ABSTRACT

On Wednesday, 1 June 1692, a young man, about een years of age, went to his bed. He had no sooner lain down than he heard ‘a Hand sweeping on the wall’. en it came ‘with a rushing noise on his beds-head’ and ‘stroaked him over the face twice very gently’. Opening his eyes he saw before him ‘an apparition of a woman cloathed in black apparel’. Following this eerie encounter, other members of his family reported seeing the apparition ‘in the same room with a lighted candle’. Perplexed by these unexplained visits, the mistress of this ‘Civiliz’d Family’ wrote to the editors of the bi-weekly periodical the Athenian Mercury. She desired to know ‘what should be the occasion of the disturbance’ and ‘whether it be advisable to ask the question of the apparition?’.1 Samuel Wesley (father of John), Church of England minister and co-editor of the Mercury, advised the woman to speak to the ghost, nd out its purpose and discover how it might be satis ed.2