There is something so natural, and at the same time so unnatural, in seeing a door open when we know that there is no one on the other side of it, or in hearing the sound of footsteps, and feeling that it cannot be attributed to the feet of a mortal. These simple yet compelling narratives provide amazing descriptions of poltergeists and banshees, spirit-filled houses, deathbed scenes, and uncanny fore warnings of death.
That houses are haunted and apparitions frequently seen therein are pretty well established facts. The preceding chapters have dealt with this aspect of the subject, and, in view of the weight of evidence to prove the truth of the stories told in them, it would be hard for anyone to doubt that there is such a thing as a haunted house, whatever explanation maybe given of "haunting." We now turn to another division of the subject—the outdoor ghost who haunts the roadways, country lanes, and other places. Sceptics on ghostly phenomena are generally pretty full of explanations when they are told of a ghost having been seen in a particular spot, and the teller may be put down as hyper-imaginative, or as having been deluded by moonlight playing through the trees; while cases are not wanting where a reputation for temperance has been lost by a man telling his experiences of a ghost he happens to have met along some country lane; and the fact that there are cases where an imaginative and nervous person has mistaken for a ghost a white goat or a sheet hanging on a bush only strengthens the sceptic's disbelief and makes him blind to the very large weight of evidence that can be arrayed against him. Some day, no doubt, psychologists and scientists will be able to give us a complete and satisfactory explanation of these abnormal apparitions, but at present we are very much in the dark, and any explanation that may be put forward is necessarily of a tentative nature.