[FROM THE TAUNTON COURIER.]
We shall use little ceremony in introducing our Readers to the subject of these remarks, as the subject itself does to the persons who are favoured with its visitations. We must give it an hasty slap or two and retire. Mr. CHAVE and his family (the tenants of the haunted house) must therefore be put in the witness-box, and we shall proceed to call a few facts to evidence.
The said Mr. CHAVE, then, it appears, has lived in the house he now occupies at Sampford Peverell about seven months. About seven months, Reader! for we beg that every circumstance, however minute, may be duly attended to. Before he came to this place to exercise his present business of an huckster, the premises in question were unmolested by its present troublesome guest; but Mr. CHAVE, the huckster, brings into the aforesaid premises two servants, the one somewhat stricken in years, the other a girl about 18, called SALLY. A person named TAYLOR (Mrs. CHAVE's brother) is also another inmate of the house, a young man about 25 years of age, whose employment we cannot learn, or even guess at, from any thing that CHAVE can have for him to do, but who is represented by the honest folks at Sampford to be a "wildish sort of a young man."
About a fortnight ago, two Gentlemen, from Taunton, attended the troubled house, and requested permission to pass the night in the haunted room:- TAYLOR looked out of his bed-room window, which is next to the haunted room, and only separated from it by a thin partition, and after satisfying himself of the respectability of the persons who applied for admittance, assured them that it would be of no use for them to sit up unless there were females in thehouse, for otherwise nothing was ever heard, and there were then no women in the house. Intreaties were in vain, and the Gentlemen alluded to retired, after a promise of being admitted the next mornign.
Accordingly they went to the house early on the next day, and were entertained by Mr. CHAVE with a history, compared with which Baron MUNCHAUSEN's Adventures form a series of probabilities. After having had the Monster described (very much resembling a black rabbit, only wonderfully larger!), and which, when pursued, escapes through the close palings of his garden in a moment, permission was allowed to visit the haunted room, but which was delayed by Mr. CHAVE a short time, because the maid-servants were not up. Proceeding at last to the chamber, TAYLOR's room was passed through. He was laying in bed, with a drawn sword on it. The unfortunate chamber was then examined, and agreeably to the prescribed mode of incantation, the floor was stamped upon, and the ghost politely entreated to favour his visitors with a few conversational thumps, but it was not so inclined. Not a single knock, tap, groan, or even a social grunt could be extorted from it, and all attempts at a friendly dialogue proved utterly fruitless. In the adjoining room where TAYLOR slept, some boards had been taken up. A considerable hollow depth appeared underneath, but how far it went Mr. CHAVE did not know! SALLY was interrogated as the attacks which have been made on her by the monster.
She observed, "it never come when there was any light in the room. She had caught it twice; that it was very large and heavy, felt like a dog or rabbit, and so powerful that she could not hold it; that it usually came as soon as the light was withdrawn, and vanished on its appearance; that she had repeatedly been slapped by some invisible means; and that she lately saw through the sheet, while her head was under the bed-clothes, a man's hand and arm, perfectly white!" All this in the dark too! Oh, SALLY!!!
Since the above stated particulars occurred, it has been ascertained that the ghost never visits SALLY while she is asleep; for this damsel, in the middle of the night lately, while two Gentlemen were in the adjoining room, having got into a profound sleep, and the ghost being perfectly peaceable, the experiment was tried by waking her. Soon after, SALLY, by her representations, evinced that the ghost had not forgotten her, though, like SALLY, it had thought fit to indulge in a little nap.
But what end is proposed in the conduct of so detestable a plan? Our Readers must have a little patience. We know the end in view, and the Public shall be very soon in full possession of it. In spite of the ghost's solicitude to be always in the dark, we are mistaken if we do not succeed in bringing it to light.
The Morning Post, Saturday September 1st, 1810.