“SOME DREARY AND GLOOMY STUFF”

Personally I am an avid reader of ghost novels. But the fact that such stories are always located in dreary and gloomy mansions outrage me. The reality is quite different, as demonstrated by the hundreds of files of the Society for Psychical Research. The case that I am going to refer is registered under file number 426 and it happened in the year 1869 in a dreary and gloomy mansion located in the county of Leicestershire. This mansion was inhabited by Lady Louisa Fanshow, a dreary and gloomy woman who many visitors confused with the ghost. Because the mansion housed a dreary and gloomy ghost, you know? (This is another of the topics that outrage me: the SPR files show that many ghosts are nice and lively.) According to most testimonies, this ghost wore a three-cornered hat and dragged chains (or continuously hit a pan with a ladle, according to some).

The people of the county bind together the ghost’s existence and a gruesome episode that took place in the mansion many years ago. Apparently, the great-grandfather of Lady Fanshow was locked up by accident in one of the rooms of the uninhabited wing of the house. The man forgot that the door opened inward and he tried to open it outward. Then he tried to leave the room through the window, but he thought that it opened inward instead of outward. And so he was locked up for several days until he died of starvation or (according to other versions) stumbled on something and fell, or something fell from somewhere and hit someone. The fact is that after a few days the poor man was found with a shot in the head. It was one of those cases so difficult for the police to solve: the classic case of the closed room where a crime has been committed (or something has happened).

This took place a long time ago, but now it was believed that Lord Fanshow wandered around the house leading a ghostly existence. When the case came to the ears of the SPR, one of its most reputable members was sent to investigate the phenomenon. But as Lady Fanshow refused to let him in, he was forced to investigate peeping through the windows of the house at night, as the ghost manifested itself from midnight onwards (nocturnality: this is another topic widely denied by the SPR files). After a month of intense vigilance, this renowned researcher of the SPR thought he saw something in the darkness inside the mansion. “Something like a solid breeze” were his exact words. “But God knows!”, he added.

And the case was considered to be resolved.

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