A certain knight of Northumberland was seated alone in his house after dinner one summer day when his father, who had died long before, came into the room, clad in a ragged and foully stained shroud.
The knight naturally assumed that it was a devil and attempted to drive it out over the threshold but his father said, “Dearest son, fear not. I am your father and I bring you no ill luck but call the priest and I shall tell you both the reason for my appearance.”
The priest was duly sent for and the ghost fell at the priest’s feet. “I am that wretch whom you long since excommunicated for withholding tithes but the common prayers and alms of the faithful of this parish have allowed me this one chance of absolution.”
The priest immediately gave the ghost the absolution he sought and the body returned to the grave, sank into it and did not trouble the living ever again.