," she said: "my mother is dead. She died just
about the time I saw her."

The house in which I was then staying was in Bath, and Miss C.'s
mother died in Worcester.

The next instance of a phenomenon of this nature occurred years later,
when I was an assistant master in a Preparatory School for the Royal
Navy. I was chatting with the principal one night in his study, which
was in the rear of the house, overlooking a somewhat dreary back
garden. The headmaster was making some remark on the new regulations
that were shortly to come in force with respect to the Entrance
Examination to the _Britannia_, when he suddenly stopped short, and
with a kind of gasping cry that made my blood run cold, pointed to the
white window blind. "See!" he said, "see! it's my father! He's in his
grave-clothes, signalling to me. Oh! my God! he must be dead!" He then
sank back in his chair, breathing heavily. For some seconds there was
a silence which to me, at any rate, was most painful; he then
exclaimed, "It's gone now. Did you see it?"

I replied that I had not seen anything except a violent agitation of the
blind, which agitation, curiously enough, he had not noticed. The next
morning he received a telegram saying his father was dead; the latter
had died about the time his phantasm had been seen by his son.

Though I cannot say I have any great faith in the majority of omens,
such as spilling salt and seeing magpies, nevertheless there are some to
which I do attach importance. The same Miss C., to whom I have just
referred, told me one evening that she had just seen a winding-sheet in
the candle, and that it pointed towards her. That same night she dreamed
one of her teeth came out, and on it was a portrait of her brother Jack.
The following day she received a telegram to the effect that Jack had
died suddenly from an attack of apoplexy.

I have frequently seen phantasms of the dead both in haunted houses
and elsewhere. One of the best friends I ever had was "K.," who was
a fellow student with me when I was reading in Dublin. K., who
came of a very distinguished military family, and was the great-nephew
of the Baroness B., used often to chat with me about the possibilities
of the future life.

"Look here," he said to me one night, "I'll make you a promise. If
anything happens to me within the next few years I'll appear to you."

I laughingly told him I should be very pleased to see his ghost, and
that I would do all I could to make it feel thoroughly at home. Some
months later, "K." went to South Africa, where he eventually joined one
of the Mounted Police Forces. One evening, when I was sitting alone in
my room in D., I suddenly felt very cold, and on glancing towards the
window saw a figure standing in the recess. Though the figure was misty,
luminous, and not at all clearly defined, I had no difficulty in
recognising it as the phantasm of "K.," who had certainly not been in my
thoughts for some long time. He appeared to be wearing a khaki uniform,
which was very much torn and blood-stained. His face was deathly white
and shockingly mutilated, and his eyes, which were wide open and glassy,
were fixed on me with a blank stare. It was a horrid spectacle, and I
was so shocked that I fell back in my chair, feeling sick and faint. I
do not think the manifestation lasted more than a minute at the most. A
few days later, I read in the papers that Major Wilson's party had been
ambushed and cut to pieces on the Shangani River, and among the names of
the victims was that of "K."

Another experience of this nature happened to me whilst I was staying in
Northamptonshire. I was cycling along a road one very hot summer day,
when I suddenly perceived, pedalling steadily away ahead of me, a
cyclist in a grey suit. How he had got there was a mystery, for the road
was straight, there were no turnings, and I had not seen him pass me.
Moreover, there was something very odd both about the rider and his
machine, for despite the dryness of the day, the man's clothes and
bicycle were splashed with mud and dripping with water. Curious to see
his face, I tried my hardest to overtake him, but fast as I went, the
distance between us never seemed to decrease, although he apparently did
not alter his pace. At last we came to a steep hill marked DANGEROUS,
and I saw lumbering slowly up it a heavy drayman's cart. Without
slacking speed the grey cyclist rode recklessly down, and, to my intense
horror, dashed straight into the cart. Jumping off my machine, I placed
it against the hedge, and ran to the cart, fully expecting to see the
mangled remains of the foolhardy rider. To my astonishment, however,
there were no signs of him anywhere, and the driver of the vehicle was
politely incredulous when I told him what I had seen. I subsequently
learned, though not, I admit, on very reliable authority, that a cyclist
had been killed on that hill two or three years previously, but whether
the accident took place on a wet day, or whether the cyclist was clad in
a grey suit, I could not ascertain.

An incident which I have omitted to mention in the proper order,
namely, among phantasms of the Living, happened to me in a village
near Yarmouth. I was on tour at the time, and had gone for a long walk
on Sunday afternoon in the country. On my way back I arrived at the
village of E., and as I was passing a very pretty thatched-roof
cottage, saw, to my astonishment, an actress I had known on tour (and
whose professional name was Ethel Raynor) standing on the path. She
was holding both hands outstretched towards me, and in each of them
was a large bunch of snowdrops. I saw her very distinctly, as she
seemed to give out a light of her own, a bright white glow which
emanated from every part of her body. Her features--she was a
singularly handsome girl--were perfectly life-like, though the total
absence of colour made her appear unnatural. Her eyes, which were dark
and beautiful, were fixed on me with an expression of the utmost
intensity, and from the slight movement of her lips I felt sure she
wanted to say something. I stepped forward with the intention of
addressing her, and the instant I did so, she vanished. On arriving at
my rooms, I made a note of the occurrence in my diary, and was very
surprised to hear that, instead of dying, Miss Raynor had married--her
marriage taking place on the day I had seen her phantasm. Within a
year, however, her husband deserted her, and she committed suicide!

With reference to dreams, there is a vast field for speculation.
In a subsequent chapter I shall state a few of my theories regarding
them. It will suffice here merely to enumerate a few instances
from my own experience.

I once recollect having a very vivid dream in which I saw a man, with
whom I was slightly acquainted, thrown from his horse and terribly
mutilated. The horse looked so evil, and acted with such an
extraordinary amount of diabolical cunning, that I have always felt
suspicious of horses since. The dream was literally fulfilled.

I have often been warned against certain people in dreams, and found
that these warnings were fully justified. For example, when I was the
solitary guest of a man (who, by the way, was the nephew of a celebrated
peer) abroad, I dreamed that my host came into my room and drew the
picture of a crown on my mirror with a piece of red chalk. He then
retraced his steps in silent glee, and as he closed the door behind him,
the glass in the mirror gave a loud crack, and fell on the floor with a
crash. I was so impressed with the dream that I became prejudiced in no
slight degree against my host, and when the latter, a few days later,
tried to persuade me to invest money in a mining enterprise in Cornwall,
I refused; and it was very fortunate I did so, for the mine which had
been opened with so much show and flourish failed, and nearly all the
shareholders were ruined.

Many years ago I visited the State of B----, and shortly after my
arrival at a farm, situated some distance from any settlement, I made
the acquaintance of a neighbouring farmer and his wife, of the name of
Coney. The Coneys, perceiving that I did not like my present
surroundings, suggested that they should take me to the next Province in
their waggon. I was to pay them one and a half dollars a day, in return
for which I was to receive such sleeping accommodation as the waggon
could afford and full board. The route, they took very good care to
assure me, was both beautiful and interesting. Crossing the C----
Mountains, and passing within sight of a famous crater lake and Lake
D----, they would go through mile after mile of forest, teeming with big
game and lovely scenery. As I was young (I was comparatively fresh from
a Public School) and very fond of adventure, the prospect of seeing so
much new country and of doing a little shooting appealed to me very
strongly. Consequently, though I was by no means favourably impressed
with the looks either of the farmer (a squat, beetle-browed man) or of
his wife (a dark, saturnine woman with sly brown eyes and a cruel
mouth), I was on the whole inclined to accept their offer. For the rest
of the day after their visit I deliberated what I should do, and that
night I had a very vivid dream. I saw myself lying asleep in a waggon
which was standing close to the edge of a tremendous abyss. The horses,
which had been taken from the shafts, were tethered to the trunks of two
lofty fir trees, and close to them, engaged in earnest confabulation,
were the farmer and his wife. The moonbeams, falling direct on their
faces, rendered both features and expressions clearly visible, and as I
gazed into their eyes and recognised the intensity of their evil
natures, my soul sickened--they were plotting to murder me. Gliding over
the red-brown soil with noiseless feet, they crept up to the waggon, and
seizing the individual I identified as myself by the head and feet, they
hurled him into the chasm. There was the sound of a splash in the far
distance--and--I awoke. My mind was now made up. I would remain where I
was for the present, at least. And very thankful I am for the warning,
since I afterwards learned that the Coneys bore a very sinister
reputation, and that had I gone with them there is but little doubt they
would have robbed and murdered me.

A friend of mine, who is an officer in the ---- Regiment, dreamed
three times that he was descending a road, at the bottom of which was
a bridge overhead. When he came to the bridge, a man who was in hiding
there rushed out and shot him. The scene was so real and the details
so graphic that my friend was greatly impressed. One day, when he was
walking in the South of Spain, he came to a dip in the road, and
there, before him, lay the scene he had seen so often in his dreams.
He was now in some doubt as to whether he should go on, as he felt
sure the person he had dreamed of would dash out on him. After some
hesitation, however, he proceeded, and eventually arrived at the
bridge. There was no one there, nor did he suffer any molestation
whatsoever on his way home. It is impossible to explain why the dream
should only have been verified in part.

I have many times dreamed I have been fishing in a wood by a waterfall,
and so vividly has the scenery been portrayed that I have got to know
every stick and stone in the place. So far, however, I have never come
across the objective counterpart of that cascade. In other instances I
have found myself visiting the actual spots I have seen in my visions.
For instance, I constantly dreamed of a curious-looking red and white
ship with two funnels, side by side, three masts and a hull, very high
out of the water. Something always told me the vessel was for some
peculiar use, but I could never discover what, neither could I make out
the name which was written on her bows. I could read the first three
letters, but no more. On arriving at a seaside town in the West of
England shortly after one of these vivid nocturnal visions, I saw a
steamer in the bay which I instantly identified as that of my dreams,
whilst to make me still more certain, the letters on her bows
corresponded with those I had seen in my sleep. She had been specially
designed as an Atlantic Cable boat!

Before going to America I distinctly recollect dreaming that I was
standing by myself in the corridor of an enormous hotel. I saw no other
visitors, only one or two porters in very faded uniforms, and
instinctively felt that I was the only guest in the place. This feeling
filled me with awe, and I was dreading the idea of spending a night on
one of the deserted landings, when I awoke. On arriving in San Francisco
some months later, I was conducted by a passenger agent to an hotel,
which I at once recognised as the hotel of my dreams. There was the same
tier upon tier of empty galleries, the same almost interminable
succession of gloomy, deserted corridors and row upon row of gaping
doors leading into silent, tenantless rooms, whilst to complete the
likeness the hall porters wore exactly similar uniforms. From a variety
of causes I was, so the clerk at the booking-office informed me, the
only visitor in the building.

If dreams of present-day places have their objective counterparts, and
dreams of future scenes are fulfilled, is it not feasible that dreams
of the past should be equally veritable? I see no reason why it should
not be so. I have often dreamed of ancient cities teeming with people
clad in loose, flowing drapery and turbans, or tight hose and armour.
I have rubbed shoulders with red-crossed knights, and followed in the
wake of bare-headed monks and light-footed priests. I have gazed
admiringly into the faces of fair ladies whose shining hair was
surmounted with lofty, conical hats, and I have moved aside to make
way for great dames on milk-white palfreys.

In my dreams I have lived in all ages, breathed all kinds of
atmospheres, seen all kinds of events. One or two of these dreams haunt
me now. I remember, for example, dreaming that I was in a very quaint
old town covered with cobblestones. I had a lady with me who was very
near and dear to me, and my object was to protect her from the crowds of
hustling, jostling merrymakers who crowded the thoroughfares. From the
style of dress I saw on all sides, and which both I and my companion
wore, I knew we were in the Middle Ages. But where we were and what was
going on I could not tell. After threading our way through endless
narrow streets, lined with gabled wooden houses, whose upper storeys
projected far over their entrances, we at length arrived at a big square
in which a vast number of people were watching a show. There were three
actors--a devil in a tight-fitting black costume and mask, and two imps
in red, whilst the show consisted of the acrobatic performance of a
number of tricks played by the imps on the devil, who apparently tried
his level best to catch his tormentors, but always failed. Though my
companion and I thought it extremely stupid, the crowd enjoyed it
thoroughly, and I saw one or two stout red-faced women and several burly
men-at-arms convulsed with laughter.

Suddenly, however, when the performance was at its height, there was an
abrupt pause--two priests, with knit brows and glittering eyes, glided
up to a girl, and, placing a hand on each of her arms, led her
despairingly away, the crowd showing their approval of the act by
shaking their fists in the poor wretch's face. Seized with a terrible
fear lest my companion should likewise be taken, I hurried her away, and
as we hastened along I heard the most fearful screams of agony. On and
on we went, until we came to an open space in the town, void of people,
and surrounded by dark, forbidding-looking houses. I halted, and was
deliberating which direction to take, when my companion clutched me by
the elbow. I turned round, and saw, a few yards behind us, three
priests, who, fixing their eyes malevolently on us, darted forward.
Catching my companion by the hand, I was preparing to drag her into one
of the houses opposite, when my foot slipped, and the next moment I saw
her struggling in the hands of her relentless captors. There was a long,
despairing cry--and I awoke. I have had this same dream, detail by
detail, five times, and I know the faces of all the principals in
it now as well as I know my own.

Curiously enough, I have dreamed of the same place, but at a different
period. I have found myself walking along the quaint streets with a
girl, whom I instinctively knew was my wife, past crowds of laughing,
frolicing people dressed in the costume of the French Revolutionary
period. We have come to the open space with the dark, forbidding
houses, when I have slipped just as two savage-looking men in red caps
have dashed out on us. My companion has attempted to escape; they
have pursued her, and with the wails of her death-agony in my ears I
have awakened. Can it be that these dreams are reminiscences of a
former existence, of scenes with which I was once familiar? Or have
they been vividly portrayed to me by an Elemental? I fancy the
latter to be the more likely.

Occasionally I have a peculiarly phantastic dream, in which I find myself
in the depths of a dark forest, standing by a rocky pool, the sides of
which are covered with all kinds of beautiful lichens. As I am gazing
meditatively at the water, a slight noise from behind makes me look round,
when I perceive the tall figure of a man in grey hunting costume, _à la_
Robin Hood, with a bow in one of his hands and a quiver of arrows by his
side. His face is grey, and his eyes long and dark and glittering. He
points to the root of a tree, where I perceive a huge green wooden wheel,
that suddenly commences to roll. In an instant the forest is alive with
grey archers, who fire a volley of arrows at the wheel, and endeavour to
stop it. An arm is thrown round me, I am swung off the ground, and when I
alight on the earth again it is to find myself on a flight of winding stone
steps, in what I suppose is a very lofty tower. The walls on either side
of me are of rough-hewn stone, and on peering through a small grated
window, I can see, many feet beneath me, the silvery surface of a broad
river and a wide expanse of emerald grass. I ascend up, up, up, until I
arrive in a large room, brilliantly illuminated with sunbeams. Hanging on a
wall is a picture representing a woman gazing at a grey door, which is
slowly opening. On the door something is written, which I feel is the
keynote to Life and Death, and I am endeavouring to interpret it when a
hand falls on my shoulder. I look round, and standing beside me is the grey
huntsman. I awake with his subtle, baffling smile vividly before me. A
moment more and I might have been initiated into the great mystery I
have long been endeavouring to solve.

I have little faith in dreams of marriages and deaths. They so seldom
portend what they were once supposed to do. In my opinion, they are the
suggestions of mischievous Elementals.

In concluding this chapter, I will describe a dream I had comparatively
recently. I fancied it was late at night, and that I was on the Thames
Embankment. The only person in sight was a well-dressed man in a
frock-coat and silk hat, who was leaning over the parapet. Feeling
certain from his attitude that he was contemplating suicide, I yielded
to impulse, and, walking up to him, said, "You seem to be very unhappy!
Can I do anything for you?" Raising his head, he looked at me, when to
my astonishment I at once recognised the grey huntsman I had seen in the
dream which I have previously narrated. Complexion, hair, eyes, mouth,
were the same--the expression alone differed. On this occasion he was
sad. "You need not be afraid," he said. "I cannot put an end to my
existence. I wish I could." "Why can't you?" I enquired with interest.
And I have never forgotten the emphasis of his reply. "Because," he
responded, "I am an Evil Force, a Vice Elemental."

Some months after this, when I was travelling one night from Victoria to
Gipsy Hill, I had as my sole companion a well-dressed man in a soft Panama
hat, who appeared to be occupied in a novel. I did not pay the slightest
attention to him till the train stopped at Wandsworth Common, when he
proceeded to get out. As he glided by me on his way to the door, he stooped
down and, smiling sardonically, passed out into the darkness of the night.
It was the man of my dreams, the huntsman and the would-be suicide!



