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Ghost Of Elizabeth Gething


The following tale concerning a haunting in Ystradgynlais was printed in British Goblins (1881) by Wirt Sykes. 'In the parish of Ystradgynlais, in Breconshire, Thomas Llewellyn, an innkeeper's son, was often troubled by the spirit of a well-dressed woman, who used to stand before him in narrow lanes, as if to bar his passage, but he always got by her, though in great alarm. One night he mustered up courage to speak to her, and ask her what she wanted with him. To which she replied, 'Be not afraid; I will not hurt thee.' Then she told him he must go to 'Philadelphia in Pennsylvania,' and take a box from a house there, (which she described,) in which there was a sum of 200l. But as he did not know how to go to that far-off place, he said as much. 'Meet me here next Friday night,' said the phantom; 'meet me, I charge thee.' She then vanished. The young man went home and told this story to his neighbours and friends. They held a consultation with the curate of the parish, who promptly appointed a prayer-meeting for that Friday night, to which the young man was bidden, and by which it was hoped the purpose of the ghost to spirit him off to Philadelphia might be circumvented. The meeting continued until midnight, and when it broke up the young man's friends stayed with him; but they had no sooner got beyond the parson s stables than he was taken from among them. His subsequent adventures are thus related by himself: 'The apparition carried me away to a river, and threw me into it, chiding me for telling the people of our appointed meeting and for not coming to meet her as she had charged me; but bade me be not afraid, that she would not hurt me, because she had not charged me to be silent on the subject; nevertheless I had done wrong to go to the parson's house. Now, said she, we begin the journey. I was then lifted up and carried away I know not how. When I came to the place,' (in Philadelphia,) 'I was taken into a house, and conducted to a fine room. The spirit then bade me lift up a board, which I did. I then saw the box, and took it. Then the spirit said I must go three miles and cast it into the black sea. We went, as I thought, to a lake of clear water, where I was commanded to throw the box into it; which when I did there was such a noise as if all about was going to pieces. From thence I was taken up and carried to the place where I was first taken up. I then asked her. Am I free now? She said I was; and then she told me a secret, which she strictly charged me to tell no person.' Extensive and ingenious guessing was indulged in by all Ystradgynlais, as to what this secret might be; and one woman made herself popular by remembering that there was a certain Elizabeth Gething in other days who had gone from this neighbourhood to Pennsylvania, and the conclusion was eagerly arrived at, that this was the woman whose phantom the young man saw, and that the secret she told him was her name when alive. They questioned him as to her appearance, and he said she was largely made, very pale, her looks severe, and her voice hollow, different from a human voice. This was considered by the Ystradgynlaisians, with many nods to each other, as a most accurate description of what Elizabeth Gething would probably be, after having shuffled off this mortal coil. The time occupied in this mysterious transportation and ghostly enterprise was three days and three nights; that is, from Friday night to Monday night; and when the voyager came home he could scarcely speak.


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