The Book of Dreams and Ghosts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 292 pages of information about The Book of Dreams and Ghosts.

The story is told in Household Words, where Sir Frederick Forbes is said to have acted as judge.  No date is given.  In Botany Bay, {142} the legend is narrated by Mr. John Lang, who was in Sydney in 1842.  He gives no date of the occurrence, and clearly embellishes the tale.  In 1835, however, the story is told by Mr. Montgomery Martin in volume iv. of his History of the British Colonies.  He gives the story as a proof of the acuteness of black trackers.  Beyond saying that he himself was in the colony when the events and the trial occurred, he gives no date.  I have conscientiously investigated the facts, by aid of the Sydney newspapers, and the notes of the judge, Sir Frederick Forbes.  Fisher disappeared at the end of June, 1826, from Campbeltown.  Suspicion fell on his manager, Worral.  A reward was offered late in September.  Late in October the constable’s attention was drawn to blood-stains on a rail.  Starting thence, the black trackers found Fisher’s body.  Worral was condemned and hanged, after confession, in February, 1827.  Not a word is said about why the constable went to, and examined, the rail.  But Mr. Rusden, author of a History of Australia, knew the medical attendant D. Farley (who saw Fisher’s ghost, and pointed out the bloody rail), and often discussed it with Farley.  Mr. Souttar, in a work on Colonial traditions, proves the point that Farley told his ghost story before the body of Fisher was found.  But, for fear of prejudicing the jury, the ghost was kept out of the trial, exactly as in the following case.


Perhaps the latest ghost in a court of justice (except in cases about the letting of haunted houses) “appeared” at the Aylesbury Petty Session on 22nd August, 1829.  On 25th October, 1828, William Edden, a market gardener, was found dead, with his ribs broken, in the road between Aylesbury and Thame.  One Sewell, in August, 1829, accused a man named Tyler, and both were examined at the Aylesbury Petty Sessions.  Mrs. Edden gave evidence that she sent five or six times for Tyler “to come and see the corpse. . . .  I had some particular reasons for sending for him which I never did divulge. . . .  I will tell you my reasons, gentlemen, if you ask me, in the face of Tyler, even if my life should be in danger for it.”  The reasons were that on the night of her husband’s murder, “something rushed over me, and I thought my husband came by me.  I looked up, and I thought I heard the voice of my husband come from near my mahogany table. . . .  I thought I saw my husband’s apparition, and the man that had done it, and that man was Tyler. . . .  I ran out and said, ’O dear God! my husband is murdered, and his ribs are broken’.”

Lord Nugent—­“What made you think your husband’s ribs were broken?”

“He held up his hands like this, and I saw a hammer, or something like a hammer, and it came into my mind that his ribs were broken.”  Sewell stated that the murder was accomplished by means of a hammer.

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