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BOOK REVIEW - JOHN LANG  – FISHER’S GHOST – 1859 – 

 

Various ghost story collections.  New South Wales, Australia, a convicted, deported from England, gains his freedom, and makes a small fortune for himself. His name is Fisher. His neighbours like the man, who often greets them   as they pass by. One day, he inexplicably disappears. Months later, a neighbour sees him, in semi-transparent form, leaning against a fence near to his old house.  The man rushes home to tell his wife about the sighting, but she dismisses him as having been drunk, which at the time, he was. However, shortly afterwards, he makes a point of going back to the fence stone cold sober. Again, he sees Fisher’s ghost. His wife refuses to believe him, but when he visits a neighbour Mr. Grafton, who is more willing to listen to his story. Mr. Grafton has an Aborigine tracker who helps him hunt down escaped convicts. He gets the Aborigine to help him seek out the truth about Fisher. At the fence where the ghost was seen, the Aborigine finds a forensic trail of blood that suggests Fisher was violently murdered there, and dragged away. Following the trail, the amateur detectives find the body on a nearby estate in a pond in the grounds of a house. The owner of the house is questioned as to how he failed to see a corpse in his pond, and he is eventually arrested for the murder of Fisher. He denies having committed the crime, and his defence in court is that the only evidence against him involves beliefs in the supernatural. Found guilty despite this strong case, the accused is sentenced to death, and only confesses to the murder   to a priest on the brink of his execution. A fun idea, with a sympathetic presentation of Aborigines, and credible characters. http://www.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/ghost-stories-lang.html

 

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