[This is taken from Augustine Calmet's Phantom World, originally published in 1850, revised and edited by D. J. McAdam, 2010. Copyright as such.]
William of Malmsbury says that in England they believed that the wicked came back to earth after their death, and were brought back in their own bodies by the devil, who governed them and caused them to act; Nequam hominis cadaver post mortem dæmone agente discurrere.
William of Newbridge, who flourished after the middle of the twelfth century, relates that in his time was seen in England, in the county of Buckingham, a man who appeared bodily, as when alive, three succeeding nights to his wife, and after that to his nearest relatives. They only defended themselves from his frightful visits by watching and making a noise when they perceived him coming. He even showed himself to a few persons in the day time. Upon that, the Bishop of Lincoln assembled his council, who told him that similar things had often happened in England, and that the only known remedy against this evil was to burn the body of the ghost. The bishop was averse to this opinion, which appeared cruel to him: he first of all wrote a schedule of absolution, which was placed on the body of the defunct, which was found in the same state as if he had been buried that very day; and from that time they heard no more of him.
The author of this narrative adds, that this sort of apparitions would appear incredible, if several instances had not occurred in his time, and if they did not know several persons who believed in them.
The same Newbridge says, in the following chapter, that a man who had been interred at Berwick, came out of his grave every night and caused great confusion in all the neighborhood. It was even said that he had boasted that he should not cease to disturb the living till they had reduced him to ashes. Then they selected ten bold and vigorous young men, who took him up out of the ground, cut his body to pieces, and placed it on a pile, whereon it was burned to ashes; but beforehand, some one amongst them having said that he could not be consumed by fire until they had torn out his heart, his side was pierced with a stake, and when they had taken out his heart through the opening, they set fire to the pile; he was consumed by the flames and appeared no more.
The pagans also believed that the bodies of the dead rested not, neither were they safe from magical evocations, so long as they remained unconsumed by fire, or undecayed underground.
"Tali tua membra sepulchro,
Talibus exuram Stygio cum carmine Sylvis,
Ut nullos cantata Magos exaudiat umbra,"
said an enchantress, in Lucan, to a spirit she evoked.
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