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An Interesting Ghost
by [?]


It is with the greatest difficulty, (said Dr. Watson), that I force myself to believe that what I am about to relate to you did not actually happen. It seemed to me that I was as wide-awake as I am at this present moment, and impossible that the strange series of incidents could be due entirely to mental disturbances. I went home and went to bed, after first taking the powder, and I think I went to sleep. How long I slept I do not know, but I was startled at finding myself floating about the room with much the same feeling as one has when floating in water, only it was without effort. My motion seemed to be governed entirely by my will,–if I glanced at anything in the room I would float towards it. Imagine my astonishment at seeing my body lying in the bed apparently sound asleep; you will admit the sensation was novel, to say the least.

After floating around the room two or three times enjoying the peculiar sensation, I began to wonder what they had been doing at the hospital during my absence. Immediately I found myself in the hospital ward. Dr. Ford and two nurses were standing by a cot at the north end, and glancing at the chart on the table I saw the patient was seriously ill.

“Moribund,” said a voice.

“I’m afraid so,” I answered. I turned and saw an elderly gentleman, dressed in the costume of the last century, floating beside me.

“Sad, is it not? People still die, I see, in spite of the wonderful advance in the science of medicine since my day.”

“Were you a doctor when alive?” I asked.

“Well, I was called one, and received the regular license to kill or cure. I regret to say that I have since learned that I killed a great many more than I cured. The trouble is, after you are dead your patients know this as well as you do and say unkind things; even to-night I received word from a former patient of mine, and a ghost who ought to know better, to the effect that he intended to hunt me up and punch my head. I treated him for renal colic and he died of appendicitis.”

“What sort of a death certificate did you give?” I asked.

“Heart disease, and let me tell you that was a great deal nearer to it than some of you chaps get nowadays.”

“You are not complimentary,” I said coldly.

“Perhaps not; but if you think my criticisms harsh and uncalled for, let us get down to cold facts. Did it ever occur to you how very few people live to be even one hundred and twenty-five years old? You surely will admit that there is no reason why a man should not live to that age, barring accidents. We know that in Bible times there were lots of old fellows who passed their three hundredth birthday, and a chap named Methuselah claimed to be nine hundred and ninety-nine years old.”

“Nine hundred and sixty-nine, was it not?” I asked.

“Perhaps you are right, but sixty-nine or ninety-nine, I am inclined to be a little sceptical about that record myself; there is one thing in its favor, however, and that is, that he made it an even nine hundred and ninety-nine, and not one thousand. Of course, you know there are plenty of people living to-day who are over one hundred years old, and some who have reached the very satisfactory age of one hundred and twenty-five; most of them, however, live in Bulgaria, Mexico, or some out-of-the-way place, and are so poor that they have to live abstemiously.”

“Then you consider the secret of longevity to be a matter of diet?” said I.

“Partly that, and partly proper care of the nervous system; but come downstairs, and let us have a cigarette; I am dying for a smoke.”