The Lord was on holiday at a friend's country home in Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland. During the night he suddenly woke from a deep sleep. Feeling apprehensive he looked out of the window where he saw a hunched figure who appeared to be carrying a heavy coffin on his shoulder.
Dufferin went downstairs to see who the man was and what he was doing. He called out, "What have you got there?"
The man looked up startled and the Lord was shocked by the wizened, ugly, old face of the man. He shouted to him, "Where are you going?" To his astonishment the man disappeared without trace.
In the morning he told his host what he had seen. He was at a loss to explain the strange apparition.
Moving on, several years later, in the 1880s. Lord Dufferin was in Paris at the Grand Hotel for a diplomatic reception.
With his private secretary they made their way to the lift. The doors opened and Dufferin recoiled at what he saw. The lift operator was the wizened, ugly, old man he had seen carrying a coffin in Ireland.
Dufferin refused to get into the lift and went to the hotel's reception desk to find out the identity of the strange man.
Meanwhile, as the lift reached the fifth floor, the cable snapped and the lift crashed downwards killing all of the occupants.
The accident was duly reported to the Press and the happening was recorded by the British Society for Psychical Research.
Neither the investigation or the management of the Hotel had any record of the wizened, ugly old man.