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Doctor Silas Weir Mitchell and the Ghostly Servant Girl and Other True Tales

Updated on April 12, 2018
Nell Rose profile image

Nell is fascinated by all things supernatural and one of her favorite subjects is Angels as she firmly believes she has met one.

Ghostly Goings On!

There are many people who don't believe in ghosts, but there are many ghostly encounters that argue to the contrary. The spooky tales below are as real as they can possibly be without photographs and real proof.

But the stories have endured down through the ages and we can see that at least some of the characters involved are not really the kind who would deliberately make up the story.Take the first one. A strange tale of a Mr. Silas Weir Mitchell, who was a celebrated Philadelphia Neurologist.

Doctor Silas Weir Mitchell and his ghostly girl visitor.
Doctor Silas Weir Mitchell and his ghostly girl visitor.

A Knocking On The Door

Doctor S.W. Mitchell was an eminent 19th Century nerve specialist, who lived in Philadelphia.

One night after a hard days work at his surgery, he fell asleep in his chair. He was soon awakened by the ringing of his front door bell, and, have asleep he managed to make his way to the door.

'Coming, i'm coming, hold on please' he said.

There on his doorstep stood a young girl standing shivering in the cold. She wore a thin dress and a threadbare old shawl.

'Please come, my mother's ill, I need you, please'. she pleaded with him. She turned and ran up the road, and the Doctor quickly grabbed his bag and hurried after her. Eventually they reached an old tenement block, and quickly climbed the stairs.

Please can you help my mother?  young girl wearing shawl 19th century
Please can you help my mother? young girl wearing shawl 19th century

There Are Her Shoes!

There, on the bed, lay the sick woman. As he got closer he recognized her as a former maid in his house.

After examining her, he diagnosed pneumonia, and sent for the medication that she needed. He then made her comfortable as possible, and told her that she had a wonderful daughter to run out in the cold like that.

The sick woman looked at him in surprise and said:

'My daughter died a month ago. Look, there are her shawl and shoes in the cupboard'!

When Doctor Mitchell went over to take a look, there right in front of his eyes were the same shawl and shoes that the little girl had been wearing. It was dry, folded and clean. There was no way that they could have been worn outside.

Turning around, he looked in the room, down the stairs and outside. But there was no sign of the little girl!

Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante's Ghost and The Divine Comedy

When the famous Dante Alighieri died in 1321, his famous manuscript The Divine Comedy wasn't complete. His sons Jacopo and Piero both knew that he had finished it, but after searching all over the house they couldn't figure out where on earth Dante could have hidden it.

Soon they gave up searching and after one more look sadly gave up the search.

But that night Jacopo had a dream. He saw his father dressed and bathed in a white ethereal light standing before him.

Jacopo asked the vision if the poem was complete and where had he put it? Dante's ghost nodded and pointed to a tiny secret place in his old chamber.

When he woke, Jacopo quickly asked a lawyer friend of Dante's to come and help find the missing papers. He wanted him as a witness to prove that he wasn't joking.

Jacopo went to the place that was indicated in the dream. There, behind a small blind fixed to the wall, they saw a small window.

Inside were the missing papers covered with mould and damp. Lifting them carefully out, they brushed of the mould and read out the words of Dante's Divine Comedy!

But for the sons dream, Dante's greatest work would have been lost to the world!

Lord Dufferin.
Lord Dufferin.

Lord Dufferin And The Ugly Ghost!

It was the 1880's and Lord Dufferin who was the British Ambassador to Paris, was on vacation at his friends country house in Ireland.

One night he woke suddenly, aware that something strange had disturbed him. He got up and padded over to the window to see what all the fuss was about, and realized that there wasn't anything to see out there apart from a man walking across the grass carrying something heavy.

But Lord Dufferin felt slightly uneasy and decided to go down and confront the man and ask what he was doing at that time of night.

