There are other great people roaming through the stately homes of England post mortem. The very beautiful Lady Hamilton, the great love of Lord Nelson’s life, haunts Number 2 Cambridge Square where she opens locked doors. There is also the Duke of Buckingham, who loved Anne of Austria. He has been wandering around Windsor Castle since 1628 when he was assassinated. George III sometimes pops in for a visit too. As well as Queen Elizabeth I, with whom a Captain of the Horse Guards one night tried to have a conversation – unsuccessfully however. But all the others must also be mentioned, the anonymous ones – soldiers, shopkeepers, abbots, actors, bankers – who haunt more modest houses – inns, shops, sacristies, farms, schools…
The French are often astounded at the number of ghosts said to be seen in the British Isles. Why are there so many there? Guy Breton says that it is a question of mentality. When a phenomenon occurs, a Frenchman’s attitude is generally totally different from that of an Englishman. Because of his rationalism, the Frenchman believes in the reality of things because he sees them. The Englishman sees them, because he believes in them.
The Englishman could therefore be seen as being a victim of his imagination and his credulity. This is one interpretation. However, there is another. It could be that the Frenchman’s rationalism has snuffed out his aptitude for seeing that which other men – and other animals – perceive perfectly well.
On the subject of French scepticism about the existence of ghosts, Guy Breton asks just one question: how can a ghost which is only an hallucination expose a film placed inside a camera?…