The Death of a Duke

coach horse 2Creepy History 44.  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.

An Account of the First Duke of Queensbury:

A youngman perfectly well acquainted with the Duke (probably one of those he had formerly banished,) being now a sailor and in foreign countries, while the ship was upon the coast of Naples or Sicily, near one of the burning mountains, one day they espied a coach and six, all in black, going towards the mountain with great velocity; when it came past them, they were so near that they could perceive the dimensions and features of one that sat in it. The young man said to the rest, “If I could believe my own eyes, or if I ever saw one like another, I would say, that is the Duke.” In an instant they heard an audible voice echo from the mouth, “Open to the Duke of Queensbury;” upon which the coach, now near the mount vanished. The young man took pen and paper, and marked down the month, day, and hour of the apparition; and upon his return, found it exactly answer the day and hour the Duke died.


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Premonition of Murder

houseCreepy History 43.  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.

Monday, April 2, 1781, I was informed by a person in an eminent station, of a very uncommon incident.

He had occasion to correct, with a few stripes, a lad that lived with him at Rochester, which he resented so as to leave his place. But some time after he seemed to repent, humbled himself, and was received again. — He now behaved in a most becoming manner, and was doubly diligent in his service.

But his mistress dreamed one night, that this lad was going to cut her throat. And she had a twin sister, between whom and her there is so strange a sympathy, that if either of them is ill, or particularly affected at any time, the other is so likewise. This sister wrote to her, from another part of the kingdom, that she had dreamed the very same thing. She carried this letter to her father, a gentleman that lives not far off, and was surprised to hear that he likewise on the same night, had a dream to the same effect.

The lad had been observed to come up about noon, into his lady’s apartment, with a case knife in his hand; and being asked, why he did so? he said he was going into the adjoining noom, to scrape the dirt off from his master’s embroidered clothes.

His master now took the lad aside, and examined him strictly. Alter denying it for a considerable time, it was at length extorted from him, “That he had always remembered, with indignation, his master’s severity to him: and that he had fully resolved to be revenged: but in what particidar manner he would not confess.” On this he was totally dismissed without delay.


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Ghostly Girls

houseCreepy History 42.  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.

A Remarkable Anecdote of Sir William Reid.

It seems, that to gratify a penchant for the superb, the magnificent, and the antique, in building, when a child, he frequently neglected school, not for the usual diversions of children, but to obtain a view of all the churches in London, during the hours of prayer in the working days!

The same disposition, when he was about thirteen years of age, and in Warwickshire, led him something out of his way in a solitary walk one Sunday evening, in the winter, to take a view of an ancient hall then uninhabited, since pulled down. The courtyard being made use of to prepare timber for some houses building near at hand, he had an easy access, and had been some time indulging this pleasing propensity when his attention was excited by the appearance of what he supposed to be two young ladies, unattended, and coming from the new buildings into the court!

As Mr. Reid was not perfectly assured that the hall was not inhabited, it was then only that, and their want of attendance, that excited his curiosity; he kept his eyes upon them as much as consistent with good manners, till they passed within a few yards of him in their way to the door of the house, the opening of which, though it was the principle thing he expected, he was disappointed of, by their vanishing when upon the steps of it imperceptibly and instantaneously! Notwithstanding this, as Mr. Reid had not yet the least idea of a spectre, he still imagined that they were gone down the area into the kitchen, as is frequent in gentlemen’s houses in London, &c.; but in this he was soon set right, by coming up to the place, the windows of which being shut, and the area full of standing water, presented a true picture of desolation! It was not till that moment, that fully undeceived him, that he felt the least emotion of fear, he accordingly left the spot with some precipitation, and telling his story to his juvenile companions, received an answer that he observed is vulgarly characteristic of every antique building, viz. “that it was haunted;” the account then Mr. Reid gave of these appearances was “that they seemed to him to be two young ladies, one about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and the other eleven or twelve; that they were without caps; that their hair was plaited and powdered : that their eyebrows were black, and that their gowns, which were red damask, spangled with silver, had cross leading strings at the back of them;— that they were very pale, and that the least of them walked on the side towards him.”

The most striking features of this relation however the most strongly evince its reality; as in the first place, Mr. Reid being without fear or apprehension of spectres, &c. neither his prejudice or his imagination could have any hand in imposing upon him.

Secondly: not knowing the place before, the bare report of its being haunted could not have the least influence upon his judgement.

And thirdly: the reality of the appearance is proved by the simplicity of the first account he gave of their dress, viz. that they had cross leading strings to their gowns! whereas he should have said hanging sleeves, which were much in vogue about half a century ago!


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The Ghost in the Field

Creepy History 41.  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.  We pick up the account with the author investing a field where he and other people had seen a ghost:

The next morning, being the 27th day of July, 1665, I went to the haunted field myself, and walked the breadth of it without any encounter. I returned and took the other walk, and then the spectrum appeared to me much about the same place I saw it before when the young gentleman was with me; in my thoughts this moved swifter than the time before, and about ten feet distant from me on my right hand; insomuch that I had not time to speak to it, as I had determined with myself before hand.

