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Ghost Stories

The Story Of A Disappearance And An Appearance
The letters which I now publish were sent to me recen...

Door!"
As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there h...

Ash House And Smoke House
These two objects may, both for convenience and econo...

The Radiant Boy Of Corby Castle
The haunted room forms part of the old house, with...

Poultry Lawn
As poultry is an indispensable appendage to the farm,...

Ghosts In Connecticut
(N.Y. _Sun_, Sept. 1, 1885) "There is as much supers...

The Dwarf Hunters
The heavy summer in the South is particularly hard to...

An Apiary Or Bee-house
Every farmer should keep bees—provided he have pasturag...

The Dead Valley
I have a friend, Olof Ehrensvaerd, a Swede by birth, ...

The Withered Arm
THOMAS HARDY A Lorn Milkmaid It was an eighty-c...





Ghosts In Connecticut






(N.Y. _Sun_, Sept. 1, 1885)

"There is as much superstition in New-England to-day as there was in
those old times when they slashed Quakers and built bonfires for
witches." It was a New York man who gave expression to this rather
startling statement. He has been summering in Connecticut, and he avers
that his talk about native superstition is founded on close observation.
Perhaps it is; anyhow he regaled the _Times's_ correspondent with some
entertaining incidents which he claims establish the truth of his
somewhat astonishing theories.

Old Stratford, the whitewashed town between this place and Bridgeport,
made famous by mysterious "rappings" many years ago, and more recently
celebrated as the scene of poor Rose Clark Ambler's strange murder, is
much concerned over a house which the almost universal verdict
pronounces "haunted." The family of Elihu Osborn lives in this house,
and ghosts have been clambering through it lately in a wonderfully
promiscuous fashion. Two or three families were compelled to vacate the
premises before the Osborns, proud and skeptical, took possession of
them. Now the Osborns are hunting for a new home. Children of the family
have been awakened at midnight by visitors which persisted in shaking
them out of bed; Mrs. Osborn has been confronted with ghostly
spectacles, and through the halls and vacant rooms strange footsteps are
frequently heard when all the family are trying to sleep; sounds loud
enough to arouse every member of the household. Then the manifestations
sometimes change to moanings and groanings sufficiently vehement and
pitiful to distract all who hear them. Once upon a time, perhaps a dozen
years ago, Jonathan Riggs lived in this house, and as the local gossips
assert, Riggs caused the death of his wife by his brutal conduct and
then swallowed poison to end his own life. The anniversary of the
murderous month in the Riggs family has arrived and the manifestations
are so frequent and so lively that "the like has never been seen
before," as is affirmed by a veteran Stratford citizen. There is no
shadow of doubt in Stratford that the spirits of the Riggses are spryly
cavorting around their former abode.

Over at the Thimble Islands, off Stony Creek, is an acre or two of soil
piled high on a lot of rocks. The natives call it Frisbie Island. Not
more than a hundred yards off shore it contains a big bleak looking
house which was built about twenty years ago to serve as a Summer hotel
when Connecticut capitalists were deep in schemes to tempt New Yorkers
to this part of the Sound shore to spend their Summers. New Yorkers
declined to be tempted, and the old house is rapidly approaching decay.
It has recently assumed a peculiar interest for the residents of Stony
Creek. Midnight lights have suddenly appeared in all its windows at
frequent intervals, fitfully flashing up and down like the blaze in the
Long Island lighthouses. Ghosts! This is the universal verdict. Nobody
disputes it. Once or twice a hardy crew of local sailors have
volunteered to go out and investigate the mystery, but when the time for
the test has arrived, there somehow have always been reasons for
postponing the excursion. Cynical people profess to believe that
practical jokers are at the root of the manifestations, but such a
profane view is not widely entertained among the good people who have
their homes at Stony Creek.

Over near Middletown is a farmer named Edgar G. Stokes, a gentleman who
is said to have graduated with honor in a New England college more than
a quarter of a century ago. He enjoys, perhaps, the most notable bit of
superstition to be found anywhere in this country, in or out of
Connecticut. He owns the farm on which he lives, and it is valuable; not
quite so valuable though as it once was, for Mr. Stokes's eccentric
disposition has somewhat changed the usual tactics that farmers pursue
when they own fertile acres. The average man clears his soil of stones;
Mr. Stokes has been piling rocks all over his land. Little by little the
weakness--or philosophy--has grown upon him; and not only from every
part of Middlesex County, but from every part of this State he has been
accumulating wagonloads of pebbles and rocks. He seeks for no peculiar
stone either in shape, color, or quality. If they are stones that is
sufficient. And his theory is that stones have souls--souls, too, that
are not so sordid and earthly as the souls that animate humanity. They
are souls purified and exalted. In the rocks are the spirits of the
greatest men who have lived in past ages, developed by some divinity
until they have become worthy of their new abode. Napoleon Bonaparte's
soul inhabits a stone, so does Hannibal's, so does Caesar's, but poor
plebeian John Smith and William Jenkins, they never attained such
immortality.

Farmer Stokes has dumped his rocks with more or less reverence all along
his fields, and this by one name and that by another he knows and hails
them all. A choice galaxy of the distinguished lights of the old days
are in his possession, and just between the burly bits of granite at
the very threshold of his home is a smooth-faced crystal from the Rocky
Mountains. This stone has no soul yet. The rough, jagged rock on its
left is George Washington. The granite spar on the right is glorified
with the spirit of good Queen Bess. The smooth-faced crystal one of
these days is to know the bliss of swallowing up the spirit of good
Farmer Edgar Garton Stokes. It was not until recently that mystified
neighbors obtained the secret of the vast accumulation of rough stones
on the Stokes farm. Mr. Stokes has a family. They all seem to be
intelligent, practical business people. There may be a will contested in
Middletown one of these days.





Next: The Spook Of Diamond Island

Previous: Tom Cypher's Phantom Engine



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