The fifteenth Relation.
A strange Apparition, which was seen by a Man, as he was going home two Miles in a Winter night, near Kinneel by the River of Forth in Scotland.
A Certain Man whom I know, a little before Christmas, several years ago, went in the morning from his dwelling House, to a Sea-Port Town about two Miles distant: And having several urgent businesses there, he took up the whole day in dispatching them, and was necessitated to stay still near eight of the Clock at night At which time he set forth, being no wise in drink; nor was he at all of a Timorous Nature. He had no Company with him, and walkt on in his Journey with∣out seeing any thing frightful, or so much as thinking on any such. When he was come to the top of a Hill, which was half way home, he of a sudden saw the Appearance of four Men car∣rying a Dead Corps on their Shoulders, Page 236 unattended by any; which made him easily conjecture what it was; besides, that it is not usual in that place to bury any in the night time, except it be Per∣sons of the greatest Quality. This Apparition ye must needs think, did startle him a little, there being no Houses near him; it being a wild place. He thought to shun it by going out of the High-way into some by-road; which when he did, he found himself nothing advantaged thereby; for in the very time that he was turning him∣self about, it was transported from the High-way, and walkt directly be∣fore him, keeping the same distance as before; which when he observed, he returned into the High-road again. This he attempted to do several times; but was served after the same manner as formerly; whereupon he resolved to keep straight on in his way, without turning either to the right hand or the left, praying to God to preserve him from the Devil, or any of his Emissa∣ries. The Spectre kept a little before him, observing always the same di∣stance; so that if he walkt slow, it likewise slackned its pace, and if he hastened his steps, it likewise moved quicker. He followed it on this wise, Page 237 till at last it came to a little Stone-Bridge that was over a Brook, about a quarter of a Mile from his House; the Brook was narrow, but not so narrow, as that a Man could jump over it; the water in the Winter time would strike a Man above the middle. The four Ghosts that carried this dead Corps, when they were come to this place, laid the Coffin across the Bridge; so that the Man could not go over upon the Bridge, unless he stept over the Coffin. The Man when he came up was at a stand, not knowing what to do in this case; to wade through the Brook he had no great mind, in regard the season was then cold. To go over the Bridge, and so step over it, he durst not, not knowing, if he should have hazarded so to do, what power it might have over him to do him mis∣chief. While he was thus musing, he bethought himself of one Expedient, which if he could effect, he thought he might safely go over the Bridge with∣out receiving any hurt: It was this; he designed to try if he could prize it off the Bridge into the water with his Cane, for he durst not adventure to touch it with his hands: But when he went about it, and prized it with all Page 238 his strength, he found it remained un∣moveable as a Rock; yet he continued so doing a considerable time, till at last he broke his Cane. Afterwards, seeing no possibility of getting over the Bridge, he was necessitated to go through the water, notwithstanding the coldness of the Season. When he was got on the other side, he saw the four Ghosts take up the Coffin again on their Shoulders, and carry it off the High-way, he viewed them till they carried it over a little Eminence (a piece of ground higher then the rest, resembling a Hill, but not so high) but after that saw it no more. Afterward he went home to his House, and as soon as he saw the light of the Candle that was burning in the House, he imme∣diately fell down upon the ground. (Which they say is usual to Persons that are frightened with Apparitions.) His Wife and Servants seeing what befel him, instantly took him up, brought him to life again, and asked him what might be the Cause thereof; he told them that he knew of no Cause, see∣ing he found himself very well in his Health all the day before, unless it were an Apparition he saw by the way as he came home, rehearsing the story as is above related.
THis Story I have heard related by se∣veral Persons of good Repute, that lived in the same Town with him, who had it from his own mouth. The Man I have several times seen, but never had oc∣casion, that I remember of, to be in his Company, at least at that time when he related the above-mentioned Story.
Let no man therefore doubt of Intelli∣gencies in the world, besides what are hud∣led up in garments of Clay: We see Agen∣cies above the reach of our comprehensions, and things performed by Bodies seemingly Aerial, which surpass the strength, power, and capacity of the most robust Mortal.