Being the well-known sentimentalist that I am, I thought it was about time for this blog to showcase a tale of True Love.
True Love Strange Company Style, that is.
From the "Evening Telegraph," December 29, 1909:
The very latest thing in mystical romance here on earth is an elopement of a married lady with a ghost.. The circumstances are vouched for, and the matter is of too serious import to be dismissed lightly. The story of the amorous ghost and the lady of his choice begins in the New World and ends in the Old with the arrival of a stern husband.
The lady is Mrs. Carrington, the wife of Mr. Hereward Carrington, and she has related to the American papers the story the weird runaway will-o'-the-wisp wanderings on the path of ghostly romance.
The importance of this strange, uncanny incident is emphasised by the fact that Mr Hereward Carrington was a member of the Special Committee of three of the Society for Psychical Research, consisting of the Hon. Everard Fielding (brother of the Earl of Denbigh and hon. secretary of the Society), Mr W. W. Baggallay, and himself.
They were appointed to investigate the psychic phenomena alleged to be produced through the notorious Italian medium Eusapia Palladino.
Mr. Carrington's spiritual orthodoxy may be realised by the fact that he is wholly satisfied with the genuineness of Eusapia's feats, although when the latter gave a seance at Cambridge before Prof. Sodgwick and Mr. Neville Maskelyne, the latter discovered that the lady was an acrobat rather than a medium.
It was claimed that psychical objects moved in her presence without contact.
Mr. Maskelyne discovered that her practice was to place her feet under the table and tip-tilt her chair back to its furthest limits.
Then, when two experimenters held the little finger and thumb respectively of one hand, under the impression that each had a little finger, she used her free hand to rattle tambourines behind her.
Mrs. Carrington claims to be the first woman to have eloped with a spirit, and now she proposes writing a book detailing the whole of her experiences with her spook sweetheart.
It was about thirteen months ago when her phantom lover made his first ardent vows to her.
The best description of the ecstatic moment is given by Mrs. Carrington herself:-
Unseen fingers crept over my shoulders and down my arms as I sat at the piano. As iron leaps and dances under the magnet, so I tingled with joy. Divine music poured out at my fingertips and flashed across the keys. Soft, sweet, intangible lips pressed against mine. I could hear swift breaths. It was my demon lover's first spirit kiss.
The "demon lover's" name, it. appeared later, was Kovery of Westmoreland. What "Westmoreland" this may be no one knows. There is at least one Westmoreland in America, and there may be another.
A savage land, holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon lover.
Although Mrs. Carrington has never seen her attendant wraith, she claims to have "sensed" him. That he must be a veritable Adonis among the Nothings one must surely be convinced, for with sparkling pen she describes him as having hair soft as flax, eyes sparkling like diamonds in the night, and his figure as tall, slim, and fair.
Conversation between the two was conducted by planchette (the ouija board of the Southern necromancers); and the spirit lover sent many passionate declarations by this means.
Here are a few of the flowers and sweets what may described as hot and strong protestations :—
"Helen is mine"
"It is Hell to love and leave you."
"Helen! Helen! My spirit is tortured for you. I love you! I love you! Why don't you respond? I am bound to another world, but would be happy did I not have to leave you."
The ghostly wooer signed his name with the ouija pencil as "Kovery of Westmoreland," and so hypnotic was his touch, so ardent and alluring his breathless whispers, that the lady ran away with him first to London, and finally to Naples.
There the amorous spook told her to study music; Mrs. Carrington is an accomplished pianist.
At the same time, by a strange and truly remarkable coincidence, a message came to Mrs. Carrington from her mother in the spirit world saying that she would be happier studying music than anything else.
It was just at this interesting juncture that Mr. Carrington, who was bent on studying the alleged phenomena of Eusapia Palladino, discovered his wife, and promptly commanded her to return home.
Whether the ghostly lover has dissolved himself in a flood bitter tears at this ending of his daring romance, or whether he still biding his time, faithful and ardent to the end, with a sort of Martin Harvey pessimistic optimism, who shall say?
Those who dabble in psychic mysteries in England are anxiously awaiting fuller details of this eerie romance.
[Note: Alas, I have been unable to discover any more about this unusual ménage à trois, but I fear these human/spook romances seldom turn out well.]