Creepy History 58. Happy Halloween, and welcome to another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History. The following quote is from the Staffordshire Advertiser, 28th December 1918, but reuses a report from 1864, which in turn concerns an incident from 1810.
A correspondent of Notes and Queries” (3rd September, 1864) is responsible for the following narrative, given “almost verbatim from the lips of the lady herself,” a person of tried veracity:-Emma S-, one of seven children, was sleeping alone, with her face towards the west, at large house near C-, in the Staffordshire Moorlands. As she had given orders her maid to call her at an early hour, she was not surprised at being awakened between three and four, on a fine August morning in 1810 by a sharp tapping at her door, when, in spite of “thank you. I hear,” at the first and second raps, with the third came a rush of wind, which caused the curtains to be drawn up in the centre of the bed. She became annoyed and, sitting up, called out, “Mary, what are you about?” Instead, however, of her servant, she was astonished to see the face of an aunt by marriage peering above and between the curtains, and at the same moment – whether unconsciously she threw forward her arms, or whether they were drawn forward, as it were, in a vortex of air she could not be sure – one of her thumbs was sensibly pressed between the teeth of the apparition though no mark afterwards remained on it. All this notwithstanding, she remained collected and unalarmed, but instantly arose, dressed, and went downstairs, where she found not a creature stirring. Her father, on coming down shortly afterwards, naturally asked her what had made her rise so early, rallied her on the cause, and soon afterwards went on to his sister-in-law’s house, where he found that she had just unexpectedly died. Coming back again, and not noticing his daughter’s presence the room, he suddenly announced the event to his wife. As may be anticipated, Emma, over-hearing this unlooked for denouement of her dream, at once fell to the ground in a fainting condition. On one of the thumbs of the corpse was found a mark as if it had been bitten in the death agony.
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