A Ghost Report from the Red Cloud Chief on April 27, 1883

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_All kinds of houses can become haunted — even houses constructed by digging into the earth. This is exactly what happened on “Island No. 10,” not too far from Downs, Kansas.

At the site of a terrible murder there, families attempting to settle have experienced spectral manifestations. Upon investigation, multiple witnesses heard the ghostly echoes of a vow to kill.

1883-04-27-p1-red-cloud-chief-nebraska

This article appears in the “Haunted Houses with Backstories” 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.

 

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New Stuff at the New Brom Bones Books Website

Back - Brom Bones LogoThings are developing nicely over at my new Brom Bones Books website. I’ve got the Ghost Hunter Hall of Fame about how I want it — with portraits of the inductees and links to articles I’ve written about many of them. I’ve added a few inductees, too, and one Honorable Mention! It’s much easier to navigate all of this than the way I set things up here at The Merry Ghost Hunter.

I’ve transferred the Chronological Bibliography of Early Occult Detectives over from this site, too, and made some improvements. First, I split the very long list into two lists, one for the 1800s and one for the early 1900s. Second, I’ve tried to make it more phone-friendly in terms of its illustrations of occult detective characters. (The Legacy of Ghost Hunter Fiction bibliography is available there, too, but I’m still going to tweak that with portraits of many of the authors whose work is listed there.

I added a page filled with sample ghost reports, so that people curious about Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 can see what those articles originally looked like. I also offer a gallery of illustrations that — on rare occasion — went with some of those reports.

I don’t have much at the Brom Bones Books Youtube channel yet, but I’m working on adding more videos of me reading those Spectral Edition ghost reports. Here’s an example:

I probably won’t have the official “ribbon-cutting” for the Brom Bones Books site until I’m ready to re-release Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries, but there are still plenty of rooms and corridors for you to explore here. Have fun. Oh — and watch out for ghosts!

Ghost Reports from the Daily Dispatch on June 30, 1881, and the Minneapolis Journal on May 20, 1904

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_As I discuss in the Introduction of Spectral Edition, newspapers between 1865 and 1917 revealed that ghosts had become a widespread concern in ways other than reports on hauntings. The two articles below hint at how they did.

The first is about how a furniture sale drew a crowd by taking advantage of its coming from a house alleged to be haunted. The second is almost an advertisement for a haunted house, which the buyer hoped to turn into a lodge and banquet hall.

1881-06-30 p1 Daily Dispatch [Richmond, Virginia]

1904-05-20 p1 Minneapolis Journal [Minnesota]

These articles — and several more — are quoted in the Introduction of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. The remaining chapters offer transcriptions of entire ghost reports, 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., Amazon in the U.K., and Barnes & Noble.

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

Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “Houdini Slept Here”

the-v-files

In 1905, Harry Houdini was not quite the celebrity whose name would be recognized even in our own era. But he was well on his way. He had returned to the States from a European tour, one that catapulted his career far beyond the carnivals and crummy theaters he had worked in before he left. In fact, he was doing well enough to own two houses, one in Connecticut and a “mansion” in the Harlem borough of New York City. All of this is verifiable fact.

What can’t verified are Houdini’s extramartial affairs, his dalliances with women behind the back of his wife, Bess. There is speculation (which you can read about here) but no actual proof. The same might be said of Houdini’s 1905 meeting with ghost hunter Vera Van Slyke — or, at least, I haven’t been able to find any good evidence of it other than my great-grandaunt’s chronicle.

It seems the great escape artist needed assistance to artfully escape from a scandal that might’ve derailed his climb to stardom. He needed help disproving accusations being made by a former lover — from beyond the grave — through a Spiritualist medium. But he also wondered what Vera could do about a whispering ghost haunting his house in Harlem! Houdini knew that Vera was the perfect woman for the job, partly because of her experience at exposing fake Spiritualist mediums and partly because of her expertise at exorcising very real ghosts.

The chronicle of this complicated case, titled “Houdini Slept Here,” is this month’s FREE Vera Van Slyke ghostly mystery, and you’ll find links to in pdf, epub, and mobi/Kindle formats on the Complimentary Haunting page through April.

HandCuffHarryHoudini
Harry Houdini about the time that he hired Vera Van Slyke

A Ghost Report from the Bridgeport Evening Farmer on June 27, 1910

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When I began collecting ghost reports, I ignored the articles that came with natural explanations for the haunting. But as I found more and more of them, I changed my mind. Mistaking, say, an escaped zebra for a ghost was part of the “ghost craze” of the decades following the American Civil War.

