What an interesting discovery! In doing some research for an upcoming Christmas devotional (featuring writings from Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, Tim Keller, John Piper, and more), I stumbled on quite a fascinating article from Spurgeon in the 1874 Sword and Trowel magazine. The title of that post? “Ghost Stories for Christmas!” In the article, Spurgeon details some of his own ghost-hunting exploits and discusses a ghost that apparently haunted John Wesley…and no, I’m not exaggerating! Did Spurgeon actually believe in ghosts? I’ll try and answer that in a moment…but first, the briefest of commercials about a new book I just released: 

Just before Halloween, I began working on a blog post that ultimately morphed into a short book, and I am happy to announce that it is now available on Amazon! The book is called “Monsters in the Bible.” and it discusses some of the fantastical creatures that are mentioned in the Bible, including ghosts, dragons, zombies and more. More importantly than that, the book ends with a focus on the central character of the Bible – the only person who has defeated death, and returned permanently from the grave. The book is only 99 cents on Kindle, and around $5 as a paperback, which is the absolute cheapest Amazon would let me make it. Click here to order it on Amazon, and thank you! 

Back to Charles Spurgeon and…ghosts?! Yes, believe it or not, Spurgeon penned a very long column on ghosts in Sword and Trowel, 1874. The article in question begins thus: 

WE may be very wrong, but we confess a weakness for a ghost story, and cannot help listening to it, and all the more if it makes the blood curdle and blanches the cheek…We lived at one time among a people many of whom devoutly believed in apparitions, and wizards, and witches, and all that horrible rout, and often have we heard the most thrilling stories—stories, we believe, in more senses than one.

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1874 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 170.

Just those first few sentences instantly hooked me and roused my curiosity! Spurgeon here is apparently using the ‘royal we,’ as the article in question is signed, “C.H.S.” Do those next two sentences give evidence that Spurgeon believed, in some ways, in ghosts? Perhaps so…he states that he believed some of the ghost stories he has heard in more ways than one. Here is some more evidence in that direction: 

We had sent us for review some little time ago a book upon apparitions, which claims to be a narrative of facts; and as we read it through we said “Yes, these were facts where they were done,” and we put the book aside, to be looked up somewhat nearer the end of the year, when our Christmas number might excuse our inserting one or more of the aforesaid facts. We are afraid our readers will think us rather a Sadducee, but we are nothing of the kind, nor a Pharisee either; but we do not believe that in nine out of ten ghost stories there is a ghost of truth, and we are not quite sure that we believe the tenth one.

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1874 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 170–171.

Therefore, Spurgeon is a skeptic about paranormal things…but is he a 100 percent skeptic? Perhaps not, as indicated by that last line. Spurgeon appears to be saying that he dismisses 9 out of 10 ghost stories he hears, but maintains some level of credulity about the 10th. Directly after this, he actually gives an example of a ‘ghost story’ that he gives at least a little belief to: 

The Wesley family undoubtedly were favoured with a very noisy visitant of some sort, and we have no idea what it was, only there is no accounting for the noises which rats make in old houses any more than for the foul gases in new ones.

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1874 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 171.

Wesley family? Not the John Wesley‘s family?! Yes, one and the same. Apparently, as the old story goes, the house that John Wesley was raised in had a period of being ‘haunted’ by something that made interesting and remarkable noises. You can read John Wesley’s full summation of those events at the bottom of this post, but here is his mother Susanna Wesley’s account, taken from a letter written to her away at-college son Samuel Wesley:

“We all heard it but your father, and I was not willing he should be informed of it, lest he should fancy it was against his own death, which, indeed, we all apprehended. But when it began to be so troublesome, both day and night, that few or none of the family durst be alone, I resolved to tell him of it, being minded he should speak to it. At first he would not believe but somebody did it to alarm us; but the night after, as soon as he was in bed, it knocked loudly nine times, just by his bedside. He rose and went to see if he could find out what it was, but could see nothing. Afterwards he heard it as the rest. One night it made such a noise in the room over our heads, as if several people were walking, then ran up and down stairs, and was so outrageous, that we thought the children would be frightened: so your father and ! rose, and went down in the dark to light a candle. Just as we came to the bottom of the broad stairs, having hold of each other, on my side there seemed as if somebody had emptied a bag of money at my feet; and on his, as if all the bottles under the stairs (which were many) had been dashed in a thousand pieces. We passed through the hall into the kitchen, and got a candle, and went to see the children, whom we found asleep.”


