Thursday, August 25

The Secret Told To Samuel Wilberforce By A Ghost!

Samuel Wilberforce
Samuel Wilberforce - English Bishop of the Church of England
Within the pages of the Times Daily, dated Jan 13, 1894 there is a report of A True Ghost Story featuring Samuel Wilberforce. This is what was said:

On a certain occasion the worthy bishop [Samuel Wilberforce] had accepted an invitation to stay at a country house not far from London. Entering the drawing room previous to dinner on the evening of his arrival, he noticed a priest - evidently of the Roman communion - sitting by the open fire and taking no part in the general conversation. The bishop was somewhat surprised at not being presented to the priest. To his further astonishment, a few minutes later, dinner being announced, the guests retired, leaving the priest by the fire.

The hostess assigned Bishop Wilberforce the seat of honour at her right hand, as soon as an opportunity offered he remarked:

"I beg your pardon, madam, but may I enquire who was the priest we left sitting apart in the drawing room?"

"Ah, you have seen him then?" replied the lady. "It is not everyone who has the privilege. I cannot tell you who he is or whence he comes. For many years this spectre has haunted the house and grounds. He seems to do no harm, and although he appears only occasionally we have become quite accustomed to our friendly ghost."

"How very singular!" remarked his lordship. "But have you never addressed your priestly spectre?"

"Indeed, I have had no opportunity, nor the desire, for that matter," responded the hostess, growing pale.

"May I have the liberty now?" inquired the dignitary.

"With all my heart, your lordship," replied the lady.

The bishop arose, and returning to the drawing room found the priest where he had left him a few minutes before, Having no fear, the bishop said kindly: "Who are you, my friend, and why are you here?"

"I am the spirit of a priest who left this world some 80 years ago, and I am here to impart to any one who will receive it a secret which died with me. I could not rest in my grave while a great wrong was being done which it was my power to right. I have been returning all these years in the hope that someone would address me, for it was not given to me to be the first to speak. All men have shunned me until now, and it is your mission to do my bidding.

"I was a priest of the church of Rome and was called to this house 80 years ago to receive the confession of a dying man. He was the sole possessor of a secret, the knowledge of which would alter materially the entail of a this vast estate, and in his death this man wished to repair the terrible wrong he had brought upon his kin.

"At his request I wrote down the confession word for word, as he gave it to me, and when finished had barely time to administer the final sacrament of the church before he expired in my arms,

"It was very important that I should return to London that night, and in passing through the library to leave the house, I concluded it would be better not to carry the paper on which was written the confession away with me, but to place it somewhere secure, unseen spot, where I could obtain it the following day and deliver the document to the person for whom it was intended.

"Mounting the steps to the book shelves, I took out a copy of Young's Night Thoughts, which was the first book upon the uppermost shelf nearest the last window, and inserted the paper carefully between its leaves. I replaced the book and departed.

"A horse was awaiting me at the door, but ere we reached the entrance of the grounds he took fright. I was thrown and instantly killed. Thus died the secret of my confessor with me.

"No one has disturbed that book in all the years, and no one has had the courage to address this messenger from the unknown. The paper will be found as I stated, and now remains for you to correct the injustice which has so long been upon this noble family. My mission is over, and I can rest in peace."

At the close of this remarkable speech the spectre faded gradually from sight, and the bishop was left gazing into space.

Recovering from his astonishment, Bishop Wilberforce went at once to the library as indicated by the specter. He found the document, just as described, but now faded and yellow.

The secret of the confession never became known to the world. The good bishop regarded it as a confidence from the spiritual world.

It is a fact, however, that about the time of this extraordinary occurrence the magnificent estate in question passed into the possession of a remote member of the family, who until then had lived in obscurity.

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