A Ghost Report from the McCook Tribune on January 25, 1907

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Is it Miles Fuller’s ghost terrorizing passengers who travel along the highway between Butte and Rocker, Montana? Fuller had been hanged for murder, and at least one witness says the specter looks like him.

But some evidence that suggests otherwise. Notably, there’s the female phantom accompanying the ghost. Fuller was not a man to keep such company.

Maybe death had changed his mind about women.

1907-01-25 p2 McCook Tribune [Nebraska]

This article appears in the “Haunted Roads” chapter of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday, I post another authentic ghost report here at the Merry Ghost Hunter.

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A Ghost Report from the Democratic Northwest and Henry County News on October 18, 1894

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_If asked to choose my favorite ghost report, this one would be a contender. (You can hear me read it by scrolling to the bottom of this page.)

It might be the “county borderline” setting. It might be the tragic tale of a spirit, who clings to the borderline between the living and the world beyond.

Whatever the reason, there’s a touching story in the fate of Lizzie Clark.

1894-10-18 p6 Democratic Northwest and Henry County News [Napoleon, Ohio]

This article appears in the “Haunted Grounds and Waters” chapter of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday, I post another authentic ghost report here at the Merry Ghost Hunter.

A Ghost Report from the Iola Register on June 22, 1888

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_One of the most interesting experiences of compiling the Spectral Edition book was doing research into the lives of those reported to have returned as ghosts. From murderers and their victims to a lighthouse keeper gone missing, sometimes the backstory is as fascinating as the ghost report.

Here’s one of my shortest footnotes: “Adam Volkavitch was hanged in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for the murder of Stanislaus Bioski.” It accompanies the ghost report below.

1888-06-22 p2 Iola Register [Kansas]

This article appears in the “Haunted Buildings Other than Houses” chapter of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available in paperback and Kindle format at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday, I post another authentic ghost report here at the Merry Ghost Hunter.

 

A Minor Gem: Julian Hawthorne’s “The House Behind the Trees”

Unearthing the UnearthlyJulian Hawthorne’s literary career never really got out of the shadow of the literary career of his revered father, Nathaniel. It’s tough to compete when one’s daddy wrote The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, after all. This is despite the son’s having written considerably more: “He out-published his father by a ratio of more than twenty-to-one,” says Gary Sharnhorst in a biography of the younger Hawthorne.

Sharnhorst also describes Julian as “a writer of modest talent . . . who tailored his tales to the demands of the market in the heyday of sensational fiction.” This is evident in “The House Behind the Trees,” a ghost hunter tale that is probably more interesting for the parentage of the author than for anything in the story itself. Continue reading “A Minor Gem: Julian Hawthorne’s “The House Behind the Trees””

Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “Skittering Holes”

the-v-filesHaving solved the mystery of the haunted Scepter Theater, Vera decided to spend some time with her friend Lucille in Chicago.

It’s there that they met an elderly immigrant, a man who had cared for Lucille during her worst times. He was a talented musician — and he’d been experiencing something odd in his third-floor tenement room.

When he played his oboe in harmony with a phonograph, iridescent, purple “halos” appeared in the dark. And these unnatural, dangerous circles appeared to be holes to another dimension!

Learn more about this man, the violet circles, and their connection to Vera’s emerging theory regarding guilt and ghosts in “Skittering Holes.” There’s a link to it in .pdf, .epub, and .mobi/Kindle formats on the Complimentary Haunting page.

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A Ghost Report from the Millheim Journal on April 24, 1879

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This report illustrates two things. First, it describes poltergeist activity occurring in Pennsylvania.

Second, it reveals the skeptical attitude toward ghosts that dominated the first half of the 1800s. This attitude never entirely disappeared as the decades went on, but such ghost reports became overshadowed by those that attribute their information to “reliable and substantial witnesses.”

In other words, U.S. newspapers became more open-minded about specters from the Great Beyond as time advanced.

1879-04-24 p3 Millheim Journal [Pennsylvania]

This article appears in the “Haunted Houses with Ghosts Unknown” chapter of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday at the Merry Ghost Hunter, I post another authentic ghost report.

 

A Phantasmagoria of Wonder: Violet Tweedale’s Ghost Hunting Life

Ghostology 101a

Ghosts I Have Seen (1919) is Violet Tweedale’s memoir of her psychic experiences, some of which involved ghost hunts she conducted. In fact, the very first chapter recounts the investigation she shared with her father of Scotland’s Broughton Hall, alleged to be haunted. Though Tweedale doesn’t mention how old she was, there’s something in her father’s encouraging to her to join him on a prowl around the Hall that suggest she was probably a teenager or close to it. After many disappointing visits to the Hall, a soundless apparition — a woman in white sleepwear — rushed toward and past them. Young Violet was bowled over with fear, but her father managed to chase the ghost a short distance before it vanished before him. More father-daughter ghost hunts were to follow.

Continue reading “A Phantasmagoria of Wonder: Violet Tweedale’s Ghost Hunting Life”

A Ghost Report from the Arizona Republican on September 16, 1893

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Telling ghost stories around the campfire is one thing. Seeing a ghost while camping is quite another.

But that’s what happened to five men from Burlington, Iowa. They were on a fishing trip on the Mississippi River, when the ghost of Robert Rankin appeared to them. Rankin’s phantom exhibited the grisly wounds of his murder.

1893-09-16 p1 Arizona Republican [Phoenix]

This article appears in the “Haunted Grounds and Waters” chapter of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Featuring close to 150 of the scariest, strangest, funniest, and most intriguing ghost reports from my collection of over 300, the book is available at Amazon in the U.S. or Amazon in the U.K.

Each Wednesday at the Merry Ghost Hunter, I post another authentic ghost report.

Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 is NOW AVAILABLE!

Spectral EditionI’m very happy to announce that the book version of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 is now available for sale in paperback at Amazon.

While it’s not yet available in ebook form, that’s my next task. This is not my first book, but it is my first self-published book. It’s been quite a learning experience — a “parade of decisions,” as I started to call it. (I considered blogging about the experience here, but part of the problem I ran into is an over-saturation of “how to self-publish” advice online and elsewhere. I’m glad that advice is available — it was very helpful — but there’s so much to consider!)

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

The book presents about 150 complete ghosts reports from the over 300 I’ve gathered over the years. It features the scariest, the oddest, the funniest, and the most intriguing of my collection.

I also include a well-researched Introduction, footnotes that I hope are useful and interesting, some of the rare newspaper illustrations I’ve unearthed, and an appendix that explores Memphis’s Brinkley Female College ghost with much greater depth that I was able to give it here at The Merry Ghost Hunter.

I hope you add Spectral Edition to your Halloween reading.

A Ghost Report from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser on December 6, 1901

Spectral EditionThe last chapter in the book version of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 features reports that provide a natural explanation for what had appeared to be a supernatural event. This report didn’t make it into that chapter because enough of them end with an animal of some kind being mistaken for a ghost.

Like this one, though, a number of the reports throughout the book mention of someone being driven to insanity by a ghostly encounter. I honestly don’t know what to think of these. Should we assume the reporters were exaggerating or outright fabricating the facts . . . or trust them?

1901-12-06 p3 Pacific Commercial Advertiser [Honolulu, Hawaii]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1917. You can hear me read many of the ghost reports here, readings first heard on episodes of The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts.

UPDATE: Today’s the day I’m scheduled to receive the hard copy “proof” of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. The stuff inside is well-checked, though, so I really only have to check how the cover looks — and hopefully I’ll give the go-ahead. After that, it’s not in my hands how quickly the book becomes available.