The Book of Dreams and Ghosts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 242 pages of information about The Book of Dreams and Ghosts.

Something of the same kind may or may not explain Mr. Hyndford’s view of the family coach, which gave no traceable information.

The following story, in which an appearance of the dead conveyed information not known to the seer, and so deserving to be called veracious, is a little ghastly.

THE BRIGHT SCAR

In 1867, Miss G., aged eighteen, died suddenly of cholera in St. Louis.  In 1876 a brother, F. G., who was much attached to her, had done a good day’s business in St. Joseph.  He was sending in his orders to his employers (he is a commercial traveller) and was smoking a cigar, when he became conscious that some one was sitting on his left, with one arm on the table.  It was his dead sister.  He sprang up to embrace her (for even on meeting a stranger whom we take for a dead friend, we never realise the impossibility in the half moment of surprise) but she was gone.  Mr. G. stood there, the ink wet on his pen, the cigar lighted in his hand, the name of his sister on his lips.  He had noted her expression, features, dress, the kindness of her eyes, the glow of the complexion, and what he had never seen before, a bright red scratch on the right side of her face.

Mr. G. took the next train home to St. Louis, and told the story to his parents.  His father was inclined to ridicule him, but his mother nearly fainted.  When she could control herself, she said that, unknown to any one, she had accidentally scratched the face of the dead, apparently with the pin of her brooch, while arranging something about the corpse.  She had obliterated the scratch with powder, and had kept the fact to herself.  “She told me she knew at least that I had seen my sister.”  A few weeks later Mrs. G. died. {75}

Here the information existed in one living mind, the mother’s, and if there is any “mental telegraphy,” may thence have been conveyed to Mr. F. G.

Another kind of cases which may be called veracious, occurs when the ghost seer, after seeing the ghost, recognises it in a portrait not previously beheld.  Of course, allowance must be made for fancy, and for conscious or unconscious hoaxing.  You see a spook in Castle Dangerous.  You then recognise the portrait in the hall, or elsewhere.  The temptation to recognise the spook rather more clearly than you really do, is considerable, just as one is tempted to recognise the features of the Stuarts in the royal family, of the parents in a baby, or in any similar case.

Nothing is more common in literary ghost stories than for somebody to see a spectre and afterwards recognise him or her in a portrait not before seen.  There is an early example in Sir Walter Scott’s Tapestried Chamber, which was told to him by Miss Anna Seward.  Another such tale is by Theophile Gautier.  In an essay on Illusions by Mr. James Sully, a case is given.  A lady (who corroborated the story to

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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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