A Ghost Report from the Pickens Sentinel on February 4, 1886

Spectral EditionThere’s a rotting cottage on the outskirts of Wabash, Indiana. Its decaying door hangs open.

At least two people passing by at night have seen a figure, dressed in black over white, standing in that doorway. The first witness thought it was male. The second saw a female . . . floating in the air.

1886-02-04 p4 Pickens Sentinel [South Carolina]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 New Era on February 10, 1910

Spectral EditionThe windows of a haunted clubhouse won’t stay closed — even if they’re locked.

There’s a creepy light at night, too.

One theory is that it’s the ghost of a man wanting to retrieve a 10-dollar bet he had made just before being shot to death.

1910-02-10 p2 The New Era [Davenport, Oklahoma]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 Manning Times on February 15, 1888

Spectral EditionThe little Holler girl can’t live anywhere without a rain of stones falling inside the house.

This is not a haunted house. It’s a haunted child.

Several witnesses corroborate the poltergeist-like phenomenon.

1888-02-15 p1 Manning Times [South Carolina]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 Hunter Exemplar: Antoinette du Ligier de la Garde Deshoulières

Unearthing the UnearthlyAntoinette du Ligier de la Garde Deshoulières (1638-1694), an important French poet and philosopher, appears to have been very interested in revealing the natural causes behind what seems to be supernatural or spiritual. At the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, John J. Conley explains that Deshoulières “employed verse to argue that natural causes can adequately explain such apparently spiritual phenomena as thought, volition, and love. In metaphysics, Deshoulières argues that the real is comprised of variations of matter and that material causation adequately explains observed changes in the real.” Deshoulières held that instinctual behavior explains human behavior much more than many of us like to admit, and that “[m]aterial organs, and not the occult powers of a spiritual soul, produce such human phenomena as thought and choice.”

Continue reading “A Ghost Hunter Exemplar: Antoinette du Ligier de la Garde Deshoulières”

A Ghost Report from The News and Herald on December 30, 1879

Spectral EditionMr. Searles transports mail between Milford and Delaware Water Gap, Philadelphia. He claims he’s seen a ghost on his route. Repeatedly!

Some think it’s only someone in a sheet.

Others speculate it’s the spirit of John Goble, who had been murdered on that road fifty-two years earlier.

1879-12-30 p1 The News and Herald [Winnsboro, South Carolina]

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.

 

William Howitt and the Intriguing Haunting of Clamps-in-the-Wood

Ghostology 101a

When Charles Dickens wanted to locate a haunted house not too far from London, he contacted William Howitt (1792-1879). Apparently, Howitt was something of an expert on haunted places. I’ve run into his name a couple of times in my historical research. He’s the author of “The Haunted House in Charnwood Forest” (1850), which is listed on my bibliography The Legacy of Ghost Hunter Fiction. He also did some follow-up investigation into the haunting at Willington, a case I discuss in an earlier Ghostology 101 post.

This week, I came across a ghost hunt that Howitt appears to have initiated. He chronicles it in an 1862 article titled “Berg-Geister — Clamps-in-the-Wood.” The first part of this curious title means “mountain spirits” in German. The second part is the name of a farmhouse, one that that used to belong to a man named Clamps and that was in the woodlands near Thorpe in the East Midlands of England.

Continue reading “William Howitt and the Intriguing Haunting of Clamps-in-the-Wood”

A Ghost Report from the Washington Bee on December 13, 1902

Spectral EditionA woman lived in Dunkirk, New York.

She didn’t like to have guests in her house.

She died alone.

She still doesn’t like having people around.

1902-12-13 p6 The Washington Bee [Washington DC]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.

“Equal to All of the Ghosts”: Clark Ashton Smith’s Ghost Hunter Character

Unearthing the UnearthlySome writers of speculative fiction become best remembered for one, maybe two, of the many works they wrote. With Mary Shelley, it’s Frankenstein. With Bram Stoker, it’s Dracula. M.R. James: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. Shirley Jackson: “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House.

To be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to name even a single title of something written by Clark Ashton Smith before discovering his 1910 tale “The Ghost of Mohammed Din.” I knew his name as one of those pulp writers from the heyday of Weird Tales and Amazing Stories. Though I’m curious about this wave of speculative fiction, my tastes keep dragging me back to the Victorian and fin de siècle stuff.

Continue reading ““Equal to All of the Ghosts”: Clark Ashton Smith’s Ghost Hunter Character”

A Ghost Report from the Guthrie Daily Leader on April 19, 1896

Spectral Edition

Ella Myers, an Oklahoma prostitute, might have been the victim of a wrongful death.

Or the victim of a wrongful burial.

Did her ghost walk in hopes of conveying the truth?

1896-04-19-p1-guthrie-daily-leader-oklahoma

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 New Year, a New (Early) Occult Detective

Unearthing the Unearthly

“I’ll go with you cheerfully; and let me tell you, my dear sir, that I never jump at conclusions. I’ve seen and heard too many wonderful things myself — things which I cannot pretend to explain by any other theory than that of supernatural agency — to doubt that you may have had a similar experience.”

With these words of encouragement and faith, the unnamed doctor/narrator/occult detective in an 1874 short story titled “A Needle in a Bottle” agrees to investigate the mystery of haunted Thornapple Cottage. In some ways, the story is an unremarkable work. After all, it features a haunted house, a hidden treasure, a run-of-the-mill love plot, and even the clandestine machinations of a Catholic cleric. This last staple of Gothic fiction even feels a bit outdated for 1874 — think Matthew Lewis’s The Monk from 1796 though there’s a positive spin added here.

Continue reading “A New Year, a New (Early) Occult Detective”