Tuesday July 29, 2014
This week, I am going to do something just a little different. As a lot of you know, I am a Department Chair and Assistant Director for The National Paranormal Society. This week the group’s education topic is Cryptids, so I offer the following article from 1889 which appears to be about a bigfoot type creature
Tuesday July 22, 2014
I know it sounds bad, but this week’s article really makes me wish I could have been a fly on the wall for the ventriloquist bit. That poor poor preacher
Washington Post edition 8/18/1907 pg 15
Ghosts Have Long Found Homes in and Around Old Georgetown
“No one who has lived any length of time in this vicinity,” said the old native, “ought to feel in the least perturbed when he hears of ghostly pranks and haunted houses and all that sort of thing in and about this neighborhood. Why, as far back as I can remember,” he assured the friends he was talking to about the recent doings of spooks in Georgetown, “this locality has been, from time to time, a very paradise for ghosts and apparitions. Dilapidated houses that sheltered the nocturnal visitors from another world could be found at every cardinal point of the compass. Many persons who lived in the suburbs and in unfrequented sections of the District, while they did not seek the company of the spirits that walked by night, actually felt lonely when there was not some indication that the ghosts were up and doing business at their regular stands.
“There ws one particular haunted house, located somewhere about where Eckington is located now. It was a ruin of just the sort that a ghost might thoroughly delight to roam about in. In the day time it looked uncanny enough for all purposes, but the consensus of opinion among the very few who were brave enough to invade its precincts after dark was that the moans and shrieks that came from the old wreck at night were enough to scare Julius Caesar. There was a rumor that a murder had been committed there by one of the members of a gypsy band that had a camp in the neighborhood at one time, and that helped the fascinating terror that surrounded the old house very materially. At last one day some fellow who had pluck remained in the house one night. He saw nothing, and only heard sounds produced by the rustling of the winds among the trees that were close up to the old mansion. That settled the ghost in that quarter.
“Holmead’s old burial ground, located on Fourteenth street near the boundary, at one time harbored a whole colony of supernatural creatures, and those who had to pass it in their travels after nightfall, and especially the darkies, would always have a story of horror to relate about what they saw in the old burying ground. Ghosts lying a-top graves and dodging to and fro amid the old fashioned tombstones, were of nightly occurrence, which considering that all sorts of domestic animals meandered about at their own sweet will in those days, did not bother many. I can’t begin to enumerate the many ghostly sights and haunted places that every now and then caused consternation among some folks in this locality.
Saw Dead Face at Window
“There was an old teacher of drawing and painting in this town in the antebellum times named Gibson. His school, or studio, as well as his residence, was on the corner of Twelfth and D streets, just opposite the post office building. His pupils included a number of young ladies who were among Washington’s ‘400’. One day, in the course of time, the old drawing master died, and not long afterward strange sights would be seen about the windows of his former home. His face would frequently be seen looking calm and benignant, as it always did. It was seen at day as well as on any bright night. People marveled and gathered in crowds to see it. No one became frightened because it never appeared on the outside. It was a mystery, but the incomprehensible thing was solved when it was learned that one of the young lady pupils of the old gentleman, who was proficient as a sketcher, shortly before his death drew with her diamond ring a large profile of the teacher on a pane of glass at the window, and it showed plainly either in the sunlight or moonlight.
Old Georgetown has had ghosts galore. The proud old town would lose caste if it could not once in a while muster up a few ghosts. Once on a time their habitat was principally about the old canal, and the spooks of canal boatmen and others who had gone overboard and never came back to earth were not few and far between. Folks in that neighborhood actually go so familiar with them that they conceived a contempt for them.
“I don’t know whether he appears now, but in the early part of the war there was a little drummer boy belonging to one of several regiments encamped near the old city on the Virginia side of the Chain Bridge. He was a handsome little soldier boy and very popular. One pleasant spring evening when the sky was rather cloudy and misty and the moon was trying to shine, this little fellow, who was wandering on the Chain Bridge, fell overboard and was drowned. For a long time after all the people who lived on the Virginia side of the bridge could, when a misty moonlight gleamed upon the bridge, hear this little fellow beat the long roll upon his drum, and some have even seen the ghost of the boy. No one ever desired to hear this roll call, as always after it sounded someone in the vicinity died.
Made the Cat Talk
“Those boss of all the ghost yarns that I ever heard,” continued the old native, “related to the circumstance that happened down in South Washington. That part of the town was then known as ‘The Island,’ because it was surrounded by water, the old canal being to the north and the Potomac to the south. There was an old residence near the river that had belonged to a naval officer. For a long time it was deserted. The legend, or story, about it was that once a man murdered his bride in that house on the night after their marriage. Thus it got the name of being haunted, and few could muster up courage to linger about the premises after it became dark.
