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The Best Ghost Stories

partly blotted out—I cannot otherwise express it—then a shifting of his position would
bring it all into view again.
the postures of a determined wrestler vanquished by superior weight and strength. I saw
nothing but him, and him not always distinctly. During the entire incident his shouts and
curses were heard, as if through an enveloping uproar of such sounds of rage and fury as I
had never heard from the throat of man or brute!
"For a moment only I stood irresolute, then throwing down my gun I ran forward to my
friend's assistance. I had a vague belief that he was suffering from a fit, or some form of
convulsion. Before I could reach his side he was down and quiet. All sounds had ceased,
but with a feeling of such terror as even these awful events had not inspired I now saw
again the mysterious movement of the wild oats, prolonging itself from the trampled area
about the prostrate man toward the edge of a wood. It was only when it had reached the
wood that I was able to withdraw my eyes and look at my companion. He was dead."
the dead man. Lifting an edge of the
sheet he pulled it away, exposing the entire body, altogether naked and showing in the
candle-light a claylike yellow. It had, however, broad maculations of bluish black,
obviously caused by extravasated blood from contusions. The chest and sides looked as if
they had been beaten with a bludgeon. There were dreadful lacerations; the skin was torn
in strips and shreds.
ound to the end of the table and undid a silk handkerchief which had
been passed under the chin and knotted on the top of the head. When the handkerchief
was drawn away it exposed what had been the throat. Some of the jurors who had risen to
get a better view repented their curiosity and turned away their faces. Witness Harker
went to the open window and leaned out across the sill, faint and sick. Dropping the
handkerchief upon the dead man's neck the coroner stepped to an angle of the room and
from a pile of clothing produced one garment after another, each of which he held up a
moment for inspection. All were torn, and stiff with blood. The jurors did not make a
closer inspection. They seemed rather uninterested. They had, in truth, seen all this
before; the only thing that was new to them being Harker's testimony.
"Gentlemen," the coroner said, "we have no more evidence, I think. Your duty has been
already explained to you; if there is nothing you wish to ask you may go outside and
consider your verdict."
The foreman rose—a tal
l, bearded man of sixty, coarsely clad.
"All this must have occurred within a few seconds, yet in that time Morgan assumed all
The coroner rose from his seat and stood beside
The coroner moved r