From the 1880s to around World War I, James John Hissey wrote fourteen books about his travels through Britain. Frequently, these travelogs include quick mentions of ghosts as the sightseer recounts local legends told in some of the spots he visits. But ghosts are mentioned so frequently throughout his books that Hissey seems to have been deliberately keeping a eye out for haunted houses. Or haunted inns. Or haunted castles. Or haunted streets or haunted hills.
Indeed, Hissey claimed to be a ghost hunter — but a frustrated one because he never witnessed a ghost himself. The closest he came to a personal encounter with a phantom is discussed in The Charm of the Road: England and Wales (1910): “Hunting after haunted houses is in one sense a dispiriting sport, for though haunted houses abound, I never could run down a ghost; at least only once, and then it hastily ran away from me.” Staying at a house in Scotland, Hissey learned that a spectral figure was said to appear out in the yard during nightly prayers (his host being a strict Presbyterian). During one of those prayer sessions, Hissey “conveniently had a bad headache” and slipped outside to pursue the ghost. Sure enough, he spotted it!