Ghost Story Review: "Back from the Bourne" by the ever prolific anonymous
According to a letter published in the New York Sun in 1874 (what might have been called a “humbug” back in the day), Pocock Island is home to some 311 souls off the coast of Maine. The principal industry is fishing. One eccentric resident, John Newbegin, died some four years earlier after “an extended debauch,” a long lost weekend with the bottle. Since he had no family, his business, including part ownership of two fishing vessels, reverts to his business partner. His estate is never really probated, but a several upstanding citizens see him laid to rest properly enough.
The letter writer witnesses a séance performed by some yachtsmen stranded on the island. The medium is apparently something of a celebrity and is able to bring forth several spirits, the last of whom is John Newbegin who declares that he’s not going back into the great beyond. He stays on earth, leading life pretty much as before, except that he’s given up liquor. That last little bender was a doozy.
If I had to guess, I would say that this was funnier in the late 19 th century than in the early 21 st . It is cute, nevertheless, in a tongue-in-cheek, absurdist way. It is a curious piece, though, and I enjoyed it, but this will not produce any belly laughs.
Title: “Back from the Bourne” first published New York Sun Dec. 1874
Author: (the ever prolific) Anonymous
Yesterday’s review: “The Ghost of Miser Brimpson” by Eden Phillpott
© 2015 Denise Longrie
An earlier version of this review appeared at another site. It has since removed from that site and is no longer visible there or anywhere else. It had been updated and expanded for its inclusion in PP.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/fisherman-boat-inle-lake-myanmar-239487/ by mydaydream