PART II.

PHENOMENA WITNESSED BY OTHER PEOPLE.



CHAPTER III.

"ELEMENTALS."


The reticence people in general show towards having their names and
houses mentioned in print has led me to substitute fictitious names in
most of the cases referred to in this chapter.

In one of my former works I alluded to a phantasm with a pig's head I
saw standing outside an old burial ground in Guilsborough, Northampton.
Some years after the occurrence I was discussing the occult with my
father-in-law, Henry Williams, M.D. (late of Chapel Place, Cavendish
Square), and was very much surprised when he told me that he, too, had
witnessed the same or a similar phenomena in Guilsborough. I append the
statement he made with regard to it:--

                                           "GUILSBOROUGH,
                                              "NORTHAMPTON,
                                                "_January 23, 1909._

     "I well remember many years ago, when a boy, running upstairs into
     the top room of a certain house in Guilsborough and seeing a tall,
     thin figure of a man with an animal's head crouching on the bed. I
     was so frightened when I saw it that I ran out of the room as fast
     as I could.

                                        "HENRY W. WILLIAMS, M.D."

My father-in-law had certainly made no mention of what he had seen to me
before he heard my experience, neither had I the slightest idea that
such a phantasm had been encountered in the village by any one but
myself. Close to the house where he saw the phenomena I believe an
ancient sacrificial stone was once found, whilst in the same
neighbourhood there are the remains of a barrow and numerous other
evidences of the Stone Age; hence the pig-faced phantasm may have been
either a Vice Elemental attracted to Guilsborough by the human blood
once spilt on the sacrificial stone, or by certain crimes committed in
and around the village in modern times, or by the thoughts of some
peculiarly bestial-minded person, or people, buried in the now disused
cemetery; or, again, the phantasm may have been the actual earth-bound
spirit of some very vicious person, whose appearance would be in
accordance with the life he or she led when on earth. Which of the two
it is I cannot, of course, say: that is--for the present, at
least--beyond human knowledge.

I have recorded another haunting of a similar nature.

Writing to me from Devizes on May 15th, 1910, Mr. "I. Walton" says:--

    "DEAR SIR,

    "I have just been reading your book, 'Haunted Houses of London.' It
    recalls to my mind a hideous apparition which I witnessed about ten
    days ago, and which made such an impression on my mind that I send
    you particulars of it.

    "I was on a visit to my two sons, who live at No. 37, M---- Square,
    Chelsea. On the first night of my visit I slept in a room on the
    third floor facing the Square. I have no knowledge of the science
    you profess, and no personal faith in supernatural apparition, but
    the spectacle I witnessed was so extraordinary that, by the light of
    your thrilling narratives, it looks as though I may have been
    sleeping in a room that has been the scene of a tragedy.

    "The room was not utterly dark, and some light penetrated from the
    lamps in the Square, but as I lay with my face to the wall, all in
    front of me was dark.

    "I fell asleep, and remained so for an hour or more, when I suddenly
    awoke with a great jerk, and found confronting me the most awful
    apparition you can imagine. It was a dwarfed, tubby figure with a
    face like a pig, perfectly naked, in a strong bright light. The
    whole figure resembled in appearance the scalded body of a pig of
    average size, but the legs and arms were those of a human being
    brutalised, male or female I could not say. In ten or fifteen
    seconds it vanished, leaving me in a profuse perspiration and
    trembling, from which I did not recover for some time. But I slept
    off the rest of the night.

    "When the landlady came to call me (she slept on the third floor
    back) she pointed out that a picture on the connecting door had
    fallen down between my bed and the next room. Doubtless it was the
    fall of the picture that waked me up with a start. But what about
    the apparition? I can only assign it to some occult cause.

                     "I remain, dear Sir,
                            "Yours faithfully,
                                     "'I. WALTON.'"

In this instance it is, of course, very difficult to tell whether the
phenomena is Subjective or Objective. Presuming it to be Objective,
which I am inclined to believe it was, then it was either the
earth-bound spirit of some particularly vicious person who was in some
way connected with the house, or else it was a Vice Elemental attracted
to the house either by the foul thoughts of some occupant or by some
murder formerly committed there.

Writing to me again on June 13th, 1910, Mr. "I. Walton" says:--

     "DEAR SIR,

     "I am quite willing that you should find a place for my experience
     in your forthcoming book. I think I omitted one detail of the
     spectre: it had bright yellow hair worn in ringlets extending
     barely as far as the shoulders.

                            "Yours faithfully,
                                     "'I. WALTON.'"

Another case in which there is little or no doubt of the apparition
being a Vice Elemental was related to me by Mrs. Bruce, whose husband
was recently stationed in India. Her narrative is as follows:--

"We once lived in a bungalow that had been built on the site of a house
whose inhabitants had been barbarously murdered by the Sepoys during the
Indian Mutiny, and we had not occupied it many days before we were
disturbed by hearing a curious, crooning noise coming from various parts
of the building. The moment we entered a room, whence the noise seemed
to proceed, there was silence, while the instant our backs were turned
it recommenced. We never saw anything, however, until one day when my
husband, hearing the sounds, hurriedly entered the room in which he
fancied he could locate them. He then saw the blurred outlines of
something--he could only describe as semi-human--suddenly rise from one
of the corners and dart past him. The disturbances were so worrying that
we eventually left the house."

In this case the amount of blood spilt on the site of the bungalow would
in itself be a sufficient cause for the hauntings, and my only surprise
is that it did not attract many more Elementals of this species.

Miss Frances Sinclair had an uncanny experience whilst travelling by
rail between Chester and London last autumn.

On entering a tunnel, at about six in the evening, Miss Sinclair was
quite positive there was no one in the compartment saving herself and
her dog. Judge then her astonishment and dismay, when she suddenly saw,
seated opposite her, the huddled-up figure of what she took to be a man
with his throat cut! He had two protruding fishy eyes, which met hers in
a glassy stare. He was dressed in mustard-coloured clothes, and had a
black bag by his side. Miss Sinclair was at once seized with a violent
impulse to destroy herself, and whilst her dog was burying its nose in
the folds of her dress and exhibiting every indication of terror, Miss
Sinclair was doing all she could to prevent herself jumping out of the
carriage. Just when she thought she must succumb and was on the verge of
opening the door, the tunnel ended, the phantasm vanished, and her
longing for self-destruction abruptly ceased. She had never before, she
assures me, experienced any such sensations.

Here, of course, it is impossible to say whether what she witnessed
was Subjective or Objective, but assuming the latter, then I am
inclined to think that the apparition, judging by its appearance and
the desires it generated, was a Vice Elemental, and not a Phantasm of
the Dead. It need not necessarily have been attached to the
compartment in which she happened to see it, but may have haunted the
tunnel itself, manifesting itself in various ways.

An author, whom I will designate Mr. Reed, told me a few weeks ago, that
he and his brother, on going upstairs one evening, had seen the figure
of a man with a cone-shaped head suddenly stalk past them, and, bounding
up the stairs, vanish in the gloom. Though naturally very surprised,
neither Mr. Reed nor his brother were in the least degree frightened. On
the contrary, they were greatly interested, as the phantasm answered so
well to their ideas of a bogey! As both brothers saw it, and neither of
them were in the least degree nervous, I am inclined to think that this
phantom was a Vagrarian, and that its presence in the house was due
either to some prehistoric relic that lay buried near at hand, or to the
loneliness and isolation of the place.

Mrs. H. Dodd had a strange experience with an Elemental. "Waking up one
night many years ago," she tells me, "I saw a tall figure standing by my
bedside. It appeared to have a light inside it, and gave the same
impression that a hand does when held in front of a candle. I could see
the red of the flesh and dark-blue lines of the ribs--the whole was
luminous. What the face was like I do not know, as I never got so far,
being much too frightened to look. It bent over me, and I hid my head in
the bedclothes with fright. When I told my parents about it at
breakfast, to my surprise no one laughed at me; why, I do not know,
unless the house was haunted and they knew it. My brother said he had
seen a tall figure disappear into the wall of his room in the night."

As Mrs. Dodd adds that a near relative of hers died about that time, it
is, of course, possible that the phantasm was that of the latter,
although from the possibilities of grotesqueness suggested by what she
saw of the ghost, as well as from the fact that the house was newly
built in a neighbourhood peculiarly favourable to Elementals, I am
inclined to assign it to that class of apparitions.

Some months ago I received from the Baroness Von A---- the following
account of a haunting experienced by her family:--

     "DEAR MR. O'DONNELL" (she writes),

     "I should be much obliged if you would tell me the meaning of the
     things witnessed by my grandmother, Lady W----, widow of General
     Sir B. W----. I must first tell you that she was always a most
     truthful, sensible and unimaginative woman, that I am quite sure
     she would not have invented or added to anything she told so often.
     The story is thus:--

     "During the fifties or sixties, she and my grandfather, then
     Colonel W----, went to stay with some very old friends of theirs,
     Colonel and Mrs. V----, at their place in the country: I forget the
     name, but think it was near Worcester. Neither of my grand-parents
     had ever heard of anything supernatural in connection with the
     V----'s house, yet my grandmother told me she felt a sense of the
     most acute discomfort the minute she entered her friends' house.
     This, however, passed off until, having occasion to go upstairs to
     her room after dinner to fetch her needlework, she felt it again on
     crossing the hall. Scarcely had she started to mount the stairs
     than she distinctly heard footsteps behind her. She stopped, so did
     they; so, thinking it a trick of imagination, she went on, when the
     footsteps went on, too. They could not possibly be the echo of
     hers, as she heard the sound of her own, and the others were quite
     different, lighter and shorter. They followed her to the door of
     her bedroom, the door of which she quickly shut and bolted, as she
     was feeling very frightened, but all the time she felt the
     footsteps were waiting for her outside. At last she made up her
     mind to go down again, but scarcely had she emerged from her room
     and started to go down the corridor, when the footsteps
     recommenced. Thoroughly frightened, she ran to the drawing-room,
     never stopping till she was in the midst of her friends, but
     hearing all the while the light steps flying after her. They
     stopped only when she entered the drawing-room. On Mrs. V----
     remarking on her pale face, my grandmother told her what had
     happened. Mrs. V---- then announced that the footsteps were a
     common occurrence, that nearly every one in the house had heard
     them, and that a thorough investigation had been made without
     result--there was no explanation. My grandmother heard the
     footsteps on several other occasions.

     "The other manifestations occurred during her stay in the same
     house. It was some days after the last occurrence, that my
     grandfather had occasion to go up to town with Colonel V----,
     leaving my grandmother alone. Quite contrary to her usual habit,
     when bedtime came she felt unaccountably nervous, and therefore
     asked a friend, Miss R----, who was also a guest at the V----'s, to
     stay with her for the night. They went to bed and to sleep, but not
     for long. They were both awakened by the clock on the landing
     outside striking twelve, when they both sat up in bed
     simultaneously, owing to their hearing the most unaccountable
     knocking over their heads, although, otherwise, the house was
     absolutely silent. They listened, and heard it again and again, and
     my grandmother said it sounded to them both as if nails were being
     driven into a coffin. The knocking continued for some time, until,
     unable to bear it any longer, Miss R---- jumped out of bed and
     said, 'Well! I'm going to see what it is; it is evidently coming
     from the room on the floor above, just over us, and I must find
     out.' My grandmother volunteered to go with her, and they crept up
     to the second storey, the knocking getting louder each step they
     took. On arriving at the door whence the sounds--which were very
     distinct now--proceeded, they found the door was locked, and as
     they turned the handle for the second time the knocking ceased, to
     be replaced by the most gruesome and hellish laughter. Too
     frightened to go on with their investigations, they fled
     downstairs, the laughter continuing as they ran. Immediately they
     entered their room the knocking recommenced, and went on for a
     considerable time, and when it stopped, being both too frightened
     to sleep, they lit a lamp and talked till the morning. When the
     housemaid brought them their tea, she remarked on their worn looks,
     and on being told the reason, said, 'Oh, dear! That's Mr. Harry's
     room, and it's always kept locked when he is away. If only nothing
     has happened to him!'

     "During the day a telegram came to say that the eldest boy, Harry,
     who was then in London, had died during the night; they did not
     even know he was ill.

     "One thing I ought to mention is that a large cage of doves stood
     outside on the second floor landing. As a rule, these birds are
     frightened at the smallest sound, but my grandmother says she
     noticed that they never moved, although the noise of the knocking
     and laughter was enough to waken any one."

The Baroness Von A---- goes on to ask if I think the disturbances were
due to Phantasms of the Dead or to Elementals. I told her that, in my
opinion, the knockings and laughter were due to one and the same
agency, namely, that of an Elemental which had attached itself to the
house in the same way as other Elementals--commonly known as Family
Ghosts--attach themselves to families. Very probably the Elemental was
attracted to the house in the first instance by some crime committed
there, or it may even have been attracted to the soil prior to the
building of the house. Such spirits vary in their attitude to Man. "The
Yellow Boy," for instance, that haunted a certain room at Knebworth,
appearing periodically to whoever was sleeping there, and by gestures
describing the manner of their approaching death, did not, when giving
the warning, exhibit any glee or malice: his actions were perfectly
mechanical and his expression neutral. For example, when the apparition
appeared to Lord Castlereagh, it merely drew its hand three times across
its throat, thus predicting the way his lordship would die. (Lord
Castlereagh shortly afterwards committed suicide by cutting his throat.)

Other cases of death-warning in which there is no apparent malice are
"The Radiant Boy" at Corby Castle, when the apparition is benevolent
rather than otherwise, and the "Drummer" at Cortachy Castle, when the
phenomenon appears to be mischievous rather than malicious.

On the other hand, that there is evil design and intention on the part
of some death-warning phenomena is quite evident, to my mind, from the
case of the clock to which I have alluded in Chapter I.; a case which
also proves, I think, that the fates of some, if not indeed of all of
us, are pre-ordained, and that there are certain orders of Elementals
that not only have the power to warn us of these fates, but that can
also be instrumental in accomplishing them. For instance, _re_ the clock
that struck thirteen, and the lady who was killed in the taxi-cab
accident, it will be remembered that the latter was of a very
extraordinary nature--so extraordinary, in fact, that it really seems as
if the Elemental was the actual contriver of it--that it deliberately
plotted the disaster, and that it was present at the time, predominating
the thoughts and guiding the hands of the two drivers as they collided
with one another. Why it did so is difficult to conceive, unless,
preferring solitude for its domain, it regarded Mrs. Wright as an
obstacle in its way, and an intruder where it had the sole privilege of
haunting. Possibly, too, the house in which Mrs. Wright lived may be
under some curse or ban, which necessitates those having the temerity
to occupy it, paying the penalty of so doing with their lives, the time
and nature of their deaths being decided by the phenomenon in charge.

This supposition--namely, that Elementals can be instrumental in
working evil--coincides with my theory that diseases are primarily due
to powers or spirits antagonistic to the human race, and that such
powers or spirits exist in multitudinous forms; but whereas Morbas
have the widest range possible, the other two species of Elementals,
_i.e._, Vice Elementals and Clanogrians, or Family Ghosts, are
confined to certain families and houses.

Miss Rolands, a friend of mine, who is an artist, gives me an experience
that once happened to her.

"I am afraid I will tell this story very badly," she begins, "but I will do
my little best. I remember it all so well, though I was little more than a
child at the time. I lived with my grandparents, aunts, and sister in an
old house in Birkenhead. The house was a very high one. It had both attics
and cellars, and in one of the attics there was a bloodstain, due, so I was
told, to a murder of a particularly horrible nature, that had once been
perpetrated there, and on account of which the house was reputed to be
haunted. Rumour said that in bygone days the house had been inhabited by
priests, and that it was one of them who had been killed, his body being
taken away in a barrel! In spite, however, of the bloodstain and the grim
tales in connection with it, my sisters and I, at the commencement of our
tenancy of the house, used to play in the attic, and nothing happened. But
at last there came a night when we awoke to the fact that there was a
ghastly amount of truth in what we had heard. Some time after we had all
gone to bed, we were all aroused (even my practical old grandfather) by
three loud knocks on one of the doors which each of us fancied was our own.
Then there was silence, and then, from the very top of the house where the
attic was situated, a barrel was rolled down the stairs!--bump! bump! bump!
When it reached each separate landing, there was a short interval as if the
barrel was settling itself before beginning its next journey, and then
again, bump! bump! fainter and fainter, until it reached the cellar,
when the sounds ceased.