“We had both man and maid new last Martinmas (St. Martin’s Day, AKA Old Halloween, November 11) yet I do not believe either of them occasioned the disturbance, both for the reason above mentioned, and because they were more affrighted than anybody else. Besides, we have often heard the noises when they were in the room by us; and the maid particularly was in such a panic, that she was almost incapable of all business, nor durst even go from one room to another, or stay by herself a minute after it began to be dark. “The man Robert Brown, whom you well know, was most visited by it lying in the garret (small, top-floor attic room), and has often been frightened down barefoot, and almost naked, not daring to stay alone to put on his clothes; nor do I think, if he had power, he would be guilty of such villainy. When the walking was heard in the garret, Robert was in bed in the next room, in a sleep so sound that he never heard your father and me walk up and down, though we walked not softly I am sure. All the family has heard it together, in the same room, at the same time, particularly at family prayers. It always seemed to all present in the same place at the same time, though often before any could say, ‘It is here,’ it would remove to another place. “All the family as well as Robin were asleep when your father and I went down stairs, nor did they wake in the nursery when we held the candle closely to them, only we observed that Hetty trembled exceedingly in her sleep, as she always did before the noise awaked her. It commonly was nearer her than the rest, which she took notice of, and was much frightened, because she thought it had a particular spite at her. I could multiply particular instances, but I forbear.”

(The Fortnightly Review, volume 3, page 725 – 1866) 

I’m not sure what to make of that Wesley situation, and neither was Spurgeon. There could certainly be some natural causes for it, and indeed, that is what many modern skeptics believe. After his discussion of the Wesley case, Spurgeon then begins to describe several previous ghost-hunting missions that he has been on. One thing is clear from this description: Spurgeon was quite the curious and adventuresome gentleman!

When we meet with a thing which puzzles us we pry into the cause as far as we can, and generally find it out; and if we cannot read the riddle we lay it by to be solved another day, never flying to the old-fashioned resort of dragging in the supernatural. We traced a spirit song after much investigation to a foot-warmer filled with hot water, which was being used by an invalid. We found a band of celestial visitants, who whispered to us all night in a country house, and they turned out to be a nest of birds in a hole in the plaster of the wall at our bed head, which hole nearly came through into the room. Nothing supernatural has ever been seen by our eyes, nor do we think we shall ever be blessed with such visions while in this body, for after seeing Robert Houdin and other wonder-workers we are casehardened against the whole set of tricks and sham spirits, and these are the parents of most of the marvels which set silly people’s hair on end. As a general rule, when we hear of an apparition, or anything of the kind, we do not believe it to be other than an illusion or a falsehood. The most wonderfully well-attested narratives seldom bear investigation, they are built up upon hearsay and tittle-tattle, and will not endure a strict examination; like most rumours, they fall like card-houses as soon as the hand of truth touches them. Perhaps a few of them appear to be so far true that we may safely say that they are not yet accounted for except upon a supernatural hypothesis, but we should hesitate to say more. Some are evidently the result of strong imagination, and are true to the parties concerned, affecting their fears and stamping themselves upon their minds too firmly to allow them to doubt.

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1874 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 171.

So then, our man Spurgeon was an intrepid fellow, and a skeptic for sure…but did he absolutely disbelieve in the possibility of ghosts or other apparitions? Surprisingly, he refused to rule out the possibility! In Spurgeon’s mind, the vast majority of claimants to paranormal experience were worthy of an asylum, but possibly not all. Spurgeon concludes his discourses in Sword and Trowel by retelling two ghost stories – both relayed to him by ministers. The second ghost story is debunked by the participants themselves in a quite humorous way (the ‘ghost’ haunting a group of antebellum New Englanders ended up being an escaped pale horse), but the first ghost story Spurgeon relates does not have a simple explanation, and Spurgeon himself seems to find it unexplainable, and perhaps even authentic. He introduces both stories with this interesting paragraph: 

