Real Ghost Stories

William T. Stead
Real Ghost Stories, by William T.

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Title: Real Ghost Stories
Author: William T. Stead
Editor: Estelle W. Stead
Release Date: January 22, 2007 [EBook #20420]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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Collected and Edited

Re-arranged and Introduced


During the last few years I have been urged by people in all parts of the
world to re-issue some of the wonderful stories of genuine psychic
experiences collected by my Father several years ago.
These stories were published by him in two volumes in 1891-92; the
first, entitled Real Ghost Stories, created so much interest and brought
in so large a number of other stories of genuine experiences that the
first volume was soon followed by a second, entitled More Ghost
The contents of the two volumes, slightly curtailed, were, a few years
later, brought out as one book; but the three volumes have long been
out of print and are practically unknown to the present generation.

I remember when I was a child my Father read some of these stories
aloud to us as he was making his collection; and I remember, too, how
thrilled and awed we were, and how at times they brought a creepy
feeling when at night I had to mount many flights of stairs to my
bedroom at the top of the house.
Reading these stories again, after many years' study of the subject, I
have realised what a wealth of interesting facts my Father had gathered
together, and that not only the gathered facts, but his own contributions,
his chapter on "The Ghost That Dwelleth in Each One of Us" and his
comments on the stories, show what an insight he had into and what an
understanding he had of this vast and wonderful subject.
I felt as I read that those who urged re-publication were right, that if not
a "classic," as some have called it, it at least merits a place on the
shelves of all who study psychic literature and are interested in psychic
I demurred long as to whether I should change the title. The word
"Ghost" has to a great extent in modern times lost its true meaning to
the majority and is generally associated in many minds with something
uncanny--with haunted houses and weird apparitions filling with terror
those who come into contact with them.
"Stories from the Borderland," "Psychic Experiences," were among the
titles which suggested themselves to me; but in the end I decided to
keep the old title, and in so doing help to bring the word "ghost" back
to its proper and true place and meaning.
"Ghost," according to the dictionary, means "the soul of man; the soul
of a deceased person; the soul or spirit separate from the body;
apparition, spectre, shadow":--it comprises, in fact, all we mean when
we think or speak of "Spirit." We still say "The Holy Ghost" as
naturally and as reverently as we say "The Holy Spirit." So for the sake
of the word itself, and because it covers everything we speak of as
Spirit to-day; these two considerations take away all reason why the
word should not be used, and it gives me great pleasure in re-issuing
these stories to carry on the title originally chosen by my Father.

There is a large collection of stories to be drawn upon, for besides those
given in the two volumes mentioned, many of equal interest and value
appeared in Borderland, a psychic quarterly edited and published by
my Father for a period of four years in the nineties and now long out of
If this first volume proves that those who advised me were right in
thinking that these experiences will be a valuable addition to psychic
literature, I propose to bring out two further volumes of stories from
my Father's collection, and I hope to add to these a volume of stories of
a later date, of which I already have a goodly store. For this purpose I
invite those who have had experiences which they consider will be of
interest and value for such a collection, to send them to me so that, if
suitable and appropriate, they may be placed on record.
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