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A Year's Ghost Stories

This article was published in The World's News (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 5th January 1907

A Year's Ghost Stories

Weird Tales From Many Countries

Beautiful Ghosts of Malmaison

Three lovely women failed to stop a messenger- and change the history of the world  - a hundred years ago, just outside Paris. To-day their fluttering shades are said to go through  the whole agonising scene by the light of each new moon, on the same spot, beneath the same trees, in the same historic park - and Paris trembles lest it be a sign.

The park is that of the Chateau of Malmaison, the new Napoleon-and-Josephine Museum of the French state, on which the ex-Empress Eugenie has bestowed the historic treasures of its original furniture so long preserved by her in the Chateau of Arenenberg, in Switzerland.

It is, indeed, the only fashionable museum of all Paris. For the moment the smart folks who motor out to it along the ancient St. Germaine highway stand awe-struck.

Malmaison chateau and the surrounding grounds

The whole look of the old park is weird, lugubrious, and troubling. Such and such a citizen of Bois-Preau had his hair turn grey one night as he made a short cut through it. Such a woman of a La Reunion saw what made her a fervent Catholic for ever after.

They have seen shadowy sentinels.

They have seen the dim groups of officers in battered uniforms of the grande armee. They have heard the muffled tramp of troops. And more.

During the five years that Malmaison belonged to M. Osiris, before the government accepted the donation, it was often proposed to the millionaire that parties watch the park by the new moon. His peremptory refusal is referred back to some sort of solemn promise exacted from him by Mme. Doria, when she sold him the place during her last illness.

Shadowy sentinels, dim groups, the muffled tramp of troop, all these are vague; yes, but a barber of Rueil saw two fair women in white laughing under a tree, and farther on two other shadowy forms, a man and a woman.

As many as 20 or 30 inhabitants of Bougival, Bois-Preau, and the Rueil are pointed out as having seen the filmy beauties by the light of the new moon.

The Death Key

“L’Echo du Merveilleux” publishes the following narrative from a subscriber at Marseilles:-

“When my grandmother had been married about 10 years, and had five children, she saw in a dream her deceased mother, who said to her, “Give me the key of your house, I want to get something.” My grandmother replied, “Tell me what  it is, and I will give it you.” Her mother answered, ‘No, you will not, and I want it,’ and finally my grandmother gave her the key. Soon afterwards one of her children fell ill and died, and she thought that the dream might have referred to that. Some years afterwards, and again a third time, this same scene was enacted in a dream, and each time it was followed by the loss of a child. A fourth time my grandmother was visited in a dream by her mother who this time said, ‘Here is the key of your house, I have nothing more to take.’ My grandmother then felt sure that she would keep the other two children, and in fact they survived her, although she live to a very advanced age.”

An Apparition in Norway

Dr. Lindsay Johnson relates in “The Annals of Psychical Science” a well defined case of apparition at death. He says that being on a tour in Norway with a companion they stopped at the posting-station of Husum, near the head of the Sogue Fjord. About a quarter-past 5 his companion went out for a stroll, and Dr. Johnson sat down to write some letters. He continues:-

“I had been writing for about 15 minutes when I suddenly heard a loud tapping at the window. Looking up, I saw my friend dripping wet, an expression of agony on his face, and beckoning me to come to him. I dropped my pen and literally flew out of the room, along the passage, and out  at the front door, which stood open. To my intense surprise I saw nothing; there was absolutely no trace of anyone.”

At first Dr. Johnson though his friend must be hiding, in spite of the search made by several people, but says:- “The next day I offered a reward to anyone who could bring him to me, dead or alive. One  of the men stated that about 5.30 on the previous evening he had seen my friend trying to cross the river by jumping from one boulder to another. He warned him of his danger, but my friend, not understanding Norwegian, paid no heed, and the man walked away. Ten days afterwards, the river having subsided, the dead body of my companion was found wedged between the rocks, nearly opposite the window of the room in which I had been sitting when I heard the tapping and saw what I thought was my friend.”

It will be noticed that the time as fixed by Dr. Johnson, at which he saw the apparition, corresponds with the time mentioned by the man who tried to warn the unfortunate man, so that the accident must have occurred immediately after the man had spoken, and have been followed at once by the apparition.

The Spirit of the Crescent

The following appeared in “Light!”:-
Sir, - I have read a letter on “Night Visions” with some interest, having myself experienced something similar, as I have recently developed clairvoyance and clairaudience. The first spirit form that I saw appeared to build itself up out of a large crescent-shaped light, and whenever that spirit wishes to appear to me I first see the crescent light. I often see luminous clouds rolling one after the other with great swiftness across my bedroom when I have gone to bed, and at times I hear music, like a great organ. Sometimes the spirit forms stand in front of me, and are so real to me that I find it hard to realise they are not of this earth. - S.D.

The Good of Spiritualism.

Mrs. C. A. Taunton, of 43 Burger-street, Maritzburg, a lady who is well and favourably known in Natal, in a letter which appeared in the Port Elizabeth “Eastern Province Herald” on September 24, said:-   

“Some years ago I lost in a few months all whom I held most dear - husband and grown-up children. When I had recovered from the terrible shock which I had sustained, I began to wonder where they were - whether they had been taken from me for ever.

“My attention was drawn to the subject of  ‘spiritualism’ by a friend, and though at first I refused to have anything to do with it, gradually I was persuaded to read books on the subject, and for two years I devoted myself to reading  and thinking about it. When I was practically convinced of the truth I went to England and saw several good mediums, who knew absolutely nothing about me, some ignorant of my name.
“Through them I got such undoubted proof of the continued existence of those who were, as I thought, separated from me by death, that even the greatest sceptic could hardly have refused to believe.
“Since then I have developed my own mediumistic faculties, which, of course, we all possess in more or less degree, so that my dear ones are able to communicate with me by writing. They write in their own handwriting, which is most convincing, as I am quite unable to copy even the simplest writing.

“Those who have had their loved ones torn from them by death can understand the intense comfort this knowledge of the truth of spirit communication has been to me. From being an utterly despairing woman I have been able to take up my life cheerfully, to turn it to account for others. Though I have no personal interest in life, I can interest myself in other people’s joys and sorrows, and I want other people to find the comfort that I have found - the proof that there is no death, that our dear ones are alive, loving us, helping us, and watching us.”

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