Some Real American Ghosts

A Model Ghost Story

by Joseph Lewis French


(Boston Courier, Aug. 10)

  A very singular story which forms one of the sensational social topics of the day is the best authenticated of the many stories of the supernatural that have been lately told. Only a short time ago a young and well-known artist, Mr. A., was invited to pay a visit to his distinguished friend, Mr. Izzard. The house was filled with guests, but a large and handsome room was placed at his disposal, apparently one of the best in the house. For three days he had a delightful visit; delightful in all particulars save one, he had each night a horrible dream. He dreamed he was—or was really—suddenly awakened by some person entering his room, and in looking around saw the room brilliantly lighted, while at the window stood a lady elegantly attired, in the act of throwing something out. This accomplished, she turned her face toward the only spectator showing a countenance so distorted by evil passions that he was thrilled with horror. Soon the light and the figure with the dreadful face disappeared, leaving the artist suffering from a frightful nightmare. On returning to his city home he was so haunted by the fearful countenance which had for three consecutive nights troubled him, that he made a sketch of it, and so real that the evil expression seemed to horrify every one who saw it. Not a great while after, the artist went to make an evening visit on Mr. Izzard; that gentleman invited him to his picture gallery, as he wished to show him-some remarkable, old family portraits. What was Mr. A.'s surprise to recognize among them, in the likeness of a stately, well-dressed lady, the one who had so troubled his slumbers on his previous visit, lacking, however, the revolting, wicked expression. Soon as he saw it he involuntarily exclaimed, "Why, I have seen that lady!" "Indeed!" said Mr. I., smiling, "that is hardly possible, as she died more than a hundred years ago. She was the second wife of my great-grandfather, and reflected anything but credit on the family. She was strongly suspected of having murdered her husband's son by a former marriage, in order to make her own child heir to the property. The unfortunate boy broke his neck in a fall from a window, and there was every reason to believe that he was precipitated from the window by his stepmother." The artist then told his host the circumstances of his thrice-repeated experience, or dream, and sent for his sketch, which, so far as the features were concerned, was identical with the portrait in Mr. Izzard's gallery. The sketch has since been photographed, but from its hideous expression is not very pleasant to look upon.