Posts Tagged ‘Ghosts’

Fire Ghost on a Pole

November 16, 2011

Image from Vintage Coleman Lanterns


The Iowa Sensational Ball of Fire Mystery Solved.

IOWA FALLS, Ia., Feb. 25. — The “fire ghost” mystery has been solved. George Blake, on whose farm the strange light first made its appearance, has written a confession to the editor of the Ackley Phonograph, acknowledging the perpetration of a bugaboo on the people of his neighborhood that attracted attention throughout this entire section.

The light, when first seen, was carried by a hired man, who was out in the field after dark, and the appearance of a light in an unfrequented place at such a time excited the beholders, and it at once became the talk of the neighborhood.

Blake saw a chance to have some fun and carried out the plan by fastening a lantern to a pole, which was manipulated at the pleasure of the supes behind the scenes.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Feb 26, 1895


October 30, 2011

Image from The Dead End Hayride website

A Hallowe’en party was fired into in a cornfield at Newark, New Jersey, by a farmer, and a seventeen-year-old boy was killed. The farmer gave himself up and is nearly crazy. The party frightened him.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Nov 19, 1898

I heard of some musical mice the other day that had so “hoodooed” a cottage that the people living near moved away and told wondrous uncanny stories of the pretty little house. It was the country home of some wealthy San Francisco people. Soon after their return to their city home for the winter a couple of years ago, their sixteen-year-old daughter died.

Then the neighbors commenced hearing all sorts of mysterious sounds. They even declared the spirit of the girl wandered through the house and then finally sat down to the piano and played some of the tunes she had loved in life. They could hear them distinctly and recognized the old songs. After a time the music ceased, but the restless spirit still continued to wander through the cottage and the same terrifying and ghostly sounds were heard. So much for imagination.

The following summer the family returned and threw wide the doors of the haunted cottage and let the sunshine in. Then the piano cover was lifted and the mystery was solved. Out scampered a score of mice. The piano was ruined. They took from it a number of nests of whole families of baby mice and an even one hundred pounds, actual weight, of maccaroni, vermacelli, rice, wheat, corn, potatoes, and scores of other things. The piano was crammed full. No wonder it gave forth no sound. The only mystery to the family about their haunted cottage was how in the world the mice managed to squeeze into the piano their family larder, having been so excellently provided for.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Nov 19, 1898

Spooks Take House; 8 Policemen Quail

Moans, Raps and Other Mysterious Noises Startle Bluecoats Who Stay in Haunted Cottage.

Gary, Ind., Jan. 18. Eight policemen of this place are convinced, after having made a personal investigation, that a certain small cottage a mile from Toliston, near here, is the abiding place of a genuine ghost. The squad of officers came to this decision this morning after having spent a night of terror in the haunted house.

Moans, raps and other sounds continued in a mysterious manner throughout the night, the officers say. Until two months ago the house was vacant. Then a family moved in. Wails and sounds of a struggle have nightly disturbed the new tenants and they called upon the police to investigate.

Several years ago a farm hand committed suicide in the cottage.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Jan 18, 1909


BROOKFIELD, Mo. — A new variety of “ghost” was revealed at the Country club here when some-one screwed up enough courage to go into an unoccupied “haunted” cottage. Investigation proved that a woodpecker had been the cause of all the alarm. The bird had died of starvation but the evidence indicated he had fallen into the chimney and then worked his way into the stove thru the stove-pipe. After days of pecking he had worked his way out of the stove.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Aug 15, 1928

The Sibilant Swish of a Spit

July 7, 2010

A few random chewing tobacco themed articles and  CLIMAX Chewing Tobacco advertisements:


SCIENCE’S latest gift to humanity is chewing tobacco with the flavor of rum. It is the discovery of a Wisconsin University professor who is keeping the formula a secret, for one reason or another. Perhaps he is waiting for modification or repeal in order to play it safe.

In some circles this discovery comes at a most opportune time, particularly if the tobacco has the effects as well as the flavor and bouquet of rum. Think of the economy for the fellow who boasts both habits and whose depression ration is but one plug.

Tobacco growers are showing interest. For them it may spell new prosperity. Distillers and bootleggers have not yet talked for publication.

Middletown Times Herald (Middletown, New York) Jan 16, 1933


A Mixture of Them Nearly Cause a Loss of Life.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis., March 3 — W.C. Brink, who hails from Jump River, had a narrow escape from death. Brink went to drug store in this city and purchased a quantity of strychnine, which he deposited in his overcoat pocket, the same receptacle containing a package of fine cut chewing tobacco, going along North Barstow street.

