Of Ghosts and a Metamorphosis

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Lord Byron and his guests spent the stormy evening in the Villa Diodati’s library immersed in conversation and the talk was of metaphysics and experiments in the reanimation of dead things using the newly discovered force of electricity.

Invoking darker horrors, they read stories of ghosts and tales of the dead from a book entitled Fantasmagoriana.

Minds were fertile with imagined terrors and as Lord Byron read aloud a haunting passage from Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelly suddenly leapt up and ran shrieking from the room.

In the smokey candlelight, Percy had hallucinated that Mary’s chest had metamorphosed into a pair of eyes coldly staring at him.