"...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.

3 comments:

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

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  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.

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

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