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Author Topic: HISTORIC GHOSTS AND GHOST HUNTERS  (Read 2309 times)
Porscha Campbell
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Posts: 212

« Reply #90 on: November 15, 2009, 05:16:46 am »

To humor her, the will was drawn, and now it developed that the disease which had attacked her was smallpox in its worst form. No need to dwell on the fearful hours that followed, the fond farewells, the lapsing into a merciful unconsciousness, the death. They buried her in the vaults of St. John's Clerkenwell, and from her tomb her husband came forth to give battle to the relatives who, shunning her while alive, did not disdain to seek possession of the small legacy she had left him. In this they failed, but scarcely had the smoke of the legal canonading cleared away, before he was called upon to meet a[Pg 89] new issue so unexpected and so mysterious that history affords no stranger sequel to tale of love.

The first intimation of its coming and of its nature was revealed to him, as to the public generally, by a brief paragraph printed in a mid January, 1762, issue of The London Ledger:

"For some time past a great knocking having been heard in the night, at the officiating parish clerk's of St. Sepulchre's, in **** Lane near Smithfield, to the great terror of the family, and all means used to discover the meaning of it, four gentlemen sat up there last Friday night, among whom was a clergyman standing withinside the door, who asked various questions. On his asking whether any one had been murdered, no answer was made; but on his asking whether any one had been poisoned, it knocked one and thirty times. The report current in the neighborhood is that a woman was some time ago poisoned, and buried at St. John's Clerkenwell, by her brother-in-law."

Instantly the city was agog, and for the next fortnight The Ledger, The Chronicle, and other newspapers gave much of their space to[Pg 90] details of the pretended revelations, though they were careful to refer to names by blanks or initials only.[H] These accounts informed their readers that the knocking had first been heard in the life time of the deceased when, during the absence of her supposed husband, she had shared her bed with Clerk Parsons's oldest daughter; that she had then pronounced it an omen of her early death; that it did not occur again until after she had died; that, if the soi-disant spirit could be believed, the earlier knocking had been due to the agency of her dead sister; and that, in her own turn, she had come back to bring to justice the villain who had murdered her for the little she possessed. In commenting on this amazing story, the papers were prompt to point out that the knocking was heard only in the presence of the afore-mentioned daughter, now a girl of twelve; and while one or two, like The[Pg 91] Ledger, inclined to credence, the majority followed The Chronicle in denouncing the affair as an "imposture."
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