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Broadside regarding a strange apparition


This account begins: 'The St. James's surprizing and a frightful APPARITION / Being a fearful and terrible Account of a wonderful Vision that appeared at St. James's Park, near St. James's House on Saturday Night, being the 13th of January 1722.'

The apparition is said to have been four headless men carrying a coffin, accompanied by a fifth headless man on horseback. It was apparently seen by several sentinels posted near the late Duke of Buckingham's house in London. It is worth noting that this broadside appeared at a time when women were still being burned at the stake for practising witchcraft. In a country where fear and suspicion of the unknown led to these barbaric practices, it is hardly surprising that reports of apparitions and supernatural occurrences had a strange appeal amongst a highly superstitious populace.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Likely date of publication: 1722   shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(079)
Broadside regarding a strange apparition
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