In 1803 Tales of Superstition was published anonymously for Tegg and Castleman, London. It is a collection of ghost stories purporting to be true, although this kind of publication should of course be approached with a large pinch of salt in hand! One of the stories concerns Miss Pringle’s appearance at two places at the same time.
Mrs. Jane Lowe, house-keeper to Mr. Pringle, in Clifton-park, in the south of Scotland, one morning, in the summer of 1743, beheld the apparition of a lady walking in the avenue, on the margin of a rivulet, which runs into the Kale water. The form exactly resembled a daughter of her master, who had long been absent from the family, at the distance of about a hundred miles south of Paris. As Mrs. Lowe walked down the avenue and approached the rivulet, she grew more and more certain of the similitude of the phantom to the idea in her mind of the Miss Pringle; and, seeing her master in an enclosure adjoining, she communicated to him what she had just seen. Mr. Pringle laughed, and said, “You simple woman, that lady is Miss Chattow, of Moorebattle.” However, Mrs. Lowe prevailed on him to accompany her to the place; which they had nearly reached, when the apparition sprung into the water, and instantly disappeared.
Mr. Pringle and Mrs. Lowe, on returning to the hall, apprised the family of the vision, and for their pains were heartily laughed at. The Rev. Mr. Turnbull, minister of Linton, happened to breakfast that morning with Mr. Pringle, his lady, and two young daughters, who joined in the ridicule. About three months after, the same reverend gentleman honoured the family with his company; when, standing at a window in the lower room, he observed a poor ragged, lame, lean, man, slowly approaching the house: ” Here comes another apparition!” cried Mr. Turnbull, with a kind of contemptuous smile. This drew the immediate attention of all present, and Mr. Pringle quickly recognized the person to be his second son; whom he had not seen before for ten years.
On his arrival he soon convinced them he was no apparition, declaring that he had narrowly escaped with his life from Tunis, in the vicinity of which he had been a slave to the Algerines seven years, but had happily been ransomed at the critical moment when he was ordered to be put to death for mutiny. He added, that on his return home through France, he called at the place where be had heard his sister resided, and to his unspeakable grief found that she died on the 25th of May, the same summer, about five o’clock in the morning, which he recollected to have been the precise time that he was rescued from the jaws of death, and when he thought he beheld his sister. Mrs. Lowe, who was present in the room, on hearing his declaration, broke forth into an acclamation, affirming that the day alluded to was that on which she had shewn Mr. Pringle the apparition; and this was confirmed by the reverend divine, in whose study this story was found after his death.
In the lead-up to Halloween, I am presenting a ‘Creepy History’ series. Normal service (journals and snippets) will be resumed in November. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen.