In this series, I take a look at some historical accounts of ghostly encounters published in newspapers. While the following is not a ghost story as such, it deals with spiritualism and psychic mediumship from the streets of Melbourne way back in 1882. Spiritualist L Morgan supposedly was able to gain knowledge from the spirits as to who the winner of the Caulfield Cup would be in great detail and it turns out, he was right!
TRADING ON SPIRITUALISM. SPIRITS BEFRIENDING TIIE BOOK MAKERS
(“From the HERALD”)
An extraordinary statement gained currency 0m Tuesday night to the effect that a spiritualist named Morgan, living i,, Cromwell-street,’Collingwood. disclosed beforehand the winner of the Caulfield Cup to Mr. Joseph Thompson. Our representative called on Mr. Thompson yesterday morning to verify the matter. Mr. Thompson said the statomont was quite correct, and before entering into particulars ho would submit the
following letter, which he had just received from
101 Cromwell-street, Colllngivooe.—To J. Thompson, E.q.
—Dear Sir,—In reference to the winner of the Melbourne Cup, I am fully under the belief or impression of it being a winner by the answers I received under control; and what is so remarkable, the picture showing it to be the Flemington course, the name of the horse, the colors and name of the Jockey, and his portrait. It never was by any medium placed in such a mannor before, and at the spirit, guide is In a very happy state, and knowing my faith to the cause, and my having such high spirit guides besides this one. He Is my drawing guide, and knowing my present wants he knows I have to support a fatherless family in England, who is in spirit life and has spoken to me in our cirlce, and all my deceased parents. My own mother also controls me, therefore I have’all ihe faith on it being a sucess, therefore you number in great many in your line of business and I appeal to you for the sum stated, and you be the collector and responsible person with an acknowledgement in wriitng for £1000. One thousand pounds I will show you at your house the Jockey, with his riding jacket and cap colors all written out, and the name of the spirit guide and portrait of him, also the design of the course, and any further.answers I will give you at our Interview.
I remain, sir, yours truly,
Mr. Thompson proceeded : This Mr. Morgan wrote to me on the 21st September. offering to disclose the winner of tho Caulfield Cup, if I would lay him £10 to nothing. I laughed over the matter, but Mrs. Thompson said I might as well make the bet, and see what came of it. So I communicated with him, and paid him £10 to nothing, The result was that he gave me Little Jack, as the winner, saying the spirits had disclosed it to him. – He said he saw the horse winning tho race, in the colors all white, thoso of Mr.Branch. Of course you know that came right. The humour took me that I couldn’t lay against Little Jack, so I ‘did not.’ I will not say this, was altogether in consequences of Morgan’s’ communication, but the odds were so long 100 to 3 to that I concluded to leave him alone. The consequence is I reckon I have saved £1500,, which I would have laid against Little Jack if I had not refused:” Morgan wrote a similar letter tq Mr, Branch, who also laid him £10 to nothing. On Tuesday night Morgan came down to Tattersall’s rooms. He said he had a spiritual communication giving the Cup winner straight out. I spoko to him and lie showed me how these communications came., His hand was seized with a trembling, and he wrote with a pencil on paper in the bar. He said the spirits were working on him. Quite a crowd gathered round us, One gentleman said, ” Here, old man, I’ll give you this £1 note I have in my hand if yon can tell me the number.” Morgan began his writing, and fetched out a number on the papor. Unfortunately it was not quite correct but strange to say when the figures were addod up they made exactly the same total as those on the note. You will see by the letter I have given you that Morgran now wants me to lay £1000 to nothing on condition of getting his certain tip of the Melbourne Cup winner. He made this same offer at Tattersall’s on Tuesday night. A number of sporting men were for taking him up, in hundredds a piece, and there was great excitement. However, the thing still remains a secret. “I don’t think I shall about it any more”. WHat I said to him was “Why dont you back the tip yourself?” He said the spirits would not like it, or something to that effect.
Our representative next visited Mr Morgan at his residence. He is an elderly man and we found him sitting at a table with a sort of pen and ink bird’seye plan of the Flemington racecourse before him. A pen in his hand was working convulsivuly upon it. Mrs Morgan was present. Mr Morgan said: Yes, it is a fact that the spirits have disclosed to me the winner of the Melbourne Cup, as stated in my letter to Mr. Thompson.
Reporter: What is this you are working on?
Morgan: I don’t know. The spirits are quitting me
Reporter: If you have for the winner of the Melbourne Cup, why do you want to take any more trouble?
Morgan: I do not know what this will come to. I yield myself implicityly to the spirits.
Reporter: Tell me know, how you arrived at all this about Little Jack.
Morgan: Well you see it all came at once. The spirit influence seized my hand and wrote that Little Jack would win the Caulfield Cup.
Reporter: Why didn’t you back it!
Mrs Morgan: Ah, why? he told it to several people: but would not put money on the horse himself. Mrs Capper, up the newsagency won £13 over it.
Reporter: Suppose, now you cannot get Joe Thompson or anyone else on, are you going to be left in the hole again?
Morgan: I was afraid of losing the spirit communication if I had betted on the horse.
Reporter: You had better ask them this time whetehr they won’t let you, and have it cleared up.
Morgan: Oh, I have.
Reporter: And what is the reply?
Morgan: The spirits tell me I may back the horse.
Reporter: That is satisfactory.
Mrs Morgan: We might have been £1000 now if we had backed Little Jack.
Reporter: Without disclosing your secretes, just tell me how you got this Melbourne Cup Communication.
Morgan: It was on Tuesday. The spirit told me he had something to communicate. I had a large sheet of paper before me, just like this one. My hand was influenced to go drawing about in circles, and drew a jockey’s cap. The spirits wrote that the name of the Melbourne cup was ____ so and so, the jockey’s name so and so, and the colors so and so. I have got it all.
The reporter had some further conversation with Mr, Morgran, in his experiences as a medium: but, having extracted all that was possible from him about the Melbourne Cup the rest would be anti-climax though sensational in its way. Mr Morgan see spirits very often. He went to a spiritualistic lecture at the Atheneum three weeks ago and saw a lovely female spirits in a bonney bending over the lecturer. Another lady in the audience saw the very same spirits, which of course proved it to be no delusion.
It is unknown if Mr Morgan was paid to disclose his prediction for the Melbourne cup and if he was indeed correct.