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Observations placeholder

Lethbridge, T C - Ghost and Ghoul – The unusual experience of Kenny Mackenzie



Type of Spiritual Experience


The spirit helper is Kenny's helper enabling to give the man this information

A description of the experience

T C Lethbridge – Ghost and Ghoul

The following story is not mine. It was told to me by the late Captain Kenny MacKenzie, the master of the Discovery on Mawson's Antarctic Expedition.

Kenny and I were leaning lazily over a yard on the foremast of the barque Passat at the time. This is one of the soothing joys which are being lost to the world. There is hardly anything more quietly comforting than to lean over the yard of a big sailing ship on a fine day, with nothing that must be attended to for weeks ahead. The roar of the broken water round the stem makes a most satisfactory accompaniment to desultory conversation. The blocks creak gently and the wires of the rigging hum little tunes to themselves. The curves of light and shade on the head sails change with every movement of the ship and if you look aloft the arches of the drawing canvas give more variety than can be seen in any cathedral.

MacKenzie was a master of the sailor's trade and had the reputation of having been the only man who could make Discovery show her paces. It is always pleasant to talk to the master of any great art and they are normally the most unassuming of men. We lay on the yard and yarned about this and that.

Presently, as the vessel slipped across the North Sea towards the Skaw, the subject drifted round to the Highlands of Scotland whence Kenny came, the son of the manse. We passed on to wraiths, sendings, premonitions and the like. Then he told me a strange experience of his childhood, which is not like any tale I have ever heard.

Young Kenny had lived beside Loch Awe, under the slopes of Cruachan. Every day he had to walk to school at Dalmally.

The road, now known to thousands in their rushing cars, was at that time less frequented and unmetalled, with gates on it. Eastward of Kilchurn Castle, it came to a brae, where it divided. You might go round on either side of the brae and both roads had gates on them. I have never driven along this road, and do not know the exact site, nor whether both roads are still there. Anyway, one morning young Kenny was walking eastward from Loch Awe side on his way to school. As he approached the fork in the road, he saw a man searching for something in the grass beside one of the gates. Kenny greeted him and asked him what he was looking for.

The man replied that he was trying to find a family heirloom which he had dropped.

'I do not know what made me say it,' Kenny told me, 'but I told him to go and look beside the gate on the other road and he would find it there.' The boy then trudged off on his way to school and thought no more about it.

When Kenny returned to Loch Awe side that evening, he found the little place in a state of considerable excitement. On asking what the fuss was about, he learnt that a stranger had come by with a very odd story.  He had, he said, lost an heirloom one imagines it was a quaich, or perhaps a big silver plaid brooch - beside a gate on the road to Dalmally.  Whilst he was looking for it, he had been greeted by a spirit in the form of a boy, who had told him to look beside a gate on another road, which he had never travelled, and there he would find it. He obeyed the spirit and had found his missing treasure.

I have not the slightest doubt that this story is true. Perhaps there is still someone alive who was in Loch Awe Side that day, somewhere about 1907 I should think, and can confirm it. It is the only story of its kind that I have ever heard. But what had happened ? Was the object still lodged somewhere about the man's clothing and did not drop off till he began searching by the second gate? In that case it was a variety of precognition on Kenny's part. Or was it an apport ? We cannot answer this because we have no means of telling whether such things took place at other times, either in the vicinity of Kenny or of the stranger. I have told the story simply because it is such a good one. I cannot attempt to solve the problem it presents.

The source of the experience

MacKenzie, Kenneth N

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Being a child