The Spook Of Diamond Island
(St. Louis _Globe-Democrat_, Sept. 18, 1888)
HARDEN, Ill., Sept. 18.--For some time past rumors have been circulated
in Hardin to the effect that Diamond Island, in the river about two
miles from this place, was the home of a ghost. The stories concerning
the movements of the alleged spook were, of course, not given any
credence at first, but later, when several reputable citizens of Hardin
announced that they had positively seen an uncanny looking object moving
about on the island at night, the rumors were more seriously considered.
Now, after investigation, the mysterious something is no longer
considered a myth.
Along toward midnight a peculiar light is seen at the foot of the
island. It has the appearance of a huge ball of fire, and is about the
size and shape of an ordinary barrel.
A few nights ago a party of young men from this place determined to
visit the island and fathom the mystery if possible. Equipped with
revolvers, knives, shotguns, and clubs, the party secured a boat and
were soon cutting through the water at a good speed for a point on the
island near where the specter usually made its appearance. Arriving at
the landing place, the skiff was hauled up on the shore and the young
men took up a position in a clump of trees close at hand to watch and
Suddenly the whole point of the island was illumined as a bright red
object rose apparently from the water and glided up into the air.
Ascending probably to a height of forty yards, the watchers saw the
lurid ball fade away. The investigating party had seen all they wanted.
They made a mad rush for the boat, but, just as they reached the place
where it had been left, they were horrified to see the little craft
moving out on the water from the island. At first its only occupant
seemed to be the red ball of fire, but the next moment the watchers saw
the crimson object gradually take the form of a man, and they saw him,
too, dip the oars at regular intervals and pull a long, steady stroke.
The man's features were fully concealed by a wide-rimmed slouch hat,
which was drawn over his face. A peculiar light illumined the boat and
the waters around it, making the craft and its mysterious occupant
perfectly discernible to the party on the shore, who stood paralyzed
with fear, unable to speak or move, their eyes riveted by some
mysterious influence they could not resist on the spectral object before
The boat was now about in midstream, and suddenly the group of watchers
saw the skiff's occupant change again into the crimson ball. Then it
slowly began to move upward, and when it was about parallel with the
tops of the trees on the island it disappeared. Next instant the
watchers looking across the river saw nothing but the flickering lights
The cries of the crowd on the island awakened a sleeping fisherman on
the opposite side of the river, and he kindly pulled across and rescued
the ghost-seeking youths. The fiery spook, it is said, still makes its
nightly trips to Diamond Island, but no more investigating parties have
ventured across to solve the mystery.
It is said that some years ago a foul murder was committed on this
island, and by the superstitious the crimson object is believed to be
the restless spirit of the slain man.
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