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ghost stories
Scary and exciting Ghost Stories from around the World . . .
 

Ghost Story Title : The Damned Thing Part-3 By Brander Matthews By Ambrose Bierce

 

Ghost Story:

III
A MAN THOUGH NAKED MAY BE IN RAGS
The coroner rose from his seat and stood beside the dead man. Lifting an edge of the sheet he pulled it away,
exposing the entire body, altogether naked and showing in the candle-light a claylike yellow. It had, however,
broad maculations of bluish black, obviously caused by extravasated blood from contusions. The chest and
sides looked as if they had been beaten with a bludgeon. There were dreadful lacerations; the skin was torn in
strips and shreds.
The coroner moved round to the end of the table and undid a silk handkerchief which had been passed under
the chin and knotted on the top of the head. When the handkerchief was drawn away it exposed what had been
the throat. Some of the jurors who had risen to get a better view repented their curiosity and turned away their
faces. Witness Harker went to the open window and leaned out across the sill, faint and sick. Dropping the
handkerchief upon the dead man's neck the coroner stepped to an angle of the room and from a pile of
clothing produced one garment after another, each of which he held up a moment for inspection. All were
torn, and stiff with blood. The jurors did not make a closer inspection. They seemed rather uninterested. They
had, in truth, seen all this before; the only thing that was new to them being Harker's testimony.
'Gentlemen,' the coroner said, 'we have no more evidence, I think. Your duty has been already explained to
you; if there is nothing you wish to ask you may go outside and consider your verdict.'
The foreman rose--a tall, bearded man of sixty, coarsely clad.
'I should like to ask one question, Mr. Coroner,' he said. 'What asylum did this yer last witness escape
from?'
'Mr. Harker,' said the coroner, gravely and tranquilly, 'from what asylum did you last escape?'
Harker flushed crimson again, but said nothing, and the seven jurors rose and solemnly filed out of the cabin.
'If you have done insulting me, sir,' said Harker, as soon as he and the officer were left alone with the dead
man, 'I suppose I am at liberty to go?'
'Yes.'
Harker started to leave, but paused, with his hand on the door latch. The habit of his profession was strong in
him--stronger than his sense of personal dignity. He turned about and said:
'The book that you have there--I recognize it as Morgan's diary. You seemed greatly interested in it; you read
in it while I was testifying. May I see it? The public would like----'
'The book will cut no figure in this matter,' replied the official, slipping it into his coat pocket; 'all the entries
in it were made before the writer's death.'
As Harker passed out of the house the jury rentered and stood about the table, on which the now covered
corpse showed under the sheet with sharp definition. The foreman seated himself near the candle, produced
from his breast pocket a pencil and scrap of paper and wrote rather laboriously the following verdict, which
with various degrees of effort all signed:
'We, the jury, do find that the remains come to their death at the hands of a mountain lion, but some of us
thinks, all the same, they had fits.'




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