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.

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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.

Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “An Unanchored Man”

the-v-files

In 1899, the muckraking journalist Vera Van Slyke debunked the Spiritualist medium Ludmila “Lucille” Prášilová at a mansion in Boston. In 1903, after the duo had become good friends, they returned to that mansion to rid it of ghosts. But that story is long enough to fill a book (hint hint).

Exhausted from that case, Vera and Lucille decide to relax on nearby Cape Cod. But it’s not long before they’re on the trail of ghosts again. The title of that investigation is “An Unanchored Man,” and it’s this month’s ghostly mystery.

“An Unanchored Man” is one of those chronicles that confuses me. While narrating the investigation, my great-grandaunt focuses on a retired sea captain named Henry Thorn Lord. He says he was on a ship called The Junior when the crew mutinied. This actually happened in 1857! This book recounts the mutiny, and this newspaper article specifies that Henry Thorn Lord was the ship’s second officer. Another verifiable fact related to the case is the pod of pilot whales (also called black-fish) beached on Cape Cod on 1902. But my ancestor also says the Cape Cod village where the ghost hunt took place is named Granger — and there is no Granger, Massachusetts. So how much truth is there in this tale?

While I can’t solve that mystery, Vera Van Slyke certainly solves the mystery of the invisible marauders that have started ransacking the old captain’s cottage each night. (Then again, not all of the witnesses agreed with her solution.)

You’ll find a link to “An Unanchored Man” in .pdf, .epub and .mobi/Kindle formats on the Complimentary Haunting page.

Blackfish

A Ghost Report from the Daily Capital Journal on April 21, 1910

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This article might have gone into Spectral Edition’s “Haunted Buildings Other than Houses” chapter or its “Haunted Grounds and Waters” chapter. After all, the ghosts linger around the rubble of a library after the earthquake that hit the Bay Area in 1906.

Other articles in the book give much greater detail of the manifestations of haunted libraries, though, so I left out this rather short one set at Sanford University. Still, you can see pictures of the damaged building here.

1910-04-21 p2 Daily Captial Journal [Salem, Oregon]

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 Morristown Gazette on March 31, 1875

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There’s a full chapter in Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 devoted to ghosts observed in buildings that aren’t haunted houses. There are churches and hotel rooms, office buildings and warehouses, schools and libraries — along with a fair number of jails and prisons.

Often the ghost is identified as a prisoner who was executed on the premises. Such is the case in this article about the spirit of murderer John Avery, who haunted a “calaboose” in New Jersey.

Were the prisoners who reported seeing and hearing the phantom simply playing a prank? If so, isn’t it odd that their description of the visitation all thoroughly agreed?

1875-03-31 p1 Morristown Gazette [Tennesee]

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 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.

Seriously? Edgar Allan Poe Wrote Limericks? Seriously?

PoeLivesIt might be a bit premature for me to tell this story. However, this weekend saw birthday celebrations for Edgar Allan Poe from Richmond, Virginia, all the way to Sydney, Australia (and I’m sure there were more elsewhere). So it seems fitting that I tell this story now.

Last summer, I was enjoying a beer and some alone time at a local bar. (No, we don’t call them “saloons” here in Oklahoma.) I was joined by a stranger, one wearing a heavy coat and hat — which is an odd thing to wear during an Oklahoma summer. I think the temperature was somewhere in the upper 90s. But he wasn’t sweating, so I guess he was just used to someplace very warm.

Taking the stool next to mine, the gentlemen introduced himself as “Barton Lawrence Zachery Bubb.” He spelled that last name for me. Instead of commenting on the heat, Mr. Bubb asked if I knew anything about literature — specifically, American literature of the 1800s. That was a warning sign because, yeah, I teach exactly that subject at this town’s university. But I wanted to see where this was heading, so I told him that indeed I do know one or two things about American literature of the 1800s.