“One day a lot of fun-loving fellows decided to have some merriment over the circumstance. Among them was an amateur ventriloquist of no mean attainments. They arranged with Mr. Cadmus Tasker, the boldest old darkey preacher in this town, to set up one night in the haunted house and report what happened. He was well paid, supplied with a bottle of prime gin, and took his station about 9 o’clock in the evening, when he began reading his Bible by the aid of an oil lamp. The ventriloquist and one or two others were also in the house unknown to Cadmus.
“Soon after the reverend gentleman took his station he heard a sad, plaintive cry, something like the mew of a cat, and he made friends with it at once. The cat was perfectly willing to be friendly. The preacher petted her, scratched her head, and gave her some of his lunch.
“ ‘Dey ain’t nobody here but you en me,’ he said repeatedly, and the cat rubbed against his knee and looked up into this face.
“Cadmus, to keep up his courage, frequently assured the cat that there was nobody on the premises but those two, and just as he made this assurance for about the tenth time, and the cat was looking at him, the ventriloquist go in his work. The cat was made to say in a sepulchral tone of voice, “no, there’s nobody here but you and me.”
“ ‘Laws a massy,’ said Cadmus, as he started to run, and he added, ‘Dey ain’t nobody here but you. Ise gwine ter quit,’ and he did quit.
The youngsters who put up the job made a night of it where they were and tha haunted house lost its grewsome reputation forever.”
Tuesday July 15, 2014
This week’s article made me do some research on Mrs. Chenoweth. I’ve written about her several times and decided to finally read up on her. I’m sure there are others well aware of a fact that I was not….her name was not Chenoweth! It was a pseudonym used by Minnie Meserve Soule and guess what? There is no wiki page on her. There are a few write ups here and there and google books has some stuff on her, but the main information is that she was a trance medium with the American Society for Psychical Research that died in 1936. I was really interested to find out if she had ever been found out to be a trickster like Eusapia Palladino who is mentioned in this write up, but I cannot find that she ever was. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone that has ever made a study of her life.
San Francisco Chronicle edition 2/9/1918
Germany’s Doom as Seen by Munsterberg’s Ghost
“Gott – As Russia Fell, So Falls My Country – Postdam is Doomed,” Cries the Spirit Voice of Famous Scientist in Message to Dr. Hyslop, to tell the World That He Had Been Mistaken in Championing Germany While on Earth
HUGO MUNSTERBERG, the dead psychologist, enemy of the spiritualism and ardent pro-German, has come back to earth in spirit form to declare that the dead live and that the Kaiser is doomed.
Such is the remarkable statement made by Professor James H. Hyslop, the famous scientist, who is continually exploring into the realm of life after death.
Professor Munsterberg has reversed himself completely on two of his pet beliefs, if Dr. Hyslop is correct. In life Munsterberg was utterly opposed to psychic research, also he was bitterly opposed to American antagonism toward the German part in this war. Now, according to his friend and enemy, the savant, late of Columbia University, admits his mistakes and comes back through a medium to confess his errors and mourn over his country.
On the 9th of last July he spoke to Dr. Hyslop through the lips of the famous medium Mrs. Chenoweth of Boston.
Had Devoted Much Time to Study of Mediums
He wanted to talk with Dr. Hyslop, because on earth they had been at each other’s scientific throats for years. When Dr. Hyslop took up psychic research and undertook to explore the beyond, Dr. Munsterberg branded spiritualism in all its forms as false and grieved over the spell it cast upon scientists.
Dr. Munsterberg devoted much of his energy to proving mediums to be “fakes,” and he it was who caught Eusapia Palladino, the world known “control,” as a trickster. She had come to America after puzzling the most astute European scientists, who put her to the most rigorous tests. For a time she baffled all investigators in this country. Most of the psychic experts pronounced her messages from the dead to be genuine, but Dr. Munsterberg was not content. He arranged for an exhaustive test and by clever strategy caught the woman red handed in a piece of legerdemain. He exposed her for a trickster and did much to allay the growing belief in spiritualistic communication with the earth.
Never did he in life modify his complete disbelief in psychic research, although he and Dr. Hyslop shook hands later and forgot their personal differences over the great question.
For his spirit, then, to return and admit that spirits live in the hereafter and in such surroundings that they may talk to earthly beings, is a remarkable report, but not so remarkable as Dr. Munsterberg’s spirit words prophesying Germany’s military collapse.
See Hohenzollerns Thrown Out of German Rule
Not only does he see the end of Germany’s military success, but sees the reigning house over thrown by a revolution from within. Nothing can be done for his Germany now, he says, and cries miserably, “Too late, too late, too late, too late!”
Considering his attitude on earth, this prophesy and dramatic description of his country’s doom in the war is most sensational. While in Harvard in the first years of the war he was violently pro-German.
