The following anecdote was told to myself, a few months after the curious event, by the three witnesses in the case. They were connections of my own, the father was a clergyman of the Anglican Church; he, his wife and their daughter, a girl of twenty, were the “percipients”. All are cheerful, sagacious people, and all, though they absolutely agreed as to the facts in their experience, professed an utter disbelief in “ghosts,” which the occurrence has not affected in any way. They usually reside in a foreign city, where there is a good deal of English society. One day they left the town to lunch with a young fellow-countryman who lived in a villa in the neighbourhood. There he was attempting to farm a small estate, with what measure of success the story does not say. His house was kept by his sister, who was present, of course, at the little luncheon party. During the meal some question was asked, or some remark was made, to which the clerical guest replied in English by a reference to “the maid-servant in pink”.
“There is no maid in pink,” said the host, and he asked both his other guests to corroborate him.
Both ladies, mother and daughter, were obliged to say that unless their eyes deceived them, they certainly had seen a girl in pink attending on them, or, at least, moving about in the room. To this their entertainers earnestly replied that no such person was in their establishment, that they had no woman servant but the elderly cook and housekeeper, then present, who was neither a girl nor in pink. After luncheon the guests were taken all over the house, to convince them of the absence of the young woman whom they had seen, and assuredly there was no trace of her.
On returning to the town where they reside, they casually mentioned the circumstance as a curious illusion. The person to whom they spoke said, with some interest, “Don’t you know that a girl is said to have been murdered in that house before your friends took it, and that she is reported to be occasionally seen, dressed in pink?”
They had heard of no such matter, but the story seemed to be pretty generally known, though naturally disliked by the occupant of the house. As for the percipients, they each and all remain firm in the belief that, till convinced of the impossibility of her presence, they were certain they had seen a girl in pink, and rather a pretty girl, whose appearance suggested nothing out of the common. An obvious hypothesis is discounted, of course, by the presence of the sister of the young gentleman who farmed the estate and occupied the house.
Here is another case, mild but pertinacious.