Brink got hungry for the week and deposited a huge quid in his mouth. Shortly after he was seized with a death-like feeling and fearful pains, he staggered into Braensels restaurant, north side, and Dr. Parker was summoned. On the doctor’s arrival he saw at a glance that the man was suffering from poison, and he dosed him liberally with mustard water, using a gallon. In about an hour the man commenced to feel better, and was sent to the American hospital for further treatment.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 3, 1887

Two dromios of the senate are Murphy of New York and Smith of New Jersey. They are two of the biggest men in the senate, robust, round, well-fed statesmen, who are great friends, ans who love nothing better than an evening together at Chamberlin’s. But of late each has noticed that the other is getting too fat, and each has convinced his chum that something must be done about it. So they have organized themselves into a walking club and every morning, rain or shine, pace up to the capitol, a good mile and a half, and then down again after the session is over.

When they come sailing along the avenue arm in arm and both a little out of breath other pedestrians have to get out of the way.

Senator Murphy owns a race horse which bears the peculiar name of Hot Shot and it is reported on what appears to be good evidence that the animal possesses another peculiarity in that it is fond of chewing tobacco. At least, the senator says that the only way Hot Shot can be induced to run true is to hold a plug of Seal of the State of Connecticut before his eager eyes as the jocky climbs up and promising him the whole chew if he wins the race.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Dec 12, 1894



He Tells the Story of His Experience With the Shade of an Old Fellow Whose Wife Objected, and With Some Success, to the Tobacco Habit.

The man in the smoking compartment was chewing tobacco, and at intervals he spat at the cuspidor, with the sibilant swish incidental to tobacco chewing, and every time he did this a studious looking man in the corner started nervously and looked up from the book he was reading.

After half an hour or so the chewer, having finished his quid, went back into the car, and the reader looked at me, with an evident desire to say something.

“I don’t like that,” he remarked mildly.

“It’s a vile habit,” I assented at once.

“No; not that. It’s ghosts.”

“Ghosts?” I exclaimed, and I shot a quick glance at the cuspidor, the reader and the way to get out in case my traveling companion should prove to be crazy.

“Yes, ghosts,” he went on calmly enough. “Let me tell you about it. A little more than two years ago I rented a fine country house not far from New York at a low figure because it bore the reputation of being haunted and had not been occupied since its owner died, about two years before my advent. It was a handsome place, and when I had touched it up a bit, put half a dozen servants into it and invited some friends to spend the opening week with me it was anything but a ghostly place. When they had taken their departure, I settled down quietly to my work of writing and found an excellent place for it in the cozy library the late owner had fitted up for his special use.

“For the first few nights I did not work there until quite a late hour, and observed nothing out of the ordinary. As to the ghostly visitants, it seemed about the last place in the world a ghost accustomed to the disagreeable surroundings of a graveyard would care to frequent. Neither were there any ghostly indications in any other part of the house, nor did my servants notice anything to be alarmed at. One night, however, I went into the library about 8 o’clock and sat down at my desk, a new one I had set in the middle of the floor at a comfortable distance from the big open grate. I presume I had been at work 15 minutes when I heard just such a sound as that man made in here a while ago when he spat at that cuspidor. I looked up quickly, for I thought it was my hostler, who I knew used tobacco, but no one was visible. I resumed my work, and in two or three minutes I heard the sibilant swish again. This time it came from the direction of a big old armchair just in front of the fire, and I fancied the spitter might be occupying it and using the fireplace for a cuspidor. I really knew that could not be the case, but where did the sound come from? I waited again, watching the fire to see if it would give any response, but there was none, thought at intervals of two or three minutes the sounds came from the direction of the old chair.

