Ghosts And Horse-shoes
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
As your Salopian correspondent is fond of tracing the hobgoblins of superstition to their holes, I should be glad if he could inform me of the origin of ghosts being laid in the Red Sea (or indeed of their being laid at all) and how they are transported there. I am told they deprecate the Red Sea particularly. I apprehend ghosts haunting their former habitation to have been a heathen notion, especially for want of the funeral rites. But Christian ghosts seem to come after hidden- treasure, estates kept from the right owners by title-deeds mislaid, or in wrong hands, or to warn people of their death, and sometimes for no purpose at all to be developed. I should suppose the Romish priests have devised the ceremonies of exorcism and laying troublesome spirits, which Mr. Dovaston probably has seen, as I dare say he is much more versed in ancient lore than myself. If Mr. D. or any of your correspondents is in possession of such a form, it would be a bibliomaniac curiosity. Could the subject be investigated, I mean the power of disembodied spirits to return to their old habitations, either to be seen or heard, it might ease many weak minds who still suffer from the dread of such visits. But this is beyond the limits of embodied spirits to explore. To return to lesser points of superstition : " The horse-shoe nailed on the threshold, to prevent any witch from stepping over; and the unluckiness of walking under a ladder." Whence? I have no doubt Mr. D. will be ready to gratify a curiosity like his own.