I am not a superstitious man, far from it, but despite all my efforts to the contrary I could not help thinking, directly I had taken a survey of my chamber, that I should never quit it without going through a strange adventure. There was something in its immense size, heaviness and gloom that seemed to annihilate at one blow all my resolute skepticism as regards supernatural visitations. It appeared to me totally impossible to go into that room and disbelieve in ghosts.
There was once, we are told, a fine tract of land where now roll the waves of the Zuyder Zee. On the very spot where now the fishermen anchor their boats and fish, there stood a beautiful city. It was protected from the sea by great dykes.