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

Ghost Story Title : The Haunted And The Haunters Part-12 By Edward Bulwer-Lytton


Ghost Story:

The American and his wife took charge of the little boy, the deceased brother having by his will left his sister
the guardian of his only child--and in the event of the child's death, the sister inherited. The child died about
six months afterwards--it was supposed to have been neglected and ill-treated. The neighbors deposed to have
heard it shriek at night. The surgeon who had examined it after death said that it was emaciated as if from
want of nourishment, and the body was covered with livid bruises. It seemed that one winter night the child
had sought to escape--crept out into the back-yard--tried to scale the wall--fallen back exhausted, and been
found at morning on the stones in a dying state. But though there was some evidence of cruelty, there was
none of murder; and the aunt and her husband had sought to palliate cruelty by alleging the exceeding
stubbornness and perversity of the child, who was declared to be half-witted. Be that is it may, at the orphan's
death the aunt inherited her brother's fortune. Before the first wedded year was out the American quitted
England abruptly, and never returned to it. He obtained a cruising vessel, which was lost in the Atlantic two
years afterwards. The widow was left in affluence; but reverses of various kinds had befallen her; a bank
broke--an investment failed--she went into a small business and became insolvent--then she entered into
service, sinking lower and lower, from housekeeper down to maid-of-all work--never long retaining a place,
though nothing decided against her character was ever alleged. She was considered sober, honest, and
peculiarly quiet in her ways; still nothing prospered with her. And so she had dropped into the workhouse,
from which Mr. J---- had taken her, to be placed in charge of the very house which she had rented as mistress
in the first year of her wedded life.
Mr. J---- added that he had passed an hour alone in the unfurnished room which I had urged him to destroy,
and that his impressions of dread while there were so great, though he had neither heard nor seen anything,
that he was eager to have the walls bared and the floors removed as I had suggested. He had engaged persons
for the work, and would commence any day I would name.
The day was accordingly fixed. I repaired to the haunted house--he went into the blind dreary room, took up
the skirting, and then the floors. Under the rafters, covered with rubbish, was found a trap-door, quite large
enough to admit a man. It was closely nailed down, with clamps and rivets of iron. On removing these we
descended into a room below, the existence of which had never been suspected. In this room there had been a
window and a flue, but they had been bricked over, evidently for many years. By the help of candles we
examined this place; it still retained some mouldering furniture--three chairs, an oak settle, a table--all of the
fashion of about eighty years ago. There was a chest of drawers against the wall, in which we found,
half-rotted away, old-fashioned articles of a man's dress, such as might have been worn eighty or a hundred
years ago by a gentleman of some rank--costly steel buckles and buttons, like those yet worn in court-dresses,
a handsome court sword--in a waistcoat which had once been rich with gold-lace, but which was now
blackened and foul with damp, we found five guineas, a few silver coins, and an ivory ticket, probably for
some place of entertainment long since passed away. But our main discovery was in a kind of iron safe fixed
to the wall, the lock of which it cost us much trouble to get picked.
In this safe were three shelves, and two small drawers. Ranged on the shelves were several small bottles of
crystal, hermetically stopped. They contained colorless volatile essences, of the nature of which I shall only
say that they were not poisons--phosphor and ammonia entered into some of them. There were also some very
curious glass tubes, and a small pointed rod of iron, with a large lump of rock-crystal, and another of
amber--also a loadstone of great power.
In one of the drawers we found a miniature portrait set in gold, and retaining the freshness of its colors most
remarkably, considering the length of time it had probably been there. The portrait was that of a man who
might be somewhat advanced in middle life, perhaps forty-seven or forty-eight.

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