Meanwhile, on 18th September, Lady Hillsborough’s agent lay with armed men at Hinton, and, making no discovery, offered 50 pounds (increased by Mr. Ricketts to 100 pounds) for the apprehension of the persons who caused the noises. The reward was never claimed. On 8th March, 1772, Camis wrote: “I am very sorry that we cannot find out the reason of the noise”; at other dates he mentions sporadic noises heard by his mother and another woman, including “the murmur”. A year after Mrs. Ricketts left a family named Lawrence took the house, and, according to old Lucy Camis, in 1818, Mr. Lawrence very properly threatened to dismiss any servant who spoke of the disturbances. The result of this sensible course was that the Lawrences left suddenly, at the end of the year—and the house was pulled down. Some old political papers of the Great Rebellion, and a monkey’s skull, not exhibited to any anatomist, are said to have been discovered under the floor of the lobby, or of one of the rooms. Mrs. Ricketts adds sadly, “The unbelief of Chancellor Hoadley went nearest my heart,” as he had previously a high opinion of her veracity. The Bishop of St. Asaph was incredulous, “on the ground that such means were unworthy of the Deity to employ”.
Probably a modern bishop would say that there were no noises at all, that every one who heard the sounds was under the influence of “suggestion,” caused first in Mrs. Ricketts’ own mind by vague tales of a gentleman in drab seen by the servants.
The contagion, to be sure, also reached two distinguished captains in the navy, but not till one of them was told about disturbances which had not previously disturbed him. If this explanation be true, it casts an unusual light on the human imagination. Physical science has lately invented a new theory. Disturbances of this kind are perhaps “seismic,”—caused by earthquakes! (See Professor Milne, in The Times, 21st June, 1897.)
A Question for Physicians. Professor William
Hysterical Disease? Little Hands. Domestic Arson. The Wem Case.
“The Saucepan began it.” The Nurse-maid. Boots Fly Off.
Investigation. Emma’s Partial Confession. Corroborative Evidence.
Question of Disease Repeated. Chinese Cases. Haunted Mrs. Chang.
Mr. Niu’s Female Slave. The Great Amherst Mystery. Run as a Show.
Failure. Later Miracles. The Fire-raiser Arrested. Parallels. A
Highland Case. A Hero of the Forty-Five. Donald na Bocan. Donald’s
Hymn. Icelandic Cases. The Devil of Hjalta-stad. The Ghost at