Category Archives: Supernatural or Superstitious

Fortunate or otherwise

The Editor wishes all his readers as tolerable a new year as might be expected, and ventures to share the following startling predictions, penned by an acquaintance who is more or less talented in the art of prophecy.



(Not by Murphy.)

  1. The first day of the new year. Good for marriages, if they turn out well.
  2. Secundus. If foggy, the sun will not be clear. Comfortable for those who get in their accounts from customers.
  3. An unlucky day for a third marriage, except under particularly advisable circumstances.
  4. The cardinal points agree with this number. The moon effulgent, if bright; but enveloped in an atmospheric duberosity, if opaque clouds appear overhead.
  5. The sun will be in his meridian at 12 o’ clock this day! More or less rain or fair weather.
  6. Twelfth day. The knights of the round-table will preside over it. The sun will revolve on his axis the whole of this day.
  7. Those who have their 14th child born this day may look forward to an increase of their expenses. Weather so-so.
  8. A queer day for insolvents.
  9. Very unlucky for shipwrecked seamen.
  10. Tally. Cheering prospects for those looking up in the world.
  11. Weather profusely wet, if very rainy.
  12. Frosty, if sufficiently cold.
  13. An ominous number! Be cautious not to sit down 13 to dinner, if there be any old lady present who would object to it.
  14. Sunny, if the bright luminary of the day throws out a sufficiency of his beams, and they reach the earth.
  15. Beware of doing anything this day which you may repent tomorrow.
  16. Both lucky and unlucky.
  17. Frosty, if a dry cold atmosphere.
  18. Weather warm, if the sun be powerful.
  19. Fortunate or otherwise.
  20. Talley the second. The moon in her due course.
  21. A new tally. Lucky for tradesmen with an increase of business coming in this day.
  22. Weather fair, if there be no drawback.
  23. Fair weather, if not showery or foggy.
  24. Cold or warm as it may be.
  25. Fortunate or otherwise.
  26. The sun’s perpendicular rays illumine many parts of the earth this day.
  27. Many deaths will occur.
  28. The moon in her due course. A fortunate day for many.
  29. Frost may still be expected.
  30. Fair weather, or as it may be.
  31. More or less rain or fair weather.

The Essex Standard, and General Advertiser for the Eastern Counties, Friday 28 December 1838

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The small matter of being possessed of blood-imbibing vampires


The San Franscisco Alta says that while the steamship Nevada was about 80 miles off one of the minor isles of Micronesia, on its way up to Australia to San Francisco, at about six o’clock in the morning, a strange animal of a dark figure was observed to light on the highest peak of the forward mast. Attracted by its peculiar appearance, the officer of the deck, Mr. Burns, the second mate, offered one of the sailors a small bonus to secure it. The man clambered up the mast with a heavy cloth in his hand, and, after a slight struggle, in which he was severely bitten on the hand, it was secured.

Bringing it to the deck, on examination the beast proved to be a fine specimen of a species of the vampire tribe. This animal closely resembles the terrodactyl of the antediluvian ages. In appearance it is like a huge bat, on hasty examination. It is in the head of the animal, however, that the main distinction is found. That of the present one is a perfect counterpart of the black-and-tan terrier dog. Its teeth are over half an inch in length, and are called in constant requisition to discountenance all attempts at familiarity. When flying, the wings of this ill-omened beast stretch, from tip to tip, at least five times the diameter of its body. It is of a deep jet black colour, the body being covered with heavy fur. It is very savage, being constantly on the alert to attack any person approaching it.

Whether this animal is a full and perfect vampire, lulling man to sleep with the waving fan-motions of its wings while sucking in the victim’s very heartblood is yet a question, for as yet it has not been examined by any scientific man. Its appearance is, however, enough to suggest the truth of such a horrible surmise. Be it as it may, the little Micronesian island had always borne a weird and frightful reputation among the native inhabitants of the adjoining ones. Strange stories of cannibalism, tales of savage idolatrous practices, poison valleys, &c., are constantly connected in their minds with its name, and the small matter of being possessed of blood-imbibing vampires, in addition to all the other horrors, few of them would think extraordinary or the least doubtful.

The Huddersfield Daily Chronicle, Thursday 10 April 1873

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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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Promptly Ejected from the Station


The passengers arriving at Windsor by a Great Western train on Tuesday morning were startled by the extraordinary behaviour of a man who, on quitting the carriage in which he had travelled from the Metropolis, strode up and down the platform in an excited manner, quoted Burns and Shakespeare, and declared that he would see the Queen, adding in somewhat forcible language that “every brick in the Castle belonged to him.” As the Marquis of Salisbury, who had been visiting her Majesty, and others were to proceed to town by the next train, the man was promptly ejected from the station and taken into custody by the police. He was evidently a great believer in the efficacy of the Royal “touch,” as he urged that if he could only see the Queen, “she would be sure to cure his head.”