We do not affirm that ghosts have never been seen, for no one has any right to hazard so broad a statement, but all spirits, as such, must be invisible, and the two sorts of human spirits which we know of are both by far too seriously occupied to go roaming about this earth rapping on tables or frightening simpletons into fits. As for angels, though they also as spirits are not cognizable by the senses, no doubt they have been made visible to men, and there is no reason why they should not be made so now if God so willed it; it would certainly be a wonder, but we do not see that any of the laws of nature need to be suspended to produce it. We can readily believe that those messengers who keep watch around the people of God would be rendered visible to us and to others if some grand purpose could be accomplished thereby, and if the safety of the saints required it. Whether in these days angels or departed spirits ever do assume forms in which they can be seen is the question, and we have as yet seen nothing to lead us to believe that they do. Others assert that they have seen such things, but as they generally admit that they would not have believed unless they had seen for themselves, we hope they will allow us to exercise the same abstinence.

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1874 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 172.

Where does that leave us relative to Spurgeon and ghosts? I think he sums it up here quite unmistakably, despite the double negative, “We do not affirm that ghosts have never been seen, for no one has any right to hazard so broad a statement.” In other words, Spurgeon is saying that nobody should say that ghosts have never been seen, because it is such a broad statement that is difficult to prove. What do YOU think? Was Spurgeon right to be (slightly) open-minded, or did he leave things a little too vague for your tastes? 

Addendum #1: Some Interesting Charles Spurgeon Quotes on Ghosts and other Oddities: 

1. “Guilt raked out of its grave is more frightful than a ghost, or one risen from the dead.” Nor is the terror which sin excites in the awakened conscience at all an idle one. There is in evil a horror greater than can be found in hobgoblin, sprite, or apparition. Great is the mystery of iniquity, and he who comes under its spell will have no joy of his life till the ghost is laid in the Red Sea of Jesus’ precious blood. Blessed be God, our Lord has done this for us; and we are not afraid of being haunted by sins which are buried in his grave.

C. H. Spurgeon, Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, Distilled and Dispensed (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883), 49.

2. Lesson from a Ghost: I REMEMBER well, one night, having been preaching the word in a country village, I was walking home alone along a lonely footpath. I do not know what it was that ailed me, but I was prepared to be alarmed, when of a surety I saw something standing in the hedge, ghastly, giantlike, and with outstretched arms. Surely, I thought, for once I have come across the supernatural; here is some restless spirit performing its midnight march beneath the moon, or some demon of the pit. I deliberated with myself a moment, and having no faith in ghosts, I plucked up courage, and resolved to solve the mystery. The monster stood on the other side of a ditch, right in the hedge. I jumped the ditch, and found myself grasping an old tree, which some waggish body had taken pains to colour with a little whitewash, with a view to frighten simpletons. That old tree has served me a good turn full often, for I have learned to leap at difficulties, and find them vanish or turn to triumphs. (Editor’s note: I think this quote ultimately encapsulates Spurgeon’s theology of ‘ghosts.’ He likely didn’t believe in them, but that disbelief didn’t keep him from investigating the odd bump in the night, or apparent apparition on a lonely country road.

C. H. Spurgeon, Flashes of Thought (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 171–172.

3. The belief in witchcraft would not still linger in our villages if all preachers of the gospel set their faces like a flint against it. We may never feel safe with regard to the inflammable material of superstition which remains in the human breast even in times of scepticism; at any hour it may serve as tinder for a new Mormonism, or some other form of wild fanaticism. There are not lacking portentous signs at this moment. What some have hailed as hopeful we have had reason to dread. Once or twice within the last dozen years the church at large has escaped from a fever of fanaticism by a hair’s breadth, and the peril ought not to be perpetuated by unrebuked ignorance. (Editor’s note: This article, written about ten years after the above ‘ghost article,’ might show evidence that Spurgeon’s attitude towards paranormal things has hardened in his older years, or it might just represent his attitude towards witchcraft.) 

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1884 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1884), 320.

