Tuesday February 24, 2015
I made a comment the other day on our facebook page asking why it’s always a “woman in white” and declaring that when I come back I will be the “woman in plaid”. At least the woman in this week’s article hasthe distinction of being armless too!!
Fort Wayne Daily Gazette edition 7/23/1885
A Woman in White Discovered Rambling Armlessly on Clay Street – When Approached She Vanishes Into Thin Air – The Gazette Staff Investigate the Mystery
Amidst the mists and coldest frosts
With barest wrists and strongest boasts
He thrusts his fists against the posts
And still insists he see the ghosts
For some time people residing near the corner of Berry and Clay streets have witnessed the appearance of a strange spectre, which closely resembles a woman dressed in white.
Determined to unravel the mystery the city editor of the GAZETTE accompanied Mr. John Dougal, the telegraph editor, provided himself with a heavy cudgel and took position in the alley on Clay street running between Wayne and Berry streets. After snugly esconing themselves in their retreat the young men passed the time in reviewing all the ghost stories related them during their checkered careers. This had such a depressing effect upon the city editor that he insisted upon returning, but was restrained by the more valiant telegraph man.
At exactly 11:30 a white object clad in the scanty and somewhat spectral habiliments of night issued from the opposite alley, and set up a plaintive song. Firmly grasping his cudgel the brave telegraph editor, closely followed by the trembling “local,” advanced on the “spook,” which continued its sad refrain. Upon reaching the center of the street a halt was made, and while debating as to the best line of action, the spectre faded away.
Mr. Dougall, who was perfectly calm and self-possessed, insists that the ghost, for such it must have been, passed directly through the tight board fence. A careful search was made, but no footprints were left by the apparition to determine its sex.
Every night for several weeks parties have watched for his or her ghostship, and are seldom disappointed, as its visits to the spot are made nightly.
Tuesday February 10, 2015
I don’t know about you, but I think out of the seven types of spooks (I’m still struggling to understand how elves fit in this category) talked about in this week’s article the scariest would be the one that choked me, not the churchyard ghost, but this is also the man that said in an article 10 years later that ghosts appeared in soap bubbles.
The Inter Ocean edition 02/08/1903
ALL ABOUT GHOSTS BY A MAN WHO KNOWS THEM
Visiting in Chicago is a scientist and student of religion who believes in the existence of ghosts. He says he has seen them and conversed with them.
According to his statement, he was once haunted by the ghost of a dog. In London, he says, he met a ghost on the street. He has seen ghosts in graveyards, in haunted houses, and has even induced them to materialize before him. Upon on occasion he says a ghost tried to strangle him.
The man who makes these remarkable assertions is C.W. Leadbeater. He is one of the leaders of the International Theosophical society, and was a close friend of the late Mme. Blavatsky.
Mr. Leadbeater’s home is in London. He is in America for the purpose of lecturing on theosophy. In recent lectures delivered at the athenaeum, he has dwelt at considerable length upon the subject of spooks.
To a reporter for The Sunday Inter Ocean last week he made statements concerning his researches in the realm of spirits which he has never heretofore confided to anyone.
Seven Types of Ghosts
According to the English theosophist ghosts are classified in seven types. These are: Thought forms, elves, churchyard ghosts, astral impressions, double of living man, animal apparitions, and the genuine ghost.
“The astral impression is the most common kind of ghost,” Mr. Leadbeater said last week. “It may be either seen or heard. Visible, it may be the specter of a ship or train wreck, a holocaust, a destructive volcanic eruption, or any scene in which great stress of emotion has existed.
“The first ghost I ever encountered was an audible astral impression. I did not see it, but I well remember the fright it gave me at the time. It was on the lonely highway near London. I was tramping toward home one dismal, dreary midnight with the thought of the tragedies and crimes of the centuries of London’s history keying up my fear.
“When I reached a turn in the road I was startled by the sound of feet pattering on the roadway in the distance. I thought, ‘Here is a person suffering some great fright,’ and I shook like a leaf. The footfalls sounded louder and louder and were coming directly toward me. I fled to the roadside and stood by a tree. My heart seemed in my mouth. I ceased breathing. In a few seconds more the ghost fled directly over the spot where I was standing. One foot struck where my feet stood and I could hear the labored breathing of the invisible thing.
“I know now that some one, perhaps hundreds of years ago, had received a great fright in that place and the ghost traversed the exact route taken by the living man. Our spirits are always striving to return to every spot our bodies have carried them and sometimes do return while we are living. When they are liberated by death they return without restraint to the places where they have met either the greatest suffering or the greatest pleasure.