When this stage was reached, we used to light tapers and all look out of
our respective doors with white scared faces and hair that literally
felt as if it were standing on end, and then, after a few seconds of
breathless silence we flew with one accord to one room, where we
remained, packed like herrings, till the morning.

This strange, mysterious occurrence happened at least three times to my
knowledge, and I can vouch for its absolute truth, as can my aunts and
sister, and as could my grandparents, if they were alive.

Without any accurate details with regard to the murder, it is impossible
to say definitely to what class of phantasms this haunting was due. One
might attribute it entirely to the work of IMPERSONATING ELEMENTALS,
entirely to phantasms of the Dead, or to both Impersonating Elementals
and Phantasms of the Dead.

I have recently been seeking for information concerning Pixies, and as
the result of my enquiries have received replies from several people
(whose social position and consequent sense of honour are a guarantee of
their veracity) declaring they have seen this species of Elemental.

One of my informants, Miss White, who lives in West Cornwall, tells me
that on one occasion, when she was crossing some very lonely fields,
almost within sight of Castle-on-Dinas, she suddenly saw a number of
little people rise from among the boulders of granite on the top of a
hill facing her; they were all armed with spears and engaged in a kind
of mimic battle, but, on Miss White approaching them, they instantly
vanished, nor did she ever see them again.

I can quite imagine that the hill, where Miss White alleges she saw
these little phantasms, is haunted, as the whole of that neighbourhood
(with which I have been acquainted for some years) is most
suggestive of every kind of Elemental. There are, for example, on
Castle-on-Dinas, the remains of an ancient Celtic village, and I have
no doubt the locality has experienced many violent deaths, and that
many prehistoric people lie buried there.

Another of my correspondents, Mrs. Bellew, says:--"In the winter of
1888-89 I was suffering from delicate lungs, and was advised to have a
fire in my bedroom night and morning. One night, between eleven and
twelve, I was awakened suddenly by a coal falling into the fender, and
heard a small voice, resembling the squeaking of a mouse, say, 'We did
that! you didn't know it,' then there followed shrill laughter. I sat
up in bed so as to command a view of the fireplace, and saw sitting on a
live coal two little beings about six inches high, with human faces and
limbs and white skins.

"Quite naturally I answered, 'I knew perfectly well it was you.' At
the sound of my voice they vanished at once, and I, only then,
realised how strange an experience I had had. The whole incident only
occupied a minute or two."

Of course, it is very difficult to think that this was not entirely
subjective, and were it not for the fact that Mrs. Bellew is so positive
that the phenomena were objective, I should be inclined to believe
otherwise. Still, it is very delightful to think there may be such a
pleasant type of Elemental.

An interesting incident occurred to the Rev. G. Chichester, with whom
I had some correspondence two years ago. It was the only psychic
experience he had had, and took place at a Druid's Circle in the North
of England. As he was examining the stones of the Circle, he suddenly
became aware of a "death-like smell" (to quote his own words) and the
sense of some approaching presence. Retreating hastily to a distance,
he then perceived a figure clad in white or light grey glide from the
adjoining wood and vanish near the largest stone of the cromlech. The
Circle was in a pine wood, and under one of the stones which had been
dug up in the late seventies of the last century an urn had been
found, which urn is now in a museum. The Rev. G. Chichester informed
me that manifestations of an unpleasant nature had also followed the
lifting of a stone in a celebrated cromlech in Cumberland, so that he
was inclined to think psychic phenomena invariably followed the
disturbance of any of the stones. Though Mr. Chichester did not give
me any very definite idea of what he saw, it seems to me highly
probable that it was a BARROWVIAN, or the phantasm of a prehistoric
man; the latter, being thoroughly animal, would possess no soul, and
his spirit would doubtless remain earth-bound _ad infinitum_. On the
other hand, of course, it might have been a Vagrarian.

Of the appearance of spirit lights I have had abundant evidence. Mrs.
W----, of Guilsborough, with whom I am well acquainted, informs me that
on awaking one night she found the room full of the most beautiful
coloured lights, that floated in mid-air round the bed. They were so
pretty that she was not in the least alarmed, but continued to watch
them till they suddenly vanished. The darkness of the night, the
inclemency of the weather, and the situation of the room precluded the
probability of the lights being produced by any one outside the house.

In the memoirs of a famous lady artist I have just been editing, I have
given an account of blue lights seen by her and her husband in their
bedroom. On this occasion the manifestations filled the eye-witnesses
with horror, and the husband, in his endeavours to ward them off the
bed, struck at them with his hand, when they divided, re-uniting again
immediately afterwards.

I am inclined to think that in both instances the lights were due to the
presence of some form of Elemental in the initial stage of materialisation;
but whereas the beauty of the lights and the absence of fear in the first
case suggests that the phantasms belonged to some agreeable type of
Elemental, very likely of the order of Pixies, the uniform blueness and the
presence of fear in the latter case suggests that the lights were due to
some terrifying and vicious form of Elemental, that was in all probability
permanently attached to the house.

These lights seem to resemble in some respects those seen from time to
time in Wales, though in the latter case the phenomena appear with the
purpose of predicting death. A description is given of them in "Frazer's
Magazine." They would seem to be closely allied with the corpse candles,
or Canhyllan Cyrth, also seen in Wales, an account of which is given in
"News from the Invisible World," a work by T. Charley, who collected his
information (so I understand from an announcement on the title-page)
from the works of Baxter, Wesley, Simpson, and other writers. These
candles are so called because their light resembles in shape that of a
candle; in colour it is sometimes white, sometimes of various shades of
blue. If it is pale blue and small, it predicts the death of an infant;
if big, an adult. The writer then narrates several cases relative to the
appearance of these lights, the concluding one running thus: "About
thirty-four or thirty-five years since, one Jane Wyatt, my wife's
sister, being nurse to Baronet Rud's three eldest children and (the lady
being deceased) the lady controller of that house, going late into a
chamber where the maidservants lay, saw there no less than five of
these lights together. It happened a while after, the chamber being
newly plastered and a grate of coal fire therein kindled to hasten the
drying up of the plastering, that five of the maidservants went there to
bed, as they were wont; but in the morning they were all dead, being
suffocated in their sleep with the steam of the newly tempered lime and
coal. This was at Langathen, in Carmarthenshire."

These lights do not appear to have ever reached any further stage of
materialisation, though I imagine they possess that capability and that
they are in reality some peculiarly grim form of Elemental--as grim,
maybe, as the drummers and pipers of Scotland, and other Glanogrians or
Family Ghosts, with which they would seem to be closely connected.

Of Noises, that are popularly attributed to Poltergeists, but which I
think are due either to Phantasms of the Dead or to Vagrarian,
Impersonating or Vice Elementals, I have received many accounts.

Miss Dulcie Vincent, sister to the Society beauty (whose experience I
shall give later on), and herself a well-known beauty, says:--

"When I was staying with my uncle some years ago in his house in
Norfolk, we used to hear the most remarkable noises at night, which no
one could in any way explain. For example, there were tremendous crashes
as if all the crockery in the house was being dashed to pieces on the
kitchen tiles, whilst at other times we heard heavy thuds and bumps as
if furniture were being moved about wholesale from one room to another.
One night, the noises were so great that my uncle took his gun and went
downstairs, making sure that there were burglars in the house; but the
moment he opened the door of the room whence the sounds proceeded, there
was an intense hush, and nothing was to be seen. A few nights after this
incident, I was awakened by hearing my bedroom door slowly open. I
looked, but saw no one. Seized with ungovernable terror, I then buried
my head under the bedclothes, when I distinctly heard soft footsteps
approach the bed. There was then a silence, during which I instinctively
felt some antagonistic presence close beside me. Then, to my
indescribable terror, the bedclothes were gently pulled from my face,
and I felt something--I knew not what--was peering down at me and trying
to make me look. Exerting all my will power, however, I am thankful to
say I kept my eyes tightly closed, and the Thing at length stealthily
withdrew, nor did I ever experience it again.

"My uncle's house was built on the site of some old cottages, in one of
which lived a mad woman, but whether the disturbances were due to her
phantasm or not, I cannot, of course, say."

Neither can I! though I should think it not at all improbable,
as many hauntings of a similar nature are undoubtedly caused
by the earth-bound spirits of the mad, which accounts for the
senseless crashings and thumpings!

Miss Featherstone, a lady residing in Hampshire, has also had an
experience with similar phenomena. "About six years ago," she informs
me, "after my sister's death, I had a very unpleasant form of Psychism"
(I quote her own words), "which has only lately ceased. Things used to
disappear and reappear in a very strange way. Though it was apparently
uncanny, it was, of course, difficult to prove absolutely they had not
been moved by physical means. The first time the phenomena took place
was during the visit of a very practical friend. She had been writing,
and had put her materials together, and was walking out of the room,
when her pen was whisked out of her hand. She looked about everywhere,
she shook her dress (which was quite a new one), but the pen had
vanished--it was nowhere to be seen. Then she went upstairs, put on her
walking shoes, hat, and gloves, and went to the railway station, came
straight home, and, on taking off her outdoor things, discovered the
missing pen inside a tailor's stitching across the front of her dress!
She could not find any opening where it could have got in, and was
obliged to unpick part of the dress to get it out. I wanted her to send
an account of the incident to the S.P.R., but as she had a strong
aversion to anything in the nature of publicity, I could not persuade
her to do so. After this things constantly disappeared, and reappeared
in a prominent position after every one had searched the place. I think,
and hope, however, that this has now ceased, as it procured me a very
bad reputation with several servants, who emphatically declared I was in
league with the Evil One."

In a subsequent letter she writes:--"The house in which my Poltergeist
experiences took place was in Dawlish, but the annoyances followed me to
London. I had been sitting at friendly _séances_ with one or two friends
at that time. At the beginning the phenomena seemed in some way
associated with an old cupboard which I had bought second-hand, and
which I still possess."

If the disturbances were not brought about by human agency, then I think
it highly probable that both the _séances_ at which Miss Featherstone
had been attending and the oak chest may have been responsible for them.
I am quite sure that whenever a genuine spirit manifestation takes place
at a _séance_, that that manifestation is due either to the earth-bound
spirits of people who were merely silly when in the body (and of these
there have been, still are, and always will be a superabundance), to the
earth-bound spirits of people who were bestial and lustful, or simply
due to mischievous Impersonating and other kinds of Elementals. These
latter, when once encouraged, are extremely difficult to shake off. They
attach themselves to certain of the sitters, whom they follow to their
homes, which they subsequently haunt. I have known many such instances;
hence, I think it very probable that a mischievous Elemental attached
itself to Miss Featherstone at one of the _séances_ she attended, and,
following her from place to place, pestered her with its unpleasant
attentions. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the oak chest
was haunted by some species of Elemental, as is often the case with
pieces of furniture, either old in themselves or constructed of antique
wood--wood, for instance, that comes from a bog, an ancient forest, a
mountain top, or any other spot frequented by Vagrarians.

Miss Featherstone gives me another experience she once had, and which is
not without interest.

"About seven years ago," she says, "my two sisters and I were staying at
a farmhouse near Chagford, on Dartmoor, between Thridly and Gidleigh. We
started one day to walk to the latter place, and went through the
village and up a lane beyond, on to the open moor, where we found
ourselves on a level piece of ground, with Kes Tor close by to our left,
whilst on our right were three new-looking houses, with little gardens
and wicket gates leading to them. I went into one to enquire if there
were any rooms to let for the following year, and was shown over it,
while my sisters waited on the moor for me. Strange to say, I forgot to
ask the name and address of the place, but it seemed on a perfectly
straight road from Gidleigh. When we got back to Chagford, we asked our
landlady where we had been, and she said the name of the place was
Berry Down; so the next year we wrote there for rooms, but on arriving
were astonished to find quite a different place--not on the open moor at
all. We then set about looking for the three houses we had seen. We
walked round Gidleigh in every direction, enquiring of the postman,
clergymen, farmers, and villagers, but none knew of any such houses, nor
could we ever find the remotest traces of them. The day on which we saw
them was bright and sunny, so that we could not possibly have been
mistaken, and, moreover, we rested on the moor opposite them for some
time, so that had they been mere optical illusions, we should have
eventually become aware of the fact. Several old Gidleigh cottagers to
whom we narrated the incident were of the opinion we had been 'Pixie
led.' Is such a thing possible?"

There are instances I know--though I cannot at present recall one--where
people have seen and entered phantom houses, just as sailors have
witnessed the phenomenon of the phantom ship--which I have heard has
been seen again comparatively recently off the North Cornwall coast--but
whether such visions are due to Pixies, or any other kind of Elemental,
I cannot, with certainty, say. Taking into consideration, however, the
numerous tricks Elementals do play, and how they very often, I believe,
suggest dreams, I see no reason why they should not have been
responsible for the delusion of the three cottages.



CHAPTER IV.

PHANTASMS OF THE DEAD.


Though I head this chapter "Phantasms of the Dead," it is almost
impossible to discriminate between Phantasms of the Dead, _i.e._, the
actual earth-bound souls of the people, and Elementals, whose special
function it is to impersonate them. In the case of murder, whereas, I
think it quite possible that the spirit of the actual murderer
appears, I think it highly unlikely that the soul of his victim (save,
of course, where the latter has led a vicious life) is equally
earth-bound, but that what we see is merely an impersonating
Elemental, who, in company with the earth-bound soul of the homicide,
nightly (or periodically) re-enacts the tragedy.

In cases of suicide, too, I think the nature of the Phantasms that
subsequently appears largely depends on the life led by the suicide--if
vicious the hauntings would be due to his earth-bound spirit, if moral
to an Impersonating Elemental, but in either case Vice Elementals would
in all probability be attached to the spot, when the hauntings would at
once become dual (which so frequently happens). Where the suicide is a
criminal lunatic or epileptic imbecile, I believe the phenomenon seen is
his or her actual spirit--I do not think such people have souls. By
spirit, I mean the mere animal side of man's nature--that Force, which
is solely directed to the attainment and furtherance of carnal desires;
by soul, that Force, which recognizes and strives after all that tends
to make the mind pure and beautiful.

With regard to wraithes, _i.e._, apparitions seen shortly after death, I
think that in the majority of cases at all events, it is the actual
superphysical body of the deceased that appears, prior to its removal to
other spheres, and that, except during this interval, the souls of the
rational and moral never return to the material world. In all other
cases of hauntings the phenomena are due either to the earth-bound
spirits of the depraved, to the silly, _i.e._, those who, without being
actually cruel or lustful, have no capacity for the culture of mind; to
criminal lunatics, and epileptic imbeciles; or else to Elementals,
benevolent, neutral and otherwise.


CASES.

Mrs. P., the wife of an Army Medical Officer, living in my
neighbourhood, says: "Some years ago I was travelling to Southampton,
with my little daughter, a child of four. My nephew, who lived in Mare
Street, Hackney, asked me to pass the night at his house. It was a large
building, with long passages, out of which many doors opened, and, close
to the back of it, there lay a cemetery.

"We arrived, to find no one at home but the servants. My nephew had left
a message for me, asking me to make myself thoroughly 'at home' and go
to bed, if I felt tired after the journey.

"My little daughter and I shared a big room with a double bed. I did
not sleep for some time on account of a curious noise. Though there
was no wind, all the doors in the passage rattled on their hinges and
bumped about, as if someone was going along trying the handles. The
noise lasted for some time, and disturbed me a great deal so that I
did not sleep at all well.

"In the morning my nephew said, 'Well, Aunt, I hope you were
comfortable and had a good night?' 'Oh, everything was comfortable,'
I replied, 'but I did not pass a good night. There is something very
strange about the doors in your upstairs passage. They seemed to be
kicking about on their hinges for hours.'

"He looked at me in rather a curious way, and said, 'I suppose you did
not know that my mother died in the room where you slept--in fact, in
the very same bed.'

"'Indeed, I did not,' I answered, 'and, if I had known it, I should
never have accepted your hospitality.'

"Well, I went on my journey to India, and thought no more about the matter.
But, when I returned, a year or two later, I happened to speak of it to one
of my nieces, who instantly gave me her experience in the same house.

"'After our mother died,' she said, 'the room was shut up and it
remained so for some time. Then my sister and I decided that we should
use it, and we slept there together. The first night we were not
disturbed, but the second night I woke and saw our mother sitting in a
chair before the large dressing glass. My sister was asleep, but I
suppose I must have made some movement which roused her, for she awoke,
and, without a word from me, cried out--'There's mother! Mother has come
back to us!' Thus, you see, we both saw the apparition plainly and had
not the least doubt as to who it was."

