Whilst, some years ago, I was on a visit in Berkshire, and spent some days with my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Lonsdale, the former told me a remarkable occurrence which had happened a few years previously.
Mr. Lonsdale’s brother, an army officer, had returned from India after a long absence, being invalided, and was expected in the evening at The Hall which was only about half a mile distant from the railway station.
The train was due to arrive at 9.15, and Mr. Lonsdale, accompanied by his wife. walked slowly down to meet and greet the arrival, the carriage being sent to bring the party back.
On the way from The Hall to the station they had to pass the old church, which was surrounded by the village burial ground. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and they could not help observing a new-made open grave. As they had not heard of any death in the neighbourhood, they were surprised, the more so as the grave seemed next to their family plot.
The train arrived, but without the expected guest. They drove back to their house, concluding he had missed the train or bad been delayed on his way from Portsmouth to London. Next morning a telegram announced the death of the officer, who had been landed very ill and had died the previous evening, at 9.15, at Portsmouth.
The strange thing was that there did not exist any open grave as seen by Mr. and Mrs. Lonsdale at the very moment the death took place.
Three days afterwards the body was buried at the spot where the relatives had in vision seen the open grave.
The Occult Review, November 1912
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: In Japan it is said that summer is the best time for ghost stories, since they give the reader a chill. Mrs Daffodil hopes that this simple supernatural tale will offer at least a mild frisson.
Phantom graves are something of a rarity in the ghost story canon, although there is a good deal of folklore about phantom funerals and phantom coffin-making. There are also a few stories of phantom tombstones–equally as prophetic as the story above.