“There have been ghosts of wrecks in which every detail of the disaster was enacted by the specter. If it were not visible it would be audible. One passing lonely places hears strange cries. These are the audible ghosts and not mere figments of the imagination as some tell us.
“The genuine ghost is a thing that must be reckoned with in his haunt. He rarely appears to more than one person at a time. He has the power of speech, strength, the will to do good or evil, just as a living man has. He haunts the scene of his murder or of some wrong that has been done to him. But that is not always true. This real ghost more often appears when he is in great misery, and we do it a great wrong when we flee from it. It desires to offer aid or ask for it, or else it would not appear. I have talked and shaken hands with these ghosts and have learned more or less about their habits. They are not always visible, but sometimes appear as speaking spirits.
“I visit every haunted house I can locate, and on one occasion had a terrifying experience with an obstreperous spirit. This ghost had driven the family from the house and made life a terror in the vicinity. No one ever saw it, but the unearthly yells and its insane actions struck terror into the hearts of all who heard it. I did not fear it and went to the house. It was a lonely cottage, far from the other habitation. The environment was ‘spooky,’ the owls screeched and hooted in the trees, and the night was as black as Erebus.
“When I reached the door I pushed it open and stepped into the room. A chill struck me and I felt faintly sick, but I was resolved to stick out the night, to see or talk with the ghost. I sat by a window and waited. Ten minutes passed and I heard nothing. I felt reassured. I waited an hour and still no ghost came and I began to doubt the stories.
“I will never forget how long and fearful that hour seemed, although I was really not afraid, but I felt the chill again as midnight approached. At 12 o’clock the hush of deathly silence fell upon the room. I heard the faint rustling of a garment and an instant later felt two cold and clammy hands close upon my throat.
“I jumped from the seat and strove to free myself. I clutched at the hands, but they were material. The ghost was throttling me. I felt my breath going and I was heartsick. I fought around and around the room and all the time those clammy fingers held me in a viselike grip.
“I tried to cry out. My hands beat at the ghostly hands at my throat, and I was rapidly becoming exhausted. Every second seemed an age. I lived an eternity every minute, and yet I had no hope of being able to release myself. My whole frame shook like an aspen leaf, my temples throbbed, and my heart grew heavy as lead. Yet the only sound to break the unearthly stillness of the night was my own scuffling and gasping.
“This fight against an invisible spirit kept up until I reached the open door. With one terrific lunge I threw myself at the opening and carried myself and my ghostly adversary into the open air. As I passed through the door the fingers slipped from my throat. I had won the fight, but I never shall forget it nor be entirely able, I fear, to determine why I was attacked.
“I have always found most ghosts to be friendly. On several occasions I have met them at séances and have conversed with them. There is a great deal of humbug in séances, for often the ghost is no less a spirit man than the medium, a charlatan dressed in white. I had my doubts about the reality of a ghost I once saw, but proved without a shadow of a doubt its genuineness. This I did by having it materialize before me. The materialization of a specter is a physical fact, which I will explain later.
“When I asked that this particular ghost take his visible form before me I at once noticed on the floor the luminous patch about four feet in diameter. It gradually grew into a column of misty light until it stood seven feet tall. It quivered as if stirred by a gentle breeze, grew denser, and assumed the form of a human being. When the transformation was complete, I asked” “Are you a spirit?”
“I am a spirit,” answered the ghost as it put out one hand and clasped mine. Its fingers were as solid as mine, but were as cold as the grave. I pressed the specter’s hand as I would that of a friend and received a responsive pressure.
“What is the nature of the life you now lead?” I asked.
“The same as when I was alive,” answered the ghost.
“You are alive then in spirit form?” I asked.
“Just the same as when in the human body,” said the ghost in a voice gradually growing squeaky and unhumanlike.
I talked in this wise for more than two minutes, when the ghost bade me good-by and, with a shiver, vanished. Once I a saw a ghost that existed in visible form for four minutes and another that lasted for three minutes. They cannot retain their physical form for a longer period. The vibrations of light dissipate the tenuous body, hence the reason ghosts are seen in the dark.
“During my life I have seen two animal apparitions. They were as real as a human ghost. Once was the specter of my favorite dog I had owned. It appeared to me, and I recognized it just as if it were living. These mystic animals are drawn to men and are always endeavoring to take some visible form. I doubt not they follow their former masters about, and the reason they are not seen is because the man has not developed the senses of his own finer, etheric body that dwells within his body of flesh and bone.
