In the midst of the solidly respectable surroundings of an English courtroom the opinion was recently handed down that "ghosts in these days enhance the value of property." It is not recorded that either Sir Arthur Conan Doyle nor Sir Oliver Lodge were involved in the point at issue, but at last the financial status of a ghostship, long ago explained to a doubting world in Frank Stockton's inimitable stories, has achieved the prestige of recognition from the British law.
A treatise could be written on the tremendous legal question involved, whether this tardly recognition will be retroactive legitimizing the careers of the great ghosts of British history from Banquo down and their more humble contemporaries, or whether the only parties affected will be the up-and-coming, ectoplastic, ghosts of today with a future as well as a past. But the event is equally important from the social, economics and scientific standpoints. The battered old castle of Lord Woodbine or Baron Willis where the whispered communications of the one-armed ancestor with no chin have gathered clandestinely throngs of faithful retainers from time immemorial, can now call attention proudly and publicly to the fact that it is haunted.
Of course any self-respecting ghost actively engaged in the business at present will understand at once the importance of this new ruling. Methods of the Victorian Age can no longer be tolerated. To be a success as a ghost today a presence must not only exist; it must proclaim itself, communicate on every possible occasion and, when out of breath, be ready with silent visitations. It must also be prepared at any time to submit to scientific analysis. There is no telling when a call may come in for an interview with the Shrouded Lady of Edgely Manor, Hants, or a photograph of the Banshee of Wapping-lower-Barton.
This new official recognition, combined with a little necessary livening up in the mental attitude, gives every assurance that the ghost industry of Great Britain can hope in the near future to compete on equal terms with the Mayflower relic monopoly in America, and, with Pilgrim spoons and Pilgrim shoebuckles being dug up in every corner of the States from Orono to Texarkana, even the most ambitious ghost could not hope for a brighter business forecast.