In the moonlight he could see that the man was carrying a coffin! And as he got closer he suddenly reeled back in terror! The man was the ugliest he had ever seen! Mustering up courage, Lord Duffin asked;

'Where are you taking that coffin?'

The ugly man raised his wizened face and to Duffin's astonishment, totally disappeared in front of his eyes!

The real InterContinental Le Grand Hotel elevator foyer Paris France.
The real InterContinental Le Grand Hotel elevator foyer Paris France.

Saved By A Ghost?

The next morning he told the other members of the household, namely his host. And to their chagrin they had no idea who the man was!

Putting it to the back of his mind, he got on with his life. But a few years later, Lord Duffin went back to Paris to attend an international reception at the Grand Hotel.

As he and his secretary were about to enter the lift he suddenly exclaimed out loud and stepped back! As his secretary tried to make him go in, Dufferin refused to step inside.

There in front of him was the ugly man from a few years before. He was the lift operator!

Lord Dufferin stepped back and still refusing to enter the lift, turned and walked away. The lift ascended without him and his secretary. As he returned to the reception desk, he asked, who on earth is that man in the lift?

But once again the answer was no sorry, they didn't know who he was! Just as they were talking, they heard an almighty crash, and to their horror they heard the lift snap its cable and plunge to the bottom of the shaft, killing all who were inside.

The accident was reported in the News Papers, and also recorded by the British Society for Psychical Research.

Until this day, there is no record found of that little ugly man who saved Lord Duffins life.

Ghost or Angel? You decide!

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

See results

© 2017 Nell Rose


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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      19 months ago from England

      lol! Thanks as always Tim!

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      19 months ago from U.S.A.

      Love your stories, Nell. These are especially spooky because they are true. I'll double-down on the Boo factor and take the exit.

      Thanks a lot. Enjoyable reading.

      Much respect,


    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Thanks poetryman! glad you liked it.

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      2 years ago

      I do enjoy a good ghost story. Thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      lol! thanks Joanna, yes I remember reading off your encounters! always good to see you!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Another great hub, Nell, although not what I should've been reading in the wee hours! I do hope that someday you'll meet an apparition you won't be able to discount as anything but a real "live" ghost. The rest of us shouldn't have all the fun! ;D

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Coffee, yes it would be amazing! thanks for reading.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      That was really interesting to read. I do think there are ghosts yes. Would be interesting to see one!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Hi Aesta, its strange how it is a world wide thing. maybe psychology that has passed around the world, or there really are ghosts! I tend to believe its maybe a time slip or other dimension. thanks for reading.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Interesting how many stories we hear of ghosts. We currently live in a hotel here in Hanoi which used to be a huge prison even during the French time and people claim they have experienced the presence of ghosts. Some people have this kind of sensitivity to the spirit world.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Shauna, yes its a bit spooky isn't it? I do believe that story.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Spooky stuff, Nell, particularly the little girl who came to summon the surgeon to her mother's bedside.

      I believe in ghosts, as I've seen at least two in my lifetime.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Chitrangada, glad you liked it, yes I agree it can be hard to believe in them, still not sure to be honest! lol!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Hi phoenix, no, I will have to go take a look, thanks as always for reading! :)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Hi Genna, thanks so much for reading, yes you are so right. We have no idea what is out there, but its interesting isn't it?

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Nell. I believe in unearthly earthly tales...there is so much that exists beyond our day-to-day perceptions. A fascinating read.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 years ago from United Kingdom

      I do love a ghost story. Have you researched ghost stories in St. Ives in Cornwall. Those are really spooky.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very interesting read that kept the interest till the end. And I agree with you in the concluding part. The stories of ghosts are so exciting and engrossing but I do not believe in their existence as such.