“The other animal apparition I saw as that of a cat. The animal had been a pet in the family of a friend of mine, and I once beheld it as a ghost.
“The thought form is as truly a ghost as any one of the other six. It is visible, which is proof enough of its existence. The manner by which it makes its form is peculiar. I may desire greatly to be in some other place. My mind is striving to place me there, and in itself does project my other self to distance. This other self takes visible form, and there I am seen, not as a misty, white-robed specter, but as a living, breathing body.
“The elves, fairies, and pixies are seen only in lonely places. Like the ghost of a dead man they choose wild, unreal surroundings. A shepherd playing his reed pipe, a child lost in the woods, or, sometimes if they be in utmost sympathy, a pair of lovers will have visions of these little beings, which never existed in living form, but appear as spirits.
The Churchyard Apparition
“The most frightful of all the ghosts, the one about which more weird stories are told and which gives to death great horror, is the churchyard ghost. This ghost is harmless. It has neither a message to deliver nor a request to ask. It rises as a luminous vapor from the grave, hovers shivering above the mound, and then vanishes. Unknowing persons, seeing these things are horrified. For the instant they are pinned to the spot, and then have an uncontrollable impulse to flee. By that time the ghost has disappeared and could in no wise harm a person.
“It is merely the ethereal body of the dead person, and may or may not be endowed with the sense of the spirit. It is the fear of the sight of this ghost that hurries a man fleet-footed past a cemetery. This kind of a spirit could not chase a man nor do him bodily harm.
“A ghost is a fine hypnotist and can work upon any human being. In this way the specter sometimes makes us see by influencing our finer senses. It never seeks to harm a person by hypnotizing him. To understand all this we must understand just what the finer body is. We are dual creatures with two living bodies. Death lays aside the one, the other lasts. The dead are just as much alive as we are, but until we develop our psychic sense we cannot see them. When we do develop those finer sense we can see and talk with them. This amounts to a clairvoyance of the ideal kind, and even at the beginning of this great science enables us to see beyond the grave.
Specters as Hypnotists
“Ghosts take on material form by gathering to their spirit bodies the physical substances surrounding them. A ghost in great anxiety, such as the spirit of a miser worrying over his hoarded gold, or of a man who misplaced his will, is anxious to speak out, and in two ways he may make himself visible. One way is to produce materialization by this own will without human assistance, the other is to hypnotize a person and act upon his psychic sense.
“Dead men are very reasonable and listen to argument. They will not do a thing they are asked not to do. It is quite silly to be afraid of them, although I know by experience they may be obstreperous.
“Many ghosts may be compared to a phonographic record. They are simply repeating some intense action of life. These records are taken by any solid substance, a house, the ground, a tree, or anything of the kind. By a psychic person this record or impression can be recovered. This record materializes and reproduces the actions. Sounds are more often reproduced than sights, and we hear ghostly noises oftener than we see the object. This is because sigh vibrations travel swiftly and sound vibrations travel slowly. The former are not so easily stored up and therefore do not materialize so easily.
“It will not be many years until this new science will be as an open book. We are not at the beginning of it. Thousands of the brightest people in the land know the truth of what I am saying and all will know in time. The ghost story will come to be known as story of fact and the ghosts themselves will be able to do what they now so much want to do, that is, return and be known to us.
“I have seen ghosts, have talked with them and may do so at anytime. Their existence is an incontestable fact.”
Tuesday February 3, 2015
Being a genealogist, I had such high hopes for this week’s article, but I was tricked!! It is really nothing more than one big long (boring) advertisement for the Society for Psychical Research. I think the article next to it about tuning forks is more interesting but I have put my personal taste aside in case some of our readers find it informative!
Chicago Tribune edition 11/15/1891
A “CENSUS OF GHOSTS”
Review of Reviews for November: There is an unmistakable growth of interest in the strictly scientific investigation of the various kinds of psychical phenomena, which have heretofore seemed so mysterious and uncanny as to be the occasion of much superstitious dread and to be regarded as quite beyond the possibility of matter-of-fact scientific study. The existence of these phenomena is of course beyond the question. It is also a point no longer open for discussion that such matters are seriously worthy of investigation. Their study has been especially advanced by the work of the Society for Psychical Research, and by the development of “experimental psychology” as a field of scholarly and original inquiry. The Society for Psychical Research has its headquarters in England, but has an active branch in the United States. The President of the society is Prof. Henry Sidgwick of Cambridge University, and among its Vice-Presidents are Mr. Balfour, M.P.., the Bishop of Carlisle, the Bishop of Ripon, Prof. James of Harvard University, and Prof. Langley of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington. Many eminent names are found in its Council and among its members, prominent among which are those of Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Ruskin, Lord Tennyson, Frederick W.H. Myers, Prof. J.C. Adams, F.R.S., and Alfred Russell Wallace.