The question now is, has he seen behind the veil from his seat in after life? Have his ghost eyes penetrated the future and seen the end of the war and its facts?
On the 9th of last July Dr. Hyslop, it is said, was talking to Mark Twain through the medium, Mrs. Chenoweth. Mr. Clemens had but lately established communication with the professor and their talks had been lengthy. Dr. Hyslop was impatient to learn more from the spirit of the famous author and to find through the keen mind of the latter some answers to things that are yet mysteries to the scientist. But Hugo Munsterberg usurped the medium’s unconscious lips and began speaking. Later he told that he had been conversing with Mark Twain and had taken his place in order to talk to Dr. Hyslop.
Medium Had Never Met Munsterbeg
Mrs. Chenoweth, says Dr. Hyslop, reporting this remarkable incident in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, did not know Munsterberg personally. She knew in a vague way that he was dead, that he had been a pro-German and that he it was who had caught Paliadino in trickery, but she did not know that he was German by birth or that he had actively fought belief in spirit communications.
Dr. Hyslop admits with frankness that the evidence is not convincing to all skeptics, but that much that cannot be described adds convincing atmosphere to the reality of Munsterberg’s communication. He personally has applied scientific tests to the truth of the matter and firmly believes that Munsterberg’s spirit spoke.
For instance, the first word spoken when Munsterberg interrupted Mark Twain was “Potsdam.” Mrs. Chenoweth, who was reclining in her unconscious state, usual when she is in control of spirits, showed much distress as she uttered this word, and Dr. Hyslop, writing down each word that the spirit ruling her spoke, was much puzzled at this sudden change from the Clemens manner of speaking. He waited silently for the new ghost to continue. There was a long pause. Her face twisted in greater distress. The she wailed” “Oh, my head. Something took off the top of my head. I don’t want to see the war. I don’t want to. It makes me sick. Doomed! Doomed!”
Quotes Exact Words Given the Medium
In this connection it will be remembered that Dr. Munsterberg died in his classroom at Radcliffe College Dec. 16, 1916, falling down before a room full of girl students and dying in the chair into which they lifted him, passing away before a physician could be summoned. Worry over the predicament in which he found himself regarding American and German citizenship and perturbation over the woes of the war falling upon loyal German-Americans was believed at that time to have been the cause of his sudden death from heart failure.
Dr. Hyslop reports Munsterberg’s next words following “doomed” to be “the iron chancellor,” uttered with intense muscular strain and distressed cries of “Oh, oh!” Next he uttered “POTSDAM IS DOOMED TO FALL. The Reichstag, Reichstag, TOO LATE, TOO LATE, TOO LATE, TOO LATE.” (Here the medium pounded her forehead a number of times.)
The scientist reports that Mrs. Chenoweth was not familiar with the words “Potsdam,” “Reichstag” or “iron chancellor.” If she had been quoting from her subconscious mind she would have more likely have said “Prussia” or “Kaiser” for “Potsdam.” “Bismarck” for “Iron chancellor.” There was no reason for her mentioning the Reichstag on her own responsibility, for she does not read the newspapers and could not have known that the German legislative body was active for democratization of the government and currently reported to be favoring an early peace.
Following his cry of “too late” Dr. Munsterberg’s spirit gave utterance to the most sensational of all his ghost prophecies: “GOTT – AS RUSSIA FALLS SO FALLS MY COUNTRY.”
This use of a German word was not characteristic of Mrs. Chenoweth, for she knows no German and, furthermore, had no knowledge of the talk of revolution in Germany, the prayer of the allies who saw in Russia’s overthrow of absolutism hope of similar action in Germany.
Shortly after this Munsterberg’s spirit began to use automatic writing instead of word of mouth. He wrote “We are not without hope,” then signed “Munsterberg.”
He began again. “I am heart sick over the war. It is hard to won allegiance to two masters. Divided against itself, a house must fall, so fell I and so falls my native land when false to finer training and lost to honor – better knowledge.”
Here the pencil fell from the medium’s hands and she showed great distress, crying “Oh,” and placing her hands as in pain upon her neck.
“Death Proves A Leap Into a Great Light.”
Resuming, Mrs. Chenoweth said: “Oh, why” – then pausing in distress. “It is the hardest. I scorn the idea of suicide. Such death as a man might wish for came to me, and instead of a long, weary struggle and many psychological experiences which death-coming produces I leaped into a great light.
“I was not heartbroken, as some have suggested, for I did not foresee the dilemma which my Germanic race was in. I am nearer heartbroken today than I was before death, and that strange statement refers to a troubled spirit, troubled because it seems impossible for my people to extricate themselves from mighty forces.
“Always those who precipitate such magnificent disasters must know that the falling structure will at least incumber their path and crush them in the downfall. Such is the fate of arrogant ignorance.”