Nonetheless, this headline seems at bit too exaggerated for me to include this report in the “Natural Explanations” chapter of Spectral Edition. Even if the cemetery caretaker had mistaken the runaway animal for a spirit, the mistake lasted only an instant.

1910-06-25 p1 Bridgeport Evening Farmer [Connecticut]

For the reasons noted above, this article did not “make the cut” for 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 Ghost Report from the Tacoma Times on August 19, 1913

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This article might have qualified for the “Haunted People” chapter in Spectral Edition. But it struck me as much more a psychological haunting than a supernatural one. There are a few similar — but I hope far more impressive — ones in the book.

But look at that headline below the ghost report! “BATHING SUIT ENDS IN DEATH”??? Now I’m tempted to go back and find that newspaper to read that article.

1913-08-19 p1 Tacoma Times [Washington]For the reasons noted above, this article did not “make the cut” for 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.

THE GREATEST LITERARY HOAX–er, uhm–DISCOVERY OF THE LAST SEVERAL DAYS: The Lost Limericks of Edgar Allan Poe Is Now Available

PoeLivesVersion 1:

Last summer, I was enjoying some alone time in a local bar, when a man named Bertram Lucius Zachery Bubb (a.k.a. B.L.Z. Bubb) sat beside me. He seemed to know things about me, such as my academic interest in American authors of the 1800s.

Long story short, he sold me a very old manuscript of what he said might be 100 limericks written by Edgar Allan Poe!

I probably shouldn’t have bought them. They were expensive. But if they were the lost limericks of Edgar Allan Poe, they would be a very important discovery in the world of literature. So, yeah, I bought them.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to prove or disprove who wrote them. Poe? Maybe. Someone who just really liked Poe? Possibly. Me? No, that’s ridiculous–I’m no poet.

Decide for yourself. The small volume–with my Introduction and footnotes–is now available for sale. Find it by clicking here.

Lost Limericks - Cover for promo

Version 2:

This has been something of a secret project that I’ve been working on for about five years. Every now and again, usually while sipping a beer, I’d scribble a limerick about something Edgar Allan Poe had written. Or about his life. Or about his literary criticism. Or what critics thought of him. A good many of the limericks are framed as ideas that Poe jotted down in limerick form but never developed any further. I call these the “dead-end ideas” limericks.

Astoundingly, I wrote 100 of these silly limericks. Well, many are silly. Some are spooky. Others are serious, if one can make a serious point with a limerick. I organized these all into a book, and it’s available now. You can find it at Amazon by clicking on the book cover above.

A Ghost Report from the Green-Mountain Freeman on June 1, 1854

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Here’s an oddity from my collection of ghost reports. First, it was published in 1854. It’s not the oldest I’ve found — that’s from 1844 — but it’s among the very few printed before the Civil War.

More interesting, though, is how the reporter fools readers into thinking this is an article on a real ghost at first. By the end, we see what’s really going on. It might have fit into the final chapter of Spectral Edition, which looks at ghostly encounters that are revealed to have some natural explanation. But it’s dated too early.

1854-06-01-p4 Green-Mountain Freeman [Montpelier, Vermont]

For the reasons noted above, this article did not “make the cut” for 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 Ghost Report from the St. Paul Daily Globe on February 17, 1893

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There are many, many ghost reports about haunted railroads in my collection, so many that I selected only the most interesting for the book version of Spectral Edition.

Here’s one I left out. The ghostly voice and backstory that might explain it are interesting, but there simply isn’t much here. In fact, the article ends with what seems like an over-reaction from the two railroad workers who were witnesses.

Maybe I’m wrong, but wouldn’t Dedman and Gavin want to investigate the haunting a bit more closely before being scared away?

1893-02-17 p7 St. Paul Daily Globe [Minnesota]

For the reasons noted above, this article did not “make the cut” for 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 Ghost Report from Indiana State Sentinel on April 18, 1894

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_As the book version of Spectral Edition makes clear, there was a bit of a ghost craze in the late 1800s and early 1900s (and I don’t think it was confined to the U.S.). This is reflected in this article, where no “solid” ghostly activity seems to occur. It’s probably just a guy in a graveyard, acting like a ghost.

That’s why this one didn’t make it into the book. As ghost reports go, it’s pretty disappointing. Except for the final chapter, “Natural Explanations,” the articles I chose to include in the book offer much better evidence that ghosts are real.

1894-04-18 p8 Indiana State Sentinel [Indianapolis]

For the reasons noted above, this article did not “make the cut” for 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.