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.
Lady.  The Rev. J. G. Wood gives a case of a cat which nearly went mad when his mistress saw an apparition.  Jeremy Taylor tells of a dog which got quite used to a ghost that often appeared to his master, and used to follow it.  In “The Lady in Black,” a dog would jump up and fawn on the ghost and then run away in a fright.  Mr. Wesley’s mastiff was much alarmed by the family ghost.  Not to multiply cases, dogs and other animals are easily affected by whatever it is that makes people think a ghost is present, or by the conduct of the human beings on these occasions.

Absurd as the subject appears, there are stories of the ghosts of animals.  These may be discussed later; meanwhile we pass from appearances of the living or dying to stories of appearances of the dead.

CHAPTER VI

Transition to Appearances of the Dead.  Obvious Scientific Difficulties.  Purposeless Character of Modern Ghosts.  Theory of Dead Men’s Dreams.  Illustrated by Sleep-walking House-maid.  Purposeful Character of the Old Ghost Stories.  Probable Causes of the Difference between Old and New Ghost Stories.  Only the most Dramatic were recorded.  Or the Tales were embellished or invented.  Practical Reasons for inventing them.  The Daemon of Spraiton.  Sources of Story of Sir George Villier’s Ghost.  Clarendon.  Lilly, Douch.  Wyndham.  Wyndham’s Letter.  Sir Henry Wotton.  Izaak Walton.  Anthony Wood.  A Wotton Dream proved Legendary.  The Ghost that appeared to Lord Lyttleton.  His Lordship’s Own Ghost.

APPEARANCES OF THE DEAD

We now pass beyond the utmost limits to which a “scientific” theory of things ghostly can be pushed.  Science admits, if asked, that it does not know everything.  It is not inconceivable that living minds may communicate by some other channel than that of the recognised senses.  Science now admits the fact of hypnotic influence, though, sixty years ago, Braid was not allowed to read a paper on it before the British Association.  Even now the topic is not welcome.  But perhaps only one eminent man of science declares that hypnotism is all imposture and malobservation.  Thus it is not wholly beyond the scope of fancy to imagine that some day official science may glance at the evidence for “telepathy”.

But the stories we have been telling deal with living men supposed to be influencing living men.  When the dead are alleged to exercise a similar power, we have to suppose that some consciousness survives the grave, and manifests itself by causing hallucinations among the living.  Instances of this have already been given in “The Ghost and the Portrait,” “The Bright Scar” and “Riding Home after Mess”.  These were adduced as examples of veracity in hallucinations.  Each appearance gave information to the seer which he did not previously possess.  In the first case, the lady who saw

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