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Observations placeholder

Lethbridge, T C - Ghost and Ghoul - As I was going up the stair, I met a man who was not there



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

T C Lethbridge – Ghost and Ghoul

YOU often hear people remark, 'If I saw a ghost, I think I I should die of fright.' This is not the case at all. On two occasions I have clearly seen figures of people who were not really there, in the ordinary sense, at all. On neither occasion did I appreciate till later that there was anything strange in what I had seen.

As I was going up the stair,
I met a man who was not there.
He was not there again today,
Oh, how I wish he'd go away.

(I do not know where that comes from, but I like it!)

The first incident happened in 1922, in New Court, Trinity, Cambridge. I had rooms in the block which faces the Backs and my stair was the first on the left of the gateway as you go out towards the river. On the next stair to mine, again on the left, a friend of mine, G.W., had his rooms, two floors up. They were a set of rooms which were said to have been occupied by generations of Buxtons, but, as there were no Buxtons in the college at the time, G.W. had them. The rooms were on the left of the stair. I am putting in these details in case any later occupant of the rooms has had the same experience.

G.W. and I had not been model undergraduates. I regret to say that we thought far more about shooting, fishing, sailing and the like, than about cutting up dog-fish or wading through text-books. Later in the same year, G.W. was one of the party on the Shiant Islands. We were, I suppose, about the last batch of young men who went to a university simply to finish their education and make friends. I was actually diverted from the Army and sent up to Cambridge at the end of the Kaiser's war because every-one thought there would never be a war again and training for it was useless. I did not even know you were supposed to get a degree until I got up to the place. A good degree was no lure to us at all. In fact lectures were a bore after years of school.

I was sitting rather late one evening in G.W.'s rooms. We were discussing this and that in a desultory sort of way, one on each side of the fire. I was in the chair nearest the-window, which looked over the court. Between me and the door in the opposite corner of the room was a square dining-table. Noticing that it was nearly midnight, I got up from my chair and was about to go back to bed. As I got up, and before I had said good night to G.W., the door opened and a man came into the room.

G.W. remained sitting in his chair. The man, who had a top hat on, came only a few steps into the room and there stopped, resting both his hands on the table. I thought he was a college porter who wanted to say something to G.W. I said, 'Well, good night, G.W. 'and 'Good evening' to the other man, who did not reply. Then I walked round behind the figure standing at the table, through the door, and down the stairs into the court. I went up the next stair to my own rooms and into bed without giving the incident another thought.

Next morning, I met G.W. in Trinity Street. Remembering the visitor of the night before, I said, 'Hello, G.W. Why did the porter come in last night ? We weren't making a row or anything.'

 'Nobody came in,' he replied. I found this statement quite impossible to believe and we argued a bit in the street.

But G.W. had not seen the man and I had and that was all that could be said about it.

When I had time to think it over, I found I could remember the man's appearance in considerable detail. He was not very tall and he was slight. His face was rather pointed. He did not resemble any of our porters I could remember. Then I thought of something else: he had on a top hat. Our porters wore top hats, but they only wore them on Sundays. That evening had not been a Sunday. More than that, I found I could distinctly remember that he had something white at his throat and not a black tie. Then I got it. This was a man in hunting kit. G.W. had not seen him at all. He was a ghost….

Anything may have caused him to be there; but I happened to be on the right wave-length to receive the picture. It was just like a television picture without the sound. There was no colour and it was as utterly without feeling as a television shot. But it was full size. There was nothing, of course, about a man dressed in black and white to show as colour. Nevertheless, I do not think there was any colour in his face.

Of course one might see hundreds of ghosts of this sort without realizing that they are not actual living people. One does not go about touching people in the street to see if they are really there.


The source of the experience

Lethbridge, Thomas Charles

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Science Items

Activities and commonsteps