GCSE COURSEWORK 19TH century style newspaper article of The Red Room by H.G. Wells

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Lorraine Castle, haunted?The Castle Lorraine, which since her ladyship the Countess of Lorraine’s death last August, has been left in the care of three elderly pensioners, has recently been said to be haunted. Sir James Howard of Dewar, eight-and-twenty years old, had previously accepted a challenge to spend the night in a room that is known as “The red room” and had agreed to share with us his tale.

As legend tells us, in that very room on the twelfth night of September over one hundred years in the past, the infamous Duke of Lorraine VII died a tragic death upon loosing his footing as he descended the steps. There are other, older stories connected to the room, the oldest of all, a tale of a timid wife and the tragic end she came to through her husband’s jest of frightening her. Thought none of the previous can compare with the tale of true horror of what Sir Howard encountered in the room.

He claims that no ghost haunts the chamber, but “The worst of all the things that haunt poor mortal men, fear! Fear that will not have light nor sound, that will not bear with reason, that darkens and overwhelms. It followed me through the corridor, it fought against me in the room-“After further inquiries, he related to us his tale of what happened in the room.. “I resolved to make a systematic examination of the room to dispel the fanciful imaginings of my mind. It was dark, my candle a mere flickering tongue of light amid the gloom. Seeking the consolation of light, I proceeded to light several more candles and placed them in the many alcoves and corners of the room. As I was beginning to draw comfort from the light, my suspicions began to subside. But before my mind was completely at ease, I noticed that one of the candles in the alcove had gone out, presumably from a draught. I said to myself ‘By Jove, that draught’s a strong one!’ However, as I attempted to relight the candle, I noticed that two more candles on the table near the fireplace had gone out. I rose at once to my feet.”Her further explained, “Now my fears were starting to crowd in again. I related to myself how peculiar it was that the flames had vanished completely, as if the wicks had been suddenly nipped out between a finger and a thumb, leaving neither smoke nor glow behind. I thought back to the young duke and his tragic death, the timid countess, my mind was in a whirl. My voice gained a queer high note as I rushed to relight the candles which were now disappearing at an alarming rate. It was like a ragged storm cloud sweeping out the stars. I was now almost frantic with the horror of the coming darkness. I stumbled and fell in the dark, feeling the growing sense of a Presence. I screamed, once, twice, thrice. I struck myself against the corner of the bed, staggered back, turned, and was either struck or struck myself against some bulky furniture. A heavy blow, a horrible sensation of falling that lasted an age, and then I remember no more.”Police officials have tried in vain to gain any additional information from the elderly pensioners in whose care her Ladyship left the castle. Upon inquiry, the old man only responded that “it was his own choosing” The old woman confirmed that she bandaged Sir Howard’s head after the incident, but when asked how he came out of the room, would not respond. Further inquiries are now being made as to the true nature of these Three. Is it possible that they themselves might be possessed of supernatural abilities? These alarming suppositions have arisen due to the fact that the old woman warned Sir Howard that he must not visit the room on that specific night. Was this a warning created in a senile mind, a premonition, or was this old woman in contact with the supernatural? No-one seems to have any information about the origins of these old folk. Possible links between the unusual death of her ladyship the Countess of Lorraine are even being made.

The Countess was discovered dead in her room on the morning of the two-and-twentieth day of August one year ago, at the age of five-and- thirty years. At the time doctors claimed that it was a heart attack due to an un healthy life. We located one of her Ladyship’s kitchen maids, and questioned her about the old folk, but she answered that she did not know all the servants in the castle. “I only knew the parlour maids, kitchen maids and the Mistress’s personal lady’s maid. Although I do not believe that her Ladyship would employ any elderly servants. She always believed that through surrounding herself by the young, she herself would retain her youth. She often scorned the old and senile. The eldest servant was the butler, Alfred, who himself was only one year elder to the Mistress.”This aroused even more questions. Who is this elderly trio in truth, who so solemnly claimed the castle as their own when her Ladyship’s will was read? They claimed to be her “most loyal servants”, who have been tied to the family for generations. Sir Howard said that they “talked about the events of the past, the death of the duke, and even that of the countess, as if they were there. As if they had experienced it. They asked me, after I had been in the room, if I had seen the ghosts, because, they, who had lived in the castle all their lives, had never seen it, had never dared.”What did this statement mean? How old were these pensioners? Why would her ladyship leave her castle in their care, when it was widely known that she had many a hundred servants? What of the countess’s nephew, the Duke of Perigon (an experienced equestrian)? He was to inherit the castle, but died when he fell from his horse, a mere one-and-thirty days after the death of the countess. Many questions, none of which can be answered as yet. We advise the public to avoid any contact with the castle and its inhabitants until the true nature of these events have been discovered.

19TH century style newspaper article of The Red Room by H.G. Wells