Mr Herbert Richards writes:--
The recent loud rappings heard in a house at Townshend, near Marazion, and known as the Townshend ghost, prompts me to send to The Cornishman an account of two or three strange events which appeared to be almost supernatural and very difficult to be explained.
[...] The Epworth Ghost.
John Wesley was at school, disturbances occurred in his father's house
at Epworth, so unaccountable, that every person by whom they were
witnessed, believed them to be supernatural. At the latter end of the
year 1715 a maid-servant was terrified of hearing at the dining-room
door several dismal groans as of a person at the point of death. The
family gave little heed to her story, and endeavoured to laugh her out
of her tears; but shortly afterwards they began to hear strange
knockings, usually three or four at a time, in different parts of the
house. Every person heard these noises except Mr. Wesley himself, and as
such sounds were not audible by the person to whom they foretold evil
tidings, they refrained from telling him, lest he should suppose that it
betokened his own death. At length the disturbances became so frequent
that none of the family durst be alone, and Mrs. Wesley thought it
better to tell her husband. Moreover, she was minded he should speak to
The noises were now various, loud rumblings above
stairs and below; a clatter among a number of bottles, and footsteps as
of a man going up and down stairs at all hours of the night; sounds like
dancing in an empty room, the door of which was locked, and gobbling
like a turkey-cock; a knocking about the beds at night.
Wesley first thought that the noises were occasioned by rats within
doors, and mischievous persons without, or that some of her daughters
sat up late and made a noise; and a hint that their lovers might have
something to do with the mystery, made the young ladies hope that she
might soon be convinced that there was more in the matter than she was
disposed to believe. On the next night, therefore, about midnight, there
were nine loud knocks, which seemed to be in the next room, with a
pause at every third knock. Mr. Wesley rose and went to see if he could
find the cause, but could perceive nothing. Still he thought it might be
some person out of doors, and relied upon a stout dog to rid them of
the nuisance. But the dog, which barked furiously at the first
disturbance, was ever afterwards cowed by it, and seemed to be more
terrified than any of the children. It came whining to his master, as if
to seek protection. The manservant took the dog at night into his room
as a companion and guard. As soon as the latch began to jar the dog
crept into bed and howled, so much so as to alarm the whole house.
fears of the family for Mr. Wesley's life were removed as soon as he
had heard the noises. They apprehended that one of the sons had met with
a violent death. Mr. Wesley, therefore, one night, after several deep
groans had been heard, asked "it" to speak and tell him why it troubled
the house. Upon this, three loud knockings were made. He then asked "it"
if it were Samuel, his son, bidding it, if it were, to knock again, but
to their great comfort there was no further knocking that night, and
when they heard that Samuel was well, the goblin became more of a matter
of amusement than of alarm. Emelia gave it the name of Old Jeffery,
said to have been the name of a suicide at Epworth (The knockings at
Townshend were said to be made by an old lady who died in the house long
A horn was blown loudly in Mr.
Wesley's house for half-a-day in order to drive away the goblin. From
that day he came by day as well as night, and was louder than ever, and
he never entered Mr Wesley's study till the owner called him a deaf and
dumb devil, and bade him come to him in his study and cease to disturb
innocent children. If it had anything to say, Jeffery took him at his
word, and Mr. Wesley was thrice pushed by it with considerable force.
the door was once violently pushed against Emelia when there was no
person on the outside. The latches were often lifted, the windows
clattered, before Jeffery entered a room, and the iron and brass jarred
exceedingly, and it was observed that the wind rose after the noises.
Mr. Wesley's trencher danced one day upon the table, and the handle of
the hand[-] was one day turned round with great violence. Even the cat
was very terrified at these noises, and whenever Mr. Wesley attempted to
pray for the King and the Prince of Wales, the family prayers were
disturbed by "Jeffery.
An excerpt from The Cornishman, 19th April, 1934.