Creepy History 57. Happy Halloween, and welcome to another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History. We start with a quote from the Sheffield Weekly Telegraph, 23rd February 1918.
However much men and women who boast of their minds and intellects being stronger than those of the average person may smile when the subject of supernatural appearances is mentioned, it remains a fact that most people have deep down their hearts a lurking belief that “there is something,” after all, in the astonishingly large record of ghostly visions and comings which have accumulated through the centuries, and this belief is to-day as rife as ever, despite what sceptics and learned scientists may affirm to the contrary.
The House of Commons cannot be said to be devoid of intellect and brains, nor can it be regarded as the uneducated portion of the community. Yet the belief in ghosts amongst Members of Parliament is not only very widespread, but derives much additional strength from the fact that there are unquestionable evidences that strange visions of these have been seen within the precincts of the House itself, and in many cases living M.P.s.
It may easily be recalled that some time back Mr. J. Swift McNeill caused quite a sensation by declaring that he saw Mr. T. P. O’Connor sitting watching him from his usual place in the House whilst Mr. McNeill was making a speech. But Mr. O’Connor was actually in Ireland at the time, a fact then unknown to Mr. McNeill, who simply refused at first to believe this when it was stated. When the point was proved beyond doubt the learned and clever Irish orator, still persisting that he had really seen Mr. O’Connor as stated, could only affirm then that it must have been his wraith. Even a Prime Minister has gravely asserted that he once saw a ghostly appearance the House Commons. This seer was no other than the famous statesman, the great Earl Grey, of Reform Bill renown. That Prime Minister, making his notable speech on the introduction of the famous bill which so changed the representation of Britain, suddenly stopped and gazed for an instant at a particular spot, as if he saw something there. Others quickly followed his gaze, but detected nothing. When he was asked afterwards what had caused him thus to pause and stare in the way indicated Earl Grey stated that he had seen a death’s head rise clearly right in front of him, and that, moreover, he saw it thus come three separate times whilst he was delivering his speech.
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