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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Yet More Spookery

Right now I’m reading a biography of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu—my favorite writer of ghost stories, as you know—and the following passage, from a letter to the author’s mother, was just too deliciously creepy not to share. It concerns a vision his wife, Susanna, had shortly before her death in 1858 at the age of 34.

…she one night thought she saw the curtain of her bed at the side next to the door drawn, & the darling old man [i.e. George Bennett, her father], dressed in his usual morning suit, holding it aside, stood close to her looking ten or (I think) twelve years younger than when he died, & with his delightful smile of fondness & affection beaming upon her, I think she also said that his hand rested on the bed clothes as he used to place it. The words were as you say ‘There is room in the vault for you, my little Sue’, & with the same tender happy delightful smile he moved gently away as if he were going softly out of the door letting the curtain fall back. She lighted a candle & got up in the hope, if I recollect rightly, of seeing him again, & little Ellen who slept on the sofa & is easily woken, was so…

I have examined her [i.e. Ellen] since I wrote the above as to her recollection & she says that the words were, when he placed his hand on the bed, ‘Ah, little Sue, you are very poorly’, & she replied ‘Oh! no, I am pretty well’ & then he said ‘there is room in the vault & will you win the race & get there first’…little Ellen too is quite clear that she told her that her attention was first attracted by a sound as of the door opening & that this had startled her as she knew it was locked. She told little Ellen that she was certain it was not a dream. ‘I think’, she said, ‘it was a sort of vision that God sent me, to prepare me.’ In the morning having told it to me she said ‘it is my warning’. She cried a great deal but not in agitation or grief, but with a sort of yearning, as it seemed to me, after the darling old man, & she dwelt with delight upon the beaming smile of love with which he had looked on her all the time…

I suspect Susanna might have lived had her father stayed inside Mount Jerome where he belonged, but I guess we’ll never know.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.