That’s when Mr. Bubb retrieved a wooden box he had placed on the far stool and slid it towards me. He let me look inside, cautioning me to take care with the yellowed, curling pages within. I saw right away that it was a handwritten manuscript of short poems. Five lines a piece. An a-a-b-b-a rhyme scheme with the “b” lines shorter than the others. That distinctive “There once was a man from Nantucket” rhythm, which I’ve since learned is called amphibrachic.

Sample Poe Limerick“Are all of them limericks?” I ventured.

“100 limericks,” said the man. “Exactly 100.” He looked around the bar a moment before lowering his voice. “But not just limericks, my friend. These are the lost limericks—of Edgar Allan Poe.”

To be sure, I was skeptical. Perhaps not skeptical enough, though, because after another beer or two, I wound up purchasing that collection of limericks at a considerable cost. No, I wasn’t convinced then and there that they had been penned by Edgar Allan Poe. Instead, my thinking was: what if I can find proof that they actually had been penned by Edgar Allan Poe? That just might be a literature professor’s ticket out of Oklahoma.

Another warning sign appeared when Barton Lawrence Zachery Bubb lifted a contract out of that heavy coat to ensure that I would pay for the manuscript in a timely fashion. It wasn’t the contract itself that worried me. It was his signature. In my mind’s eye, I realized that his initials are this:

B.L.Z. Bubb.

It has a devilish ring to it, no?

As it turns out, I’ve never been able to determine if the limericks were actually written by Poe himself. All I know is that they deal with Poe’s works, his life, and other subjects that might have been of interest to the great author. This uncertainty of authorship isn’t preventing me from publishing the collection — I’ll let readers decide for themselves. Watch for The Lost Limericks of Edgar Allan Poe to be published by Brom Bones Books in just a few months.

In fact, the official release date will be April 1, 2018.

A Ghost Report from the Madison Journal on March 28, 1914

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_By 1914, newspapers were moving away from hand-drawn illustrations and toward photographs. Ghost reports with illustrations had been rare all along, but I managed to include one for each chapter in the paperback version of Spectral Edition.

Here’s an example of one of the latest illustrated articles I found. It concerns two boys in Arizona who encounter the ghost of a man who mistakenly thought he could outwit a bear.

1914-03-28 p7 Madison Journal [Tallulah, Louisianna]

 

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.

A Ghost Report from the New Enterprise on September 26, 1901

51W+qO+32TL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I put the dates 1865-1917 on the Spectral Edition project because this span of years exhibited a wave of open-mindedness about the reality of ghosts. This view could have a significant impact, too, as shown by the Indiana community discussed in the article below.

Students stopped coming to school on the belief that their schoolhouse was haunted by Amer Green, a murderer who had been lynched on the campus. The ghostly manifestations were confirmed by the teachers. The end result was that the schoolhouse was demolished — and a new one erected in a different location.

1901-09-26 p6 The New Enterprise [Madison, Florida]

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 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.

Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “A Burden that Burns”

the-v-filesThe year was 1902. The great ghost hunter Vera Van Slyke found herself a bit bored. She decided to run an advertisement in newspapers across the U.S., offering “Help for the Haunted.”

Before long, she and her assistant were in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. (That spelling of Pittsburgh is historically accurate for 1902, by the way.) They had been hired — at considerable recompense — to solve a mystery involving a series of fires that was preventing millionaire J. Horace Ritchie from building his telephone factory. These fires appeared to spring from no visible hand, and Vera discovered that they had a history much longer than Mr. Ritchie would have imagined.

Continue reading “Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “A Burden that Burns””

That Year-End Look Back and Look Forward Thing that People Do

Back - Brom Bones LogoIt’s that time when one looks back at what was accomplished over the year ending and then meditatively places a finger to one’s chin while turning to plans for the year coming.

Certainly the most noteworthy of my accomplishments of 2017 was finishing Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports in U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. I recently recorded an interview about this book with Patrick Keller from his Big Séance podcast, and you can listen to that here.

Continue reading “That Year-End Look Back and Look Forward Thing that People Do”