The manifestations in this case were, I think, due to a benevolent
Elemental that impersonated the dead lady with the object of conveying
some message from the soul of the latter to her living relatives and
friends. The impression conveyed by the phenomenon to the girls, would
be that their mother was still cognisant of them; whilst the Elemental
would, in all probability, find some means of communicating the welcome
tidings to the mother that her daughters had not forgotten her.

Mrs. P---- narrated to me another case. "My husband," she said, "attended a
certain old man and his wife who were very devoted to one another. They
were quite elderly people, but sound and sane--not at all fanciful or
inclined to be foolish. When the old man died, his wife felt his loss most
dreadfully. She never quite got over it, and, when she took to her bed with
her last illness, she was constantly saying that she wished she could see
her husband again. Her attendants told her that she ought not to say such
a thing, but the wish grew upon her, till, one day, being alone, she spoke
to him and begged him to come back.

"Immediately he appeared to be sitting in a chair by her bedside. But,
though her wish was gratified, she was terrified.

"'Go away, go away!' she cried, 'I don't want you.' The vision vanished.
Some few days later, she died. I often used to sit with her, and I am
sure that she was quite reasonable and in full possession of her wits."

Here, of course, one has to entirely depend upon the evidence of the
deceased who, being ill at the time, might easily have been the victim
of an illusion--at least so it seems to me. I merely quote the case to
show that I am not always ready to accept as objective the phenomena
witnessed by a single individual.

The case of Miss V. St. Jermyn, a lady living in the North of London, is
a great deal stronger.

"My father," she says, "was the Rector of an immense parish, which was
divided at his death. He had ten curates. The senior curate, who was
appointed to succeed him in the more important division, was shortly
afterwards made a Canon, so I shall speak of him as Canon Jervis. He
owed everything he had to my father, and he was always ready to say this
and talk of his obligations to my father. I mention this to show the
sort of regard he had for my father. We on our side, my brothers,
sisters and I, always looked on him as a very great friend, having known
him all our lives. There was never anyone with whose appearance we were
more familiar, and he certainly was rather remarkable looking. Standing
at least six feet and proportionately broad, he had a square face, rough
hewn features and very thick crêpé hair, which was getting grizzled. He
was always very well dressed. Everyone was much struck with his
appearance and I was constantly being asked who he was.

"Early one January (about the 3rd, I think), some years ago, he died,
and we were all so grieved that we at once wrote expressing our sympathy
to his family. We certainly thought about him a good deal, though his
death was not one of those great sorrows which leave no room in one's
mind for the remembrance of anything else.

"About the 13th of February (of that year), my brother, sister and
myself went to tea with a friend, a well-known artist at the Pembroke
Studios, Kensington. It was a very pleasant party and we stayed late;
indeed, we were nearly the last to leave. For about fifteen minutes
before we left the Studios, I was talking to our host, who was showing
us a curious old French bible with coloured illustrations. I mention
this to show how my mind had been engaged.

"After leaving the studio, on our way to the High Street, Kensington, we
had to pass along one side of Edwardes' Square. There the houses have
little gardens with iron railings and the pathway is very narrow. We
were walking one after the other, my brother in front, my sister next,
and I last, when, suddenly, I saw Canon Jervis as clearly and plainly as
I have ever in my life seen anyone before or since. He passed me on the
side next the railings. I cannot in any way explain why I did, or said,
nothing at the time, saving that I was too overcome with amazement. We
went on and got into an omnibus, which took us to the street where we
live. As we walked along the latter, I again saw the Canon coming down a
side street and my sister immediately exclaimed: 'There is Canon Jervis!
looking just as if he were alive!' My brother, who was a little way in
front of us, did not speak--he had seen nothing.

"Looking back on the incident I cannot explain why we neither attempted
to look after or follow him. But I think most people at the time of
seeing an apparition seem to be in a sense paralysed with astonishment
and quite lose their presence of mind."

As the manifestation occurred so soon after the Canon's death, I am
inclined to think that in this instance it was a _bona fide_
phantasm of the Dead.

A case of a haunting with a purpose was related to me recently by a Mrs.
Craven. Whilst visiting at a country house, Mrs. Craven often used to
retire to the library for a few minutes' quiet reading, when she
invariably found a priest sitting there, in a peculiarly pensive
attitude. Wondering who he was, as she never saw him in any other part
of the house, but not liking to disturb him, Mrs. Craven used to sit and
steal furtive glances at him from over her book, until she felt she
could no longer stand being in his presence, when she made her escape as
silently as possible from the room. This went on for some days, until
determining one morning to brave it out, she remained in her seat till
the priest somewhat electrified her by suddenly pointing in a very
agitated manner to the book shelves. Thinking him queerer than ever, but
attributing his inertness to some possible physical affliction, Mrs.
Craven went to the bookcase and after some trouble discovered the book
he wanted. But on bringing it to him, he motioned her to turn over the
leaves, and to her astonishment the book seemed to open at the place he
indicated, where she perceived a loose sheet of paper covered with
writing. Obeying his tacit injunctions she threw the document into the
fire, whereupon the priest at once vanished.

Much startled, Mrs. Craven related what had occurred to the hostess, who
coolly informed her that the library was well known to be haunted by just
such an apparition as she had described, which, however, only appeared
periodically. So far, Mrs. Craven does not think it has been seen again.

The identity of the priest being unknown, one cannot say for certain
whether this phenomenon was a phantasm of the Dead or an Impersonating
Elemental, though, from the lives of self-indulgence led by so many
priests in the past, I am inclined to believe it was a genuine phantasm
of the Dead. I think the incident of the document is quite sufficient in
itself to prove the manifestations were objective.

There is a well authenticated story current in Clifton (Bristol) of an
apparition appearing (in the home of a well-known professional man)
comparatively recently, with a purpose.

Miss Debrett, an artist belonging to one of the Cornish Art Colonies,
had a curious experience at Moret, which experience I will tell
in her own words:--

"From Paris to Moret-sur-Loing is not a very long run, two hours at the
most. My friend, an artist, and myself went there in the month of July.
We 'put up' at the Hotel de la Chalette. We had rooms adjoining one
another, my friend using hers as a studio in the daytime. My room was
very close, the roof sloped horribly and I experienced a queer shrinking
sensation the moment I entered it. However, overcoming such feelings I
resolved to sleep there and say nothing of my misgivings to my friend.
At two o'clock in the morning of my first night there, I was awakened by
little tappings and a feeling of terror. I tried in vain to sleep but
could not, the presence of some ghost-like creature was strongly about
me. I lit my candle and placed it on the stand beside my bed, trying to
assure myself that this at least would protect me from apparitions, but
the feeling of the invisible presence remained. I was immeasurably
relieved when morning came, though I did not mention a word of what had
happened to my friend.

"Night after night the sensations were repeated with ever increasing
intensity, until I could instinctively feel the presence of a woman who
appeared to be enduring the most severe mental and physical pain. I
could feel her close to me, bending backwards and forwards and writhing
to and fro, and a deadly fear seized me lest she would clutch hold of me
in her throes of agony. Once I saw her shadow on the wall. Apart from
the unmistakeable likeness it bore to a woman, I am sure it was her
shadow, as I looked carefully about the room, removing sundry articles
of furniture to assure myself the phenomenon was not due to them. It was
not, for whatever I did in no way disturbed it--it still remained
plainly and ominously outlined on the wall.

"About the second week of my stay in Moret-sur-Loing, I was taken ill with
a violent cold and feverish pains. I could not discover any cause, though
my friend attributed it to a night's rowing on the river Loing. For a few
days I was confined to my room and my only consolation was to look at a
little pot of flowers which I had bought at the local market. The flowers
were bright scarlet and in pleasant contrast to the general gloominess of
the apartment. At last, however, utterly worn out with my illness and the
long succession of harassing nights, I persuaded my friend to leave the
hotel, which she reluctantly did, and we returned to England.

"On our way home we met a fellow artist who told us she had also been
staying quite recently at Moret, and then it transpired that she, too,
had had rooms at the Hotel de la Chalette, but had given them up as they
were so depressing. Upon hearing this I related my experiences,
whereupon she exclaimed, 'How odd! A girl whom I knew very well used to
go very often to the Hotel de la Chalette, and occupied the very room
you slept in. She was very much attached to the place and when she was
dying in England continually expressed a longing to be there. She died
in the very greatest agony--just such agony as that of the woman you
describe--and fought against death to the very last. She was most
unresigned and rebellious. I wonder if the sensations you experienced
were in any way due to her?'"

I think so without a doubt, and that the phantasm Miss Debrett saw is
either that of the earth-bound spirit of the unhappy girl who, when
dying, wished herself at the Hotel de la Chalette, or that of an
impersonating Elemental;--let us hope it is the latter. Death wishes
are, I am sure, frequently fulfilled, and, consequently, cannot be
regarded both by utterer and audience with too much seriousness. The
strong desire of the girl to cling to life--on this earth--proving that
her spiritual aspirations were strictly limited--was almost a sufficient
guarantee that her spirit would remain earth-bound.

Miss Viola Vincent, a well-known Society beauty, has furnished me with
an account of a house presumably haunted by a Phantasm of the Dead. It
is a large country house not very far from London, and the case was
reported to Miss Vincent by an old servant of the name of Garth.
Garth, who had no idea at the time that the house was haunted, was
taking a short nap on her bed one afternoon when she heard the door
slowly open and on looking up, saw to her astonishment a little
sinister old man, who tiptoed up to her bed and, leaning over her,
placed his finger on his lips as if to enjoin silence (an unnecessary
precaution as Garth was far too terrified either to utter a sound or
to move). On perceiving her fright, a subtle smile of satisfaction
stole over the man's face, which Garth describes as yellow and
wizened. He left the bed and, turning round, glided surreptitiously
through the open doorway. Greatly mystified, Garth mentioned the
affair to the other servants, who, instead of laughing at her, at once
exclaimed, "Why, you've seen old S----. He committed a murder, just
outside the door of your room, many years ago, and is frequently seen
about the house and grounds. If you examine the boarding in the
passage carefully, you will see the bloodstains." As Garth refused to
sleep in the room again, a valet of one of the visitors was put there,
and he experienced precisely the same phenomenon.

Garth constantly saw the phantasm of the man in various parts of the
building. Sometimes she would meet him face to face on a staircase,
sometimes he would creep stealthily after her, down one of the numerous,
gloomy corridors. Indeed, she never seemed to be free from him, and, in
the end, her nerves became so upset that, although the situation was an
excellent one, she was obliged to relinquish it. When in the orchard,
Garth, on several occasions, heard the sound of galloping horses and saw
the misty figures of two people engaged in earnest conversation. On
approaching them, however, they invariably melted into fine air. Miss
Vincent enquired into the case, and, eventually, got into communication
with other people who had witnessed the same phenomena.

I think it is highly probable that the apparition of the old man, at
any rate, was a phantasm of the dead, that is to say, the earth-bound
spirit of the murderer; for despite the tendency there is nowadays for
pseudo-humanitarians to sympathise with the perpetrators of revolting
and cruel murders, it is very certain that the Higher Occult Powers
hold no such erroneously lenient views, and that he who spills human
blood is bound by that blood to the earth. Hence murderers--or at
least such murderers as are not genuinely repentent--are chained for
an unlimited time to the scenes of their crimes, which they are
compelled willy-nilly to re-enact nightly.

Another case of haunting by the phantasm of a murderer, or murderers,
was told me by Miss Dalrymple, aunt of the famous singer, T.C.
Dalrymple. Her experiences began the night of her arrival at "The
Lichens," the house her nephew was then renting, near Felixstowe.

On retiring to rest she found the servants had made a very big fire in
her room, and growing somewhat apprehensive about it, she got out of bed
and took some of it off. Then, thinking that her alarm was rather
foolish, and that, as there was a proportionately large fender, no
danger could possibly arise, she put the coal on again and got back into
bed. A few minutes afterwards the room was pervaded with a current of
icy cold air, that blew over the bed and rustled through her hair. The
next instant, she felt a cold, heavy hand laid on one of her shoulders,
and she was steadily and mercilessly pressed down and down. Her terror
was now so intense that she could neither move nor articulate a sound,
and she could almost hear the violent palpitation of her heart. After
what seemed to her an eternity, but which was, in all probability, only
a few seconds, the hand was removed, and Miss Dalrymple then heard seven
loud thumps on the table at the foot of the bed, after which there was
silence, and the manifestations ceased. Miss Dalrymple, however, was
too upset to sleep, and lay awake all night in a great agony of mind,
lest there should be any further disturbances. When the maid brought her
some tea in the morning, the latter immediately exclaimed, "Oh, madam,
how dreadfully ill you look!" to which Miss Dalrymple replied, "Yes! I
have been feeling very ill, but do not, on any account, tell your master
or mistress, as it will only worry them."

Miss Dalrymple then took one of the older servants into confidence, and
asked her if the house was haunted.

"Well, madam," was the reluctant response, "people do say that there is a
house in this village that is haunted by the ghost of a murdered lady, but
I am not quite sure which house it is"--an answer which implied much.

Miss Dalrymple did not have any further experiences there herself, but
some time afterwards one of her great-nieces remarked to her, "Did you
know, auntie, 'The Lichens' was haunted?" and went on to say that on one
occasion, when going upstairs, she had seen the figure of a woman in a
grey dress bending over the basin in the bath-room as if engaged in
rinsing her hands. Thinking it was the head nurse, she was going on her
way unconcernedly when she saw the nurse coming towards her from quite a
different part of the house. Greatly astonished, she at once made
enquiries, in reply to which the nurse assured her that she had not been
in the bath-room for at least an hour. The figure in grey was repeatedly
seen, always in or near the bath-room, and always appearing as if
rinsing her hands. Once, too, when one of the children was alone in a
downstairs room that opened on to the lawn, a hideous, trampish old man,
carrying a sack, approached the window, and, after peeping in at the
child with an evil smile, placed his fingers knowingly alongside his
nose and glided noiselessly away into the shrubbery. The child ran out
at once and asked the gardener to look for the man, but despite a
vigorous search, no such person could be found.

Another inmate of the house, on going one day to her bedroom, heard
something behind her, and, turning round, perceived, to her unmitigated
horror, the luminous trunk of a man, which had apparently been
dismembered. The body, which was bobbing up and down in mid-air,
approached her rapidly, and, moving aside to let it pass, she saw it
vanish through the door of the room Mrs. Dalrymple had occupied. After
this ghastly manifestation, T.C. Dalrymple, Esq., fearing, for the sake
of his family, to remain any longer in such a place, left "The Lichens,"
part of which has since been pulled down and rebuilt. Miss Dalrymple's
heart has never been sound since she felt the ghostly hand on her
shoulder, the horror of which phenomenon, as any of her friends can
testify, turned her hair white.

As to the cause of the hauntings, that must be entirely a matter of
conjecture, since, with regard to the former history of the house,
nothing definite is known. A very vague rumour is current that many
years ago it was the _rendezvous_ of all manner of rips and _roués_,
and, strange though it may seem, the fact that the phantasm of the
woman, seen there, was wearing a modern costume, does not preclude the
idea that the said phantasm belonged to a bygone period. Such an
anachronism is by no means uncommon in cases of haunting, but it renders
the task of theorising on ghostly phenomena all the more difficult.

It may be asked with regard to this case--had the phantasm of the woman
any connection with that of the tramp, the mutilated body and the hand;
and my answer to that question is, that all four phenomena were, in all
probability, closely allied with one another. Very possibly an old man
had been murdered there by his paramour, who, after cutting up his body,
had bribed a tramp to dispose of it, in which case the house would, of
course, be haunted by the earth-bound spirits of both the victim and
agents of the crime. But it is quite possible, supposing the phenomena
are genuine phantasms of the dead, that the tragedy did not take place
in that house at all, but was enacted in some far-away spot, one or more
of the principals being in some way connected with "The Lichens."
However, as I have already said, it is one of those cases that must, by
reason of the uncertain history of the house, always remain a mystery.

A haunting of a similar nature occurred quite recently at a house near
Leeds. The place, which had stood empty for a very long while, was
eventually taken on a lease by my informants, Mr. and Mrs. Urquhart.
Neither of the latter had had any previous experience with the
superphysical, at which both were more or less inclined to scoff. One
evening, shortly after their arrival, Mrs. Urquhart was alone in the
study, and, looking up from her needlework, saw what at first sight
appeared to be a luminous disc--but which speedily developed into a
head--emerge from the wall opposite, and, bobbing up and down in
mid-air, slowly approach her. It was a woman's head, the woman having
obviously been decapitated, the expression in the wide open staring eyes
showing every indication of a cruel ending. The hair was long and
matted, the skin startlingly white. Mrs. Urquhart was at first far too
terrified to move or utter a sound, but as the ghastly object floated
right up to her, the revulsion she experienced was so great that the
spell of her inertness was broken and she fled from the room.

