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Hi

He reported a ghostly appearance by the late Henry Bull.

--- Hmm, "by the late" - maybe it's referring to the picture of Henry Bull hanging on the wall? There's nothing more in the text, so I'm guessing. So the ghostly appearance probably showed next to the picture of already dead H.Bull?
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Interesting.

The author possibly used 'by the late Henry Bull' instead of 'of the late Henry Bull' to emphasize the fact that the appearance was a conscious effort (on the part of the late Henry Bull) rather than a sporadic phenomenon.
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Hi

It makes sense. Thanks.