A Ghost Report from the Charlevoix County Herald on November 13, 1915

Spectral Edition

The dimly seen ghost of a soldier stood on a particular block of Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans.

There were many, many witnesses.

But there were no answers as to why the apparition appeared when and where it did.

1915-11-13 p6 Charlevoix County Herald [East Jordan, Michigan]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1918. 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.

NOTE: I am very close to finishing the first chapter of a Spectral Edition book. Look for updates on my progress here at The Merry Ghost Hunter site and on my Facebook author page.

An American Ghost Gallery: The Punchbowl Ghost

Spectral Edition

In a book titled Legends of Old Honolulu (1915), Ka Hula O Na Aumakua describes that famous city’s Punchbowl region this way: “Punchbowl lies back of Honolulu. It is an extinct volcano. Inside the crater rim lies a basin whose sides are grass-covered, with groups of trees here and there. The little houses and small gardens of squatters show that there is no longer any fear of subterranean activity.”

The writer goes on to narrate one of the area’s legends. Long ago, Kakei, “the moi, or high high ruling chief of Oahu,” had proudly returned from plundering the village of Waimea on the island of Kauai. Surveying his ill-gotten riches and kidnapped women and children, the warrior decided a great feast was in order and its site should be Punchbowl Hill. However, as the celebration began, earthquakes cracked the earth’s crust. “The side of Punchbowl Hill opened and a flood of lava poured out, mixed with clouds of bursting masses of steam and foul gases.” The eruption threatened not just the feast but the lives of those attending. Amid the calamity, the spirits of the victims’ ancestors appeared “in a solemn and stately dance. Back and forth they moved to the rhythm of steady peals of bursting gasses. The clouds swayed to and fro, while ghosts moved back and forth among them.” The ghostly ancestors had come to rescue the kidnapped women and children. Not until Kakei made reparation to Waimea for his plundering did the earthquakes, lava flow, and spectral dancing cease. “It is said that the fire never again returned to that crater or to the island of Oahu.”

Continue reading “An American Ghost Gallery: The Punchbowl Ghost”

An American Ghost Gallery: The Brinkley College Ghost

Spectral Edition

In early March of 1871, news of a ghost haunting Memphis’s Brinkley Female College made headlines. The Avalanche and the Public Ledger reported that the ghost wandered and spoke, even mentioning that its name was Lizzie. More dramatically, the chatty phantom claimed to own the property on which the college had been built. The deed and other valuable items, declared the ghost, were buried beside a particular tree stump on campus.

All of this was said to a thirteen-year-old girl named Clara Robertson. Clara was the only witness to the ghostly proclamation, according to the Public Ledger, and her history of suffering from a nervous temperament cast some suspicions on her experience. Nonetheless, her story excited enough interest that a deep hole was dug by that stump. Curious onlookers had to be dispersed by the police. Disappointingly, nothing spectacular was unearthed. The reporter, though, shrewdly predicted, “The ghost of Lizzie is not yet at rest, and we look for further manifestations from this disembodied spirit.”

Continue reading “An American Ghost Gallery: The Brinkley College Ghost”

An American Ghost Gallery: The Newburyport Schoolhouse Ghost

Spectral Edition

At least two ghostly mysteries gained national attention in the early 1870s, when the U.S. was still feeling the trauma of the Civil War. One concerns a phantom that roamed Memphis’s Brinkley Female College in 1871. You can read about that here.

The other ghost was also drawn to a school, but this time, an elementary school in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The earliest report I’ve found so far was printed in late November, 1872. The writer of this article, which appeared in The New Orleans Republican, opens by listing the alleged manifestations: first rappings, then latches lifted, and finally a pale boy who appeared at a window and glided inside — but who vanished into nothingness when the teacher attempted to grab him. The writer ends by expressing not just skepticism but outrage at the seriousness given to the allegations, especially the investigation promised by a school committee. “Of course there is no ghost,” the reporter insists, “and no face of a deceased boy had been seen looking through the window, and no ghost has been grasped at by the teacher.”

Continue reading “An American Ghost Gallery: The Newburyport Schoolhouse Ghost”

An American Ghost Gallery: The Mapleton Ghost

Spectral Edition

Let me begin by stating that the ghost seen by rail passengers leaving Coney Island in August of 1894 proved to be a hoax. A very cruel hoax, too, given that it occurred in the spot where the body of suicide victim Margaret Barning had been found only days earlier. But it was this suicide that spurred people in and around Mapleton, New Jersey, to believe that what they saw was indeed the lingering spirit of a young woman who suffered a tragic death.

On Sunday, August 5th, 1894, Maggie Barning shot herself near the Mapleton railroad station. She was twenty-six years old. An article in New York’s The Evening World explains that her body hadn’t been identified until Wednesday. On Friday, according to The Sun, “scores of people on the Sea Beach train which left Coney Island at 1 o’clock” witnessed an apparition while passing the spot where Barning’s body had been found. A “tall and shadowylike” figure approached, “gesticulating as one would do trying to stop a train.” Blowing the whistle and applying the brakes didn’t stop the ghostly figure from continuing into a nearby woods, all the while moving its arms as if frantically bidding someone to follow.

Continue reading “An American Ghost Gallery: The Mapleton Ghost”

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

Spectral EditionOn August 13, 1887, Adam Volkavitch and Stanislas Bioski were seen together. The next day, Bioski was found with pistol wounds, lying on the train tracks. He died two days later.

Volkavitch was convicted of murder and then hanged in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on April 3, 1888.

But the man’s wandering spirit was said to linger in the prison.

1888-06-22 p2 Iola Register [Kansas]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1918. You can also hear me read the articles on The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts — or listen to previously released recordings here.

A Ghost Report from the Bisbee Daily Review on September 11, 1909

Spectral EditionA ghostly light has been appearing nightly in Northbridge, Massachusetts.

An assembly of 200 people witnessed the phenomenon, and many were terrified by it.

It was seen to vanish into a pond. Does the spirit of an undiscovered drowning victim seek help from the living?

1909-09-11 p3 Bisbee Daily Review [Arizonia]Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1918. You can also hear me read the articles on The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts — or listen to previously released recordings here.

A Ghost Report from the St. Paul Daily Globe on September 24, 1891

Spectral Edition

A Mississippi farmer is the victim of more than just a ghost out for revenge. This ghost is on a rampage.

Livestock and dogs are being killed, and the farmer himself was attacked in the dark.

His little daughter, though, can see the ghost — and she seems safe from it.

1891-09-24 p12 St. Paul Daily Globe [Minnesota]Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1918. You can also hear me read the articles on The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts — or listen to previously released recordings here.

A Ghost Report from the Los Angeles Herald on April 27, 1905

Spectral EditionDr. Joseph King is calling it quits.

He tried to stay in the haunted house. However, the sudden bangs and the ghostly singing — and the time “when he was aroused by a cold, clammy object being placed on his face” — proved to be too much.

1905-04-27 p1 Los Angeles Herald [California]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1918. You can also hear me read the articles on The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts — or listen to previously released recordings here.