Two men repairing to their homes just in the twilight, were obliged to pass through this churchyard, or take a considerable circuit. They had come up the hill, and were beginning to proceed through the cemetery, when they heard, just on their left, and apparently proceeding from a tomb, the most awful groans and frightful outcries, and a shower of red-hot cinders fell on them. They retreated down hill in great dismay; yet, after-getting to some distance, they plucked up courage and returned. They were received in a more fearful fashion this time, and once again fled in terror. Unaccountable as it may appear, they made a third attempt; but this time the noise was more appalling than ever, and a terrible being, with a wild outcry, sprang up from behind the monument, and rushed on them. Down the hill they flew like deer, and, after a wild flight, took refuge in the first cabin they reached. This was their version. We supply another from the mouth of the fiend, then a young stripling, and now a plodding citizen of Dublin, and proprietor of a farm near this extensive and ancient cemetery.
He was seated on the stony enclosure, when he saw, in the gloom, the two men approaching up hill. He at once conceived the design of frightening them, and for this purpose ensconced himself behind a tomb with a provision of small stones. All the ghostly machinery consisted in the groans and howlings he contrived to make, and the showers of pebbles he discharged on the adventurers. At the third attempt he himself was startled by a rustling among the dry weeds and stones behind, and his headlong charge was the result of his panic. Of course he managed not to come up with the fugitives.
We must not omit mention of the Fetch (qu. Feach, to see). But the readers of Chambers's Journal, and the works of German physiologists, and Harold and the Strange Story will comprehend (if the matter be comprehensible) how the human being under unhappy circumstances can (involuntarily in most cases) project some outer casing, or emanation, or larva, or Scin Laeca (horrible name). If this phantom be seen in the morning it betokens good fortune and long life to its prototype; if in the evening a near death awaits him. This superstition was known and felt in England even in the reign of Elizabeth. We quote a passage from Miss Strickland's account of her last illness:--"As her mortal illness drew towards its close, the
superstitious fears of her simple ladies were excited almost to mania, even to conjuring up a spectral apparition of the Queen while she was yet alive. Lady Guildford, then in waiting on the Queen, leaving her in an almost breathless sleep in her privy chamber, went out to take a little air, and met her Majesty, as she thought, three or four chambers off. Alarmed at the thought of being discovered in the act of leaving the royal patient alone, she hurried forward in some trepidation, in order to excuse herself, when the apparition vanished away. She returned terrified to the chamber, but there lay the Queen still in the same lethargic slumber in which she left her."
Within a few days an unexplained mystery has been communicated to us. It is here given without any further commentary than our assurance of the good faith of our informant, who equally vouched for the veracity of her authorities, one of them being the principal witness of the apparition.