Tuesday May 27, 2014
This week’s article just goes to show how sad it is that 107 years later, we are no closer to achieving what the good Professor thought we would. There is still infighting between scientists and believers, and no matter how much we as investigators do, the scientific community still does not accept the existence of ghosts.
Chicago Tribune edition 6/2/1907 pg 7
Scientist Says Specters Are Living Thoughts
Projected Into Space by the Personality at the Death Moment
The ghost is a scientific reality, and we no longer can afford to laugh at haunted houses and midnight graveyards, according to Dr. Bernard Hollander, the latest man of science to investigate the wonders of the unseen world. He has been finding out all about ghosts – how they are created, why they appear, and under what circumstances they may be seen to the best advantage.
Dr. Hollander admits that there was a time when it reflected no credit upon a moan of science to concern himself with ghosts, but he says since the conversion of Sir Oliver Lodge, Dr. Alfred Russell Wallace, and other men of scientific eminence, psychical research has become fashionable. Now if a learned man sees a spook bending over the foot of his bed at midnight it will not be beneath his dignity to investigate and find out whether he is dreaming or whether he really sees a ghost.
In a recent address at the Lyceum club in London Dr. Hollander explained about ghosts, hypnotism, thought transference, and telepathy to a group of scientists, who listen gravely and accepted his words as in its various manifestations should no longer be classed among things occult. They belong to the practice of medicine. Even thought transference and telepathy he removes from the realm of the supernatural, and explains how “the wireless telegraph of the mind” sends messages and even pictures from a great distance.
The human brain with its accompanying nervous system is a storehouse of energy. Probably brain force is electrical, although Dr. Hollander admits this still is an open question. A thought, it seems, is a thing. A mental picture is not a mere photograph, but the scene actually is constructed in the brain, and may be projected with as much force and clearness as the mind is capable of. Different men have different endowments. Some have great brain force and are able to influence others, and thus become leaders. Some people are sensitive to impressions, and these make good subjects for hypnotic experiments. They are able t0 send and receive wireless mental messages, and they are more likely to see ghosts than other people.
Ghosts are Mental Pictures
“Now, supposing,” says Dr. Hollander, “two sensitives to be related closely, or drawn together by a common bond of sympathy; and supposing them to be in different parts of the world, and the life of one in danger. The first thought he will project into space – and thought is a form of energy – is for his relative or friend.
“If that friend is actively engaged at the time the message may be lost. But if he happens to be in a passive state – thinking of nothing in particular – his brain will receive some impression, clear or confused, which will make him think of the absentee and render him anxious, as if something had gone wrong.
“by means of this wireless telegraphy an image is produced on the brain which is projected outward, causing the absent friend to be seen as if in the body, and even the actual circumstance of his dangerous position may be produced. This seems to be the simplest explanation of telepathy and removes it at once from the group of supernatural phenomena.”
Telepathic Messages Every Day
In most cases this telepathic message is a mere vague presentiment. You are going about your work, perhaps with nothing particular on your mind, and suddenly you think of some friend in a distant city. You have a dim sense of anxiety or longing, which you dismiss almost instantly. You may never know that the friend has had occasion at that moment to think of you, and perhaps long for your help. When you see him again you forget to speak of the incident or, if you remember it, you find that he has forgotten.
As to ghosts, Dr. Hollander says they are perfectly natural and often are seen. He cites the familiar case of the ghost of the man that has been murdered, and whose specter haunts the scene of the crime. At the time of the tragedy the victim’s mind is wrought up to the highest pitch. The Mysterious energies of the brain project thoughts of such extraordinary clearness and force that they become realities. They fix themselves in definite form. They linger, floating in the neighborhood, usually as more or less definite pictures of the victim’s personality.
If some sensitive person passes the scene or attempts to spend the night in the room where the crime was committed, he receives the stimulus of the impression, and his mind, reacted upon by the vivid thought of the victim, is able to see the ghost. The person that is not sensitive, or whose mind is full of its own problems, may not see the ghost, even thought it is there waiting to be seen.
Ghost Always Hanging Around
The specter may be shadowy, dim, and vague, or it may be well defined. This depends both upon the brain energy of the victim and the sensitiveness of the spectator. The ghost may cling to the neighborhood for only a short time, or it may be there for generations. This is how houses come to be haunted. In such cases usually the ghost is seen only now and then, or perhaps by certain persons only, but it always is there, waiting to visualize itself at the right moment to the perceptive soul.
