We now pass beyond the utmost limits to which a "scientific" theory ofthings ghostly can be pushed. Science admits, if asked, that it doesnot know everything. It is not _inconceivable_ that living minds maycommunicate by some other channel than that of the recognised senses.Science now admits the fact of hypnotic influence, though, sixty yearsago, Braid was not allowed to read a paper on it before the BritishAssociation. Even now the topic is not welcome. But perhaps only oneeminent man of science declares that hypnotism is _all_ imposture andmalobservation. Thus it is not wholly beyond the scope of fancy toimagine that some day official science may glance at the evidence for"telepathy".But the stories we have been telling deal with living men supposed tobe influencing living men. When the dead are alleged to exercise asimilar power, we have to suppose that some consciousness survives thegrave, and manifests itself by causing hallucinations among theliving. Instances of this have already been given in "The Ghost andthe Portrait," "The Bright Scar" and "Riding Home after Mess". Thesewere adduced as examples of _veracity_ in hallucinations. Eachappearance gave information to the seer which he did not previouslypossess. In the first case, the lady who saw the soldier and thesuppliant did not know of their previous existence and melancholyadventure. In the second, the brother did not know that his deadsister's face had been scratched. In the third, the observer did notknow that Lieutenant B. had grown a beard and acquired a bay pony withblack mane and tail. But though the appearances were _veracious_,they were _purposeless_, and again, as in each case the informationexisted in living minds, it _may_ have been wired on from them.Thus the doctrine of telepathy puts a ghost of the dead in a greatquandary. If he communicates no verifiable information, he may beexplained as a mere empty illusion. If he does yield freshinformation, and if that is known to any living mind, he and hisintelligence may have been wired on from that mind. His only chanceis to communicate facts which are proved to be true, facts whichnobody living knew before. Now it is next to impossible todemonstrate that the facts communicated were absolutely unknown toeverybody.Far, however, from conveying unknown intelligence, most ghosts conveynone at all, and appear to have no purpose whatever.It will be observed that there was no traceable reason why the girlwith a scar should appear to Mr. G., or the soldier and suppliant toMrs. M., or Lieutenant B. to General Barker. The appearances came ina vague, casual, aimless way, just as the living and healthy clergymanappeared to the diplomatist. On St. Augustine's theory the deadpersons who appeared may have known no more about the matter than didthe living clergyman. It is not even necessary to suppose that thedead man was dreaming about the living person to whom, or about theplace in which, he appeared. But on the analogy of the tales in whicha dream or thought of the living seems to produce a hallucination oftheir presence in the minds of other and distant living people, so adream of the dead may (it is urged) have a similar effect if "in thatsleep of death such dreams may come". The idea occurred toShakespeare! In any case the ghosts of our stories hitherto have beenso aimless and purposeless as to resemble what we might imagine a deadman's dream to be.This view of the case (that a "ghost" may be a reflection of a deadman's dream) will become less difficult to understand if we askourselves what natural thing most resembles the common idea of aghost. You are reading alone at night, let us say, the door opens anda human figure glides into the room. To you it pays no manner ofattention; it does not answer if you speak; it may trifle with someobject in the chamber and then steal quietly out again._It is the House-maid walking in her Sleep_.This perfectly accountable appearance, in its aimlessness, itsunconsciousness, its irresponsiveness, is undeniably just like thecommon notion of a ghost. Now, if ordinary ghosts are not of fleshand blood, like the sleep-walking house-maid, yet are as irresponsive,as unconscious, and as vaguely wandering as she, then (if the dead aresomewhat) a ghost _may_ be a hallucination produced in the living bythe _unconscious_ action of the mind of the dreaming dead. Theconception is at least conceivable. If adopted, merely for argument'ssake, it would first explain the purposeless behaviour of ghosts, andsecondly, relieve people who see ghosts of the impression that theysee "spirits". In the Scotch phrase the ghost obviously "is not allthere," any more than the sleep walker is intellectually "all there".This incomplete, incoherent presence is just what might be expected ifa dreaming disembodied mind could affect an embodied mind with ahallucination.But the good old-fashioned ghost stories are usually of another type.The robust and earnest ghosts of our ancestors "had their own purposesun-clear before them," as Mr. Carlyle would have said. They knewwhat they wanted, asked for it, and saw that they got it.As a rule their bodies were unburied, and so they demanded sepulture;or they had committed a wrong, and wished to make restitution; or theyhad left debts which they were anxious to pay; or they had advice, orwarnings, or threats to communicate; or they had been murdered, andwere determined to bring their assassins to the gibbet.Why, we may ask, were the old ghost stories so different from the new?Well, first they were not all different. Again, probably only themore dramatic tales were as a rule recorded. Thirdly, many of thestories may have been either embellished--a fancied purpose beingattributed to a purposeless ghost--or they may even have been inventedto protect witnesses who gave information against murderers. Whocould disobey a ghost?In any case the old ghost stories are much more dramatic than the new.To them we turn, beginning with the appearances of Mr. and Mrs. Furzeat Spraiton, in Devonshire, in 1682. Our author is Mr. Richard Bovet,in his Pandaemonium, or the Devil's Cloister opened (1683). Themotive of the late Mr. Furze was to have some small debts paid; hiswife's spectre was influenced by a jealousy of Mr. Furze's spectre'srelations with another lady.