When she told her husband what had occurred, he exclaimed laughingly,
"Why, my dear, I never knew you had such a vivid imagination! You will
soon be asking me to believe in hobgoblins and pixies." Whereupon Mrs.
Urquhart bit her lips and was silent.

However, after dinner Mrs. Urquhart, hearing a great commotion in the
study, ran to see what was happening, and discovered her husband
and his friend, looking ghastly white, thrashing the air with
walking-sticks. Catching sight of her, they both cried out, "We've
seen the head--the beastly thing came out of the wall, as you
described, and floated towards us!"

On hearing this, Mrs. Urquhart recoiled in horror, nor could she be
persuaded ever again to enter the room. Her husband, whom the
experience had effectually cured of scepticism, at once fell in with
her proposal that they should immediately quit the house, and soon
after their removal they learned that the place had been pulled down.
From the fact, revealed by subsequent enquiries, that some years
previously an old woman had been murdered there, it is quite evident
to my mind that what the Urquharts and their friend saw was both
objective and superphysical; but whether the apparition was a phantasm
of the dead, or an impersonating elemental, can only be decided by an
adequate knowledge of the character of the murdered person in whose
likeness the phenomenon appeared.

Hauntings of a very disturbing nature go on (or, at least, did so a
short while ago) at a house in Rugeley, where dreadful groans are
frequently heard proceeding from a room on the ground floor. My
informant, however, would not say whether or not the house was the one
in which the notorious Palmer poisoned his victims; but here again it
seems more than probable, that the sounds are due to the presence of an
Elemental attached to the spot by the sacrifice of human blood.

I am hoping, at no great future date, to make a series of investigations
in houses that have been the scenes of unsolved mysteries, since I
believe it quite possible that I should experience such superphysical
demonstrations as would give me the direct clue to the identity of the
perpetrators of the crimes.


VISIONS AND DREAMS.

The Baroness Von A----, in a recent letter to me, says:--"I wonder if it
would interest you to hear of a rather strange occurrence that once
befell my husband. He was staying in town at the time, and was asked to
tea at the house of some friends of ours in Westminster. The name of the
friends is Howard, and their house, which is very old, is in one of the
old squares behind the Abbey. My husband, an absolute sceptic himself,
knew that the Howards were interested in Psychical Research, but had
never heard of any legend in connection with their house. One evening,
after tea, which took place in a back room, my husband, more in a
teasing spirit than anything else, suddenly exclaimed, 'Look here! Shall
I tell you what I can see in this room?' (He is most insistent that at
the time he spoke he saw nothing, but was preparing to make the whole
thing up, and meant to tell the Howards so afterwards.) 'I seem to be
standing in a small garden. It is a dark night, and I see two men,
dressed in the fashion of Charles II.'s time, just finishing digging a
small grave, near the edge of which another man is standing holding in
one hand a lantern of antique design. The two men have finished, the
third waves his lantern slowly, and the door of the house which faces me
(I feel it is this house, albeit somewhat different, though how I cannot
say) opens, and out of it comes a fourth man, also dressed according to
the Charles II. period, though in a very much richer costume. There is
an expression of diabolical satisfaction in his eyes as they dwell on
the face of the child he is carrying in his arms, and which, to my
horror, I see has been murdered. The villain approaches the grave, into
which he ruthlessly drops the body, and the diggers at once cover it
with shovels full of earth. That is all I can see.'

"To my husband's astonishment the Howards were wildly excited, and told
him that the legend connected with the house (and which they believed
was only known to one or two people besides themselves) tallied detail
for detail with the vision he had just witnessed. It was quite in vain
that he protested he had seen nothing at all, but had invented the story
just to 'have them on'--they would not believe him. It appears that in
the time of Charles II., another house had occupied the site of the
present one, though the garden was practically the same. A child had
been murdered there for its inheritance, and had been buried in the
garden where its bones had been subsequently found, after which the
house had been pulled down and the present one built. I am sure my
husband honestly thought he was inventing the vision. Could it have
been a case of suggestion?"

Yes, I am inclined to believe it was a case of suggestion, but of
suggestion due to some superphysical objective presence that actually
put the words of the story into the mouth of the narrator. I do not
think the story was a chance invention, a mere coincidence, any more
than I think the suggestion was telepathic.

My next case deals with a dream, a lady, of the name of Carmichael, had
whilst staying in an old house in the Punjab. She dreamed she was
awakened by a lovely Hindoo lady, who came to her bedside, and by signs
implored her to follow her. This Mrs. Carmichael at once did, and the
Hindoo led her down winding passages and through numerous rooms, until
they at length arrived in a courtyard with a well at the far end of it.
The Hindoo silently and mournfully approached the well, and, pointing
down it, wrung her hands and disappeared.

Mrs. Carmichael then woke to find herself bathed in perspiration; and
the dream made such an impression on her that when she went to stay
with some friends the next day, she told them about it. To her
astonishment they were intensely excited. "Why!" they exclaimed, "we
know the place well, and you have described exactly the winding
passages in that part of the house that has never been used since a
Hindoo lady was murdered there for her jewels some years ago. Neither
the murderer nor his booty was ever found."

It was now Mrs. Carmichael's turn to be amazed, and she readily agreed
to go with them to the house to see if she could find the well she had
seen in her vision. Accordingly they all set out, and, on reaching the
house, appointed Mrs. Carmichael as guide. Without any hesitation she at
once made for the disused wing, and, leading the party through the rooms
and down the passages she had seen in her dream, eventually brought them
to the well in the courtyard. The well was then dug, and at the bottom
lay a number of valuable diamond and pearl necklaces, rings and
ear-rings! No body, however, was found, but when Mrs. Carmichael slept
in the house again she dreamed no more of the Hindoo lady.

I unhesitatingly vouch for the truth of this story. The question now
arises--to what cause could the vision be attributed? Was it due to a
telepathic communication from some living brain acquainted with the
story, or did Mrs. Carmichael's superphysical body leave her material
body and visit the scene she witnessed, or was it all suggested to her
by some objective superphysical presence, presumably that of an
impersonating and benevolently disposed Elemental? I am inclined to
think the last theory the most feasible.

An account of another interesting dream has been sent me by Miss
Featherstone, several of whose other psychic experiences I have already
related. "In a dream," she says, "which occurred twenty-three years
ago, I thought I was very much upset and worried, and was running up and
down passages which I had never seen before, looking for something (I am
not sure that I knew in my dream what I was looking for), and being
unable to find it, I exclaimed, 'Oh! I do wish Arthur was here!' I woke
up saying this. Some months afterwards I was staying with a cousin in
Worcestershire, when she had an epileptic fit. All the servants were out
excepting two young girls. The doctor came and ordered brandy, and I
could not find the key of the cellar anywhere. I had never explored the
downstairs of my cousin's house before, and as I raced down a long
succession of passages in my search for the cellar key, I instantly
recognised and identified the passages with those I had seen in my
dream. Moreover, to make the resemblance still more striking, my cousin
Arthur, who alone knew where the key was kept, was away, and I kept
saying to myself, 'I would give anything if only Arthur were here!'
Later in the day he returned with the key in his pocket."

In this instance I think the superphysical body of Miss Featherstone,
under the guidance of an Elemental, separated itself from her material
body whilst the latter was asleep, and visited the actual spot where the
incident of the key took place. As to why the Elemental should then have
initiated Miss Featherstone into the trivial details only of an incident
of the future, it is impossible to explain. One can only surmise that
the act was an inconsequent one on the part of the Elemental, or that it
would have revealed more to her had not some unexpected interruption
recalled Miss Featherstone's superphysical self.



PART III.



CHAPTER V.

THE HAUNTINGS OF THE OLD SYDERSTERNE PARSONAGE (1833), NEAR FAKENHAM,
AND A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IN SYDENHAM.


Some weeks ago the Rev. Henry Hacon, M.A., of Searly Vicarage, North Kelsey
Moor, wrote to me, very kindly enclosing the following interesting letter
which his father, many years ago, had received from the Rev. John Stewart,
M.A., at that time Rector of Sydersterne, near Fakenham.

The letter, which deals exclusively with the then very much discussed
hauntings at Sydersterne Parsonage, runs thus:--

                                    SYDERSTERNE PARSONAGE,
                                              NEAR FAKENHAM,
                                                     _May 22, 1833_.

     MY DEAR SIR,

     All this Parsonage circle were gratified to learn that you and your
     family were recovered from the late epidemic. We are very sensible
     of your kind wishes, and shall be happy to see you at any time
     your press of business may allow you to leave Swaffham. The
     interest excited by the noises in our dwelling has become quite
     intense throughout this entire district of country. The arrivals
     from every quarter proved at last so utterly inconvenient that we
     have been obliged to decline receiving any more. We were compelled
     to draw the line somewhere, and we judged it could not be more
     sensibly done than immediately after the highly respectable
     authentication of the noises furnished last Thursday.

     On the night preceding and the Thursday morning four God-fearing,
     shrewd, intelligent brother clergymen assembled at the Parsonage,
     and together, with a pious and accomplished lady and a medical
     gentleman from Holt (of eminence in his profession), joined Mrs.
     Stewart, my two eldest boys and myself, in watching. The
     clergymen were those of St. Edmund's, Norwich, of (here the
     writing is indiscernible owing to a tear in the MS.) Docking,
     and of South Creake.

     At ten minutes to two on Thursday morning the noises commenced, and
     lasted, with very little pause, till two hours after daybreak. The
     self-confident were crestfallen, and the fancied-wise acknowledged
     their ignorance as the sun rose high. Within the limits of any
     sheet of paper I could not give you even a sketch of what has
     taken place here. The smile of contented ignorance, or the sneer
     of presumption, cut but a poor figure when opposed to truth and
     fact--and the pharisaical cloak that is ostensibly worn to
     exclude "superstition" may secrete in its folds the very
     demon of "infidelity."

     Arrangements are in progress to detect the most cunning schemes of
     human agency--but must be kept profoundly secret until the blow
     can be struck.

     The magistrates, clergy, and surrounding gentry continue to arrive
     at the Parsonage, and offer us their public and private services in
     any way that can be at all considered useful. The Marquis of
     Cholmondeley's agent has gone to town resolved to lay the whole
     business before his lordship, and to suggest that a Bow Street
     officer should be sent down. I have likewise written to his
     lordship, who has been very kind to me.

     You may rely upon it, that no human means (at whatever expense)
     shall be neglected to settle the point as to human agency. To
     attain a right history of the Sydersterne noises you must read the
     details of (here the writing is illegible, owing to a blot), that
     took place in the family of the Wesleys in 1716, their Rectory
     being at Epworth, in Lincolnshire. The father's (the Rev. S.
     Wesley's) journal is transcribed by the great and good John Wesley,
     his son. These noises never could be accounted for.

     I have already traced the existence of noises in Sydersterne
     Parsonage for thirty-six years back. I am told that Mr. Bullen,
     farmer, of Swaffham (with whom you are intimate), lived about that
     time at Creake (three miles from here), and recollects them
     occurring then. Be kind enough to ask him if he remembers of what
     nature they, at that period, were, and how long they continued
     without intermission. Favour me with the results of your enquiries.
     I think that but three of the generation then living now survive.
     The noises were here in 1797. Some ignoramus put the notices of
     them in the _East Anglian_. In that account some things are
     correct, mixed up with much that is wrong. However, I have kept a
     regular diary or journal of all things connected with them, and
     which in due time shall be published. Get the solution of these
     questions from Mr. Bullen for me, and, lest we should be wanderers,
     when you purpose coming over to us, let us know by post the day you
     mean to visit here. On Saturday forenoon there will be a letter for
     James at Mr. Finch's, and which Claxton is to take.

     Kind compliments from all to all under your "roof tree."

                                                JOHN STEWART.

Commenting upon the hauntings, the Rev. H. Hacon, M.A., in a letter to
me dated June 24, 1910, says:--

"... Here you have whatever further particulars I am able to send about
the haunted house. Some of them are among my earliest recollections.

"I can remember my father, when relating some of them, seeing my infant
eyes expressing delicious terror, I suppose, turning the conclusion into
something comic, so that I might not go to my bed in fear and trembling.
When older I heard particulars from one of Mr. Stewart's sons.

"Sometimes the noises heard at the Parsonage were like the scratchings,
not of a cat, but of a tiger, on the inner walls of the house, whilst
at other times they resembled a shower of copper coins promiscuously
falling. One Sunday night, about the time Mr. Stewart came into
residence, there were heard in the Parsonage noises like the shifting
about of heavy furniture. So that one who heard the disturbances said,
'Well! I do wonder our new vicar should have his house set to rights on
a Sunday!' There was not, however, a living soul in the house.

"The Stewart family were, of course, in a way, burdened by curious
visitors. But being very hospitable, they were always glad to see their
friends, two of whom, Swaffham contemporaries, Mr. and Mrs. Seppings,
were passing the day and night there, anxious, of course, to witness
some of the phenomena. As it was drawing near bedtime, Mr. Seppings,
before saying good night, went to a side table to take up a bedroom
candlestick, saying, 'Well! I don't suppose we shall hear anything
to-night,' when, as his hand was about to grasp the candlestick, there
came a stroke under the table and under the candlestick like that of a
heavy hammer. Miss Stewart, the daughter of the house, after retiring to
bed, would sometimes sing the Evening Hymn, when taps were heard on the
woodwork of the bed beating time to the music. Mr. Stewart, whose wife's
health at last became enfeebled under the stress, concluded that the
phenomena were evidences of the presence of a troubled spirit, for after
every effort was made to ascertain the cause of the disturbances,
nothing was discovered that in any way pointed to human agency.

"The Marquis of Cholmondeley, the Patron of the Living, had the ground
round the house excavated to ascertain whether there was any vault
underneath the house--none, however, was found. Two Bow Street officers
were sent to exercise their skill. They passed the night, armed with
loaded pistols, in chambers opposite to one another. In the night, each,
hearing a noise as if in the opposite chamber, came out with a loaded
pistol with the intention of firing. But a mutual recognition ensuing,
the catastrophe of each being shot by the other was averted.

"The house, to the best of my belief, like a number of other
old parsonages, was at length pulled down and a new one built
in its stead...."

In another letter my correspondent says:--"Mr. Stewart was a _quasi
alumnus_ of the great Greek scholar, Dr. Parr, and was a man of
eminent local literary celebrity. Mrs. Stewart, his wife, was a
daughter of an Admiral McDougall, so there was neither in them, nor in
any of their children, any peasant or bourgeois predilection to
superstition about ghosts."

Upon my writing to the Rev. H. Hacon, M.A., and asking him if he had
given me an exhaustive account of all the phenomena that were
experienced in the Parsonage, he sent me the following list,
which was a brief recapitulary of what he had already told me,
with a few additions:--

(1) The sound as of a huge ball descending upon the roof and penetrating
to the ground floor.

(2) A sound as of metal coin showering down from above.

(3) Scratching on the inner wall as of from the claws of a
lion or tiger.

(4) On the occasion of a guest retiring for the night and putting his
hand out for the night candlestick, a blow as from a hammer upon the
under-side of the table where the candlestick was standing. The guest,
by the way, had been expecting to hear the sounds, and was now
concluding there would be none.

(5) The sound as of a hand on the woodwork of the bed, keeping time to
the singing of the Evening Hymn by Mrs. Stewart's daughter, on the
conclusion of the latter's daily devotions.

(6) The incident of the Bow Street officers.

(7) The incident of the shifting of the furniture.

(8) The screams as of a human being under torture.

Since after every precaution had been taken to guard against the
possibility of trickery, the disturbances still continued, and were
heard collectively, there can be little doubt they were superphysical.
Such being the case, I am inclined to attribute them to the presence of
an Elemental, though to what kind of Elemental it is impossible for me
to say with any certainty, as the history of the Parsonage is unknown to
me. Since, however, the disturbances do not seem to have been the
precursors of any misfortune to the Stewarts, I can safely conclude that
the Elemental was not a Clanogrian. It was, in all probability, either a
Vice Elemental attracted thither by the past committal of some crime, or
by the vicious thoughts of some former occupant, or a Vagrarian drawn to
the spot by its seclusiveness or by some relic of prehistoric times. I
think the latter is the most probable, for the grotesque nature of the
sounds are quite in accordance with the appearance and behaviour of the
generality of Vagrarians, who usually manifest their resentment of human
trespassers, on what they presume to be their special preserves, by
creating all manner of alarming disturbances.

