|Mihaly Zichy, "The Ghost Hour," 1880|
It's Haunted Wardrobe Week at Strange Company! While reading up on the subject of Monday's post, I came upon this similar tale from France. It appeared in "The Annals of Psychical Science," Volume 7 (1908.) It is to be noted that the Meraud family took their resident ghost in a far more blasé spirit than Mrs. Barclay.
The Progress, a Lyons daily paper, relates the following extraordinary history, not of a house, but of a haunted wardrobe. The editor of the Progress expresses his opinion on the incident in the following terms:—
"It is a tram-ride from Lyons—a long ride, it is true—on the road to Meysieux; it is about three hundred yards from Genas' house. The straight line of the humble frontages is riddled with holes, like a sort of pattern, as is found in old ramparts. You arrive at a large farmyard—dogs yelping, fowls pecking, a hayrick, a steaming manure heap, a scullery-maid and a laundress at work on the edge of two wells, green with creepers.
"Our arrival causes quite a commotion. Scarcely had we time to introduce ourselves to Mme. Meraud, when already the neighbours had gathered round us. The neighbours know all about the extraordinary phenomenon which was the object of our visit, and they looked as though they believed we had come to give them the key to the mystery straightway!
"M. Meraud takes the whole affair very gaily. Blithely he gave us the following relation:
"It is a jolly tale, if you like! I believe neither in a God nor in a devil nor in spirits; but I would cheerfully, and with right good will, pay for a good dinner to the man who could tell me who or what it is that raps in my wardrobe.
"It is just fifteen days since it began. We were having dinner when we heard a noise as though someone had given two loud knocks on wood—tap, tap—then several quick little raps, but much feebler.
"We went to the door, to the window: nothing, no one to be seen! A moment afterwards, again—tap, tap, tap! This time I made no mistake. The noise did not come from the door, but from the wardrobe or the wall.
"I went and opened the wardrobe, looked all about it, and examined the wall; I sounded the wall, examined the tools, the dove's cage; I searched everywhere. Nothing!
"About an hour afterwards, another rapping; but this time the raps sounded at longer intervals; they were more sonorous. And it lasted like that all night long, from hour to hour, until five o'clock in the morning.
"And every night since then it goes on, sometimes loud, sometimes soft, but at regular intervals. The first tap-taps begin at ten minutes to six. Once only had we to wait until half-past seven . . .
"Then I invited the neighbours to come. Every night the house is filled with people, and yet, in spite of that, when the hour comes, the same tapping begins in the wardrobe. I did something better still. In order to try and get at the root of the mystery, I drew the cupboard away from the wall, leaving the doors wide open; everyone stood round the wardrobe, holding it in their hands—and still that tap-tap! tap-tap-tap!—as usual!
"The room above this is an attic. I took away everything that was in it in order to be sure that no animal was in hiding anywhere.
"The room next to it is my daughter's. She has perceived nothing."
"'What!' I said to the young girl, a pretty, buxom lass of seventeen, with honest, merry eyes —'What, mademoiselle, you sleep there and you are nor afraid to be all alone!'
"Why should I be afraid? The devil or spirits would be wasting their time if they tried to stop me from sleeping."
"'True,' said her father. 'Moreover, it can't be denied; the neighbours are here who have heard it as well as ourselves. We have looked well, we have searched everywhere — we have found nothing. It is funny, but there it is. I removed the wardrobe — it was close to the door. I put it near the staircase. Still the noise continued. The odd thing is that when we have gone to bed, there, right in our bedroom, which looks on to the street, it is no longer in the wardrobe that the tapping resounds, but in the street, against the panes of the window. I can't make it out at all.'
"Whilst he was talking, M. Meraud showed me the bewitched wardrobe. It is a modest pine wardrobe, with two doors, full of neatly folded house-linen. I inspected the thin sides, the cornice, the bottom of the wardrobe. No trickery seemed to me possible in that very commonplace piece of furniture. The wardrobe stands beside the wooden staircase which leads to the floor above, where, close to the attic, is the bedroom of the daughter, her young brother, and her little sister, a child of ten years. . . .
"We enquired if these tappings were not perhaps sounds conveyed from some neighbouring workshop, or due to water pipes.
"But, within a distance of about sixty yards, there is only a tile-kiln, which does not work at night, and it possesses no motor which can propagate such sounds. No water or gas pipes passes near the house. The cables for the tramway are more than 600 yards away.
"Let us hasten to say that we ourselves have not observed the facts which we have just related. We have these facts only from numerous worthy eye and ear witnesses."
I would love to know if this wardrobe eventually found its way to England, where it appeared at an estate sale near Carterton Manor...
Nah. I'm guessing Ikea just makes a special line of haunted furniture.