"...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, November 29, 2017

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Camille Pissarro, "Lordship Lane Station, Dulwich"

This "true ghost" story--a classic example of what are known as "crisis apparitions"--was told by Dr. Margaret Vivian in the "London Evening News" of December 23, 1954:

Many years ago when I was a medical student Mr. X., an old friend, would call occasionally at the college to take me out to lunch. One day a letter from him asked me to meet him off the 1:30 train the next day at a small country station nearby. Later, a telegram was handed to me telling me Mr. X. had been killed in a street accident. It was unsigned and I thought it might be a hoax. Next morning I cycled to the station, leaned my bicycle against the bridge across the lines and leaned on the parapet. As the 1:30 train pulled up at the platform, I watched anxiously to see who alighted. There were three passengers, two men and a girl, and to my relief I saw that one was my old friend, in his familiar raincoat and bowler hat rather far back on his head. I shouted to him and he looked up smiling, waved his hat and hurried out of sight towards the station exit. I ran to meet him there. The two other passengers emerged, by not Mr. X. I went on to the platform but there was no sign of him.

I spoke to the ticket collector. He said only two passengers had gotten off the train, a 'gent' and a young lady.

"But the other gentleman--wearing a bowler hat," I insisted. "I saw him from the bridge!"

"I never seen but two," he replied, and he showed me the two tickets he had taken from them.

I rode back to college, fearing now the telegram must be genuine, and I learned later that Mr. X. had been knocked down by a hansom cat, and had been taken unconscious to hospital, where he died as the result of a fractured skull.

I never discovered who sent me the telegram.


  1. Sad and chilling. If it was wishful thinking that caused an hallucination, what of the telegram?...

  2. Nice archetypal Victorian ghost story, and also great painting. I live about a mile from the scene pictured, although that line no longer exists.

  3. Is it possible to see what could have been?


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