The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'The Apparition'


This account begins: 'AT Mid-night Hours, when Nature seems to nod, / And Sleep triumphs upon the Works of God, / Tormented Souls awake, and Spirits fly abroad, / Appear'd, with smiling Face, a Female's Ghost'. This broadside was published in Edinburgh by James Ross. A handwritten note at the top reads: 'This was made on Mrs McLeod who was hanged & falsly said to appear aga[in?]'. The date '1727' has also been added to the bottom of the sheet.

The decorative woodcut printed at the top of this sheet would have added to the broadside's appeal and, along with the popularity of the subject matter, most likely assured healthy sales. If the handwritten note is to be accepted, the apparition of the title was a Mrs McLeod who was hanged in 1727. The National Library of Scotland's broadside collection includes a number of broadsides detailing the case of Mrs McLeod who was executed for forgery in 1727. It is very possibly the same Mrs McLeod that is referred to here.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Probable date published: 1727   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(111)
Broadside entitled 'The Apparition'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland