Some of the story was imaginary



A strange story was told the Coroner and jury on Monday at an enquiry into the death of Ann Georgina Hanks, aged 18, of 11, Frederick street, Greenwich. The court was crowded, considerable interest being manifested in the proceedings on account of the rumour that the deceased girl had been frightened by ghostly signs.—An extraordinary story was told to the jury by Mary Ann Robinson Maxstead, aged 14, sister to the young man with whom the deceased was “keeping company.” She said that on Wednesday evening last she went with deceased to her bed-room. The deceased got an apron out of her box in the back bed room, and with her left hand felt round the corners of the box. When she got to the last corner, something like white thick smoke came up about six inches, startling witness.

When the smoke left her hand the deceased fell on the floor. When she moved her hand the smoke was with it, and when she fell the smoke dispersed in front of witness. There were light sparks in it. She called to her brother down stairs, but when he came the smoke had gone, where she did not see. She was frightened, and went down stairs with the light. There was no noise when witness saw the smoke, and no smell. She could not tell what it was.—Evidence was given to show that shortly after falling to the ground the deceased started screaming, which continued for half an hour.—The witness Maxstead’s brother said that next morning she told him of the fire in deceased’s left hand, and of the cloud in front of her. He put down the cloud as a sign of death, but could not account for the fire.—The Coroner remarked that there had been a story of a Greenwich ghost, which was said to have manifested itself at a house near where the deceased lived. The Coroner thought some of the girl Maxstead’s story was imaginary.—Ultimately the jury found a verdict of “Death from syncope following an epileptic fit.”

The North-Eastern Daily Gazette, Wednesday 18 September 1889


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