To those who believe in the genuineness of spirit messages, and there are growing thousands in the world who do so, this dire prophecy of the kaiser’s downfall will come with great welcome.
To American admirers of Professor Munsterberg’s memory, and they number tens of thousands, this report that the has seen the falsity of Germany’s position will, wherever Dr. Hyslop’s testimony is believed, be a source of great joy. They were antagonized when in September, 1915 Dr. Munsterberg defined his position in the following article: “This is not written in my own defense. Whenever during this year of displeasure Germanaphobic voices have thundered against me the crushing question, ‘Are you an American or merely a German-Amercian?’ I have answered every time with a clear conscience: ‘’Neither. I am a German and have never intended to be anything else.’
“I have always proclaimed – the history of the war has proved the complete truth of this conviction – that not the practical interests but feelings and conditions, control political events. The feelings between nations depend upon their mutual understanding.
“But just because I stand entirely outside of German-American politics I may be permitted to testify on the witness stand in the solemn trail which the whole nation has opened in these summer days against those millions of American citizens who emphasize their German descent. The first indictments referred only to the zeal with which they worked against anti-German agitation. The gross offense of which they were accused was that of German propaganda when in a neutral land they resisted the effort to tarnish and stain the land of their parents and grandparents.
“but the charge has become much more serious since large meetings in the big cities, assemblies and congresses with resolutions have indicated that under the whip of the war the Teutonic masses have decided to strengthen their front and to insist on a forceful influence upon the national life of the county.”
Professor Munsterberg was born in Danzig, Germany, June 1, 1863, and graduated from Heidelberg and Leipzig, and received many degrees from colleges both in Germany and America. From 1982 until his death he was professor of psychology at Harvard, delivering lectures in Radcliffe also.
Facts substantiating the plea of his ghost that it was hard to love two countries are found in a statement made to his class once to the effect that while he had been offered in Germany the chair of philosophy once filled by the great thinker, Kant, he had refused it because he loved the United States too much to leave it.
Tuesday July 8, 2014
When I was typing up this week’s article I honestly was not sure if I was typing up an article about spooks or if it was a form of Victorian porn. Phrases like “etheric fluid” and descriptions like “The baroness, a sensitive and modern woman, is unpleasantly affected by the “psychic fluids” or the haunts of past generations.” really made me re-read this article. It IS interesting how it goes the way of “haunted collector” at one point, but seriously, if I’d had to type the word “fluid” one more time, I was going to throw it out, but words of wisdom like “ If You Die, Try to Be a Good Haunt” and “Get Acquainted, Spook May Be All Right” kept me going.
Chicago Tribune edition 12/1/1907
EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED
FAMOUS FRENCH SCIENTIST PRODUCES PHOTOGRAPH TO PROVE IT
Every house is haunted – your house, our house, their house; boarding house, church house, theater; hospital, jail, courtroom – all are haunted. That is what Dr. Baraduc, the famous French scientist, says. He proves it by producing photographs of the “ha’nts” whenever people doubt his assertions.
The human eye cannot see these haunts, except upon rare occasions. But the camera can see them, according to Dr. Baraduc. The camera has a cumulative eye. It looks a long time on one spot and the sensitive plates after a time exposure will get the impression of the spookish personation that is not visible to the eye of a man.
But if we cannot see the ordinary impalpable ghosts that people our flats and cottages, we can feel them. Some vague thoughts or emotions are aroused. Unconsciously or consciously, according to our nervous condition or our psychic development, we recognize certain atmospheres and influences. One room makes us comfortable. We enjoy reading or writing in a certain spot. We are miserable as soon as we enter the doors of some houses. There are chambers in which we do not sleep well, and in others we have sound slumber and sweet dreams.
They Are There, All Right – Look Out!
These antagonisms and sympathies, says Dr. Baraduc, are ghostly, whether we know it or not. It is no mere unreasoning superstition that makes us sad to stay in a room where a man has died; it is not a foolish but a real terror that trips us on the spot where a tragedy has been enacted. There are presences there that assail us – thought forms, subtle fluids, and emanations, etheric atmospheres, spirits – call them what you will. They are real haunts.
The haunt that haunts us may not be a restless earth bound spirit, craving to return to the field of his late activity, or burdened with a secret that he tries in vain to impart. It may be only an ethereal vapor that pervades the atmosphere, or perhaps ensouled in some inferior intelligence, much below the human in point of evolution. These minor ghosts and haunts even may take up their abode in some material object, according to this savant, influencing all sensitive human beings who approach them.
Dr. Baraduc tells of an old feudal castle in the west of France where he has been hospitably entertained. Baroness L., the fair hostess of this interesting country seat, found herself much in the position of the princess in the fairy tale, living in an enchanted castle. The atmosphere of her beautiful and luxurious home cast a spell of gloom over her bright and vivacious nature.
These Ghosts Veritable Book Worms
The ghosts that live in the castle are particularly numerous in the library, a room where the baroness is so ill at ease that she can hardly rest. She constantly shifts her position, trying to rid herself of the sensations that lower her vitality and depress her spirits.
The baroness will not leave the home of her ancestors on account of the discomforts occasioned by the haunts, but she spends as much time as possible away from the house, walking, riding horseback, traveling, or visiting her neighbors. Dr. Baraduc was so interested in the library ghost that he began to experiment and he finally located it – or at least one of them – in the carved figure of an angel that rested on the back of an old fashioned chair.
One evening in April, 1903, the scientist took a photograph of this haunting specter. The picture as obtained showed “large black marks of a round or oval shape on a lighter background,” which he says was an enormous etheric net, forming a striking contrast to the light texture of his “silver veil,” which he photographed on another occasion. The doctor says the etheric fluids which surrounded this spot were “as heavy as lead”.
Pay Rent and Keep ‘Em Away
Dr. Baraduc says it is reasonable to assume that this particular haunt is not “a decarnate human entity such as frequently is seen or heard in haunted place.” These old medieval castles, of which that of the French baroness is a fair specimen, have been the abode of certain noble families for many generations; many people, connected by strong ties of blood, brought up to the same privileges, ideals, and prejudices, were born, lived, and died in these places.
Therefore the “thought atmosphere” engendered there would be stronger, more organic, than in a rented house in a large city, where all sorts and conditions of men pass in and out within a comparatively short space of time, and where one form of haunt might be easily neutralized or destroyed by another.
In fact, the thought forms pervading an old ancestral home would have more tenacity of life, says the doctor, because they were projected with more force by a larger number of people who where homogeneous in their way of thinking and feeling. The baroness, a sensitive and modern woman, is unpleasantly affected by the “psychic fluids” or the haunts of past generations.
Didn’t Take Their Grouches with Them
The stern old warriors, and the unscrupulous diplomats and courtiers who lived and died there and left their impress within the castle walls even after they were gone, impress her painfully. They were her ancestors, and they linger about the place in some inexplicable way and trouble her. They are not malicious about it – but, on the contrary, it seems that they cannot help it any more than she can. When they died they left their grouches here.
When the doctor located the particular haunt in the carving on the chair the baroness was no better off than before. There was no way to exorcise the spook. It still is there, and the poor baroness is no more comfortable since she knows just where it is than she was before, when she could only feel its presence vaguely and indefinitely.
Dr. Baraduc’s reasoning as well as experiments goes to show that the least haunted place is a new building which has just been erected. Perhaps it is not haunted at all, before it is inhabited, unless there is some lingering influence left there by the carpenter or plasterer or painter.
Get Acquainted, Spook May Be All Right
As soon as the family moves in, however, the haunts move in. They may linger in the furniture, or they may follow, like the family dog or the family dog attached to any material object. The longer the family lives under the same roof the more numerous and the “more organic” the haunts become, and after people have lived and died within the walls of a house the unseen inhabitants grow to have a strong attachment for the place. It seems likely that they resent the presence of strangers and do their best to make the intruder uncomfortable. Perhaps this is why we do not sleep well in a strange room or at a hotel. We are not acquainted with the haunts that abide there and they distress us.
In the end it comes down to the fact according to the reasoning of Dr. Baraduc. There are two sets of inhabitants in people’s houses, dwelling together in greater or less harmony – the seen and the unseen. Those who have been there before us have left their ineradicable impressions – thought forms, etheric fluids, spirits, haunts – call them whatever name suits your particular fancy. Perhaps they sent back everything the next world wouldn’t stand for. The “choir invisible” raises its chorus, and if we do no hear it we feel its uncanny vibrations.
Ghosts in Church, Making Late Amends
But there are other places besides dwellings where ghosts abound, as Dr. Baraduc has learned by his experiments. They particularly favor monuments and public buildings, like churches. The bronze lion on the battlefield of Waterloo has a particularly exhilarating effect on an Englishman or a German, while it depresses a Frenchman. This is not necessarily because the phantoms of Wellington or Blucher linger there to cheer their compatriots and confuse their enemies – nor because the dead soldiers who fell there continually reenact their scenes of carnage – although the doctor would not by any means deny the possibility of such a thing. He suggests rather that it is the result of the many joyous and happy thought vibrations that are sent out there on the one hand, and the sorrowful thought forms of the French on the other hand.
Churches, however, are favorite places for haunts of the nature described by Dr. Baraduc. When Napoleon, entering the cathedral of Chartres, sensed the invigorating and spiritual atmosphere there he could not help remarking that “A wicked man must be most uncomfortable here.” And it has often been pointed out that the wicked are uncomfortable at church, while pious folks are soothed and cheered by the atmosphere of the sacred places.