“This will explain why daring men who come armed with pistols and swords do not see the ghost at first,” says Dr. Hollander. “So long as they are wide awake and belligerent their brain is too active to receive the image. It is only when they get tired and are at the point of falling asleep that the impression is made upon their brains and strikes them with such terror that they flee from the spot.”
In the same manner, people who die with something on their minds which they are unable to tell at the moment of dissolution, project their thoughts so vividly that often they materialize before the interested survivors.
A woman who had hidden a large sum of money in the head of her bed wished to reveal the fact to her daughter, but at the time of her death was unable to speak. However, she sent her thought so persistently and vividly to the spot where the treasure was, that afterward at night when the place was still and there was no distracting sound or sight, the daughter could perceive her mother’s shadowy form at the head of the bed. As this appeared night after night a search was made and the money was found. The ghost was not really the spirit of the woman that died, but a brain projection caused by her own anxiety which so stimulated the daughter that she was able to reproduce the picture in her own mind.
Phantoms Belong to Medicine’s Realm
Prof. Hollander things now that scientists may investigate ghosts without loss of dignity, many things of interest will be discovered about them, and perhaps the laws that regulate them will be formulated clearly.
Tuesday May 20, 2014
I’m pretty sure that this week’s article is using the terms “phantasm” and “aura” to describe what we consider today to be residual hauntings. I just wish my brain would get excited enough to SEE a ghost, I don’t care what kind it is!
Atlanta Constitution edition 10/17/1909 pg. 6
GHOSTS SEEN IN COUNTRY HOME
Different Theories of Their Origin
Sometimes They Are Scarecrows; Other Times Nothing More Than Illusions — English Lord Believes They Are Projected by Excited Brain.
London, October 16 – (Special) The plain, matter-of-fact story which was told by Sir George Sitwell of the two ghosts which were seen on a recent evening at Renishaw, his country place near Chesterfield, has aroused considerable interest both among believers and disbelievers in ghost stories.
Sir George told how his wife, Lady Ida Sitwell, who was sitting in a drawing room after dinner, chatting with friends, “saw in the passage outside the figure of a woman, apparently a servant.” A few minutes later Miss R., a member of the house party, on returning from a search for the first ghost, “saw the figure of a lady with dark hair and dress.” Both figures quickly disappeared.
Sir George himself advanced the theory that although the figures were actually seen as described, they were “not ghosts, but phantasms – reversed impressions of something seen in the past, and now projected from an overtired and an excited brain.”
A Harley street brain specialist, discussing yesterday the three main accepted theories as to the manner in which honest people see ghosts, said: “One theory, which is held by one school of thought is that these old houses (Renishaw dates from 1625) are still charged with some force, or aura which has emanated from some person who has lived there in former years. Generally speaking, the aura, after many years, is that of a person who has had some dreadful experience in the house, or who has died there.
“In order to receive the impression the subject has to be in a passive frame of mind as was Lady Ida Sitwell, or anticipating a vision, as was Miss R. The brain would receive an impression due to that aura which in turn would be projected outward, and an actual image would be seen. If the impression is a faint one, owing to the length of time which has elapsed since the death of the person, the brain of a man or woman receiving it is apt to clothe the vision in garments with which he or she is familiar, but what may be very dissimilar from those worn during the period in which the person lived from whom the aura emanated. Ghosts have been seen which were not due to the imagination of persons who saw them.
“When people see ghosts which are not ghost and which have no existence apart from their own brains – this may have been the case at Renishaw – they are images registered in a part of the brain which, owing to some excitation has projected it forward. It is nothing more nor less than an illusion.
“At other times there are actual objects dimly seen and misinterpreted. These come under the category of delusions. Many persons have honestly believed they have seen ghosts when in fact they have seen scarecrows.”
“The Majority of medical men,” declared another authority, “do not believe in the aura theory, but hold that the ghost is entirely in the mind of the person who sees it through the power of auto-suggestion.:
Tuesday May 13, 2014
This week’s article tells us that in 1909 Elves were considered one of the “seven types of ghosts”. I’m sure I had a very confused face when I read, reread and reread that again. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve heard heard of elves put in the spook category. I will have to research and see if I can find a mysterious Mr. Willie P because I have to say that I am VERY disappointed that the writer did not go into more detail on the “bad” things that Mr. P. did.
