“THE SWAYING SHADOW”

William Barret came and went constantly from London to Brighton. Not for work reasons. Nor for pleasure. In fact, there was no reason whatsoever, simply he had that compulsion, he could not help it. One evening, in an after-dinner conversation he mentioned that, on each of his round trips, he sighted a very tall figure standing at the edge of the road saying goodbye with his hand as if in slow motion and with a swing of his whole body. This figure managed to stay always in the shade, so that Barret could never see its face. Of course it could not be someone known to him, since Barret did not know anyone who measured three meters high. That was the approximate height of the figure according to his calculations. Also, it did not do any other gesture, just that swaying saying goodbye with its arm up. Gurney said that this was extremely rare and that it deserved to be investigated. But all the other members started to cough and make excuses, so he was left alone with his proposal. Gurney then decided to investigate the case on his own. One morning he accompanied Barret on the way to Brighton. And indeed, at a certain point on the road, as he had told, they saw a very tall guy dressed in black who seemed to be waving at them from the other side of the road.

Gurney said he would stop to talk to him when they came back from Brighton because then they would meet face to face with him. But as Barret informed him that the strange figure was always on the other side of the road, he decided to approach him at that moment. He crossed the road determined to talk to the man, but when he reached the other side he did not see anyone. Barret, who had been watching intently, informed Gurney that as soon as he approached the shadow, the individual disappeared. It seemed that they were in front of another damn case of ghosts. Gurney hated this kind of case because ghosts made him feel stupid. He preferred a hundred times more to face the Loch Ness monster or a stout dishonest medium called Cristofora who had once given him a terrible beating, rather than dealing with a ghost. However, he had to settle for what the world of mystery offered him, so he set out to investigate the case.

Gurney did not beat around the bush, so the first thing he did was plant a tent at the exact point on the road where the ghost appeared, and wait for events. He did not have to wait long because the first night the ghost made an appearance. Gurney would later tell that it was all like a shadow: he could not distinguish facial features or any other identifying detail. When he tried to communicate with it, the phantom recoiled and began to sway, saying goodbye with his arm raised and as if in slow motion. As Barret had said, it was the only gesture the shadow apparently knew how to do. Overcoming his sense of the ridiculous, Gurney imitated him. And thus they stayed much of the night saying goodbye to each other. Then, tired of making a fool of himself, Gurney entered the tent and fell asleep.

The truth is that he could not get anything clear of all that. Just the confirmation that the ghost cases were a real nuisance.

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