The evening of this day, the parents, the son, and myself, being in the chamber where I lay; I proposed to them our going all together to the place next morning, and some asservation that there was no danger in it, we all resolved upon it. The morning being come, lest we should alarm the family or servants, they went under the pretence of seeing a field of wheat, and I took my horse and fetched a compass another way, and so met at the style we had appointed.

Thence we all four walked leisurely into the Quartils; and had not passed above half the field before the ghost made its appearance. It then came over the stile just before us, and moved with that swiftness, that by the time we had got six or seven steps it passed by. I immediately turned my head and ran after it, with the young man by my side; we saw it pass over the stile at which we entered but no farther: I stepped upon the edge at one place and he at another, but could discern nothing, whereas I dare avow, that the swiftest horse in England could not have conveyed himself out of sight in that short space of time. Two things I observed in this day’s appearance.

1. That a spaniel dog who followed the company unregarded, did bark and run away, as the spectrum passed by; whence it is easy to conclude that it was not our fear or fancy that made the apparition.

2. That the motion of the spectre was not gradutim, or by steps, and moving of the feet; but a kind of gliding as children upon the ice, or a boat down a swift river, which punctually answers the descriptions of the ancients give of the motions of their Lemurs.

I’m not sure about the word “gradutim”.  At first I thought it was a misprint for “gradatim” which is a Latin word for “gradually” but that doesn’t quite fit, so I think it might be an archaic mathematical term for proceeding in a graduated manner: i.e. walking.  “Lemur” doesn’t mean the furry animals.  It’s another word for ghosts, and in fact the animals were named after the Latin word for ghosts because of their facial appearance…  which is a bit creepy if you think about it.


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An Impossible Visitor

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…


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The Ghostly Twin

ghostshipCreepy History 39.  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.

The party in London of whom we relate, lived there with a merchant; and as he drove a considerable trade beyond sea, he established a factory, or as the language of trade calls it, a house, at a certain port in the English colonies in America, and sent over servants or apprentices thither, as is usual for merchants to do.

One of his said apprentices being fitted out, and ready to embark, his cargo being actually on board the ship, and the ship fallen down to Gravesend, his master was getting his letters and invoices and other dispatches, ready for him, he being to go down the river the same evening.

The hurry of dispatching him prevented his master from taking him up to dinner with him at the usual hour, and told him he must be content to stay in the counting-house till he came to relieve him.

Accordingly, dinner being over, he goes down to send him up to dinner. And when he came to the counting-house door, there sat his man with the book-keeper also, writing as he left them.

It happened just that moment, some occasion extra-ordinary obliged him to step back again, and go up stairs to the dining room, from whence he came; and intending not to stay, he did not speak to the young man, but left him in the counting-house, and went immediately up stairs.

It was not possible that he, or any one else except such as could walk invisibly, could go by, or pass him unseen: good manners would have hindered the young man from thrusting by his master upon the stairs, if he had been going up; but he is positive he did not, and could not pass without being seen.

But when he came to the top of the stairs, there sat the young man at dinner with the other servants; the room they dined in being a little parlour, which opened just against the stairs, so that he saw him all the way of the upper part of the stair case, and could not be deceived.

The master did not speak to him, which he was very sorry for afterwards; but the surprise made him pass by the room, and go into the dining room, which was to the right hand of it; but he sent one immediately to look, and he was there really at dinner; so that what he (the master) saw below in the counting-house, must be the apparition, as it certainly was.


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Together at the End

booksCreepy History 38.  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.

A FEW years ago a gentleman of character and serious carriage, and his wife, who lived near St. James’, and had lived for many years together in great harmony and love, and who were never so happy as in each others company, both at home and abroad: always walking arm in arm whenever they went out anywhere, and seemed as one soul and one body, they were so closely united in love to each other: but as the most near and dearest friends must part in this world, when God calls us hence, so it happened the gentleman was taken sick and died; which so affected his dear-left companion, that she sickened also, and kept her bed, and had a servant, or some other always to attend her.

In about ten days after her husband’s death, as she was sitting upright in bed, a friend and near relation was then sitting by her; she looked steadfastly towards the foot of the bed, and said, with a cheerful voice “My dear I will be with you in two hours.” The gentlewoman, her friend, that was with her (and who firmly attested the same as most true.) said to her, “Child, whom did you speak to?” (for she saw nobody) she answered, “It is my husband, who came to call me hence, and I am going to him;” which surprised her friends very much, who thinking she was a little light headed, called in somebody else, to whom she spoke very cheerfully and told the same story; but before the two hours were expired, she went to her dear companion to be happy together for ever; to the great surprise of all present.


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