Haunted Bed (1928)

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    Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), Sunday 18 March 1928, page 12

    National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article122801646

    SEEING SNAKES'Old Italian Bed Haunted By Serpents

    :? ? ? t .......

    REMARKABLE GHOST STORY

    Rivalling any Grand Guignol drama ever written,or any story from the amaginative pen of Edgar Wallaceis the true Ghost story that comes from a country towninN.S.W. . , ,.-..?.?;?-='

    It is quite frequently that we hear of o#e or moremysterious happenings in connection with a ghostlyvisitor, but in this case the manifestations were numerousand of a most character.

    JOHN SOMMERLAD was a wealthypastoralist, but distinctly not ofthe pioneer variety.

    Ht had arrived in N.S.W. about 50years ago, and after making a fortunein the agency business in Sydney retired to the splendid Riverina propertyof Longlands, which he had purchasedfrom an impecunious squatter.

    Longlands was a fine old property, and the homestead- was oneof the most up-to-date in the State.It had all the conveniences of acity establishment, and was builtamongst beautiful surroundings.Tiring of country life after a little

    time John Sommerlad went on a tourof the world.

    The collector's instinct which hadmade a fortune for him when he wasin the agency business was still with

    v him.During his tour abroad he developed

    this flair for collection.. Amongstother things he brought back with himon his return to his station homo wasan old fashioned bedstead of genuineantique which he had paid a big pricefor! in Christie's, London.

    A tall old four poster, which dealershad placed as belonging to theEighteenth century and of a rare variety, probably old Italian.

    The top of the bed was intricatelylizards, and Gargoyles, intertwinedwith each other in a marvellous way.

    These figures stood out with life? like reality.

    ? like reality.

    SPECIAL, GUEST ROOM.John had this bed put in a special

    guest roonv together with other periodfurniture to match, which he hadpicked up whilst abroad.

    To add to the old world touch hehad a suit of armour placed in thuroom also.

    - ? About this time a business friend ofSomrnerlad's came up with his familyfrom Sydney to spent a few days atLonglands.

    And then commenced the most re? markable happenings which are still the

    talk of the district.The visitor, C.irl Blenheim, was not

    an imaginative man by any means.A German wool buyer, he was noted

    for his business astuteness and hisfriends would have laughed had it beensuggested that he was a person likelyto be addicted to over imagination.

    HOST AND GHOST.One beautiful Summer night he stayed

    up on the verandah with his host untilclose on midnight.

    Then he retired to bed.Just as he was dozing off to sleep he

    heard a queer sound in the room likea woman's sob.

    It was pitched in a low key, butseemed to be a very penetrating sound;

    He rested on his elbow in the bigItalian bed, thinking it was some outside noise which he had hoard'.

    The sound was repeated exactly as hehad heard it before, only this time he

    sure had come from the

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    was quite sure it had come from thepainting on the wall.

    It was another of John's Art treasures

    and depicted a heautiful woman of theMedici period.Springing out of bed, Carllighted the candle and looked in

    ?

    tently at the picture.Ho ran his finger over the surface, but the cold canvas laughedat his suspicions.It was a picture, and nothing else.j-xc nua uuyuL tu uiuw out me canine

    and get back into bed when a puff ofwind from the open window extinguishedthe candle.Not bothering, to light it again, he

    turned once more to his bed and steppedback in amazement.In a sort of luminous light of unearthly brilliance, his bed stood out fromthe darkness.The elaborately carved headpiece wasalive.The snakes, gargoyles, and lizards

    were winding and twining themselvesinto all sorts of intricate patterns.The glittering eyes of the lizardsseemed like tiny pin points of light, andthe gargoyles' mouths worked in fantastic fashion.

    OPTICAL DELUSION.Remembering the dTeams of an ab

    sinthe-drinking friend, Blenheim wasprone to put. this sight down to sometrick of the eyesight.

    Some queer hallucination. He thoughtof his host's excellent port, but 'remem-bered that he had drunk only twoglasses.

    He approached the bed and touchedthe moving mass.

    tie drew back terrified.The thing was alive.

    His hand had come in contactwith the cold, scaly body of a serpent moving in the general design.There was no mistake of that.As hurriedly as he could, Jic found the

    switch and flooded- the room with light.In the brilliance of; the electricity,

    ho went carefully over the room andespecially the bedtop, but in the lightit was just an elaborately carved pieceof woodwork, and nothing inore.

    He was intensely surprised and nonplussed, but slept no more that night.

    He was about to tell his host of thestrange happenings of the night whenhis attention was attracted by anothermatter. His. host's face was drawn andhagjrard, as if he, too, hnd spent a restless night. So he said nothing, andwaited.

    Later in the day Sommerlad, in a

    Later in the day Sommerlad, in acasual way, broached the subject.

    And then it all came out.Blenheim was not the only one who

    had been disturbed by a ghostly vistor.BEAUTIFUL VISION.

    Sommerlad had been roused bystrange noises during the night, andwoke up with a start, to find a beautiful woman bending over him and wringing her hands.

    She was dressed in old-time costume,the replica of the girl in the picture inBlenheim's room. 'When he called outshe disappeared.They decided to keep matters to

    themselves in case the news alarmedthe womenfolk.

    But that afternoon the housekeepercame in to see Sommerlad.

    She was in a pitiful state of distress.

    She said the kitchen was haunted.Strange noises were heard during the

    day.The pots .and pans would start

    jigging on the stove, doors wouldopen and close, and heavy footsteps sound on the floor for no explained reason. ,The kitchen man had been pelted

    with coal, and articles had disappearedfrom the kitchen, to re-appear in someOther part of the house. ?'.

    This sort of thing went on forseveral days. The woman in thehouse had also been visited by strangeapparitions.

    Almost every one had seen the weeping Medici girl, and had their reposespoilt in other ways.

    Blenheim and Sommerlad decided towait up one night and see if anythinghappened.They waited in the period. room, from

    whence seemed to emanate all themanifestations.Turning off the light, they waited in

    the semi-darkness.WHAT BOTH SAW.

    A guttering candle burned near theopen window. How long they waitedbefore they fell into a doze they cannot say. But they both were awakenedby a strange noise in the room.

    By the dim candle light they saw astrange sight.

    The bed-top was literally writhingwith life; the strange bed designshad come alive again, and the [strange light burned around it.

    By the sided of the bed stood thegirl of the picture.She was wringing her hands and sob

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    She was wringing her hands and sobbing.They stood terrified at the sight.The appeal in her eyes was not to

    be misunderstood.Apparently she was in great distress.She pointed dramatically to the bed,

    and then to the candle, and made othermotions which they understood her tomean that the bed should be burnt.Then she disappeared.

    The next morning the two men tookthe bed' out into the paddock, and,covering it over with petrol, set a lightto it.

    SEEING SNAKES.It burned and crackled fiercely, and,

    as the flames- leapt over the ornamentedbed-top, the watchers fancied theycould see strange lizards 'and serpents'interlacing through the design as theflames reduced them to ashes.

    There were no more strange happenings at Longlands.The repose of the visitors was no

    longer disturbed by ghostly visitors.Looking back over the incidents, theparty mostly concerned, John Sommerlad, often wondered what strange coursehe brought back with him in the oldItalian bedstead, and what connectionthe girl of the Medici picture had withits strange history.

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    A RAZER FOB THE RAZOR.