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Conscience Stricken Ghost

Three shillings and ten pence

In the early days of the nineteenth century, an Edinburgh priest who had moved to Perth, called Father McKay, was approached by a woman who had been troubled for sometime by a conscience-stricken ghost. The problem was solved without the need for exorcism or dramatic intervention of any kind. Anne Simpson, the woman who sought after Father McKay's assistance, was not of the Catholic faith, but she had good reason for asking the help of a Catholic priest. It turned out that the ghost that had been appearing to her night after night was that of a woman whom she had know as a familiar figure around the army barracks nearby. The woman's name was Molloy, and she had worked in the barracks laundry. Mrs. Molloy's ghost, when it appeared to Anne Simpson, was most persistent. Mrs. Molloy owed money - three shillings and ten pence. She wanted Anne Simpson to tell a priest and ask him to set matters right. So here was Anne Simpson, tired of constantly interrupted sleep, doing the bidding of a ghost! Lesser men might have sent the poor woman away and told her to stop talking such nonsense, but Father McKay listened to her story patiently and assured her he would see what he could do. He made enquiries at the barracks first of all. Sure enough, there had been a woman called Molloy working there, but she had died some time before. Had she owed any money to anybody in the barracks, the priest wanted to know. No, she had not owed any money there. The priest had to take his search a little farther a field. Visiting local traders, he found himself in the grocer's shop. When he asked about Mrs. Molloy, he discovered that when she had died she was in debt to the grocer. And the amount of the debt? Three shillings and ten pence exactly. The kindly priest settled the outstanding amount and left the shop. When he saw Anne Simpson some days later, he asked whether Mrs. Molloy's ghost had appeared to her recently. He was quite relieved to hear that the ghost seemed to have gone. Obviously the spirit of Mrs. Molloy felt at peace now that she had got all her affairs in order!

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