Ghosts Laid In Water

Conjouring troublesome ghosts into bottles and consigning them to watery graves used to be a common practice. Is it ever done nowadays ?

Here’s an example from the Rev. Elias Owen

Lady Jeffrey’s Spirit.

This lady could not rest in her grave because of her misdeeds, and she troubled people dreadfully; at last she was persuaded or enticed to contract her dimensions, and enter into a bottle.  

She did so, after appearing in a good many hideous forms; but when she got into the bottle, it was corked down securely, and the bottle was cast into the pool  underneath the Short Bridge, Llanidloes, and there the lady was to remain until the ivy that grew up the buttresses should overgrow the sides of the bridge, and reach the parapet.  

The ivy was dangerously near the top of the bridge when the writer was a schoolboy, and often did he and his companions crop off its tendrils as they neared the prescribed limits for we were all terribly afraid to release the dreaded lady out of the bottle.  

In the year 1848, the old bridge was blown up, and a new one built instead of it.  A schoolfellow, whom we called Ben, was playing by the aforesaid pool when the bridge was undergoing reconstruction, and he found by the river’s side a small bottle, and in the bottle was a little black thing, that was never quiet, but it kept bobbing up and down continually, just as if it wanted to get out. 

Ben kept the bottle safely for a while, but ere long he was obliged to throw it into the river, for his relations and neighbours came to the conclusion that that was the very bottle that contained Lady Jeffrey’s Spirit, and they also surmised that the little black restless thing was nothing less than the lady herself.  Ben consequently resigned the bottle and its contents to the pool again, there to undergo a prolonged, but unjust, term of imprisonment.

Source – Welsh  Folk-Lore – A Collection Of The  Folk-Tales And Legends Of North Wales
Being The Prize Essay Of The National  Eisteddfod 1887

Rev. Elias Owen

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