Creepy History 40. It’s October, and that means Creepy History month on Windows into History again! The following quote is taken from News from the Invisible World, a collection of anecdotes published in 1840.
Being informed that you are writing about spectres and apparitions, I take thee freedom, though a stranger, to send you this following relation.
Mary, the wife of John Goffe, of Rochester, being afflicted with a long illness, removed to her father’s house, at West Mulling, which is about nine miles distant from her own: there she died, June the 4th, 1601.
The day before her departure, she grew impatiently desirous to see her two children, whom she had left at home, to the care of a nurse. She prayed her husband to hire a horse, for she must go home, and die with her children. When they persuaded her to the contrary, telling her she was not fit to be taken out of her bed, nor able to sit on horseback, she entreated them however to try…
A minister who lives in the town, was with her at ten o’clock that night, to whom she expressed good hopes in the mercies of God, and a willingness to die; but, said she, it is my misery that I cannot see my children.
Between one and two o’clock in the morning she fell into a trance. One widow Turner, who watched with her that night, says that her eyes were open, and fixed, and her jaw fallen: she put her hand upon her mouth and nostrils, but could perceive no breath; she thought her to be in a fit, and doubted whether she were alive or dead.
The next day, this dying woman told her mother, that she had been at home with her children, “That is impossible”, said the mother, “for you have been here in bed all the while”. “Yes,” replied the other, “but I was with them last night, when I was asleep.”
The nurse at Colchester, Widow Alexander, by name, affirms and says, she will take her oath of it before a magistrate, and receive the sacrament upon it, that a little before two o’clock that morning, she saw the likeness of the said Mary Goffe come out of the next chamber, (where the elder child lay in a bed by itself, the door being left open,) and stood by her bed-side for about a quarter of an hour; the younger child was there lying by her; her eyes moved and her mouth went, but she said nothing. The nurse moreover says, that she was perfectly awake; it was then day light, being one of the longest days in the year. She sat up in her bed, and looked steadfastly upon the apparition; at that time she beard the bridge clock strike two, and awhile after said, “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what art thou?” Thereupon the appearance removed, and went away; she slipped on her clothes and followed, but what became of it she cannot tell…
If you found this interesting, please consider sharing on Facebook or Twitter, to help other people find and enjoy Windows into History. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.