Certainly, the society’s inquisitions into the subject of hallucinations and the mysteries commonly denominated “ghosts” are carried on under the most eminent and respectable auspices. This work is likely to be stimulated and expedited in no small degree by the announcement in the English edition of the Review of Reviews that this periodical will, in an early forthcoming number, devote a considerable amount of space to the whole subject of apparitions and phantasms, narrating many new, curious, and well-authenticated instances. The English editor appeals to his hundreds of thousands of readers throughout the world to come to his assistance by forwarding to him as promptly as possible any instances which have come under their own experience or that of their friends or acquaintances. The American edition of the Review now extends to its readers a like invitation. Whatever material may be sent to this office will be immediately forwarded to England, where the extended article in question is now in process of preparation. The following comments accompany the original appeal for the statistics on hallucinations:
Ghosts and the Scientific Spirit
“Of course at this time of the day it is supremely unscientific not to believe in ghosts. Such incredulity is practically impossible to any one who admits that the unbroken testimony of mankind in all lands and at all times can possess any weight. There is more evidence to establish the reality of ghostly apparitions that there is to convict most of the murderers who are ever hanged; and while it is right and proper to regard every fresh tale of spectral wonder with a wholesome skepticism, the more skeptically you weigh the evidence, and the more rigorously you reject nine-tenths of the tales of the countryside, the more irresistibly you will be driven to the conclusion that the truth of what are called supernatural visitations is as well established as any fact whose occurrence is occasional and intermittent. To reject all the mass of testimony upon which this assertion rests, out of deference to a preconceived theory, is absolutely opposed to the scientific spirit, and is on all fours with the superstition which scouted the true theory of astronomy because it seemed at variance with the popular theory of the universe.
Wanted: Facts First, Theories Afterwards
“Taking it, therefore, as conclusively established that such apparitions do appear, we are still as far as ever from knowing the laws of their being. In the present condition of our fragmentary and imperfect knowledge of these shadowy and impalpable entities it is too soon to attempt to formulate any theory of ghosts. Theories of ghosts have done immense mischief. They are at this moment the chief obstacle in the way of the calm, scientific investigation of a mass of intensely interesting but very obscure phenomena, which of all others demand examination in the calm, clear light of impartial reason. Hence, the first duty of the inquirer is resolutely to put out of his head all questions as to theories and confine himself strictly and judicialty to the collection and observation of facts. Afterwards, when a sufficient number of facts are collected, collated, and compared, we shall have the foundation upon which to construct some working hypothesis which may pave the way to the discovery of the true theory of ghosts, the society has at least succeeded in establishing beyond all gainsaying – first, that apparitions really appear; and, secondly, that they are at least as often apparitions of persons living at a distance from the place where the apparition is observed as they are apparitions of those who have died.
Latent Possibilities in Man
“This discovery of the reality of what the society calls “Phantasms of the Living” opens up such a fascinating field of inquiry, fraught with such awe-inspiring suggestions as to the nature and latent possibilities of human beings, as to occasion some marvel that the subject has not become a universal topic of discussion and the speculation. For while there may be some degree of creepiness about all discussion concerning the ghosts of the dead, there can be no nervousness about the ghosts of the living. If Mr. Smith at Madars can be proved to have appeared in actual bodily shape before Mr. Jones in his counting house in Leadenhall street who can say to what development this latent capacity of the Ego may not attain if it is frankly recognized and intelligently cultivated? There may be here the clew to almost inconceivable triumphs of mind over matter, time, and space. These fitful apparitions may be to the development of the faculty to which they are due what the lifting of the kettle-lid, which set Watt a-thinking, was to the steam-engine. The fact can be no longer disputed by reasonable men. Let us, then, collect and observe facts which will help us to discover the law of the fact.
