The Eighth Relation.
Of divers strange Appearances of Spirits in a Noblemans House in the West.
ABout the year 1667. being with some Persons of Honour at the House of a Nobleman in the West Country, which had formerly been a Nunnery: I must confess I had often heard the Servants, and others that in∣habited, or lodged there, speak much of the noises, stirs, and Apparitions that frequently disturbed the House, but had at that time no apprehensions of it; for the House being full of Strangers, the Noblemans Steward, Mr. C. lay with me in a fine Wainscot Room, called my Ladies Chamber; we went to our Lodging pretty early, and having a good fire in the Room, we spent some time in reading, in which he much delighted: then having got into Bed, and put out the Candles, we observed the Room to be very Page 203 light, by the brightness of the Moon, so that a Wager was laid between us, that it was possible to read written hand by that light upon the Bed where we lay; accordingly I drew out of my Pocket a Manuscript, which he read distinctly in the place where he lay: We had scarce made an end of discoursing about that affair, when I saw (my face being towards the door, which was lockt) entring into the Room, through the door, five Appearances of very fine and lovely Women, they were of excellent sta∣ture, and their dresses seemed very fine, but covered all but their faces, with thin, white Vails: whose skirts trailed largely on the floor. They entered in a file one after the other, and in that posture walked round the Room, till the foremost came, and stood by that side of the Bed where I lay, (with my left hand over the side of the Bed; for my head rested on that arm, and I determined not to alter the posture I was in) she struck me upon that hand with a blow that felt very soft, but I did ne∣ver remember whether it were cold or hot; I demanded in the name of the Blessed Trinity what business they had there, but received no answer; then I spoke to Mr. C. Sir, do you see what fair Guests we have come to visit us? Page 204 Upon which they all disappeared: I found him in some kind of Agony, and was forced to grasp him on the breast with my right hand (which was next him underneath the Bed-cloaths) be∣fore I could obtain speech of him; then he told me that he had seen the fair Guests I spoke of, and had heard me speak to them; but withal said, that he was not able to speak sooner unto me, being extreamly affrighted at the sight of a dreadful Monster, which assuming a shape betwixt that of a Ly∣on, and a Bear, attempted to come upon the Beds foot. I told him, I thanked God nothing so fright∣ful had presented itself to me; but I hoped (through his assistance) not to dread the Ambages of Hell. It was a long time before I could compose him to sleep, and though he had had many disturbances in his own Room, and un∣derstood of others in the House, yet he acknowledged he had never been so terrify'd, during many years abode there.
The next day at Dinner he shewed to divers Persons of Principal Quality, the mark that had been occasioned on his Breast by the gripe I was forced to give him, to get him to speak, and re∣lated Page 205 all the passages very exactly; af∣ter which, he protested never to lie more in that Room; upon which, I set up a resolution to lodge in it again, not knowing but something of the rea∣son of those troubles might by that means be imparted to me.
The next night therefore I or∣dered a Bible, and another Book to be laid in the Room, and resolved to spend my time by the fire in reading, and contemplation, till I found my self inclin'd to sleep; and accordingly having taken leave of the Family at the usual hour, I address'd my self to what I had proposed, not going into Bed till past one in the morning: a little after I was got into Bed, I heard something walk about the Room, like a Woman with a Tabby Gown trailing about the Room; it made a mighty rushelling noise, but I could see nothing, though it was near as light as the night before; it passed by the foot of the Bed, and a little opened the Curtains, and thence went to a Closet door on that side, through which it found admittance, although it was close lockt; there it see∣med to groan, and draw a great Chair with its foot, in which it seemed to sit and turn over the leaves of a large Page 206 Folio; which you know make a loud clattering noise; so it continued in that posture, sometimes groaning, some∣times dragging the Chair, and clattering the Book, till it was near day. After∣wards I lodged several times in the same Room, but never met with any Molestation.
This I can attest to be a true Ac∣count of what passed in that Room the two described nights; and though Mr. C. be lately dead, who was a very Ingenious Man, and affirmed the first part unto many, with whom he was conversant: It remains that I appeal to the knowledge of those who have been Inhabitants, or Lodgers in the said House, for what remains, to justify the Credibility of the rest.