Shortly before commencing this book, hearing rumours that a certain
house in the neighbourhood of the Crystal Palace was haunted, I obtained
permission from the owner to sleep there, the only condition being that
I should on no account give any clue as to the real identity of the
place, which he was most anxious to let; and it is a fact, however
incredible it may seem to sceptics, that nothing more effectually
prevents a house letting than the reputation that it is haunted!

The house in question, though furnished, had been standing empty for
some long time, and when I entered it alone one evening about nine
o'clock, I was at once impressed with the musty atmosphere. My first
act, therefore, was to open the windows on the top landing. The house
consisted of three storeys and a basement, twelve bed and four
reception rooms, with the usual kitchen offices. I had had no
definite information as to the nature of the hauntings, so that I came
to the house with a perfectly unbiassed mind, and under conditions
that excluded any possibility of suggestion. I admit that, when the
front door closed behind me, and I found myself in a silent, empty
hall, in which the shadows of evening were fast beginning to assemble,
my heart beat a little faster than usual. Confronting me was a
staircase leading to all the grim possibilities of the upper landings,
whilst a little on one side of it was a dark, narrow passage, from
which a flight of unprepossessing stone steps led into the abyssmal
depths of the basement.

After a few minutes' hesitation, glad even to hear my own footsteps, I
moved across the hall, and after examining the rooms on the ground
floor, ascended to those above.

All the blinds in the house being down, each room with its ponderous
old-fashioned furniture presented a particularly funereal aspect, to
which a startling effect was given by a few patches of brilliant
moonlight, that, falling on the polished surfaces of the wardrobes,
converted them into mirrors, wherein I saw the reflections of what
apparently had no material counterparts. Here and there, too, in some
remote angle, I saw a white and glistening something, that for a moment
chilled my blood, until a closer inspection proved it to be a mere
illumination on the wall or on some naturally bright object.

I have generally been able to detect, both in Silence and in Shadows, an
indefinable Something that is--to me, at any rate--an almost sure
indication of the near proximity of the Superphysical; and the moment I
crossed the threshold of this house, I felt this indefinable Something
all round me in a degree that was most marked.

The hush, indeed, which was forced and unnatural, had grown with each
step I took, until now, as I involuntarily paused to listen, the
pulsation of my own heart was like the rapid beating on a drum, whilst I
instinctively felt that numerous other beings were holding in their
breath simultaneously with mine. The shadows, too, were far from normal
shadows, for as I glanced behind me, and saw them waving to and fro on
the walls and floor, I was not only struck with the fact that several of
them resembled nothing near at hand, nothing that could in any way be
explained by the furniture, but that, wherever I went, the same few
shadows glided surreptitiously behind me.

As I was about to enter one of the top attics, there was a thud, and
something flew past me. I switched on my flashlight. It was a black
cat--a poor stray creature with gaunt sides and unkempt coat--a great
deal more frightened than I.

My investigation of the upper premises over, I descended into the
basement, which, like all basements that have remained disused for any
length of time, was excessively cold and damp.

There were two cellars, the one opening into the other, both pitch dark
and streaming with moisture, and as I groped my way down into them by
the spasmodic aid of my pocket search-light, I could not help thinking
of the recent gruesome discoveries in Hilldrop Crescent.

In nine cases out of ten the origin of hauntings may be looked for in
basements, the gloomy, depressing nature of which seem to have a special
attraction for those Elementals that suggest crime.

And here, in the cellars, far removed from prying eyes and sunlight,
here, under the clammy, broken cement floor, here was an ideal sepulchre
ready for the use of any murderer. He had only to poke his nose
half-way down the steps to be struck with the excellence of the idea,
and to hurry back for pick and shovel to make the job complete.

The longer I lingered in the cellars, the more firmly I became convinced
that they had at one time or another witnessed some secret burial. Dare
I remain down there and wait for the phenomena? The heavy, foetid
atmosphere of the place hung round me like a wet rag, while the chill
fumes, rising from between the crevices in the cement, ascended my
nostrils and made me sneeze. If I stayed in this charnel house, I must
certainly risk rheumatic fever. Then a brilliant thought struck me--I
would cover the floor of the innermost cellar with cocoanut matting;
there were several loose stacks of it lying in the scullery.

I did so, and the result, though not, perhaps, quite as satisfactory as
I had anticipated, for the dampness was still abominable, made it at
least possible for me to remain there. I accordingly perched myself on a
table I had also brought from the scullery, and waited.

Minute after minute passed and nothing happened, nothing beyond a few
isolated noises, such as the slamming of some far-distant door--which
slamming, as I tried to reassure myself, momentarily forgetting that
the house I was in was detached, might be in the next house--and the
creaking of boards, those creakings that one so seldom seems to hear in
the daytime, but which one laughingly tells oneself are due to natural
causes--though what those causes are is apparently inexplicable.

The wind does not blow every night, neither can it perform half of
that for which it is often held responsible, neither does every house
swarm with rats. Still, I do not say that what I then heard could not
have been accounted for naturally--I daresay it might have been--only
I was not clever enough to do it. Sceptics are usually so brilliant
that one often wonders how it is they do not occupy all the foremost
places in literature, science, and art--why, in fact, the smart,
shrewd man, who scoffs at ghosts, is so often unheard of, whilst the
poor silly believer in the superphysical is so often eminent as a
scientist or author. Can it be that it is, after all, the little
learning that makes the man the fool?

But to continue. The hour of midnight--that hour erroneously supposed to
be the one when psychic phenomena usually show themselves--passed, and I
anxiously awaited for what I felt every moment might now produce.

About one o'clock the temperature in the cellars suddenly grew so cold
that my teeth chattered, and I then heard, as I thought, in the front
hall, a tremendous crash as if all the crockery in the house had been
dashed from some prodigious height in one big pile on the floor. Then
there was a death-like hush, and then a jabber, jabber,
jabber--apparently in the kitchen overhead--as of someone talking very
fast, and very incoherently, to themselves; then silence, and then, what
made me feel sick with terror, the sound of shuffling footsteps slowly
approaching the head of the steps confronting me. Nearer and nearer they
came, until they suddenly paused, and I saw the blurred outlines of the
luminous figure of something stunted, something hardly human, and
something inconceivably nasty.

It rushed noiselessly down the steps, and, brushing swiftly past me,
vanished in the furthest corner of the cellar.

Feeling that nothing more would happen now, I ascended the steps, and after
a final and brief survey of the premises, walked home, feeling convinced
that the phenomena I had experienced were due to a Vice Elemental
attracted to the house by a murder that had once been committed there, the
body of the victim being interred in one of the cellars.

I was not able to visit the house again, and the owner, though
acknowledging that what I had seen and heard was a recognised feature of
the hauntings, refused to disclose anything further.



PART IV.



CHAPTER VI.

SUGGESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES.


In accordance with a general opinion, which is unquestionably correct,
it would be extremely ridiculous to dogmatise on a subject so open to
controversy as Psychic Phenomena, hence my statements must not be
regarded in any sense as arbitrary; they are merely views based on a
certain amount of actual experience.


PHANTASMS.

A phantasm, in my opinion, is a phenomena that cannot be explained by
any physical laws. It is an objective--something, that can materialise
and dematerialise at will, that can sometimes emit sounds, sometimes
move material objects, and sometimes (though rarely) commit acts of
physical violence on material objects. It can produce various sensations
on living material bodies, whilst it is, in itself, though sometimes
sensible and rational, as far as we know, always insensible to physical
action. It can adopt a variety of different forms, and, being subject to
no limitations of space and time, it can pass through opaque objects in
any place and at any time.


CLASSIFICATION OF PHANTASMS.

Without any attempt at an exhaustive classification (which is, of course,
impossible), I have divided the different kinds of phantasms that have come
within my experience as follows:--Phantasms of the Dead, Phantasms of the
Living, and Elementals, and since I have defined each of these species in
another of my works, it will be sufficient for me to say here, that by
Phantasms of the Dead, I mean the phantasms of every form of life that has
inhabited a material body, whether human, animal, or vegetable, for I
maintain that there is a spirit in everything that lives; that by Phantasms
of the Living, I mean the superphysical counterpart of a living material
body that can, under certain conditions not at present fully known, leave
that body and manifest itself at any distance away from that body, either
visually or auditorially; and that by Elementals, I mean all spirits that
have never inhabited any material body.


PHANTASMS OF THE DEAD.

As I have already stated, I think earth-bound spirits of the dead are
confined to people whose animal propensities were far in excess of their
spiritual--that is to say, whose thoughts were entirely centred on
matters appertaining to the material world.

I do not suppose for one moment all such spirits would be compelled to
haunt certain localities, but only the spirits of murderers, of
carnal-minded suicides, of misers and other people who, when alive, were
attracted to one spot by some special vice or peculiar hobby; the
spirits of criminal lunatics, and vicious imbeciles, and of particularly
gross and sensual people, whose phantasms are, according to some
authorities (a view I do not altogether take), as bestial and savage in
appearance as the people, when alive, were lustful and cruel in
disposition, need not necessarily haunt one spot. That the earth-bound
spirits of murderers, suicides, and grossly sensual people haunt certain
localities in the shape of certain animals has been firmly believed for
many centuries. According to Hartshorne, a man, who committed suicide at
Broomfield, near Salisbury, came back to earth in the form of a black
dog; whilst legend says that the spirit of Lady Howard, of James the
First's reign, who got rid of four husbands, haunts the road from
Fitzford to Oakhampton Park, in the shape of a hound.

Many spectral dogs, supposed by some to be the souls of evil-doers, are
alleged to haunt the sides of pools and rivers, particularly in Devon.
Mr. Dyer, in his _Ghost World_ (p. 107) gives an instance of a haunting
near Tring, where the spirit of a chimney-sweep, who murdered an old
woman, was frequently seen on the site of the gibbet, on which he was
hanged, in the form of a black dog. As, however, the phantasms of so
many murderers and vicious people have been seen in forms more or less
resembling those people when alive, I am inclined to attribute the
apparitions of animals either to the earth-bound spirits of the animals
themselves, or to Impersonating and Vice Elementals, whilst to the
latter I attribute the entire sub-human and sub-animal type of psychic
phenomenon--such, for example, as the pig-headed ghost of Guilsborough.


THE SOULS OF THE GOOD.

Whilst the spirits of bad people are thus held to be reincarnate, in
the shape of animals, in some countries there is a belief that the souls
of the good remain on earth for an indefinite period in the guise of
birds. In Bulgaria, for example, all souls are supposed to leave the
body in the form of birds--a belief that was at one time prevalent among
certain North American Indian tribes, whilst in Denmark and Germany
there was at one time an almost universal belief that the advent of
infants was heralded by the appearance of a stork, who brought the
child's soul with it (vide _Thorpe's Northern Mythology_, i., p. 289).
To my mind, it is a significant fact that from time immemorial psychism
has been closely associated with the bird which, in Egyptian
hieroglyphics and other symbols of the Ancients, signifies the soul.

Apropos of psychism and birds, a very curious incident happened this
spring to a relative of mine with whom I was staying in the village of
G----. Early one morning a large bird came to his bedroom window, and by
violent tappings and flappings of its wings against the glass, attracted
his attention, when it at once flew away. The previous day an old and
dear friend of his (to whom he was very much attached) had died, and he
subsequently learned that on the day of her funeral a dove had come to
the window of the room in which the dead body lay, and had behaved in
precisely the same manner, flying away directly it had succeeded in
attracting attention. The visitation of these birds may, of course, only
have been a coincidence, but if so, it was a very curious one--indeed, I
am inclined to believe that in each instance the bird was a benevolent
Elemental that appeared with the sole object of intimating to my
relative and to those around the dead body of his friend that the soul
of the latter was still alive.

Though I think it quite possible that the souls of the virtuous and
spiritual-minded remain earth-bound for a short space after death, I do
not think that, when once they are removed to other spheres, they can,
under any circumstances, return. There can be no going back when once
they have begun the slow, but sure process of spiritual evolution which
will lead them to Paradise.


FUTURITY FOR DUMB ANIMALS.

There is, in my opinion, abundant evidence to show that dogs, horses,
and birds have spirits that survive death, and this being so, it is
only reasonable to suppose that there is a future existence for every
kind of animal and for everything, in fact, that possesses any sort of
mind--though I do not believe that their spirits all go to the same
sphere. A relative of mine, once a year, always hears the sound of
barking over the grave of a very favourite fox-terrier, whilst another
relative has on more than one occasion seen the phantasm of a black
spaniel to which she was very much attached. Mr. Harper, in his book of
_Haunted Houses_ (Chapman and Hall, 1907), gives a very interesting
account of the alleged haunting of Ballechin House, Perthshire, by the
phantasms of a number of dogs that had been shot on the death--and at
the express desire--of a Major Stewart, the late owner of the property;
whilst a lady correspondent of mine tells me that her eldest nephew has,
from the time he was three years old, seen, occasionally, two thin dogs
like greyhounds. To quote her own words: "They seem to come and look at
him, he says. He is a most matter-of-fact person, and I do not think he
has any belief in psychic matters at all. He was born in the North West
Territory, where there are no dogs of that kind, and did not come to
England until he was over four years old."

In my book, _The Haunted Houses of London_, I gave several instances of
the apparitions of animals, including that of a dear old dog of mine
that appeared to me in York Road, London, and of a parrot that was seen
standing on the shoulders of a lady near Clifton.

Although it is only too apparent that animals have not man's capacity
for appreciating what is morally beautiful--in other words, have no
souls--I think their intelligence, sagacity, and faithfulness ensures a
future life of happiness to them with as great a certainty as "soul"
entails a happy futurity to us. Consequently, I believe that all animals
and insects have future lives, and that the spirits of all animals and
insects, like the souls of men, are being continually contended for by
Elementals; and that whilst the spirits of the faithful, benignant,
gentle, and industrious go to the Animals' Paradise, the spirits of the
cruel and savage are condemned to go to a corresponding Hades.

There is apparently, however, no very stringent law to prevent the
spirits of all kinds of animals--benevolent and otherwise--from
occasionally returning and materialising to us.


PHANTASMS OF THE LIVING.

I have already stated that it is quite possible to separate the
superphysical from the physical body, and for the former to manifest itself
either visually or auditorially, or both, at any distance from the latter.
The accomplishment of this act--which is called projection--is entirely a
question of concentration, but of a concentration so intense that it cannot
be reached--at least, such is my experience--without absolute physical
quiet and total absence of mental disturbance.

The separation of the two bodies may be done consciously or
unconsciously, more often the latter, and not infrequently, too, during
sleep. Indeed, many cases of nocturnal hauntings have been found to be
due to the phantasms of living people, who have dreamed they were
visiting certain localities, and whose superphysical bodies frequently
have, in very truth, visited the places in question, and thereby
occasioned the hauntings.

The following is one of the many stories I have heard that would serve
as an example of this kind of haunting. A Mrs. Elmore, on the occasion
of her first visit to Scotland, told me that the people with whom she
was staying took her to see a picturesque house near Montrose. The
caretaker, on opening the door to them, turned deadly pale, and screamed
out, "God help us! If it isn't the ghost come to visit me in broad
daylight!" When the woman had recovered a little from her fright, she
explained to them that, for some months past, the house had been haunted
by an apparition the exact image of Mrs. Elmore; it had exactly the same
face and figure, but was wearing different clothes, which clothes,
however, when the caretaker described them, Mrs. Elmore immediately
identified with certain garments she had at home.

As they proceeded to explore the house, it began to dawn on Mrs. Elmore
that the face of the old woman was strangely familiar, and, on ascending
the main staircase, she at once recognised the landing and passages as
those she had been continually dreaming about during the past year.
Pointing to one of the closed doors, she exclaimed, "That is my favourite
room with the pretty blue wall paper, the blue carpet and the quaint inlaid
cabinet standing opposite the foot of the old oak bedstead."

The caretaker again almost fainted in astonishment. "It is just as you
describe, ma'am," she exclaimed. "The De'il is in it."

And it did indeed seem like it, as Mrs. Elmore knew the upper part of
the house--the part she had visited in her sleep--by heart. As a matter
of fact, there is no doubt that during sleep Mrs. Elmore's superphysical
body had left her material body and visited the house. In all such
cases, however, as well as in cases of conscious projection, there is
great danger, since, awake or asleep, we are never free from
antagonistic Elementals, who would have no difficulty in seizing both
our superphysical and material bodies, and appropriating the latter to
their own use, were it not for the combatting and counteracting efforts
of our guardian angels--the Benevolent Elementals.

All dreams, whether accompanied or unaccompanied by unconscious
projections, are induced by Elementals.