The Fear of the Supernatural
“It will be well at once to dismiss as misleading and confusing the term supernatural as applied to these apparitions. The savage who, when he first saw fire, declared that it was a god who bit those who touched it, constructed for himself a theory which was, of all others, most calculated to prevent his ascertaining the real nature of fire. It frightened him; and fear is one of the most disturbing influences that can affect the mind. It had a tendency to keep him at a distance and to excite in him that sentiment of veneration and awe which would have forever prevented the profanation of the use of a Lucifer. As there is nothing sacred to a sapper so there is nothing in the shape of phenomena that is sacred to the investigator in the sense of being tabooed as too holy for careful handling and vigilant examination. As long as men and women cannot rid themselves of the preconceived idea that any apparition is necessarily the spirit or soul of some defunct person, it is vain trying to get them to observe it coolly or examine it critically. Ghosts, like other things in this world, must bear looking at, and if they revisit the pale glimpses of the moon in these latter days they must take the chance of being subjected to all the methods of the scientific period.
An Appeal to the Reader
This being so, we want to help the Psychical Research Society in their most useful and suggestive inquiries, and to that end make an appeal to the half-million readers whose eyes will fall upon this page in all parts of the habitable world. Will you help those who are patiently accumulating and sifting evidence on this vast and abstruse subject, by taking the trouble to write out, and send in to me, with such verification as is possible in the shape of exact names, places, dates, and whatever confirmatory evidence there may be available, of any apparition known to you, which has not yet so far as you know, been recorded in the reports of the Psychical Research Society? In cases where the facts have been published, the reference to any accessible publication would suffice. But when the phenomena have never been recorded, it will be well to write it in full and send it in to the Review of Reviews.
How to Report a Ghost Story
For the guidance of those who may be willing to assist the work of the society by collecting and preparing evidence on such spontaneous phenomena as phantasm of the living and dead, disturbances in haunted houses, clairvoyance, previsions, and premonitions, the council of the Psychical Research Society offer the following suggestions:
- A written statement, dated and signed with the full name (not necessarily for publication) could be procured from the actual witness; or each of them, where more than one shared the experience. In the latter case it is important that where possible the several accounts should be written without previous consultation.
- Similar statements should be obtained from all persons in a position to give corroborative evidence, either as (a) having been present at the time of the experience or (b) as having been told of it shortly afterwards, or (c) as having been witness to any unusual effect produced on the percipient by the experiences. Where contemporary documentary evidence is in existence in the shape of letters, diaries, note books, etc., it is important that this should, at least, be referred to; and we should be grateful for an opportunity of seeing the actual documents.
- It is further requested that all dates and other details may be given as accurately as possible; and that where the experience relates to a death, the full name of the deceased may be given, together with that of the locality in which he died, in order that the occurrence of the death, as stated, may be independently verified.
- Lastly, in all cases where the percipient has experienced some unusual affection – such as a sensory hallucination, vivid dream, or marked emotion – he should be requested to state whether he has had any similar experience on any other occasion, whether coincidental or not.
Hallucination in this connection, it would be understood, signifies any impression made on the senses which was not due to any external physical cause.
The Census of Hallucinations
At the International Congress of Experimental Psychology, which met in Paris in 1889, it was resolved o collect as widely as possible answers to the following question: Have you ever, when believing yourself to be completely awake, had a vivid impression of seeing or being touched by a living or inanimate object, or hearing a voice; which impression, so far as you could discover, was not due to any external physical cause?
For the general purposes of the census, negative answers are required as much as affirmative ones, since one object is to ascertain approximately what proportion of persons have the experiences described. Another object is to obtain details as to the experiences, with a view to examining into their cause and meaning.
These experiences are what psychologists would call casual hallucinations of sane persons, but it is desired to include in the census phantasmal appearances which many people would deny to be hallucinations because they believe them to represent spiritual realties.
The inquiry in England has been intrusted to Prof. Sidgwick of Cambridge, who is anxious to obtain as many answers as possible before making his report to the next meeting of the congress; which will take place in London in August, 1892. He will be very glad if any one willing to assist him by putting the question to twenty-five friends and acquaintances will send him his or her name and address, when the necessary forms, with instructions to collectors, will be forwarded.
The census of hallucinations for the United States was placed in the hands of Prof. W. James of Harvard. The Secretary and Treasurer of the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research is Dr. Richard Hodgson, No. 5 Boylston street, Boston. The society is engaged in a useful and interesting work, and it deserves the respect and aid of an intelligent American public. Applications for membership should be made to Mr. Hodgson, from whom all information pertaining to the society to its inquiries, and to its valuable publications be obtained.