"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

There are many accounts of humans with bad consciences coming back as troubled apparitions. There are accounts of ghostly dogs. This story from the "Ipswich Journal," January 29, 1731, manages to combine the two:

Edinburgh, Jan. 16. Both city and country having been for several days past amused with different accounts of the late apparition in the shire of Perth; we have thought proper to publish the following narrative, carefully taken down from the missive of a gentleman of unexceptionable honour and veracity.

One William Sutor, aged about 37, a Farmer in Middle-Mause (belonging to the Laird of Balgown) near Craighall, being about the month of December 1728, in the fields with his servants near his own house, over heard at some distance, as it were, an uncommon shrieking and noise; and they following the voice, fancied they saw a dark grey colour'd dog, but as it was dark night, they concluded it was a fox, and accordingly were for setting on their dogs : But it was very observable, that not one of them would so much as point their heads that way.

About a month after, the said Sutor being occasionally in the same spot, and much about the same time of night, it appeared to him again, and in passing, touched him so smartly on the thigh, that he felt pain all that night.

In December 1729, it again cast up to him at the same place, and passed him at some distance.

In June 1730, it appeared to him as formerly. And it was now he began to judge it was something extraordinary.

On the last Monday of November 1730, about sky-setting, as he was coming from Drumlochy, this officious visiter pass'd him as formerly, and in passing, he distinctly heard it speak these words, Within 8 or 10 Days, do or die; and instantly disappeared, leaving him not a little perplexed.

Next morning he came to his brother James's House, and gave him a particular account of all that had happen'd. And that night, about Ten of the Clock, these two brothers having been visiting their sister at Glanballow, and returning home, stept a-side to see the remarkable spot; where they had no sooner arrived, than it appeared to William; who pointing his finger to it, desired his brother and a servant who was with them, to look to it: But neither of them could see any such thing.

Next Saturday evening, as William was at his sheep-folds, it came up to him, and audibly uttered these words. Come to the Spot of Ground within half an Hour. Whereupon he went home, and taking a sword and a staff in his hand, came to the ground, being at last determined to see the issue. He had scarce incircled himself with a line of circumvallation, when his troublesome familiar came up to him. He ask'd it, In the Name of God, who are you? It answered, I am David Sutor, George Sutor's brother. I killed a man more than 35 years ago, at a bush by east of the road as you go into the Isle. Mr. Sutor said to it, David Sutor was a man, and you appear as a dog. It answered, I killed him with a dog, and am made to speak out of the mouth of a dog: And I tell you to go bury these bones.

This coming to the ears of the minister of Blair, the Lairds of Glascloon and Rychalzie, &c. about 40 men, went together to the said Isle; but, after opening the ground in several places, found no bones.

On the 23d of December, about midnight, when William was in bed, it came to his door, and said, Come away. You will find the bones at the side of the withered bush., and there are but eight left; and told him at the same time, for a sign, that he would find the print of a cross impress'd on the ground.

Next day, William and his brother, with about 40 or 50 people who had conveen'd out of curiosity, came to the Isle, where they discovered the bush, and the cross by it; and upon digging the ground about a foot down, found the eight bones: All which they immediately wrapt in clean linnen, and being put in a coffin, with a mortcloth over it, were interr'd that evening, in the Church-yard of Blair, attended by above 100 persons.

N.B. Several people in that country remember to have seen this David Sutor; and that he listed a soldier and went abroad about 34 or 35 years ago.

Another contemporary account of this apparition added the information that the murder victim was believed to be a drover called Macgregor.  The ghost told William he had been selected for the job of bone-collector because William was the youngest relation David had at the time of the murder. [?!]

After this belated funeral, the canine spirit of David Sutor was presumably finally at rest. William certainly hoped so, at least.

1 comment:

  1. William Sutor handled a talking ghost-dog better than most people would today. I think in some ways people could be more open-minded in the old days than they can be in today's enlightened society. But he still took a sword and staff with him to confront the apparition. I would have, too.


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