An Idiot Ghost With Brass Buttons
(Philadelphia _Press_, June 16, 1889)
In a pretty but old-fashioned house in Stuyvesant square--ghosts like
squares, I think--is another ghost. This house stood empty for several
years, and about six years ago a gentleman, his wife and little daughter
moved in there, and while fitting up allowed the child to play about
the empty attic, which had apparently been arranged for a children's
playroom long ago. There was a fireplace and a large fireboard in front
When the house was about finished down stairs the mother began to pay
more attention to the little girl and tried to keep her down there with
her, but the child always stole away and went back up stairs again and
again, until finally the mother asked why she liked to go up there so
much. She replied that she liked to play with the funny little boy.
Investigation showed that it was utterly impossible for any person, man
or child, to get in that place or be concealed there, but the little
girl insisted and told her parents that he "went in there," pointing to
The parents were seriously concerned, believing that their daughter was
telling them an untruth, and threatened to punish her for it, but she
insisted so strongly that she saw and played with a "funny little boy,
with lots of brass buttons on his jacket," that they finally gave up
threatening and resolved to investigate.
The father, who is an old sea captain, found out that this house had
been occupied by an Englishman named Cowdery who had had three
children--two boys and a girl. One of the boys was an idiot. This idiot
was supposed to have fallen into the East River, as his cap was found
there, and he had always shown a liking for the river when his nurse
took him out. Soon after this Mr. Cowdery moved West.
This was enough for my friend's friend, who had the fireboard taken
down, and short work in the wall by the side of the chimney brought the
body of the unfortunate idiot boy. The back of his skull was crushed in.
He still had the dark blue jacket on, with four rows of buttons on the
front. The poor little bones were buried and the affair kept quiet, but
the captain left the house.
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