HIS DEAD WIFE'S PHOTOGRAPH 1
THE MAJOR'S LEASE 11
THE OPEN DOOR 31
WHAT UNCLE SAW 44
THE BOY WHO WAS CAUGHT 57
THE STARVING MILLIONAIRE 76
THE BRIDAL PARTY 102
A STRANGE INCIDENT 122
WHAT THE PROFESSOR SAW 141
THE BOY POSSESSED 156
THE EXAMINATION PAPER 167
THE MESSENGER OF DEATH 177
INDIAN GHOST STORIES.
HIS DEAD WIFE'S PHOTOGRAPH.
This story created a sensation when it was first told. It appeared in
the papers and many big Physicists and Natural Philosophers were, at
least so they thought, able to explain the phenomenon. I shall narrate
the event and also tell the reader what explanation was given, and let
him draw his own conclusions.
This was what happened.
* * * * *
A friend of mine, a clerk in the same office as myself, was an amateur
photographer; let us call him Jones.
Jones had a half plate Sanderson camera with a Ross lens and a Thornton
Picard behind lens shutter, with pneumatic release. The plate in
question was a Wrattens ordinary, developed with Ilford Pyro Soda
developer prepared at home. All these particulars I give for the benefit
of the more technical reader.
Mr. Smith, another clerk in our office, invited Mr. Jones to take a
likeness of his wife and sister-in-law.
This sister-in-law was the wife of Mr. Smith's elder brother, who was
also a Government servant, then on leave. The idea of the photograph was
of the sister-in-law.
Jones was a keen photographer himself. He had photographed every body in
the office including the peons and sweepers, and had even supplied every
sitter of his with copies of his handiwork. So he most willingly
consented, and anxiously waited for the Sunday on which the photograph
was to be taken.
Early on Sunday morning, Jones went to the Smiths'. The arrangement of
light in the verandah was such that a photograph could only be taken
after midday; and so he stayed there to breakfast.
At about one in the afternoon all arrangements were complete and the two
ladies, Mrs. Smiths, were made to sit in two cane chairs and after long
and careful focussing, and moving the camera about for an hour, Jones
was satisfied at last and an exposure was made. Mr. Jones was sure that
the plate was all right; and so, a second plate was not exposed
although in the usual course of things this should have been done.
He wrapped up his things and went home promising to develop the plate
the same night and bring a copy of the photograph the next day to the
The next day, which was a Monday, Jones came to the office very early,
and I was the first person to meet him.
"Well, Mr. Photographer," I asked "what success?"
"I got the picture all right," said Jones, unwrapping an unmounted
picture and handing it over to me "most funny, don't you think so?" "No,
I don't ... I think it is all right, at any rate I did not expect
anything better from you ...", I said.
"No," said Jones "the funny thing is that only two ladies sat ..."
"Quite right," I said "the third stood in the middle."
"There was no third lady at all there ...", said Jones.
"Then you imagined she was there, and there we find her ..." "I tell
you, there were only two ladies there when I exposed" insisted Jones.
He was looking awfully worried.
"Do you want me to believe that there were only two persons when the
plate was exposed and three when it was developed?" I asked. "That is
exactly what has happened," said Jones.
"Then it must be the most wonderful developer you used, or was it that
this was the second exposure given to the same plate?"
"The developer is the one which I have been using for the last three
years, and the plate, the one I charged on Saturday night out of a new
box that I had purchased only on Saturday afternoon."
A number of other clerks had come up in the meantime, and were taking
great interest in the picture and in Jones' statement.
It is only right that a description of the picture be given here for the
benefit of the reader. I wish I could reproduce the original picture
too, but that for certain reasons is impossible.
When the plate was actually exposed there were only two ladies, both of
whom were sitting in cane chairs. When the plate was developed it was
found that there was in the picture a figure, that of a lady, standing
in the middle. She wore a broad-edged _dhoti_ (the reader should not
forget that all the characters are Indians), only the upper half of her
body being visible, the lower being covered up by the low backs of the