The following marvellous narrative, communicated by the Ghost Seers, has produced a good deal of conversation in a part of this county, and may serve to astonish the credulous, amuse the sceptical, and occupy the speculative: On Sunday evening the 28th ult. between seven and eight o’clock, Anthony Jackson, farmer, aged 45 years, and Martin Turner, the bon of William Turner, farmer, aged 15 years, while engaged in inspecting their cattle, grazing an Havarah Park, near Ripley, part of the estate of Sir John Ingleby, Bart. were suddenly surprized by a most extraordinary appearance in the Park. Turner, whose attention was first drawn to this spectacle, said, “Look, Anthony, what a quantity of beast!” – “Beas’,” cried Anthony, “Lord bless us! they ire not beast, they are men!” By this time the body was in motion, and the spectators discovered that it was an army of soldiers, dressed in a white military uniform, and that in the centre stood a Personage of commanding aspect, clothed in scarlet. After performing a number of evolutions, the body began to march in perfect order to the summit of a hill, passing the spectators at a distance of about 100 yards. No sooner had the first body, which seemed to consist of several hundreds, and extended four deep, over an inclosure of thirty acres, attained the hill, than another assemblage of men, far more numerous than the former, dressed in dark-coloured clothes, arose and marched, without tiny apparent hostility, after the military spectres; at the top of the hill both the parties formed what the spectators called a L, and passing down the opposite side of the bill, disappeared. At this moment a volume of smoke, apparently like that vomited by a park of artillery, spread over the plain, and was so impervious, as for nearly two minutes to hide the cattle from the view of Jackson and Turner, who hurried home with all possible expedition, and the effect upon their minds, even at this distance of time, is so strong, that they cannot mention the circumstances without visible emotion.
We have had the curiosity, and an idle curiosity perhaps it was, to collate the accounts of this strange vision, as given by the two spectators, and find them to agree in every part, with these exceptions: – The young man says, that as far as he could mark the progress of time while a scene so novel and alarming was passing before him, he thinks that from the appearance of the first body to the disappearance of the smoke, might be about five minutes; Jackson says it could not be less than a quarter of as hour, and that during all this time they were making to each other such observations as arose out of the spectacle. The junior spectator says he observed amongst the first body, arms glistning in the sun; the senior says it might be so; but that did not strike him, nor can he in thinking of it since, recall any such appearance to his recollection.
On this strange story we shall only observe, that the ground forming the scene of action is perfectly sound, and not likely to emit any of those exhalations which might arise from a swamp – that the narrators are both persons of character – that those who know them best, believe them most, and that they themselves are unquestionably convinced of the truth of their own narrative – that tradition records a scene somewhat similar, exhibited on Stockton Forest, about the breaking out of the present war-and that we shall be glad to receive any satisfactory education of this Phantasmagoria.
– Leeds Mercury, 18 July 1812
Phantasmic blasts of ghostly gunpowder and ephemeral, iridescent smoke.
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