“Once I got up and walked around the room and out into the adjoining rooms and hall, but nothing was visible. It was an audible ghost merely, and apparently not otherwise disposed to be active. I could see nothing or feel nothing, and there was none of the usual disagreeable concomitants of the ghostly visitants I had read about, such as cloudy presences, vague shadows, stifling atmosphere, and all that sort of thing — nothing, in fact, except that peculiar noise, which was really soothing in its effect, for I knew how much comfort a chewer could get out of his chew as he dreamily chewed before an open fire. At last I gave it up and went to my work again and paid no more attention to it until about 10 o’clock, when I observed that it stopped, and I was not disturbed further that night. The next day I kept my own counsel, and the next evening when I went to the library again, shortly after dinner, I sat down in the big chair to smoke. A few minutes later I heard that ghostly spit again, this time from the side of the fireplace, where an old sofa stood. Then I thought it was rather comical than otherwise, and I felt as if I were a visitor and the ghost was enjoying my company and his chew at the same time. In any event, when I sent back to my desk the sound seemed to come from the direction of the old chair again, and I proceeded with my work until 10 o’clock, when the noise ceased as before.

“Well, this peculiar ghostly visitation continued for nearly a year, varied now and again by two noises and sometimes by three, as if the tobacco chewing ghost had invited a few kindred spirits in and they were enjoying a quiet quid apiece. Sometimes I felt sure I would hear a laugh, or a voice or a chair shoved back, for the spitting was so extremely natural that it seemed impossible not to be accompanied by other evidences of a personal presence. But no such sounds ever manifested themselves, and as the time went by I began to grow more or less nervous. It was not fear exactly, for I had been sitting up of nights with that ghost for months, and our relationship had actually been more pleasant than not, and I am sure I would have felt lonely  not to have heard it as I worked, but there’s something in the air when ghosts are around that makes one’s nerves sensitive. I don’t know what it is, but any man will find it to be true if he ever has an opportunity to test it as I did. Finally I concluded to go to my landlord and make a few inquiries concerning my predecessor in the house.

“‘Queer old fellow,’ said the landlord in response to my inquiry as to what manner of man he was. ‘Queer old fellow. Lived here with his wife and servants; wife died, and he lived alone after that, as he had no children; wife was high tempered and painfully neat. He loved to chew tobacco, she wouldn’t let him chew in the house, so he built that room you use for a library. Used to chew there every night till 10 o’clock; always went to bed at that hour; sometimes he had a friend or two in with him who chewed; never did, though, while his wife was alive; she wouldn’t allow any dissipation of that kind. I guess he chewed himself to death; that’s what the doctors said. The servants found him one morning in his big chair dead, with a chew in his mouth. After he died the servants went away, and the house was put up for rent by the heirs. Somehow a story got going that the house was haunted, and nobody would live in it. That’s all bosh, though. No such things as ghosts nowadays. You’ve been there and know. You never saw anything, did you?’

“‘I’ve never seen a thing,’ I responded truthfully, for I hadn’t, and, much to his astonishment, I gave him notice that I would get out at the end of the year.
“It may be foolish on my part, for surely no ghost ever harmed me in its life, but somehow I can’t help feeling a bit nervous when I hear the sibilant swish of a spit.”

— W.J. Lampton in New York Sun.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Apr 4, 1896

Some time ago, says a writer in the Chicago Journal, I had occasion to speak about the gum-chewing habit of girls; a habit which, to my old-fogy notion, is just as bad as for a man to chew tobacco, and few people realize the extent of it unless they are somewhat observing. I wonder if this does not have something to do with spoiling many that would otherwise be beautiful rosebud mouths.

My attention has been recalled to the habit more or less lately — rather more than less — for it does seem to me that about three out of every four of the fair creatures whom you meet seem to be addicted to it.

No matter where you go, you see their jaws go like cows chewing their cuds — in the street cars, at the theatre, in the stores, at the library, and I am sorry to say that I have seen girls so far forget themselves as to actually chew gum in church. and I believe from what I have heard that the habit seems to acquire as firm a hold on its victims as tobacco chewing, and a good many of us know how hard it is to stop the latter.

A friend of mine had the misfortune, shall I say, to marry such a one, and he made an agreement with her that he would stop chewing tobacco if she would stop chewing gum. And who do you think was the first to break the agreement — the woman, of course.

Turn girls, turn, why will ye come,
To such an end from chewing gum?

The Daily Northwestern ( Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 10, 1888

F.W. Barber pleaded guilty of being drunk in municipal court this morning and a fine of $2 and costs or ten days in the work house was imposed.

When arrested a motley assortment of articles was found in his pockets. There were two kinds of smoking tobacco, two kinds of chewing tobacco, a bottle of liquor, about a dozen cigars, two pipes, a bag of licorice tablets, several flint arrow heads, letters, papers, two jack-knives, some figs, a handkerchief, gloves and a large quantity of cards and papers and some money.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Nov 23, 1899