THE CLOTHES OF PHANTASMS.

Again, and again, sceptics, with would-be smartness, have said to me,
"Where do ghosts get their clothes? One can imagine the spirit of a person,
but not the spirit of his garments. There are surely no tailoring
establishments in the psychic world?" But this argument, if such it can be
called, is of little value, since the Dead who appear would naturally
assume those forms in which they were best known when living, and when on
earth they were surely better known clothed than unclothed.

The clothes are not, of course, material clothes any more than the body
is a material body--they are mere accessories assumed, so to speak, to
make the image more complete, and to facilitate the question of
identity. It is surely not difficult to understand that the Force which
has the power to manifest itself at all, has the power to manifest
itself in the most suitable guise. The phantasm is, after all, only the
image of the spirit or soul; it is not actually the spirit or soul
itself, any more than the man we see walking about Regent Street in a
silk hat and frock-coat is actually the man himself; the latter is an
abstract quantity, compounded of spirit, soul, and intelligence--what we
see is merely an outward concrete form, whereby we are able to identify
that abstract quantity. So it is with the superphysical ego. To identify
it we must either see or feel it, and thus to those of us who have
sight, it appears in a form with which some of us, at least, are
familiar--the form that was once common to its material body; hence
clothes--illusionary clothes--are necessary appendages.

It is not so with certain orders of Elementals: having no identity to
prove, they manifest themselves--nude.


PHANTASMS OF THE MURDERED AND OF SUICIDES.

As I have already stated, where suicides and murdered people have led gross
lives, the hauntings are undoubtedly due to their earth-bound spirits; but
where they have been benevolent and pure-minded people, then the phenomena
experienced after their deaths may be attributed to Elementals.


ELEMENTALS.

Elementals--namely, those spirits that have never had material bodies,
human or animal--are either benevolent, antagonistic, or neutral, and are
subjected to the supervision of those Higher Occult Forces that are
responsible for the creation of Nature. I do not think it feasible that the
same Powers (or Power) that created all that is beneficial to man, created
also all that is obnoxious to him. If Man were the only sufferer, then one
could attach some credence to the story of the Fall, though there would be
little enough justice in it then; but when one considers the vast amount of
suffering that has always been endured by all forms of animal life, the
Biblical version of the Garden of Eden degenerates into a mere myth as
unjust as it is fanciful. Whatever man may have done to have brought upon
himself thousands of years of the most hideous sufferings, it is ludicrous
to suppose that animals and insects also sinned! And therefore, since to me
the terms Almighty and Merciful, and Almighty and Just, are utterly
irreconcilable when applied to the Creator of this material world, I can
only assume that there was not one Creative Force, but many, and that
whilst some (probably the majority) of these Forces (none of which are
supreme, for if one were Omnipotent, then the others would assuredly cease
to exist) have always been diametrically opposed to one another in their
attitude towards all forms of animal life, others have remained indifferent
and neutral. Of these Creative Forces, some, whom I will designate the
Benevolent Powers, wished both man and beast to live for ever in perfect
happiness, whilst others, whom I will designate the Evil Powers, wished
both man and beast to die. Some sort of a compromise was therefore arranged
by which the contending Forces agreed that all forms of animal life should
die, and that the material body should be succeeded by the superphysical,
for the possession of which both Forces must contend. The Benevolent Powers
would strive to transfer superphysical man, after subjecting him to the
thorough process of spiritual evolution to their own particular sphere,
namely, Paradise, whilst the Evil Powers would strive to keep superphysical
man permanently bound to this Earth, namely, Purgatory; hence there would
be a constant struggle between them, a struggle in which each opposing
Force would resort to every conceivable device to secure
the souls and spirits of both man and beast.

To the Benevolent Creative Powers, then, we owe everything that tends to
man's happiness (and what is more necessary to real happiness than
temperance and morality), whilst to the Evil Creative Powers are due all
diseases, crimes, and cruelties--everything, in fact, that is injurious
to health and responsible for suffering, either mental or physical.

I think I have elsewhere stated in my definition of Benevolent
Elementals that they would seem to be identical with the good fairies
of our childhood's days, and with the angels in the Bible. In any case
they are employed by the Higher Occult Powers friendly to man, and are
always with us, trying to keep us in the paths of virtue, and guarding
us from physical danger.

Vice Elementals, on the other hand, are employed by the Higher Occult
Powers inimical to man, and are also always with us, trying to persuade
us to do everything that harms us mentally, morally, and physically, and
that, in a like manner, indirectly injures our neighbours.

Vice Elementals appear in every variety of form, from beautiful,
captivating women and handsome, insinuating men, to the grossest and
most terrifying caricatures of both man and beast; for example,
pig-headed men, monstrous dogs (such as "The Mauthe Dog" of Peel Castle,
Isle of Man; the Kirk-grim of Scandinavia, which is sometimes a dog and
sometimes a horse or pig); the Gwyllgi of Wales; huge bears (such as the
famous "bear" ghost of the Tower of London), and many other mal-shaped
forms of man and beast.

Whereas, however, the more prepossessing type of this class of Elemental
roams everywhere, the more terrible are usually confined to places where
crimes have been committed and impure thoughts conceived.


VAGRARIANS.

These Elementals, which I have already described, are merely survivals
of experiments at life, prior to the selection of any definite forms of
man and beast; they were created by the neutral Powers, and their
attitude to man (whom they shun as much as possible), though spiteful
and mischievous, is prompted by nothing actually sinister.


MORBAS, OR DISEASE ELEMENTALS.

These Phantasms are the Agents of the Evil Creative Powers. Always
hideous in appearance, they create all manner of malignant bacilli,
and are responsible for all diseases and illness, which they often
delight in predicting.


CLANOGRIANS, OR FAMILY GHOSTS.

Why there should be a particular type of Elemental attached to certain
families it is difficult to say. Some people think it is solely on
account of the dreadful crimes perpetrated by members of these families
in past days; but if that were the case, what family would be exempt,
since there can be very few amongst us who could positively assert that
no ancestor of his had ever committed a murder! I think it more likely,
that, at one time, Man was in much closer touch with the Creative Powers
than he is now, and that certain families, as a mark of friendship, or
otherwise, had Clanogrians attached to them (by both the Benevolent and
Antagonistic Powers), with the express purpose of warning them of
physical danger, and that in course of time, as the relationship between
the Higher Powers and man grew more distant, the functions of these
Family Elementals became fewer and fewer, until at length they consisted
solely of Death warnings, as is now the case.

It would seem that certain houses, such, for example, as Knebworth and
the one in which Mrs. Wright (whose case I have already mentioned)
lived, as well as families, have ghosts attached to them that have the
power of warning people of their approaching doom.

It is, of course, quite possible that these ghosts were once attached to
people, either living in those houses, or in some way connected with
them, and, that leaving those people, they took up their freed abode in
the houses, continuing, however, their function of Death Warning. On the
other hand, they may be a type of Vagrarian who, being brought to the
house with some antique piece of furniture, resolve to take up their
abode in it. As this type of Elemental prefers solitude, it would
naturally take every means in its power to insure it. Or, again, they
may be a type of Elemental closely allied to Morbas, who are attracted
to these houses by crimes once committed there (for I think when once a
murder has been committed no Benevolent Powers can prevent Vice and
other antagonistic Elementals from taking up their abode on the spot),
and who have the power committed to them to bring about all manner of
catastrophes fatal to the material inmates of the house; hence houses
where death warnings of the nature of phantom clocks have been heard
should be studiously avoided.


IMPERSONATING ELEMENTALS.

One of the functions of Impersonating Elementals, as I have already
stated, is to perform the _rôles_ both of the victim of murder and of
suicide, though only in those cases where the spirits of the murdered
person and the suicide are not themselves earth-bound. These Elementals
would seem to be Neutrals, or spirit properties, employed alike by the
Benevolent and Antagonistic Forces. In cases of suicide, for example,
they would be employed by the Benevolent Forces with the object of
warning people against self-destruction; and, at the same time, they
might be employed by the Antagonistic Forces with the object of leading
people on to self-destruction.

I think Impersonating Elementals sometimes manifest themselves at
Spiritualistic _séances_, when they appear as relatives and friends of
the sitters, and are pronounced to be such by the "controls."

In dreams, too, Impersonating Elementals frequently find constant
employment, assuming every variety of guise--indeed, dreams, as I have
already remarked, are completely under the control of Benevolent,
Impersonating, and Antagonistic Elementals.


NEUTRAL ELEMENTALS.

Under this heading are included all Impersonating Elementals,
some Clanogrians, and the greater number of Vagrarians,
Pixies, and Fire Elementals.


MATERIALISATION.

All superphysical spirits, whether earth-bound spirits of the dead or
Elementals, have the power of materialisation, though the conditions
under which they may do so vary considerably. What the conditions
actually are, is quite unknown at present to physical man.


THE PSYCHIC FACULTY.

I think the seeing, hearing, or feeling of psychic phenomena is determined
by the Phenomena themselves, and that the latter themselves select the
person to whom they wish to become manifest--hence there is no actual
psychic faculty. I have, for example, in a haunted house, seen the
phenomenon on one night and not on another, though on both occasions other
people in the room have witnessed it. There are no end of other instances,
too, in which people, who see apparitions on one occasion, do not see them
on another, although the manifestations are of a precisely similar nature.


PHANTOM COACHES, CLOCKS, SHIPS, ETC.

Phantom coaches, clocks, ships, etc., are merely illusionary accessories
to help carry out the design of Elementals. A coach was said at one
time to haunt a road in Monmouthshire, and there are numerous cases of
similar hauntings in different parts of England.

From time to time, too, phantom ships are reputed to have been seen off
the North Cornish coast, whilst there is hardly a coast in the world
that has not been visited by them. As they are usually seen before
maritime catastrophes, they undoubtedly belong to the order of
Clanogrians, with which I accordingly classify them.


PHANTASMS IN MINES.

In certain mining districts, after work hours, the miners say they hear
the sounds of knocking and picking proceeding from the levels they have
just vacated, and they declare it is "The Buccas" at work, the Buccas
being a species of Neutral Elemental (closely allied to the Pixie)
peculiar to mines. I have never heard of any of the miners seeing the
Buccas, though several have spoken to me of the noises they have heard.

Deserted old mines are often alleged to be haunted, and I have been told
that if one stands by the mouth of an empty shaft on a still night, one can
hear the rolling of the Buccas' barrows and the thud, thud, of the Buccas'
picks. Interesting accounts of similar phenomena are given in Carne's
_Tales of the West_ and Hunt's _Popular Romances of the West of England_.

Another species of ghost, allied, perhaps, to the Clanogrian, is a blue,
luminous hand that appears in various parts of the mine before a
catastrophe; sometimes it is seen climbing ropes, sometimes resting on
the edge of one of the cages, and sometimes hovering in mid-air with a
finger pointed at the doomed men.

Certain mines in France are haunted by a white hare that appears with
the same purport, whilst in Germany the miners are haunted by Elementals
of the Pixie order, called respectively Kobolds and Knauffbriegen, that
play all sorts of mischievous pranks (very often of a dangerous nature)
on the miners. Mines are, in addition, of course, subjected to all the
ordinary forms of hauntings.


PHANTASMS OF THE SEA.

In all parts of the world there is a firm belief among many of the
people living in lonely spots on the coast, that the sea and rocks are
haunted by the earth-bound spirits of the drowned, and often when I have
been walking alone at night along the cliffs or sandy beaches between
Bude and Clovelly, and Lamorna and the Land's End, Dalkey and Bray and
Lunan Bay, I have heard the rising and falling of ghostly voices from
over the deserted, star-lit sea--voices that may either have come from
the superphysical bodies of those who lay engulfed there, or from
Impersonating Elementals.

I have repeatedly heard it said that in the grey hours of the
morning all sorts of queer filmy shapes rise out of the sea and
glide over the silent strand.

Mr. Dyer, in his _Ghost World_, refers to "The Bay of the Departed" in
Brittany, where boatmen are summoned by some unseen power to launch
their boats and to ferry to some island near at hand the souls of the
men who have been drowned. In this bay, too, the wails and cries of the
phantasms of shipwrecked sailors are clearly heard in the dead of night.
So strong is the antipathy of the seafaring community in many parts of
Brittany to the sea coast that none will approach it after nightfall.

Mr. Hunt, in his _Romances of West of England_, says that one night when a
fisherman was walking along the sands at Porth-Towan, he suddenly heard a
voice cry out three times from the sea, "The hour is come, but not the
man," whereupon a black figure, like that of a man, appeared on the top of
the hill, paused for a moment, and then, rushing impetuously down the steep
incline, over the sand, vanished amid the gently lapping waves.

The figure, of course, may have been the actual earth-bound spirit of
someone who was once drowned in that spot, or it may have been an
impersonating or Vice Elemental attracted to that spot by some tragedy that
had taken place there; since I have heard of many similar instances of
tall, thin figures bounding over cliffs or across sandy beaches, vanishing
in the sea, I conclude such phenomena are by no means uncommon.

In certain parts of the Norfolk coast it is still, I believe, affirmed
that before any person is drowned a voice is heard from the sea
predicting a squall, and a great reluctance is still shown in many
countries to rescue anyone from drowning, since it is popularly supposed
that the drowning person will at some time or another injure his
rescuer--an idea which should certainly be discouraged, whether there is
any truth in it or not. But the sea certainly has a peculiar fascination
for most people, and, I feel sure, it possesses a species of Elemental
peculiar to itself. Those Elementals probably resent the rescue of their
would-be victims, and use the latter as a means of wreaking their
vengeance on the rescuer!


HAUNTED TREES.

Cases of trees haunted by particularly grotesque kinds of phantasms
(presumably Vagrarians, Vice Elementals, and Neutrals) are numerous.

A few years ago, a Mrs. Cayley told me that when riding along a certain
road in India, she had the greatest difficulty in making her horse pass
a particular tree, and that on mentioning the matter to a native
servant, the man at once exclaimed, "Allah preserve you, mem-sahib, from
ever passing near that tree. A dog-faced man sits at the base of the
trunk, and, with his long arms outstretched, watches for passers-by. He
springs upon them, half frightens them to death, and overwhelms them
with misfortune. If ever you come within the clutches of the dog-faced
spirit, mem-sahib, you will shortly afterwards meet with some dire
calamity. The horse has second sight, mem-sahib; it can see the spirit
and its evil nature, and has no desire to place either itself or you
within its clutches. Be wise, mem-sahib, and never go near that tree!"

Mrs. Cayley, however, was not wise. Laughing at the Indian's credulity, she
immediately saddled her horse, and riding to the tree, compelled the
reluctant and terrified animal to pass under its branches. Just as it did
so, Mrs. Cayley felt an icy current of air pass right through her, and,
glancing down, saw, to her horror, a misty something crouching against the
trunk of the tree and peering up at her. She couldn't tell what it was, its
shape being altogether too indistinct, but from the fact that it impressed
her with sensations of the utmost terror and loathing, she realised that it
was something both diabolical and malignant. At this moment her horse
shied, and she knew nothing more till she found herself with a sprained
ankle, lying on the ground close to the tree. Her terror was then so great
that, without daring to look round, she rolled over and over till she had
got from under cover of the branches, when, despite the pain caused by her
injury, she got up and hobbled home.

That evening a very near relative of hers was accidentally shot, and within
the week her favourite brother died from the effects of sunstroke!

The ghost in this case was either a Vice Elemental attracted to the
tree by some tragedy once enacted there, or a phantasm of the
malignant order of Clanogrian.

Hauntings of a similar nature are not uncommon in Ireland.

According to certain North American Indian tribes, trees have spirits of
their own, which resemble beautiful women, whilst in Greece certain
trees are haunted by "Stichios" (see _Superstitions of Modern Greece_,
by M. Le Baron d'Estournelles), a malignant kind of Vagrarian or
Clanogrian that wreaks vengeance on anyone or anything venturing to
sleep beneath the branches.

In Australia, too, the Bushmen often shun trees, declaring them to be
haunted by demons that whistle in the branches. Whether this is true or
not, many trees are haunted, and the phantasm that most commonly haunts
them is undoubtedly the sub-human and sub-animal type of Vice
Elemental--such as was seen by Mrs. Cayley on the day her relative was
accidentally shot and shortly before her brother succumbed to sunstroke.


TELEPATHY.

The transference of thought from one mind to another without any other
medium than air is an established fact--such communications are of daily
occurrence. At present, however, the communications usually take place
without any conscious endeavour on the part of the transmitter, or
knowledge of actual reception on the part of the receiver.