Chicago Tribune edition 03/14/1909 pg 2
Do You Believe In Ghosts? Hundreds of People Claim to Have Seen Them.
The sheeted dead and happy ghost or goblin damned with airs from heaven or blasts from hell, animated by “intents wicked or charitable” supplied in days of long ago the themes for dramatic stories by dimly burning hearths. But nowadays they belong to the laboratories of the psychic scientists and their histories are solemnly accompanied by affidavits from spectral experts.
Seriousness and accuracy, however, do not prevent the contemporary ghost story from being quite as thrilling as the phantom yarns of yesterday, nor even stranger than old fashioned spooky fiction, as witness this, authenticated by Dr. Frederick Myers.
Baron von Driesen, a devout Russian nobleman, was retiring for the night after having read a chapter in the bible. It was eight days after the death of his father-in-law, M. Ponamareff, with whom he had not been on the best of terms. The baron had just put out the candle when he heard the sound of footsteps shuffling in the adjoining room. They stopped before the door of the bedchamber. He called out, but received no answer and struck a match. His father-in-law stood before the closed door in his blue fur-lined dressing robe, black trousers, and white waistcoat.
“What do you want?” asked the baron. M. Ponomareff stepped to the side of the bed and said, “Basil Feodorovitch, I have acted wrongly toward you. Forgive me? Without this I do not feel at rest there,” pointing with his left hand to the ceiling, while his cold, damp right hand was extended to his son-in-law. The baron grasped it with the words, “Nicholas Ivanovitch, God is my witness that I have never had anything against you.”
At this M. Ponomareff bowed and moved away through the opposite door into the billiard room, where he disappeared. On the following day, a ccording to the custom of the Greek church, a liturgy for the repose of the soul of the deceased was to be celebrated. On reaching the church baron von Driesen told his confessor, Father Basil Bajenoff, of the apparition, when to his amazement the priest informed him that he, too, had received a midnight visit from M. Ponomareff, who had begged him to reconcile his son-in-law to him. The priest then made the statement: “to the account I heard from Baron B.F> Driesen in the presence of his wife’s brothers as to how M. Nicholas I. Ponomareff appeared to him and begged the baron to be reconciled to him I may add that to me also did he appear at the same time and with the same request, which fact, before hearing the baron’s narrative, I communicated to all those present at the liturgy for the rest of the soul of the Late M.N.I. Ponomareff.
Many remember that the eminent English statesman, Lord Brougham, used to related an interesting incident which came as the sequel of a boyish compact between himself and a friend, signed in the blood of the agreeing parties, by which the one who should die first pledged himself to appear to the survivor, if such a thing were possible, and thus solve the doubts which both entertained of a life after death. Many years later while Lord Brougham was taking a bath in Sweden the vision of his friend, who was there in India, appeared vividly before him. Later he learned that his friend had died at about the time or a little before the coming of the apparition.
Case of Capt. Colt Most Interesting.
There are a number of stories of this sort which are vouched for by Frederick Myers, and among the most interesting is the case of Capt. G.R. Russell Colt. Capt. Colt had a dear brother, Oliver, who was in the Crimean war and who had written home in rather low spirits. The captain replied with a cheerful letter, but enjoined him that if anything should happen to appear to him in their old room at Inveresk house, where they had passed so many happy hours in boyhood.
This room was long and narrow with a a window at one end and a door at the other. The bed stood to the right of the window, facing the door. One night Capt. Colt awoke suddenly to behold by his bedside facing the window and surrounded by a phosphorescent haze the kneeling figure of his brother Oliver. At first he thought it must be a trick of fancy or the moonlight playing on a towel, but on looking again he saw the figure still kneeling while the rain beat heavily on the window.
The captain rose, shut his eyes, walked through the apparition, and reached the door of the room. He looked back. The vision turned its head and looked lovingly and longingly at him and he saw on the right temple a bullet hole with a red stream flowing from it. A fortnight later he received news that his brother had been shot and killed at the storming of Sedan and officers who saw the body testified that the death wound was exactly where he had seen it. The storming of Sedan began at noon on the eighth of September. The vision appeared to the captain at a few minutes after 2 o’clock on the morning of the ninth.
