Ghost of Murdered Brother
May 2, 1687
The following is a story about a ghost that appeared at his brother's house in Boston, right at the same moment that he died in London, thousands of miles away. His brother was struck on the head by a drunk in England, and soon died. One wonders if this person's soul was passing into the hereafter, and stopped to say goodbye to his brother. The story was described as fact at that time, and has been updated to modern English in the following narrative:
It was on May 2, 1687, that a brilliant, accomplished, and well-disposed gentlemen, Mr. Joseph Beacon, at about 5 o'clock in the morning, as he awoke from sleep, had viewed an apparition of his brother, then physically in London, more than 3000 miles away.
His brother appeared wearing a a Bengal Gown, which he usually wore, with a cloth tied about his head; his complexion was very pale, ghastly, deadly, and he had a bloody wound on one side of his forehead.
"Brother," said terrified Joseph.
"Brother!" answered the apparition.
"What's the matter Brother! How came you here!" asked Joseph.
The apparition replied, "Brother, I have been most barbarously and injuriously butchered, by a debauched drunken fellow, to whom I never did any wrong in my life."
And then he described his own murderer, "Brother, this fellow changing his name, is attempting to come over unto New-England, in foy [a bon voyage celebration], or wild; I would pray on the first arrival of either of these, to get an order from the Governor, to seize the person, whom I have now described; and then do you indict him for the murder of me your brother: I'll stand by you and prove the indictment."
And then the apparition vanished.
Mr. Beacon was extremely astonished at what he had seen and heard; and then his family members immediately observed an extraordinary change in him, for in the following week, he described in writing a full account of what he saw.
All the while, Mr. Beacon had received no news of anything amiss with his brother in England; but about the end of June following, he received notice that the April before, his brother was rushing to procure a coach for a woman at night, and met a drunken fellow, with his doxy [bottle or dark hat] in his hand: this fellow for some reason thought he was being attacked by Mr. Beacon, and immediately ran into a neighboring tavern, and grabbed a metal fire-fork. He viciously struck Mr. Beacon in the skull, and this wound was in the same position as that of the apparition. Mr. Beacon languished for a few days until he died on May 2, about 5 o'clock in the morning in London.
The murderer had tried to escape, as the apparition described, but the friends of the deceased captured him, and he was prosecuted by the police. The murderer was able to procure a good lawyer, and was not sent to jail or executed for the crime he had committed.