4. You will perceive that a soul which can really pray thus has life, true spiritual life still struggling within. An ungodly man does not ask that he may abide in nearness to God; rather would he say, “Whither shall I flee from thy presence?” He does not seek for God’s Spirit; he is quite content that the evil spirit should rule him, and that the spirit of this world should be predominant in him. But here is life, struggling, panting, crushed, painful life, but life for all that; the higher spiritual life which sighs after God. I have seen in the corner of the garden a little fire covered up with many damp autumn leaves; I have watched its feeble smoke, and known thereby that the fire still lived and was fighting with the damp which almost smothered it; so here these desires and sighs and cries are as so much smoke, indicating the divine fire within. “Cast me not away from thy presence,” shows a soul that loves God’s presence; “take not thy Holy Spirit from me,” reveals a heart that desires to be under the dominion of that Spirit yet more completely. Here are signs of life, though they may appear to be as indistinct and doleful as hollow groans far underground, such as have been heard from men buried alive; voices from the sepulchre, choked and ghostly, but telling of life in the charnel house, grappling with death, and crying out, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me?” (Editor’s note: This is from an 1870 sermon by Spurgeon. Such vivid language! It reminds me very much of Jesus’ challenge to the pharisees that they were ‘white washed tombs.’ I note here that a charnel house is a place where bones are stored, often in, or near a churchyard.)

C. H. Spurgeon, “A Most Needful Prayer Concerning the Holy Spirit,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 16 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1870), 554–555.
Wall of an actual Charnel House. Eek! 

Children of God, can you not bear witness to this fact? When convinced of sin, you were almost driven to despair. You went to Moses, and he said, ‘Do good works.’ You tried to obey him, but how you failed! You tried ceremonies, baptism, the so-called Sacrament, church-going; but you were none the better. What could you do? The ghosts of your old sins haunted you every day. By night you dreamed of them, and by day you seemed to feel the hell of which you had dreamed by night. Do you remember the time when the burden was lifted, and all your terrors were quieted? Was it not when you saw Jesus crucified for you,—when you saw Jesus bleeding, dying in your stead? Then you were set free, fully emancipated; then your every fetter was broken, then every bond was snapped; then, by the life and blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus Christ, you were delivered from terror and alarm. So Jesus saves his people from the terror of their sins. (Editor’s note: What is more terrifying than the possibility of real ghosts haunting you? The ghost of past sins haunting you! Nobody can preach the gospel like Spurgeon.) 

Unpublished notes from a Spurgeon sermon delivered in Belfast, 1858 C H Spurgeon’s Forgotten Early Sermons: A Companion to the New Park Street Pulpit: Twenty-Eight Sermons Compiled from the Sword and the Trowel, ed. Terence Peter Crosby (Leominster: Day One, 2010), 88–89.
Dapper Charles Spurgeon

Who can enlighten the blind eye? Who can bring spiritual hearing into the deaf ear? Indeed, who can quicken the dead soul but the eternal, enlightening, quickening Spirit? There it lies before us, a vast valley full of bones. Our mission is to raise them from the dead. Can we do it? No, by no means, of ourselves. Yet we are to say to those dry bones, “Live.” Our mission is absurd; it is worthy of laughter, unless we have prayer and the supply of the Spirit with us. If we have those, the bones shall come to other bones, the skeleton shall be fashioned, the flesh shall clothe the bony fabric, the Holy Ghost shall blow upon the inanimate body, and life shall be there, and an army shall throng the cemetery. Let us but invoke the Spirit and go forth to minister in His might, and we shall do marvels yet, and the nation, and the world itself, shall feel the power of the gospel of Jesus. But we must have the Spirit. (Editor’s note: Skeletons, bones, the gospel!) 

Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Philippians, ed. Elliot Ritzema, Spurgeon Commentary Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), 35.

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.” Such frail creatures are we that both by night and by day we are in danger, and so sinful are we that in either season we may be readily carried away by fear; the promise before us secures the favourite of heaven both from danger and from the fear of it. Night is the congenial hour of horrors, when alarms walk abroad like beasts of prey, or ghouls from among the tombs; our fears turn the sweet season of repose into one of dread, and though angels are abroad and fill our chambers, we dream of demons and dire visitants from hell. Blessed is that communion with God which renders us impervious to midnight frights, and horrors born of darkness. Not to be afraid is in itself an unspeakable blessing, since for every suffering which we endure from real injury we are tormented by a thousand griefs which arise from fear only. The shadow of the Almighty removes all gloom from the shadow of night: once covered by the divine wing, we care not what winged terrors may fly abroad in the earth. “Nor for the arrow that flieth by day.” Cunning foes lie in ambuscade, and aim the deadly shaft at our hearts, but we do not fear them, and have no cause to do so. That arrow is not made which can destroy the righteous, for the Lord hath said, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” In times of great danger those who have made the Lord their refuge, and therefore have refused to use the carnal weapon, have been singularly preserved; the annals of the Quakers bear good evidence to this; yet probably the main thought is, that from the cowardly attacks of crafty malice those who walk by faith shall be protected, from cunning heresies they shall be preserved, and in sudden temptations they shall be secured from harm.  (Editor’s note: WOW! What an amazing promise of protection from ghouls, demons and beasts!) 