Some People Fall Away from Haunts
If haunts linger especially around old furniture, as Dr. Baraduc believes, then one should be careful with what pieces of antique household goods he surrounds himself. There may be a blessing, or there may be a curse, somehow concealed in the thing that has been used before. In old books, too, there are “fluids” and though forms and atmospheres, perhaps even inspirations.
Sometimes they say that when a man falls for a long distance, or coasts down a snow slide, or in any way gets up a transcendent speed, he goes so fast that he gets away from his following of haunts, his astral doubles and etheric bodies, and things of that sort. Then the man becomes unconscious until his attendant troop of sprites catches up with him – and if he gets clear away from them he is dead. That, however, is another story, and has only a side bearing on Dr. Baraduc’s study of haunted house.
Drummer Doesn’t Mind New Ones
It would seem as if haunts are a good deal like human beings in their dread and dislike of strangers and strange places. Perhaps it would be more exact to say that it is the clash of haunting antagonisms that causes human discomforts in strange places. If we go to a room in a hotel to sleep – a room that has been occupied by a thousand strangers, each of whom has left the stamp of his individuality on the place – we have a strange sense of unrest, even of desolation. Our own personal haunts, and the haunts that the strangers have left in the room, and the haunts that naturally live there do not get along well together. They are inharmonious, perhaps even hostile, and that is what distresses us. Otherwise one room would be the same to us as another.
A drummer or traveling man who sleeps in a strange bed every night and fraternizes with strange people every day soon gets over his objection to new places. His own troop of personal haunts gets used to strangers. They become hail fellow well met with all the hotel haunts and the sleeping car haunts along his route, and they are at home wherever they go. They soon lose all the shyness and reserve that characterize the homekeeping haunts.
If You Die, Try to Be a Good Haunt
Haunts are like people, too, in being of all dispositions. Some of them are comfortable and restful. Others irritate us. And haunts of a kind flock together. That is why we enter one house and feel as if a benediction has fallen upon us. There is a sense of security and fellowship there. We may never have been there before, but the place is “homey” The haunts are agreeable to us. In the next house perhaps we are desolate and miserable. We do not like the people nor the haunts they have gathered about them.
It is not a mere unreasoning association of ideas that makes us shrink from the gloom of the jail, according to Dr. Baraduc’s logic. These haunts of felons, where the wretched and the hopeless have fretted their lives away, where the death watch has been held and the burden of guilt has been expiated, are places accursed.
Our instincts are right when we feel the grip of horror in the presence of death or on the scene of a recent tragedy. The haunts that are there are fearsome things, and it is just as well for us not to yield to their morbid fascinations.
Spirits Lurk in Lincoln Park
Theaters are haunted, too. The ghosts of actors and audiences both living and dead hover behind the wings and over the orchestra chairs and high in the galleries. The actor on the stage gets his need of inspiration from the geniuses who have been there before him and adds the flavor of his own personality to the ghosts of the place for the help of those who may come after him. For the living have their ghosts – or haunts – as well as the dead.
A somewhat startling conclusion of Dr. Baraduc is that monuments are haunted. The bronze lion on the fields of Waterloo, the statue of Lincoln in our own park that bears his name, are favorite abiding places for the ghosts of patriotism. Every glow of loving pride that the citizen casts upon his bronze hero is inspired by the haunted atmosphere of the spot and in turn adds its vigor and spirit to the haunting phantoms that linger there.
No Wonder Flat Dwellers Move Often
Perhaps the poorest place for haunts in the world is a Chicago flat, with its ephemeral procession of tenants. It takes more than “six rooms and a bath” to create the atmosphere of home, and the haunts that the last tenant left and the haunts that we bring with us are apt to arouse antagonisms and conflicts that vaguely distress us.
That is why the average Chicago woman wants to move so often, it is suggested. She is trying to find a place where her own family haunts will fit in and harmonize with the haunts that make their permanent homes in the various flats that she occupies. She has to live in the flat all the time, and she is likely to be more highly organized, more “psychic,” than her husband; therefore she is the first to feel that the atmosphere of the place gets on her nerves, and that “she simply must move” to a new flat. The rooms may be all right and the heat and the decorations, but she can’t bear the place, she doesn’t’ know why, and she must get away from it.
Thus we dwell together in our houses – with our invisible companions. Perhaps we trouble them as much as they trouble us. Perhaps they resent our absurd ways of living and our unpleasant habits as much as we resent their spookish characteristics whenever we learn about them. It is a blessed thing that we cannot see them. They would seem so much more real if they were as visible as our chairs and bedsteads.
And, after all, it is difficult to see what good Dr. Baraduc does with his scientific demonstrations and his camera. At present he is able to find only the haunts. He cannot exorcise them. All he can do is to admonish us to be careful where we live and how we live, and what influences surround us.
