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  • Sunderland Ghost Riot and Prophecy July 26, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    Dated 09/09/2009 Sunderland "BACK THE BID " Aerial shots over Sunderland

    This story is interesting as a particularly elaborate ghost riot. Usually nineteenth century ghost riots took place when someone saw something or pretended to see something and next thing there were ten thousand people, a dozen injured bobbies and a lot of broken window panes. This one has a much more precise if curious rumour behind it. We are in a northern sea town.

    Sunderland is in an uproar about a ghost! A young mariner of the Myrtle, named Cairns, saw his sister’s ghost at sea, and again, few nights ago, in his vessel on the Wear. On the latter occasion she promised him a second visit in a short time, when she would reveal something of importance.

    There are many ghost stories where relatives a long way away learn of a loved one’s death. But the sister is already dead: there is a reference shortly to her grave. It is almost as if there were to be a series of revelations Madonna style…

    A rumour went abroad that 12 o’clock on Thursday night was the appointed hour, and long before that time upwards of 1000 persons [a considerable proportion of nineteenth-century Sunderland] were congregated near Sunderland churchyard, to catch a glimpse of the ghost as it wended its way from its own narrow bed to the bedside of the haunted sailor.

    Whenever Beach reads these things his first thought is always: didn’t they have better things to do? Are we to imagine that they actually lined the route? Was the ‘young mariner in bed’ waiting for his sister with a couple of hundred of neighbours in his garden, trying their best not to push down the outdoor loo.

    But although they had the patience to remain at their post until one o’clock in the morning, in the midst of a delightful drizzle, their curiosity went unrewarded. Spirits, perhaps, are not exempt from the roguery of bodies, but they take malicious pleasure in tantalizing poor silly mortals; or it may be true, as has been gravely affirmed, that the public had mistaken the night, and that the ghost had haunted the young man in his hammock in the night of Wednesday, and unfolded to him a tale of horror, which it forbade him to repeat to any living person, save and except her husband, who is now at sea. But why could not the ghost itself convey the story to the husband? Carlisle Journal, 4 Mar 1843, 3

    Why indeed? Anything else on this case: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com