C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 88-110, vol. 4 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 90–91.

SOLDIER of Christ, thou wilt have to do hard battle. There is no bed of down for thee; there is no riding to heaven in a chariot: the rough way must be trodden; mountains must be climbed; rivers must be forded; dragons must be fought; giants must be slain; difficulties must be overcome; and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to heaven; those who have gone but a very few paces therein, have found it to be rough and rugged. Yet it is pleasant; it is the most delightful journey in all the world; not because it is easy in itself, it is only pleasant because of the company; because of the sweet promises on which we lean; because of our Beloved who walks with us through all the rough and thorny brakes of this vast wilderness. Christian soldiers, expect conflict: “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” As truly as thou art a child of God, thy Saviour hath left thee for His legacy—“In the world ye shall have tribulation.” Yet remember that this “tribulation” is the way to “enter the kingdom;” therefore “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (Editor’s note: Giants and dragons!) 

C. H. Spurgeon, Gleanings Among the Sheaves (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1869), 128–129.

Such is Calvinistic doctrines: if the life be in it, it is a fountain of living waters, a splendid storehouse of vital nourishment, a gathering up of sacred streams from the divine wellhead of truth; but if the inward vitality be gone it is dark and dreary, repulsive to many, and chilling to all who enter it. We have known men who have dwelt in its empty vaults till they have become wretched as ghosts wandering among the tombs, and fierce as mountain wolves. To them the purposes of God were only dark retreats from the responsibilities of life, or prisons for the hopes of their fellow men. Pour in the life-bearing floods, and then you shall see the glory of that marvellous system, which comprises more of divine revelation than any other which the mind of man has ever discovered in the inspired page. Calvinism, or, better still, Pauline doctrine, is a collection of the living waters of the gospel, and so abundant are the stores which it treasures that they are the daily joy and rejoicing of ten thousand saints, We prize the reservoir, not for its masonry but for its contents; and so we value Calvinism; not so much for its massive logic, its stupendous grandeur, its sublime conceptions, and its vast compass, as for the gospel of our salvation which from its depths it has poured forth for the supply of human needs. Let its professors see to it that it becomes to them no dry doctrine, empty and void and waste; but let them receive it in its spiritual fullness and divine energy, and they need never blush to own in all companies that their faith is bound up with it. Our creed is no ephemeral creation;—it is worthy of the loftiest genius, though plain enough to be comprehended by the wayfaring man. It is alike sublime and simple, for it is truth. (Editor’s note: Not the right kind of ‘ghost’ for our article here, but such a lovely and powerful quote that I can’t help but include it!) 

C. H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1872 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1872), 208.

Addendum #2: John Wesley on the ‘haunting’ his family experienced in the early 1700s. 

The following is John Wesley’s testimony about the strange noises and encounters his family had with an entity that they referred to as ‘Jeffrey.’ Of particular non-supernatural interest here is the fact that John Wesley’s Father Samuel (a preacher), left his mother Susanna for the period of a year, because Susanna DID NOT SAY AMEN to his prayer for the health of the king. By most accounts, he was a fairly ridiculous man, in this way and others. Susanna, the 25th child of a family of 25 children, herself had 19 children along with Samuel, including John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism. 

“On December 2, 1716, while Robert Brown, my father’s servant, was sitting with one of the maids, a little before ten at night, in the dining-room which opened into the garden, they both heard one knocking at the door. Robert rose and opened it, but could see nobody. Quickly it knocked again and groaned. ‘It is Mr. Turpin,’ said Robert; he has the stone, and uses to groan so.” He opened the door again twice or thrice, the knocking being twice or thrice repeated; but still seeing nothing, and being a little startled, they rose and went up to bed. When Robert came to the top of the garret stairs he saw a hand-mill, which lay at a little distance, whirled about very swiftly. When he related this he said, ‘Nought vexed me but that it was empty. I thought, if it had been but full of malt, he might have ground his heart out for me.” When he was in bed he heard, as it were, the gobbling of a turkeycock close to the bed-side; and soon after, the sound of one stumbling over his shoes and boots; but there were none there: he had left them below.

