In his account of “Apparitions,” Aubrey relates some curious particulars of one that was believed to haunt Caisho Burroughs, eldest son of Sir John Burroughs; and if the antiquary’s record, derived from his friend Monson, might be credited, it is one of the best authenticated stories of its class now extant. Sir John Burroughs, a high-spirited gentleman, who subsequently perished in the ill-fated siege of Rochelle, being sent by Charles I. as envoy to the Emperor of Germany, took with him his son Caisho. Subsequently Sir John made a tour through Italy, leaving Caisho at Florence to learn the language.
Whilst residing in the Tuscan capital, young Burroughs fell passionately in love with a beautiful courtesan, a mistress of the Grand Duke. At last their intimacy became so notorious that it came to the Grand Duke’s ears, and he, it is alleged, grew so jealous that he formed the design of having Caisho assassinated. Warned by some of the English residents in Florence of the fate awaiting him, the young man hastily left the city, without even acquainting his mistress of his intended departure. When the Grand Duke found himself baulked of his anticipated vengeance on his rival, he vented his spite on his mistress, “in most reproachful language,” and she, on her side, “resenting the sudden departure of her gallant, of whom she was roost passionately enamoured, killed herself.”
At the very moment that the unfortunate woman expired in Florence, her apparition so it is alleged, appeared to her lover at his residence in London. Colonel Remeo, a Member of Parliament, and afterward’s an officer of Charles II’s household, was sleeping with young Burroughs, and he, also, is said to have seen the apparition. This ghost, it is averred, reproached her lover for his conduct in flying from her so suddenly, and leaving her exposed to the fury of the Grand Duke. She informed him of her tragical fate, and warned him that he should be slain in a duel.
Henceforth this spectre frequently appeared to Caisho, even when his younger brother, after Sir John Burrough’s death, was sleeping with him. As often as the apparition came, the unfortunate man, unable to restrain his mental anguish, “would cry out with great shrieking and trembling of his body, saying, “O God! here she comes she comes!” These visitations continued from time to time until Caisho’s death. He was killed in a duel, and the morning before his death the apparition appeared to him for the last time. “Some of my acquaintances have told me,” says Aubrey, “that he was one of the most beautiful men in England, and very valiant, but proud and bloodthirsty.”
The rumour of this haunting of Caisho Burroughs had spread so widely that it reached the King’s ears. Charles I. was so interested in the account, Aubrey declares, that he cross-examined Sir John Burroughs, as also Colonel Keraeo, as to the truth of the matter, and in consequence of their report, thought it worth his while to send to Florence in order to make inquiries there. The result of the King’s investigations in Tuscany was, the story states, that it was found that the unhappy woman had expired at the very time her apparition first appeared to her lover in London, when he was in bed with Colonel Remeo. Monson, Aubrey’s authority for this marvellous account, was intimate with Sir John Burroughs and both his sons, and declared that whenever Caisho alluded to the affair he wept bitterly.
[The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain by John Ingram] (1897)