Tuesday July 1, 2014
I’m not entirely sure if this week’s article is a showcase in architecture or residual haunting? I honestly thought if I had to type the word “veranda” one more time I was going to scream. I do think that the spooky footsteps on the area of the home which I don’t wish to type again is very good example of a residual spook, especially when it was noted that the front door was eventually relocated.
Fort Wayne Sentinel edition 12/21/1907 pg 11
CREEPY TALES OF SPOOKS TERRIFY A TOWN
Community in Tremor Over Weird Tales of Queer Ghosts – Cool and Analytical Persons in Terryville, Mass., Sure Spirits are There – Cannot See Them, But Hear Strange and Unaccountable Noises
(Correspondence of the Sentinel)
Terryville, Conn., Dec. 19 – As strange a story as any the Society for Psychological Research ever investigated and vouched for by more witnesses than usually testify to supernatural manifestations, lies behind the wild yarns of ghostly visitations and seventeenth century witchcraft that have been sent out from this village in the last few days. Many of the stories are exaggerations and distortions of the truth, but the ghosts of Town Hill are the principal subject of discussion here, it is no strain on veracity to say that nearly half the population is nervous about going out nights, and it is simple plain fact that there are at least seven persons of education, culture and refinement, none of them in the slightest degree a believer in spiritualism or the supernatural, who will assure the inquirer solemnly, in carefully chose language, that they have heard, not once, but each of them many times, sounds of footsteps when there was no person present to make the footsteps; sounds of voices when there was no one visible and the ticking of a clock where there was no clock.
Any sort of a ghost story that one may elect to listen to may be heard among the gossips that gather around the village post office. When efforts were made by a reporter who visited Terryville today to trace some of these stories to their source it was found in most cases that the relator had them at third or fourth hand. Of this class is the story that half the village believes, that when a man – name not given – was walking by the old Morse place on Town Hill a few days ago he saw a hat lying in the road. Stooping to pick it up, there issued from beneath the hat, in sepulchral tones as though from the depths of the tomb, the warning, “Don’t touch that hat!” Pressed for the name of the hero of this adventure, the relator said some one had told it over in the livery stable, and that was as far as it could be traced. Likewise, when one of the group told of a man driving down Town Hill road, whose horse refused to go any further and exhibited symptoms of fear when passing the old Wood house, it was found to have been “told by some one in the barber shop” who could not be located.
It is true that the tradition that old “Tinner” Morse, who died forty years ago, sill pounds tin in the woodshed back of the old house, has been prevalent for years, but Mrs. Joseph Sutphen, who has lived in the house teen years, says the “tinner” has never bothered her. And the former inhabitants of the Wood Place used to say they frequently heard a sound like a man chopping in the cellar, but the present tenants, a thrifty Polish family, with an unspellable name, declare they have heard nothing to worry them.
One might search a long time and not find as fitting a setting for a ghost story as the old Fenn house. Standing on the crest of Town Hill, where it overlooks the broad valley of the Poquabuck river, it has been a landmark visible from miles away for fully 175 years. Built in the decade between 1720 and 1740, its eight foot chimney breast and foot square hewn timbers testify to the labor the early settlers lavished on their habitations. Stout oak pins hold the joists and rafters in place, for nails were scarce and costly when the Fenn house was built, and those used to hold the siding and partition boards in place are hand forged and wrought to last through the centuries.
A cyclone would not injure the old Fenn house – and earthquake, it would seem, would scarcely damage it. In renovating and adding to it its present owners have reverently preserved the spirit of the past, so that in all essentials the old house still stands as it did through the French and Indian war, the Revolution and the war of ’12. The barn, as old as the house and floored with three-inch hewn planks, stands another monument to the builders of a dead century.
Can’t Explain Phenomena
Owning the old Fenn house and living in it today is Miss Ada Laura Fairfield, secretary of the National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild, of No. 70 Fifth avenue, New York. With her is her friend, Miss Margaret B. Kearney. In the summer the population of the old house is increased by the addition of Mrs. D. S. Redner, jr., a sister of Miss Fairfield; Miss Eleanor Peterson, Miss Margaret Mitchell and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Viertel. All are New Yorkers. Miss Peterson is employed in the New York public library; Miss Mitchell is a cashier in a large department store, and Mr. Viertel is the principal of a public school at Fort Richmond, Staten Island. None of them is a spiritualist or a believer in ghosts. All of them, Miss Fairfield and Miss Kearney say, have heard the manifestations that occur frequently in and about the old place, and none of them has been able to give a reasonable explanation of them.
“These are the facts,” said Miss Fairfield to a reporter who visited the old house yesterday. You may draw whatever you wish. I have no explanation to offer.
