Online Encyclopedia

COCK LANE GHOST

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 627 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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COCK LANE GHOST, a supposed apparition, the vagaries of which attracted extraordinary public attention in London during 1762. At a house in Cock Lane, Smithfield, tenanted by one Parsons, knockings and other noises were said to occur at night varied by the appearance of a luminous figure, alleged to be the ghost of a Mrs Kent who had died in the house some two years before. A thorough investigation revealed that ,Parsons' daughter, a child of eleven, was the source of the disturbance. The object of the Parsons family seems to have been to accuse the husband of the deceased woman of murdering her, with a view to blackmail. Parsons was prosecuted and condemned to the pillory. Among the crowds who visited the house was Dr Johnson, who was in consequence made the object of a scurrilous attack by the poet Charles Churchill in " The Ghost." See A. Lang, Cock Lane and Common Sense (1894).
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