Wife Gives the Detailed Account
One of the most startling of authenticated spooks appeared to a husband and wife well known to members of the Society for Psychical Research. The Woman has given in fine detail the whole story, which begins with her marriage to Mr. P. in 1867. They lived happily for two years, when her husband became greatly depressed and began to lose his health. Although something seemed to prey on his mind, nothing elicited any information save that there was “nothing the matter with him,” and that his wife was too fanciful. Things continued thus until Christmas, 1869. The two went upstairs to their bedroom about half after 9 and the husband immediately retired. The baby usually awoke about this time and after drinking some warm milk would sleep the rest of the night. As she was still sleeping Mrs. P. lay on the outside of the bed, wrapped in her dressing gown, waiting for the little girl to wake, and planning for the next day. The door was locked and the lamp was burning brightly on a chest of drawers at the opposite side of the room.
Suddenly she saw standing at the foot of the bed, between her and the light, the figure of a man dressed in naval uniform and wearing a peaked cap pulled down over his eyes. As his back was to the light his face was in the shadow. She spoke to her husband, saying, “Willie, who is this?”
Apparition Faded Into the Wall
Mr. P. turned and looked in astonishment at the strange visitor, crying out, “What on earth are you doing here, sir?” The apparition slowly drew itself erect and said in a commanding but reproachful voice, “Willie! Willie!”
The husband immediately spring out of bed and moved toward the figure as if to attack it, when it moved quietly away in the opposite direction from the door and disappeared as it were into the wall. As it passed the lamp a deep shadow fell upon the room, as if a material person had intervened between the light and the spectators.
Mr. P. instantly took the lamp and unlocking the door made a thorough search of the house. When he came back he informed his wife that the specter was the ghost of his father who had been dead fourteen years. Early in life had had been in the navy, but his son had only once or twice seen him in his uniform. Mrs. P. had never seen her husband’s father.
Later Mr. P. became ill and revealed the fact that he had been on the eve of acting on the advice of unprincipled associates. He had indeed already done some things which later brought sorrow to the family, when his father’s warning voice had called him back from the brink of the precipice. Mr. P. confirms the wife’s narrative in every particular.
Ghosts Have Seven Types
An Englishman who lectures on his experiences with ghosts classifies them in seven types: thought forms, elves, churchyard ghosts, astral impressions, doubles of living men, animal apparitions and the genuine ghost. The most common kind of ghost, declares this authority, is the astral impression. It may be either seen or heard. Visible, it may be the specter of a ship or train wreck, a holocaust, a destructive volcanic eruption, or any scene in which great stress of emotion has existed.
“The first ghost I ever encountered , says this man, was an audible astral impression. I was tramping toward home one dreary midnight with the thought of the tragedies and crimes of the centuries of London’s history keying up my fear. When I reached a turn in the road I was startled by the sound of feet pattering on the roadway in the distance. I thought, Here is a person suffering from great fright, and I shook like a leaf. The footfalls sounded louder and louder and were coming directly toward me. I fled to the roadside and stood by the tree. My heart seemed in my mouth. I ceased breathing. In a few seconds more the ghost fled directly over the spot where my feet stood and I could hear the labored breathing of the invisible thing.
The genuine ghost is a thing that must be reckoned with in his haunt. He rarely appears to more than one person at a time. He has the power of speech, strength, and the will to do good or evil, must as a living man has. He haunts the scene of his murder, or of some wrong that has been done him. But he more often appears when he is in great misery, and we do a great wrong when we flee from it. It desires to offer aid or ask for it, else it would not appear.
“I have talked and shaken hands with these ghosts and have learned more or less about their habits. They are not always visible, but sometimes appear as speaking ghosts.
I visit every haunted house I can locate and on one occasion had a terrifying experience with an obstreperous spirit. This ghost had driven the family from the house and made life a terror in the vicinity. I did not fear it and went to the house. When I reached the door I pushed it open and stepped into the room. A chill struck me and I felt faintly sick, but I was resolved to stick out the night, to see or talk with the ghost. I sat by a window and waited. Ten minutes passed and I heard nothing. I felt reassured.
Ghostly Hands Clutched His Throat.
“I waited an hour and still no ghost came and I began to doubt the stories. I will never forget how long and fearful that hour seemed, although I was really not afraid. But I felt the chill again as midnight approached. At 12 o’clock the hush of deathly silence fell on the room. I heard the faint rustling of a garment and an instant later felt two cold and clammy hands close upon my throat.
“I jumped from the seat and tried to free myself. I clutched at the hands, but they were not material. The ghost was throttling me. I felt my breath going and I was heartsick. I fought around and around the room and all the time those clammy fingers held me in a viselike grip. I tried to cry out. My hands beat at the ghostly hands at my throat, and I was rapidly becoming exhausted. Every second seemed an age. I lived an eternity every minute. And yet I had no hope of being able to release myself. My whole frame shook like an aspen leaf.
“This fight against an invisible spirit kept up until I reached the open door. With one terrific lunge I threw myself at the opening and carried myself and my ghostly adversary into the open air. As I passed through the door the fingers slipped from my throat. I had won the fight, but I shall never forget it.”
Tuesday May 6, 2014
When I was typing up this weeks article, I was really struck by how much Freud would have loved this man…..I think. It honestly made feel icky to type Professor Von Thaler’s gushing about his mother, hopefully you won’t feel as icky reading it.
Atlanta Constitution edition 6/8/1902 pg 16
YOU CAN SEE GHOSTS, BUT THERE ARE NONE. MY MOTHER APPEARED TWELVE TIMES
By PROFESSOR VON THALER
Vienna, May 27 – (Special Correspondence) do not ridicule the man or woman who claims to have seen ghosts, for, while there may be no ghosts, one may see ghosts. May see them and talk to them and love them – I have done it myself.
Ten years ago my mother died. We had loved each other dearly – friends called us “the inseparables.” So fond of me was the good woman that when I went to college, she broke up her home to follow me to the big city, keep house for me, care for me and assist me in my studies, for this was a wise and ambitious mother.
All her evenings were devoted to literary work. She burned the midnight oil to help pay for my education. When through, she usually crept in where I was sleeping to see whether everything was right, the widow open, but not too far, the little wax light aflame in the glass where a small quantity of oil floated on a larger bit of water.
And after arranging my linen and clothes for the morning, she used to sit down by the bed and listen to my breathing. Often when I awoke I saw her eye rest on my face with tender care.
Of course when I grew to man’s estate, professional duties put a stop to the idyl. Drawing away from childhood habits, these pleasantries were gradually shelved and in the end almost forgotten.
But when mother was dead all came back to me – her kindly attentions, her acts of self-sacrifice, her enduring love. The funeral of the dear one put me to a heavy mental and physical strain and when, late in the night, I went to bed, I was thoroughly exhausted and cried with grief and nervousness. As I got into bed, I thought over and over again: “Poor boy that I am, no mother to love and care for me; no one to cuddle me as I lay myself down to sleep.”
I don’t think I remained awake for any length of time. I dreamt that once more I was a student in that big strange university town, of which we knew every nook and corner. The mother of those bygone days was young and pretty and healthy and so was the central figure of my d ream. Ah, how glad I was I had found her again. She talked as usual and gave me much good advice as mothers are want to do.
We enjoyed each other’s company for many hours – it may have been only for the infinitesimal part of a second according to dream laws, but I thought it was an eternity of joy.
Burial a Dream?
But suddenly I was overcome by the recollection that mother was dead. I looked up to her and before I knew what I was doing, said: “I thought I buried you this afternoon; was that a dream or is this?”
As I pronounced the words the good woman’s face fell, the smile playing around her lips vanished, her whole aspect changed. She looked twenty years older and her face was now deadly pale.
Seeing this I awoke with a start – if my body had been plunged into ice cold water I couldn’t have been more awake than I was. And there before me, in the mild light of the waxen taper sat mother at the foot of the bed, as she was wont to do in the days gone by.
Mother Really Present
And as of old, those mild, big, dreamy eyes rested on me with tender attention.
There was no delusion – I am positive of that. I was as completely awake as one can be, yet the specter didn’t frighten me in the least. On the contrary, I liked its presence and responded to its tender gaze with eyes full of joyous tears.
“The dead,” argued my mind trained in science, “the dead don’t rise, but loving remembrance often recalls them to their former sphere.”
My mother’s ghost, still clothed in the garb she wore in life, appeared to me twelve times, all told.
Came Back Twelve Times
After her first visit, I waited several months in vain, awakening at certain hours in the night to look for the dear woman. At the end of the third month she came again, repeating her visits thereafter in longer or shorter intervals.
Two years after her death I saw my mother for the last time. As on all former occasions, it was night. I was speeding toward the Italian frontier in a private railway carriage. I had the carriage all to myself for, being unable to sleep on the train, I never make use of the sleeping car, and, instead bribed the conductor to give me a whole carriage to myself.
