Cruikshank’s “Cock Lane Ghost”

nightmare

From “George Cruikshank’s The Table Book” (1845). Cruikshank is most famous today for his illustrations of the work Charles Dickens. His “Table Book” is a miscellany of the artist’s steel and wood engravings, accompanies by stories, poems, and other bric-a-brac. Fascinating stuff.

This engraving accompanies a little bit of fluff called “Poetical Invitations,” which includes a reference to the Cock Lane Ghost just so they have a place to print one of Cruikshank’s more chilling creatures:

Young ladies should be very careful in issuing notes of invitation to a moonlight soiree, for they do not know who may overhear them, and attend the rendezvous. The Cock Lane Ghost, had he been living when the song of “Meet me by moonlight” was composed, would have been a very likely sort of gentleman to be waiting “in the grove at the end of the vale,” for the purpose of bestowing the sweet light of his eyes–glaring through two holes in a turnip–upon any one who had asked for it.

The Cock Lane Ghost was a famous haunting of the 18th century.

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