      Thanks for sharing another of your wonderful hub on this subject!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Linda, glad you liked it!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting article, Nell. I enjoy reading ghost stories. I love to think of the possibilities!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Lizzy, sounds fascinating! you know I love all this stuff, always on the go trying to find those hidden spooks! LOL! thanks as always

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      All very interesting, Nell! You have a knack for finding these fascinating tales. I do believe in the spirit realm; in fact, we have a few that reside on our property. ;-)

      One is active, the others are just residuals.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Wow! now I bet they are haunted Flourish! amazing! thanks as always.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Anne, I will do that for you, and good to see you!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Wow! Paula, that is amazing and awesome! I do believe you saw a glimpse of the other side, I do hope so! thanks as always.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      You never know, you may well be right Dora! its a fascinating subject isn't it? thanks.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Ruby, glad you liked it.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      As usual, you gave me loads to think about. There are so many stories out there about spirits/ghosts. I believe in angels, why not ghosts? Another paranormal tale that makes me wonder?

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Yves! glad you liked it, yes I totally agree with you! Angels are totally different to ghosts, but they all fascinate me, thanks as always.

    • savvydating profile image


      3 years ago

      These stories are highly interesting. I have no problem believing that miracles happen. Consequently, I ascribe these type of incidents to angelic beings, as opposed to ghosts. My feeling is that ghosts may be imprints which remain on earth, due to exceptionally sad lives or tragic deaths. But what do I know. Ha!

      Anyway, a great read, Nell.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Nell, I like your conclusion. Why not think that these mysterious figures could be ministering angels? They could have been running errands for God in the interest of mankind.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      3 years ago from Carson City

      Nell, Just once, a short while after my sister's passing, very early one morning, I had a profound and somewhat jolting experience. As I was in my kitchen, making coffee, I felt compelled to look out the glass door onto my deck.

      I saw, as clear as day, my sister, identical to her appearance in life, (including her clothing & shoes) sitting at a table, with head down, pencil to paper, a very familiar scenario of her as she sat doing crossword puzzles. This flash of her was so real and vanished as quickly as it appeared.

      I stood fairly frozen in place as my heart pounded nearly out of my chest. When I gained composure, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, yet this had startled me. In attempting to make sense of it, I attributed it to my all-consuming grief. To this day, I just don't know......This is a fabulous piece of work, Nell. Paula ( OH! By the way, she was seated at a table, which in fact was not actually on my deck at all ).

    • bac2basics profile image


      3 years ago from Spain

      Hi Nell.

      I do like your ghostly tales as you know.

      Please can you add " Have you ever sensed a ghostly presence" to your poll, Nell. Then I can vote too.

      Cheers dear :-)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      Very entertaining ghost stories. There are lots of old ghost stories in my area (I live within 15 minutes of old plantation homes). It's interesting to consider the possibility.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Martie, yes I totally believe it, it happened to me a few years ago, long story. Thanks for reading, nell

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      Amazing! I believe that people could be warned by "ghosts".

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Yes I did think that RoadMonkey, probably was a memory, but really weird though wasn't it? thanks for reading, nell

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      3 years ago

      Very interesting stories, I hadn't heard any of those before. I could understand the Dante's poem one of a reminder maybe from the son as a child seeing his father put the manuscript there but the others do not have any kind of similar explanation!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Quicksand, yes you may well be right! thanks so much for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Devika, I just find it fascinating, lol! thanks for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks Bill, they say write what you like, lol! thanks as always.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You love the scary, don't you?

      So do I!

      Great read, Nell. Glad I read it in the daylight.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and got me thinking a lot about ghosts.

      I have never made ghosts part of my life.

    • quicksand profile image


      3 years ago

      The little girl would have been so concerned over her mother that her "spirit" continued to "keep watch" and "do the needful" when the situation called for it.

      The spirit could have generated vision and sound in the doctor's senses to make him take the action that was required of him.

      I have heard similar stories and I would not refer to the saviors as ghosts, but as concerned spirits or even as angels.

      As for ghosts, I don't believe in them. I don't trust them either!



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