The next day he and the maid related these things to the other maid, who laughed heartily, and said, ‘What a couple of fools are you ! I defy anything to fright me.” After churning in the evening, she put the butter in the tray; and had no sooner carried it into the dairy than she heard a knocking on the shelf where several puncheons of milk stood, first above the shelf, then below. She took the candle, and searched both above and below ; but being able to find nothing, threw down butter, tray, and all, and ran away for her life.

The next evening, between five and six o’clock, my sister Molly, being then about twenty years of age, sitting in the dining-room reading, heard as if it were the door that led into the hall open, and a person walking in that seemed to have a silk night-gown rustling and trailing along. It seemed to walk round her, then to the door, then round again, but she could see nothing. She thought, ‘It signifies nothing to run away, for whatever it is, it can run faster than me.’ So she rose, put her book under her arm, and walked slowly away. After supper she was sitting with my sister Suky (about a year older than her) in one of the chambers, and telling her what had happened ; she made quite light of it, telling her, ‘I wonder you are so easily frightened; I would fain see what would frighten me.’ Presently a knocking began under the table. She took the candle and looked, but could find nothing. Then the iron casement began to clatter, and the lid of a warming-pan. Next the latch of the door moved up and down without ceasing. She started up, leaped into the bed without undressing, pulled the bed-clothes over her head, and never ventured to look up till next morning.

A night or two after, my sister Hetty, a year younger than my sister Molly, was waiting, as usual, between nine and ten, to take away my father’s candle, when she heard one coming down the garrot stairs, walking slowly by her, then going down the best stairs, then up the lack stairs, and up the garret stairs; and at every step it seemed the house shook from top to bottom. Just then my father knocked. She went in, took his candle, and got to bed as fast as possible. In the morning she told this to my eldest sister, who told her, ‘You know I believe none of these things. Pray let me take away the candle to-night, and I will find out the trick.”

She accordingly took my sister Hetty’s place, and had no sooner taken away the candle than she heard a noise below. She hastened down stairs to the hall, where the noise was, but it was then in the kitchen. She ran into the kitchen, where it was drumming on the inside of the screen. When she went round, it was drumming on the outside; and so always on the side opposite to her. Then she heard a knocking at the back kitchen door. She ran to it, unlocked it softly, and, when the knocking was repeated, suddenly opened it; but nothing was to be seen. As soon as she had shut it the knocking begun again; she opened it again, but could see nothing. When she went to shut the door, it was violently thrust against her ; she let it fly open, but nothing appeared. She went again to shut it, and it was again thrust against her : but she set her knee and her shoulder to the door, forced it to, and turned the key. Them the knocking began again; but she let it go on, and went up to bed. IIowever, from that time she was thoroughly convinced that there was no imposture in the affair. The next morning, my sister telling my mother what had happened, she said, ‘If I hear anything myself, I shall know how to judge.’ Soon after she begged her to come into the nursery. She did, and heard in the corner of the room, as it were, the violent rocking of a cradle; but no cradle had been there for some years. She was convinced it was preternatural, and earnestly prayed it might not disturb her in her own chamber at the hours of retirement; and it never did.

She now thought it proper to tell my father, but he was extremely angry, and said, ‘Suky, I am ashamed of you. These boys and girls fright one another, but you are a woman of sense, and should know better. Let me hear of it no more.’ At six in the evening he had family prayer as usual. When he began the prayer for the king, a knocking began all round the room, and a thundering knock attended the Amen. The same was heard from this time every morning and evening while the prayer for the king was repeated. As both my father and mother are now at rest, and incapable of being pained thereby, I think it my duty to furnish the serious reader with a key to the circumstance. The year before King William died, my father observed my mother did not say Amen to the prayer for the king. He vowed he never would cohabit with her till she did. He then took his horse and rode away, nor did she hear anything of him for a twelvemonth. He then came back, and lived with her as before. But I fear his vow was not forgotten before God.”

Susanna Wesley teaching her children