I had stretched out on one of the upholstered benches at full length, weighing in mind some scientific problem while my eyes were closed. When, after half an hour or so, I opened them suddenly, I noticed my mother seated at my feet. The upper part of her body was bent toward me, her eyes sought mine, her attitude was that of the listener.
I could distinguish every feature, for the light at the ceiling shone with unusual brightness, the train having only just started. I didn’t move, but after gazing upon the beloved figure for some time, closed my eyes again, thinking of her and of the many pleasant years we had spent together. To make sure that I was fully awake, thought, I pressed the button of my repeating watch – 12:30. After awhile I consulted the watch again – 1:15 – and the specter still there, immovable, mild, lifelike.
Three-quarters of an hour later, by the clock, I opened my eyes a third time and there was mother as I had seen her before, in dream and life. But as I was going to make certain and arise, the specter faded away, never to return. My fantasy was never strong enough thereafter to conjure up the dear woman.
No Dream – Reality
Many who read this will undoubtedly say” “He dreamt with his eyes open,” I deny that I did with all emphasis. On all twelve occasions mentioned I was fully awake – no deception possible, upon my word as a man.
Here is another ghost story founded on real facts.
Saw a Dead Friend
Here is another experience of my own: Michael Etienne, the great editor of The Neue Frele Presse, was dead – a wise, kindly generous and jovial man he had been, for, though strenuous and even terrible in his anger, his disposition was that of a child.
As one of his nearest friends, I sat up with the body the night before the funeral until 1 o’clock in the morning, when members of the editorial staff relieved me.
The body was lying in state in a large hall appropriately draped and lighted. I sat at the foot end, gazing upon my dead friend’s characteristic face which bore the usual aspect of jovial satisfaction. Indeed, it look as if Etienne had laid down to sleep after a day’s hard work, and as if this sleep gave him no end of pleasure.
After being relieved, I went to The Presse office to fetch away a roll of manuscript from Etienne’s desk. His wife had asked me to do her that service.
It was 1:45 o’clock a.m. when I entered the late editor’s room holding a lighted candle in my hand, which, of course, lit up only certain portions of the vast apartment.
As I walked in with care, to avoid coming in contact with furniture, I saw my friend sit in the great fauteuil behind his writing desk that stood between two windows.
He looked as lifelike as ever in his best days – the type of healthy, prosperous, good-natured blond Teton.
Dead Editor at His Desk
Hundreds of times I had seen him there, his ample limbs generously disposed, his head thrown back, his chest out, left hand resting on the arm of the chair, the right grabbing the inevitable blue pencil. And the good natured smile that made so many friends for him was in evidence too – it seemed to invite me to come nearer.
I should interpolate here that I am somewhat short-sighted. If the editor had really been in his chair I might have been physically debarred from making “the minute observations above recorded. As it was, I noticed every feature, every wrinkle and line in that grand face.
I stopped in my tracks. The surprise was too much, but after a moment or two approached fearlessly – I had some experience, you know.
Michael continued to regard me smiling, complacently. If this was a ghost he was a most pleasant sort. Another step and yet another. When I was near enough to touch the figure (if it was one) it vanished.
No Superstitions or Delusions
I think this is a typical case. Remember, I had been alone with the dead for several hours and the peaceful and pleasant aspect of his face was still vivid in my mind when I entered the editorial rooms. Moreover, on my way to the Presse office, I had thought only of Etienne, reflecting on the many happy hours and days and years we spent together.
These thoughts and recollections, I reckon, created the picture of the man that I saw with my physical eye.
The “how?” is a question which exact science will solve sooner or later. Certain it is that mind and brain worked in perfect unison to conjure up what I did see.
For the rest, I can only repeat: There are no ghosts, yet we see them, at least some of us do. I know many people who claim to have seen ghosts, or what looked like ghosts. All of them, like myself, were of a nervous disposition and all possessed an imaginative mind. In addition, they were mostly religious men and women, who believed in life after death, in heaven and hell, in eternal joy and the opposite. Their religious views seemed to emphasize their belief in ghosts. Indeed many assumed that ghosts had a legitimate business here – that of carrying news from the other world to their friends on this. Ghosts warned and encouraged them, prophesied evil and brought good tidings.
Such, of course, are the sort of ghost stories that free thinkers laugh to scorn, but to characterize them simply as lies and superstitions won’t do, for, if not all, certainly a great many ghost stories are founded on fact, as my own experience abundantly shows.