How A Ghost Warned The King

How A Ghost Warned The King
How A Ghost Warned The King

Kings and queens are not exempt from visitations of the supernatural; indeed, a large number of royal dignitaries have seen “ghosts,” and have been haunted by specters in as unpleasant a manner as any ordinary mortal. Were we to hunt through the pages of history, we should find many of these—some of which it will doubtless be of interest to give at some future time. The following account is taken from the Annals of the Kingdom of Scotland, and is told in queer old English, with long ‘s’s,’ and so on, making it very hard to read in the original! I interpret it into modern English as best I can, maintaining its form:


“While James IV. stayed at Linlithgow, to gather up the scattered remains of his army, which had been defeated by the Earl of Surrey, at Flodden-field, he went into the Church of St. Michael there to hear evening prayer. While he was at his devotion, a remarkable figure of an ancient man, with flowing amber-colored hair hanging over his shoulders, his forehead high, and inclining to baldness, his garments of fine blue color, somewhat long and girded together, with a fine white cloth, of comely and very reverent aspect, was seen inquiring for the king; when his majesty being pointed out to him he made his way through the crowd till he came to him, and then, with a clown’s simplicity, leaning over the cannon’s feet, he addressed him in the following words: ‘Sir, I am sent hither to entreat you to delay your intended expedition for this time, and proceed no further; for if you do, you will be unfortunate, and not prosper in your enterprise, nor any of your followers. I am further charged to warn you, not to follow the acquaintance, company, or counsel of women, as you value your life, honor, and estate.’


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“After giving him this admonition, he withdrew himself back through the crowd and disappeared. “When service was ended, the king enquired earnestly after him, but he could not be found or heard of anywhere, neither could any of the bystanders (of whom many narrowly watched him, resolving afterward to have discoursed with him) feel or perceive how, when or where he passed from them, having in a manner vanished from their sight. “This caused the king to feel some uneasiness; ‘for,’ said he, ‘if he were mortal man, how did he go so quickly hence, and how did he give me such advice, which I, of all men, know at this time to be of value?’ The king was sorely puzzled; he called the church's warden to him, questioning him as to the man whom he had seen.


“And when the warden had heard the tale from the king, he questioned him in turn, as to the man’s appearance—whether he was this and that; and of the man’s manner of speech. And when the king had answered to his satisfaction, he turned pale; and said: ‘Oh, king, the personage whom you saw today was not mortal man; but one dead long ago; one who lived and died close here; and known to many of us well. He has been known to come before in times of great stress, and his advice has always been good. Truly, my lord, you have seen an apparition of a dead man this day.’

The Ghost of Oxford Milford Road


“And the king marveled at what he had seen.” 47 Thus ends the curious old narrative. It will be seen that several others saw the ghost beside the king. These are called “collective cases” by those engaged in psychical studies; for the reason that several persons saw the figure simultaneously, or “collectively.” Such cases have never been satisfactorily explained. For, if the phantom were a mere hallucination, as many claims, how did several see it at once?

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