The Nottinghamshire Guardian, Saturday 9 December 1893

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The majority of ministers took no notice



The Rev. M. Baxter gave three addresses to fairly large audiences in the Exchange Hall, Blackburn, on Sunday on future history, as he expects it to be, according to the books of Daniel and Revelations. The rev. gentleman’s researches have led him to believe that the end of this age will be in Passover week, 1901. Before that time many stirring events are to happen. In 1892 will commence the greatest war ever known, and at its end next year will have ten kingdoms in Europe instead of twenty-three. These ten confederated kingdoms were typified in Daniel’s dream by a ten-horned beast. “About” 1893 Anti-Christ will appear in the person of a small king near Syria. He will become emperor of the ten kingdoms and then declare himself to be God. He will say that all


“And that is the way,” said the lecturer, “to get people to submit.” The rev. gentleman thinks that when a man comes with abundance of arrogance, insolence and impudence, he will always find many weak-minded people to believe in him. “We see it,” he says, “in the religious and political world every day.” The personality of Anti-Christ is worked out almost to a nicety. It appears in the Revelations that he must be a Napoleon, and as only two members of the Napoleon family have the military training necessary to the fulfilment of the role, Mr. Baxter has concluded that it must be either Prince Victor or Prince Louis Napoleon. After killing (by means of the guillotine) millions of Christians who refuse to worship him, the tyrant will perish at Armageddon on the 11th of April 1901. During this time in addition to the persecution of Anti-Christ we are to have


storms of hail and fire burning one-third of the trees and grass, and one-third of the sea turned into blood. The majority of ministers, it was explained, took no notice of these prophesies, and the lecturer admitted that still they might be forgiven and “might get to heaven after all,” but those who believed in the prophesies would be taken away from the wrath to come on the return of Christ to the earth on March 5th, 1896; to be precise, about three o’ clock in the afternoon of that day.

The Blackburn Standard and Weekly Express
Saturday 13 February 1892


Editor’s note:
I have it ‘pon good authority that the rev. gentleman died in 1910 leaving a fortune of 52,000l. I am in the wrong job (as if I were not already quite aware of that.) Ahem…


Will that do? Give me money.

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A Mediocre Medium


A Heywood correspondent writes:— A well-known Manchester spiritualist had an unlooked for adventure at the house of a medium in Heywood the other evening. The Manchester gentleman is what is known in spiritualistic parlance as a materialiser—that is, he professes to be able to make the spirits of the departed visible to their friends. Within the past two days he has held two dark séances in Heywood for materialisation. Both were well patronised by a number of young men determined if possible to put to the test the abilities of the medium.

The first séance passed off without any untoward occurrence. At the second a charge of 1s 6d was made for admission. Seventeen persons attended with the intention of catching “the spirit.” A cabinet was provided for the use of the medium in a dark room. The medium said that materialisation could not take place that evening, but the spirit who often controlled a local medium would manifest its presence by removing articles of furniture from the room. To prevent the feat being performed by the medium his hands were dusted with flour.

A circle was formed, and one of the party took up a position favourable for spirit catching. The lights were put out, and the room was soon pervaded by a phosphorescent luminosity. The supposed spirit also began to move about, and removed a bowl, with which he touched the back of the hand of the person posted to intercept him. This individual did not take advantage of the opportunity presented, and having his feet stretched out the spirit stumbled, but managed to get out of the way before the circle was broken.

The gas was lighted, and the medium told the audience to draw their feet well up and better results would be gained. The lights were put out a second time, and the supposed spirit made another appearance, and again touched the individual selected to make the capture. The latter took hold of the materialised spirit, which proved to be the Manchester medium.

The 17 persons who had paid for admission pounced upon him, and demanded back the admission money before they allowed him to depart. In order to escape out of the clutches of his tormentors, he gave up to them his watch, which they hold, a purse presented to him by Rochdale spiritualists, and 7s 1d in money. The watch is said to be of the value of £1 8s. The affair has caused a commotion in spiritualistic circles.

The Dundee Courier and Argus, Wednesday 26 March 1884

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Blind faith



A painful scene appears, by the account given of it in the Stirling Journal, to have occurred on Sunday last week in a Church near Gartmore, in that county. The minister, who is in the habit of warning his congregation on special occasions against the machinations of the Evil One, was delivering a discourse on his favourite theme, when suddenly a large window-blind and roller behind the pulpit lost its hold, falling right over the preacher, and completely concealed him for a time from his flock. In its descent the roller smashed a number of window panes, and the clatter of falling glass added panic to the already terrified condition of the enshrouded preacher. Ignorant of the cause of the sudden darkness and horrible noise, he thought that he might have exceeded the bounds of discretion in his denunciation of the devil, who had thereupon arrived hastily in person bent on retaliation. A frightful shriek of “I am gone!” echoed through the church, and the maddened preacher with one bound cleared the pulpit, nor even stopped until he reached the corner of the edifice. It may be well imagined that the suddenness of this alarming incident and its dramatic nature exercised a most powerful effect on the nerves of all who witnessed it. Fortunately there was no general panic, or the consequences might have been serious, but the story should be a lesson to those ministers who touch upon the delicate question of the personality of the devil to retain their self-possession under any circumstances, and not to leave the pulpit unless absolutely ejected by force.

The Huddersfield Daily Chronicle, Friday 13 April 1877

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