“We have owned this house and occupied it every summer since 1901. This is the first winter any of us have tried living here. We have lived here long enough to know the difference between the noises and creakings of an old house and the sounds that we all have heard.
“When we first came here, and until this year, there was a fence in front of the house, with a gate, from which the same board walk that you see there now led up to the veranda on the side of the house. At that time the door principally used was where the east window of the living room is now. We had it made into a window and a new door placed in remodeling the house.
“I do not remember now who noticed it first, but very soon after we came here we had all heard the sound of some one opening and closing the gate, heavy footsteps along the board walk and the veranda and stopping when, by the sound, the visitor was directly in front of the door. Without trying to tell what others heard, I will speak only of my own observations. I have heard that same noise many times. The first time I heard it I said to myself, “Why doesn’t that man rap at the door?” I went to the door and opened it and – there was nobody in sight.
Ignores Footsteps Now
“Again and again I have heard the same sound – so many times that I cannot give an estimate of their number. On many of these occasions I have gone to the door and opened it, only to find nobody there. More lately I have paid no attention to it, knowing that if it is anybody that wants to get in he will knock.
“When my friend, Miss Peterson, came out here for the summer we were sitting in the living room one afternoon, when I heard the same sound of the click of the gate, the footsteps on the board walk and the veranda stopping in front of the door. Miss Peterson looked up and said: “There is somebody at the door.” I explained that it was only our ‘ghost’, and she went to the door to see for herself, so plainly did she hear the sound.
“Mr. and Mrs. Viertel, my sister, Mrs. Redner, Miss Kearney and Miss Mitchell have all heard the same sound a great many times.
“What is most remarkable about the whole affair is the fact that, although the door was moved this year, the footsteps still end at the place where the door used to be.
“None of us has ever heard the footsteps at night. They are always in the daytime and usually after 4 o’clock in the afternoon, but never after dark.
“At night, however, we have another phenomenon that is to me even more strange than the footsteps. That is the sound of voices in the lower part of the house. None of us has ever been able to distinguish an intelligible word, but the sound as of two persons carrying on a conversation in low tones has been heard. I think, by everyone who has slept in the house for any length of time. We have got so used to the voices now that we do not mind them, but when we first heard them my sister and I frequently got up and searched the house with candles to see if there was anybody there.
“Once in a while it still occurs that the voices become so loud, I am sure there is someone in the house and make a search. Frequently, too, the voices seem to come from the direction of the barn, and we have taken lanterns out there and looked around, without finding anything.
Voices in Different Rooms
“These voices are never heard on the upper floor, nor do they ever seem to be in the same room one is in on the ground floor. The wind has nothing to do with these sounds, as we hear them on perfectly still nights as often as when there is a wind blowing.
“Now, as to our theory of the origin of these sounds – we have none. None of us is a believer in any kind of supernatural manifestations. As we have been unable to find any natural explanation of these phenomena, we simply do not try to explain them. I have thought that possibly the voices might result from sound vibrations stored through the years as in a phonograph, but that seems rather far fetched, doesn’t it? There are traditions of Tory plots hatched in this old house in revolutionary days, and one might imagine the old walls – we have scraped off nine layers of wallpaper – had held their secrets until now. I do not put that forward as an explanation, merely as a fancy.”
Miss Margaret B. Kearney, an attractive young woman of eighteen, who has lived with Miss Fairfield in the old house for six years, told the reporter that she too had frequently heard all the sounds spoken of.
“I have heard the click of the gate and the footsteps on the board walk and the veranda many times,” said Miss Kearney. “ I have gone to the door to admit the supposed visitor and found nobody there. It is all just as Miss Fairfield says. The voices sound very loud sometimes at night, but none of us is nervous and we do not mind them.”
“Another thing that we noticed at times,” added Miss Fairfield, “is the apparent ticking of a clock in the night in a part of the house where there is no clock. This is accounted for, however, by some of our friends as the gnawing of an insect, one of the borers, in the old beams, and I supposed that is the real explanation of that.”
Among the inhabitants of the village of Terryville the “ghost” stories are received with varying degrees of credulity. Postmaster Higgins, when asked what he thought of them said: “it’s all a pack of darn lies, in my opinion,” adding as an afterthought: “Of course, I don’t know what the ladies up at Fenn place may have heard, but these yarns that are going around the village are foolish gossip. E. Leroy Pond, one of the leading lawyers of the county, said:
“The village people certainly are very much excited over the ghost stories, and some of them think that not only Town Hill, but the whole village is full of ghosts. Everyone is raking up all the old ghost stories he ever heard and giving them a local application. It is certain there are not so many persons out at night as there used to be, and those that do come out usually carry lanterns:
E. T. Conroy, who is connected with the Eagle Lock company’s works, the principal industry of the village is certainly excited about them, and the lock company is losing money by its hands spending their time gossiping about spooks instead of working.