For example, a certain Mr. Philpotts, with whom I am acquainted, when on
a visit to London, was wishing very earnestly one morning that his wife,
whom he had left at home, would go into his study and write a letter in
reply to one which he had forgotten to answer. On his return home next
day, he found to his astonishment that at the very time he had been
thinking of the letter, his wife had actually gone into the study and
penned it. Up to that moment, she had had no intention of going into the
study, and no idea that any letter there needed an answer.

Instances like this are numerous. The questions now arise as to whether
it is possible for the transmitter of the thoughts to raise in the
recipient's mind visions which might be thought to be objective, and
that if such a process should be possible, if it would not account for
many of the so-called superphysical phenomena?

In instances where phenomena are seen individually, _i.e._, where they
manifest themselves to single individuals, I think it possible, but not
probable, that they may be due to telepathy; but where the
demonstrations take place, either visually or auditorially, before a
number of people, several of whom are conscious of them, then those
demonstrations are without doubt objective, and consequently in no way
traceable to telepathic communication. This being so, why, then, should
not all such demonstrations, whether manifesting themselves individually
or collectively, be objective?

In the case of Miss D., a case I have already mentioned in reference to
projection, the phenomenon was without a doubt objective. Four of us
suddenly saw what we all took to be the natural body of Miss D. descend
the staircase, pass between us, open a door and slam it behind her, the
fact of her disappearance--there being no exit from the room she had
entered and into which we had immediately followed her--proving beyond
question that what we had seen was her superphysical body. She was
actually a long distance from the house at the time of the occurrence,
and could not remember thinking either of us or the house, so that the
separation of her superphysical from her physical body must have taken
place unconsciously. I had a decided impression of her dress as it swept
over my feet during her descent of the staircase. We were all busily
engaged in discussing our programme for the day when the phantasm
appeared, and had, certainly, not been thinking of Miss D.

I do not think, then, that Phantasms of the Living are in any way
attributable to telepathy, but that, like all other phantasms, they
are purely superphysical. I have often been to haunted houses where
the nature of the haunting was entirely unknown to me, and witnessed
the same phenomena that I have subsequently learned have been
experienced by countless other people. This has happened to me
individually and collectively; collectively when my companions have
been in as complete ignorance as to the nature of the manifestations
as myself. Indeed, in most of my investigations I am accompanied by
pronounced sceptics, who are, in addition, complete strangers to the
neighbourhood. Hence there can be no question, under these
circumstances, either of telepathy or suggestion.


SPIRITUALISTIC _SÉANCES_.

As I have already inferred, I think it quite likely that genuine
superphysical manifestations do, at times, take place at spiritualistic
_séances_, but I am convinced that all such phenomena are confined to
earth-bound spirits of the Dead, and Impersonating and Vice Elementals.
For this reason I think constant, or even casual, attendance at
_séances_ is a very dangerous thing, as, not content with appearing at
the _séance_, these undesirable Elementals will attach themselves to the
sitters, accompanying them home and wherever they may go, with the sole
object of doing them mischief; and when once attached, they will not
easily, if ever, be got rid of.

I am often asked if I know of a materialising medium who is above the
suspicion of trickery. I do not. There is no medium that I have ever
met, or even heard of, that has not at times (at all events) resorted to
fraudulent means of producing phenomena.

If spirits can manifest themselves in haunted houses without the
assistance of a medium, or the necessity of sitting round tables with
joined hands, or facing "curtained off" recesses or mysterious
cabinets--why cannot they thus simply manifest themselves at a _séance_?
To my mind the reason is obvious, since the genuine superphysical
manifestations cannot be summoned at will by any medium, the latter,
rather than allow his audience to go away unsatisfied, invariably makes
use of conditions, under cover of which--failing the genuine
phenomenon--he can always produce a fraudulent representation.

The stock-in-trade of many spiritualistic _séances_ seems to be an
Indian, who executes a wild dance and speaks in a Hill dialect only
known to one or two people in the room (confederates, of course), a
beautiful girl who was once a very naughty nun, or hospital nurse, and
several soldiers stated to have been killed in recent wars and who are
anxious to materialise. This, however, they do not do, as one or two
ladies in the audience (confederates again) declare they dare not
under any circumstances behold bullet wounds and sabre cuts--a protest
that at once meets with the approval of the "control," who bids the
soldiers remain invisible, and talk only. The sound of voices is then
heard proceeding from behind a heavy curtain that is hung across the
recess of a window conveniently left open. Sometimes, a number of feet
are seen moving backwards and forwards under the curtain, and,
occasionally, a very ugly but unmistakeably material head (wearing a
mask) is poked through between the drawn curtains, much, of course, to
the horror of the more timid of the audience, who are only too ready
to believe the declaration of the medium and his confederates, that
the head is that of some Earth-bound Spirit.

The darkness of the room--for _séances_ are seldom held in the
light--facilitates every manner of trickery, whilst the window, cabinet,
and door all furnish easy means of entrance and exit.

The knockings on the table and the banging of tambourines are, as I have
proved over and over again, invariably the work either of the medium
himself or of confederates amongst the audience.

The trumpets that blow on the walls are generally manipulated by someone
outside the room, and the sound that apparently comes from them, often,
in reality, proceeds from an entirely different quarter.

I think, however, that genuine spirits do occasionally materialise, but
that when they do, it is as much to the terror of the medium as of his
audience. The fear inspired by a _bona-fide_ superphysical demonstration
is a very different thing to that produced by a bogus one--the
sensations are absolutely unlike, and anyone who has once beheld a
spontaneous psychic materialisation in a genuinely haunted house cannot
be deceived by the doll-like make-beliefs at spiritualistic _séances_.


AUTOMATIC WRITING.

Though I have never been able to obtain any very definite results myself
with planchette, I have no doubt genuine spirit messages are obtained in
this way, and that such messages are always suggested by Elementals. But
since these messages cannot be relied upon, owing to the fact that it is
impossible to tell by what order of Elementals they are suggested, I
think automatic writing is sheer waste of time.


THE LAYING OF PHANTASMS.

Last year, when I was investigating at a notorious haunted house in the
West of England, the ghost suddenly and quite unexpectedly appeared in
our midst. There were several of us present, and we were all much
alarmed, as I believe one always is in the presence of the Unknown. I
addressed the phenomenon, challenging it in the name of God and adjuring
it to speak; there was, however, no response of any kind, and I think it
extremely doubtful if it understood what I said, or even if it heard me.

I have done this on other occasions, and always with the same
result--the phenomenon has remained totally unaffected by my words.

I know also of a case in which a Roman Catholic priest tried to lay a
spirit, with the startling result that the spirit (figuratively
speaking) laid him, for on his mumbling out some form of exorcism, it
stretched out a grotesque and shadowy hand, and he fell face downwards
on his bed, unable to utter a sound or move a muscle.

I have, however, heard instances in which phantasms have been "laid" by
the repetition of prayers, and so can only conclude that the possibility
of laying a ghost depends entirely on conditions about which we know
nothing.

Whereas I think it highly probable that oral communication may sometimes
be held with rational Phantasms of the Dead with possible beneficial
results on one or both sides, no mode of address produces other than an
irritating effect on Phantasms of the Insane; there is no consistency
whatever in the result of exhortation on Elementals.


PHANTASMS OF THE INSANE.

Whether the spirit of an insane person is earth-bound, or not, depends
entirely on the cause of the malady. If the insanity is due to long
indulgence in vice, or if it is hereditary, then I think the spirit of the
mad person is earth-bound; but if the disease is the result of a shock or
of something not brought about by vicious indulgences, and the sufferer had
been perfectly pure-minded before the affliction, then his spirit is
certainly not earth-bound. The former species of insanity would be the work
of Vice Elementals and Morbas, and the latter of Morbas only.

The ghosts of idiots are, in my opinion, always earth-bound, and few
forms of hauntings are more horrible than those in which the
manifestations are due to Imbeciles--a by no means uncommon occurrence.



INDEX.


  A.
                                                                     PAGE
  Animals (Future for), 149-150
    "     (Phantasms of), 145-150

  Antagonistic Elementals, 157-8, 163
    "          Forces, 157

  Automatic Writing, 177


  B.

  Banshee, 23 (def. of), 24, 25

  Baroness Von A---- (Case of the), 67-72, 113-115

  Barrowvians, 79 (def. of)

  Bellew (Case of Mrs.), 77

  Benevolent Elementals, 153-7
    "        Forces, 157 (def. of), 163

  Bruce (Case of Mrs.), 63-4

  Buccas, 164


  C.

  C---- (Case of Miss), 39-41

  Carmichael (Case of Miss), 116

  Cayley (Case of Miss), 169-170

  Chichester (Case of Rev. G.), 78-9

  Clanogrians, 23 (def. of), 33, 34, 74, 82, 159 (def. of), 162, 170

  Clifford (Case of Mr.), 7

  Clocks (Phantom), 13, 38, 73, 163

  Clock that struck Thirteen, 13, 33, 73

  Clothes of Phantasms, 153-154

  Coaches (Phantom), 163

  Cone shaped head (Phantasm with), 66

  Coney (Mr. and Mrs.), 46

  Cornelius (Case of Mr.), 8

  Craven (Case of Mrs.), 98-100

  Cyclist in grey, 43


  D.

  D---- (Case of Miss), 172-3

  Dalrymple (Case of Miss), 106-110

  Dead (Phantasms of the), 90, 98, 99, 103, 105, 145-6

  Death Candles of Wales, 23, 81

  Death Warnings, 39, 161

  Debrett (Case of Miss), 100, 102

  Dodd (Case of Miss), 66-67

  Dreams, 45-56, 113-119

  Drummers (Phantom), 23, 72, 82


  E.

  Elementals (def. of), 11 (def. of), 155 (def. of)

  Elmore (Case of Mrs.), 152-3


  F.

  Family Ghosts, 72, 74, 82, 159 (def. of)

  Falmouth, 37

  Featherstone (Case of Miss), 84, 117-119

  Fire Elementals, 77, 162


  H.

  H---- (Phantasm of), 37-8

  Hacon (Rev. H.), 123, 127-129

  Howards (Case of), 113-115


  I.

  Impersonating Elementals, 76, 86, 94, 99, 103, 112, 161-2 (def. of), 167


  K.

  K---- (Case of Mr.), 41-3

  Kobolds, 164


  L.

  Lady ---- (Case of), 37

  Laying of Phantasms, 177-8

  Lichens (Haunting of the), 106-110

  Lights (Spirit), 79-80

  Living (Phantasms of), 34, 44, 151-3, 173


  M.

  Mad (Spirits of the), 84, 91, 179

  Materialisation, 163

  Mines (Phantasms in), 164-165

  Morbas, 3-9, 74, 159 (def. of), 179

  Murdered (Phantasms of), 108, 111, 112, 116, 155

  Murderers (Phantasms of), 105, 110


  N.

  Nature Spirits, 11

  Neutral Elementals, 162


  O.

  Omens, 41


  P.

  P---- (Case of Mrs.), 92-95

  Palmer the Murderer, 12

  Phantasms (Classification of), 144
    "       (def. of), 143

  Pig's head (Phantasm with), 59-63

  Pipers (Phantasms of), 23, 82

  Pixies, 10, 76-78, 80, 88-89, 163

  Poltergeists, 82, 85

  Portman Square (Tragedy in), 34, 73

  Projection, 35, 117-8

  Projection (Process of), 39

  Psychic Faculty, 163


  R.

  Radiant Boy, 72

  Raynor (Case of Miss), 44-5

  Reed (Case of Mr.), 66

  Rolands (Case of Miss), 74-6


  S.

  "S" (Phantasm of "Old"), 104

  Sea (Phantasms of the), 160

  Séances, 85-6, 162, 174-7

  Ships (Phantom of), 163

  Sinclair (Case of Miss), 64-5

  Soul (def. of), 91

  Souls of Good, 146-8

  Spirit (def. of), 91

  St. Jermyn (Case of Miss), 95-98

  Stewart (Case of Rev. J.), 123-129

  Suicides (Phantasms of), 90-91, 155

  Suggestion, 115

  Sydersterne Parsonage (Haunting of), 123-132


  T.

  Telepathy, 117, 171-174

  Trees, 168-170


  U.

  Urquhart (Case of Mrs.), 110-112


  V.

  Vagrarians (def. of), 12, 159

  Vagrarians, 11-23, 25-31, 66, 82, 131, 159, 161, 163

  Vice Elementals, 31, 56, 62, 63, 64, 65, 82, 131, 138, 157, 167, 170, 179

  Vincent (Case of Miss), 82, 84

  Vincent (Case of Miss Viola), 103-105


  W.

  W---- (Case of Mrs.), 35, 79

  Walton (Case of Mr.), 61-2

  Williams (Case of Dr.), 59-61

  Wraithes, 91


  Y.

  Yellow Boy, 72



Transcriber's Notes:


Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.

The following words have been retained in both versions:

  Morbas (page 6, 74, 159, 161, 179, index) and morbas (page 6)

  forwards (pages 101, 176) and forward (pages 5, 14, 30, 33, 45, 53)

  D/death warnings (page 39, 160, 161, index) and death-warnings (page 24)

  cone-shaped (page 66) and cone shaped (index)

  grandparents (pages 74, 76) and grand-parents (page 23)

  rough hewn (page 100) and rough-hewn (page 96)

  everyone (page 96) and every one (pages 8, 27, 69, 85)

  someone (pages 92, 138, 167, 176) and some one (page 22)

  wallpaper (page 21) and wall paper (page 152)

  well known (pages 31, 99)  and well-known (pages 6, 82, 97, 100, 103)

  would be (pages 17, 39, 60, 90, 94, 130, 143, 145, 156, 157, 160, 162,
  179) and would-be (pages 56, 153, 168)

  bona-fide (page 177) and bona fide (page 98)

The following parts have been left as printed:

  Castle-on-Dinas which seems to mean Castle-an-Dinas in Cornwall (page 77)

  A narration from Miss Rolands starting on page 74 with opening
  quotation marks continous over several pages without marking other
  paragraphs beeing part of the narration or closing the quotation mark
 (middle of page 76). These paragraphs have been left as set in the book.


Other than the corrections listed below, printer's inconsistencies
in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and ligature usage have
been retained.

The following misprints have been corrected:

  changed "figure of some thing utterly" into "figure of something
          utterly" page 7

  changed "to be met with in lonely" into "to be met within
          lonely" page 13

  changed "various English family-ghosts, is the work" into "various
          English Family Ghosts, is the work" page 23

  changed "recovering consciousn ss my" into "recovering
          consciousness my" page 29

  changed "Vagrarian or Vice-Elemental, that" into "Vagrarian or
          Vice Elemental, that" page 31

  changed "illusionary? Ande here" into "illusionary? And here" page 38

  changed "she suddenly vanished." into "she suddenly vanished."" page 40

  changed "would doubtless remain earthbound" into "would doubtless
          remain earth-bound" page 79

  changed "other Glanogrians or" into "other Clanogrians or" page 82

  changed "the actual earthbound souls of the people," into "the actual
          earth-bound souls of the people," page 90

  changed "is equally earthbound, but" into "is equally earth-bound,
          but" page 90

  changed "company with the earthbound soul of" into "company with the
          earth-bound soul of" page 90

  changed "Mrs. P--. narrated to me" into "Mrs. P---- narrated
          to me" page 94

  changed "Night after night the" into ""Night after night the" page 101

  changed "in the day time, but" into "in the daytime, but" page 137

  changed "sometimes (though-rarely) commit" into "sometimes (though
          rarely) commit" page 143

  changed added "in India, s had the greatest difficulty in making her
          ho pass a particular tree, and that on mentioni the matter"
          into "in India, she had the greatest difficulty in making
          her horse pass a particular tree, and that on mentioning the
          matter" page 168

  changed "you within its cluthces. Be" into "you within its clutches.
          Be" page 169

  changed "altogether too distinct, but from the fact that it impressed
          r with sensations of the utmost terror and thing, she realised"
          into "altogether too indistinct, but from the fact that it
          impressed her with sensations of the utmost terror and loathing,
          she realised" page 169

  changed "so, Mrs. Caley felt an" into "so, Mrs. Cayley felt an" page 169

  changed "Baroness Von A-- (Case of the)" into "Baroness Von A----
         (Case of the)" index

  changed "Clanogrians, 23 (def. of), 33, 34, 74 82, 159 (def. of), 162,
         170" into "Clanogrians, 23 (def. of), 33, 34, 74, 82, 159 (def.
         of), 162, 170" index

  changed "Family Ghosts, 72, 74, 82 159 (def. of)" into "Family Ghosts,
          72, 74, 82, 159 (def. of)" index





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