20090119

Letters Concering Some Supernatural Disturbances at My Father's House: Letter V.

FROM MISS SUSANNAH WESLEY TO HER BROTHER SAMUEL

Dear Brother,

About the first of December a most terrible and astonishing noise was heard by a maid-servant as at the dining-room door, which caused the upstarting of her hair, and made her ears prick forth at an unusual rate. She said it was like the groans of one expiring. These so frightened her, that for a great while she durst not go out of one room into another, after it began to be dark, without company. But, to lay aside jesting, which should not be done in serious matters, I assure you that from the first to the last of a lunar month the groans, squeaks, tinglings, and knockings were frightful enough.

Though it is needless for me to send you any account of what we all heard, my father himself having a larger account of the matter than I am able to give, which he designs, to send you, yet, in compliance with your desire, I will tell you as briefly as I can what I heard of it. The first night I ever heard it my sister Nancy and I were set in the dining-room. We heard something rush on the outside of the doors that opened into the garden, then three loud knocks, immediately after other three, and in half a minute the same number over our heads. We enquired whether .anybody had been in the garden, or in the room above us, but there was nobody. Soon after my sister Molly and I were up after all the family were abed, except my sister Nancy, about some business. We heard three bouncing thumps under our feet, which soon made us throw away our work and tumble into bed. Afterwards the tingling of the latch and warming-pan, and so it took its leave that night.

Soon after the above mentioned we heard a noise as if a great piece of sounding metal was thrown down on the outside of our chamber. We, lying in the quietest part of the house, heard less than the rest for a pretty while, but the latter end of the night that Mr. Hoole sat up on I lay in the nursery, where it was very violent. I then heard frequent knocks over and under the room where I lay, and at the children's bed head, which was made of boards. It seemed to rap against it very hard and loud, so that the bed shook under them. I heard something walk by my bedside, like a man in a long nightgown. The knocks were so loud, that Mr. Hoole came out of their chamber to us. It still continued. My father spoke, but nothing answered. It ended that night with my father's particular knock very fierce.

It is now pretty quiet, only at our repeating the prayers for the king and prince, when it usually begins, especially when my father says, "Our most gracious Sovereign Lord," etc. This my father is angry at, and designs to say THREE instead of TWO for the royal family. We all heard the same noise, and at the same time, and as coming from the same place. To conclude this, it now makes its personal appearance; but of this more hereafter. Do not say one word of this to our folks, nor give the least hint.

I am, your sincere friend and affectionate sister,

Susannah Wesley.

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