Woolwich ghost


The inhabitants of Woolwich and its neighbourhood have lately been much alarmed by the appearance of a Ghost of an unusual description. Some time ago a man hanged himself in the Rigging-house; and it is supposed his spirit not finding its subterraneous abode so comfortable as he expected, had thought proper to return above ground once more to prevent others from making the like exit. Its appearance is that of a faint blue light, but very evident in two of the windows of the Rigging-house; and is seen very plainly at intervals during the whole of the night, from the church-yard. Sometimes it is seen at one window, sometimes at the other; appearing and disappearing at unequal intervals. The inside of the windows is stopped with double canvass, it cannot therefore proceed from any thing within the room; and no external cause can at present be found for this extraordinary phenomenon. It has been seen, during the last fortnight, by many hundred persons; and such have been the crowd of spectators every night, that the Magistrates have ordered the constables to interfere, and prevent such a large concourse from meeting in the church-yard, lest they should do any damage to the tombs or walls. The first night it was seen, the sentinel doing duty in the dock-yard left his post, and since that period there have been two sentinels at each station. Its very distinct appearance, and the respectability of the persons who testify that they have seen it, could alone induce us to notice this surprizing appearance, which has hitherto baffled every attempt to account for it upon rational principles.

The Morning Post. Monday October 3rd, 1808.

Commissioner's Office, Woolwich Dock-yard. September 30, 1808.
Mr Editor - In order to do away the impression which the paragraph respecting the appearance of a Ghost in the Rigging-House of this Yard, is calculated to make on the minds of the credulous, I am directed by the commissioner to say, that it has been clearly ascertained to arise from the reflection of a light upon the windows from an apple-stall, on the rising ground opposite, called Parson's-hill, a little to the eastward of the Church-yard; and the cause (as stated in your Paper), of its "sometimes appearing at one window and sometimes at the other," was owing to the customers stopping to purchase fruit, who, during that time, took up different positions, so as sometimes to impede the light, and at others to admit of it freely reflecting upon the windows.
The statement of the centinel leaving his post, and of their having been doubled, is altogether false; the disposal of the centinels in the Dock-yard rests exclusively with the Commissioner, who has neither heard of the fears of any one, nor had an application to alter the strength of the guard, in order to arrest the ghost.
(Signed) J.Reed.

The Morning Post. Wednesday October 5th, 1808.

[I can't explain the dates]