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Observations placeholder

Scott, Sir Walter - Poltergeists at Abbotsford



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 2


This wasn't actually poltergeists as nothing was moved, but it sounded to  Scott that thta is what there was.

I think this was communication between friends and an hallucination as a result.

A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery, At the Moment of Death; Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying – Camille Flammarion

Walter Scott was a witness to a noisy manifestation of death, according to his biographer Lockhart, who published the following letter written to his friend Daniel Terry on April 30th 1818.  The new wing of Abbotsford was then being built and Scott was living in an old part of the building.

The present state of my house has brought mysterious troubles.  We were awakened night before last by a very loud noise, as though some one were dragging thick planks along in the new part.

I believed that something had fallen down and thought no more of it.  That was about 2 o’clock in the morning.  Last night, at the same hour, the same noise made itself heard.  Mrs Scott, as you know, is rather timid; so I got up, Beardie’s broad saber under my arm

Straight as a spear
Ready for combat!

But everything was as it should be and I cannot discover the cause of all this noise.

Mr Lockhart added

The day on which Mr Terry received the above letter in London, he was lunching with Mr William Erskine and they were earnestly discussing the sudden death of George Bullock.

This took place on the very night, it would appear, on which Scott was awakened by the mysterious noise of which he speaks here.  The furnishing of the new rooms in Abbotsford had been put into Bullock’s hands; he had made himself loved by all, young and old.

A week afterwards Scott again wrote to Terry

Were you not struck by the fantastic coincidence of our nocturnal troubles at Abbotsford  with the sad event which happened?  I swear to you that the noise was that of half a dozen men busily employed, laying down planks and putting furniture in place; and there was nevertheless, no one on this spot at that moment; nothing is more certain.  With a few more details, the story might take its place in Granville’s collection or Aubrey’s.

The source of the experience

Scott, Sir Walter

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps