1765, July 12: Carolus Linnaeus Hears a Ghost

Carolus Linnaeus [1707 - 1778 CE], the botanist and scientist that formalized the system for naming and classifying living creatures that we still use today, had written an odd book titled the Nemesis Divina, which collected stories and anecdotes of his life, as well as snippets from scriptures and classic texts, that expressed the great man's view of the world and how it worked. When his son died it was assumed this particular volume had been lost, as all record of it ceased; but it turned up again around sixty years after Linnaeus' death in the bequest made by Dr. Acrele (a friend of the Linnaeus family) to the University of Upsala. So this volume only publically became available in 1873, when it was translated and published, just around a hundred years after Linnaeus' death... and in this volume there is a very odd event reported by the great man.

        According to Linnaeus, his wife woke him as the clock chimed midnight and signaled the roll-over from July 12, 1765, to July 13, because she had heard someone walking in the museum that was a large part of their home on a farm outside of Uppsala, Sweden. Linnaeus heard the footsteps, too... and knew that no one was in the museum, for he had locked it himself and had the key with him. Stranger still, the long and heavy footsteps sounded very familiar.

        A few days later Linnaeus received news that an intimate friend of his, commissioner Carl Clerk, had passed away at around midnight on July 12-13. Linnaeus suddenly realized why the footsteps had sounded familar; when Linnaeus lived in Stolkholm, he used to know when Clerk was approaching him because of the distinctive sound of Clerk's heavy footed walk...