E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Cock Lane Ghost.
A tale of terror without truth; an imaginary tale of
horrors. In Cock Lane, Stockwell (1762), certain knockings were heard, which Mr. Parsons, the owner, declared proceeded from the ghost of Fanny Kent, who died suddenly, and Parsons wished people to suppose that she had been murdered by her husband. All London was agog with this story; but it was found out that the knockings were produced by Parsons daughter (a girl twelve years of age) rapping on a board which she took into her bed. Parsons was condemned to stand in the pillory. (See STOCKWELL GHOST.)