"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

via British Newspaper Archive

Last week's Link Dump included the story of "The Watcher," an anonymous figure sending eerily threatening letters to the new owners of a New Jersey mansion. The "Sunderland Echo" for July 23, 1949, carried the story of a similar, but arguably even more menacing, English case of harassment.

What is the truth behind the strange occurrences at 51 Nile Street. Sunderland? Who are the two "well-spoken men" who are said to lurk on the roof tops? What is the explanation of the "blood-stained shroud" which is supposed to have appeared and just as mysteriously disappeared?

For a month mysterious happenings have been terrifying 65-year-old Mrs Harriet Clark, tenant of the house in Nile Street.

She said to-day that "men wearing sandshoes climb to the windows and enter the house in the early hours of the morning."

She also said that she has handed over to the police a note she found sticking to an upstairs window. It was made of letters from newspaper headlines, and read "I Will Get You All."

Sitting in the second floor living room at 51 to-day, Mrs. Clark and relations told me their strange story (writes a Sunderland Echo reporter). Broken glass from a window which was "mysteriously broken” in the middle of the night lay on the window sill.

"It all began about a month ago." she said. "At about 1:30 a.m., we heard the back door creaking," said Mrs. Clark. "One of the family ran out and found the back-room light on, and the key from the door lying on the floor. There was no one there. Since then five windows have been broken during the night. My daughter Eva, aged 25, became so frightened that she rarely comes home during the day now. She spends the night at her sister's home.

I sit up with relations until 6 o'clock each morning—too scared to go to bed since a face appeared at the window behind my bed-head."

Mrs. Clark showed me marks on the windows of her kitchen which appear to have been made by burning cigarettes. They are about the height of a man's mouth from the wide window ledge outside, 20ft. from the ground.

She told me that about 10:30 last Thursday a mysterious parcel was found in an outhouse.

When we brought it in and opened it we found what looked a shroud embroidered with lilies. It bore marks which appeared to bloodstains.

“Unfortunately we wrapped it up and put it back in the outhouse and it disappeared by the time the police arrived."

"If it was a shroud. I can only that it must have been made for someone with plenty of money—it was so fancy."

Mr. William MacDonald (36), son-in-law of Mrs. Clark, spends most of his spare time at the house now, "waiting to try and catch these men.”

After one of the incidents he ran out and saw a man in sand-shoes climbing out of a window of an empty house next door.

"I chased this man and another as far as Tatham Street at about two o’clock in the morning. There I caught up with them, and one who was well spoken, turned and said they had only been taking lead from a roof.

"Then they knocked me down," he added.

"The police have been working hard since we reported the letters to them, but these people seem to know when the police are about. They did not come last night for instance."

Other people living at 51 Nile Street corroborated the details, and said that the intruders sometimes come twice in one night.

As police keep check, Mrs. Clark watches out from her windows on to the warren of narrow streets in the neighbourhood, sleeping by daylight.

A follow-up story appeared in the same newspaper two days later:

Miss Eva Clark, the 25-year-old Sunderland girl who is afraid to go home to her "haunted” home at 51 Nile Street had a threatening letter this morning and its contents were not ghostly. It is now in the hands of the police.

Her mother, 63-year-old Mrs Harriet Clark, who complains that strange things have been happening in the house for a month--including the discovery of a "blood-stained'' shroud--told a Sunderland Echo reporter to-day that the letter was written in such bad English that it marked the writer as uneducated. "People are wondering about the mystery of No. 51,” it read. "But there is no mystery about it. We have been watching you for some time and we are out to get you."

The letter was addressed to Miss Eva Clark, bore a Sunderland post mark and was franked at 5:30 yesterday.

Miss Clark, who now sleeps at the home of relations because she is afraid to go home, has not written to tell her 23-year-old Coldstream Guardsman fiance of the happenings at home. He is L. Cpl. Elliott of Seaham Harbour, now serving in Burma. The couple plan to marry when he returns from abroad before Christmas.

During the week-end dozens of sightseers stood outside the house. Strangers stood in groups in the front and back streets talking about the mystery.

"Three strangers called and offered to stay up all night in the house to try and help us," Mrs. Clark says. "We did not accept the offer.

"On Saturday night the sounds of footsteps across my ceiling returned again," she said.

Very oddly, this is the last I have been able to find about this story. As far as I know, the Clark family and their mysterious tormentors dropped from public view. This would seem to suggest either that the miscreants finally gave up their sadistic games, or it was discovered that someone in the Clark household engineered a hoax attack.

But what reason would anyone have to persecute the family in such a risky manner? And what would anyone in the household get out of staging these creepy visitations?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The First Great Shakespeare Skeptic

Practically all of us have our pet crotchets and theories. Usually, they remain nothing more than a hobby that keeps us entertained, even if it often bores those around us. Sometimes, however, they can take over our lives to the point where they become obsessions--even disturbing obsessions.

Once in a while, they can drive someone mad.

One of these thankfully rare examples of a person allowing a theory to gain control over them was Delia Bacon. Bacon was born in rural Ohio in 1811. Her father, an impoverished Congregationalist minister, relocated his family to Hartford, Connecticut before his death in 1817. Despite her family's lack of money, Delia received a good education in a private school run by Henry Ward Beecher's sister Catherine. (Miss Beecher recorded that she was impressed by her pupil's "fervid imagination" and "rare gifts of eloquence.") After she left school at the age of 14, Miss Bacon and an older sister made several efforts to start schools of their own, but without success.

In any case, Bacon's real dream was to become a professional writer. In 1831, she published a collection of short stories, "Tales of the Puritans," and the following year her story "Love's Martyr" won a writing contest sponsored by the Philadelphia "Saturday Courier." The judges praised her work for its "taste, genius, and feeling." Among the runners-up for the first prize was a then-unknown Baltimore writer named Edgar Allan Poe. (She later turned the story into a verse play, "The Bride of Fort Edward." Although Poe himself described it as containing "some richly imaginative thoughts, skillfully expressed," it did not find favor with the public.) Bacon also launched a career as a lecturer, speaking about literature and world history. The attractive, knowledgeable young woman's talks proved both critically and commercially popular. An admirer described her as "graceful and intellectual in appearance, eloquent in speech, marvelously wise, and full of inspiration, she looked and spoke the very muse of history."

Unfortunately, Bacon's personal life was not going as well as her increasingly promising professional career. She became romantically entangled with a Reverend Alexander MacWhorter. This relationship--apparently her first and last love affair--ended badly. She appears to have convinced herself that the young man--who was more than ten years her junior--would marry her, an idea he rejected incredulously. Delia's brother Leonard, outraged by the gossip his sister was attracting, had MacWhorter brought before his church on charges of "calumny, falsehood, and disgraceful conduct, as a man, a Christian, and especially as a candidate for the Christian ministry." At the resulting ecclesiastical trial, MacWhorter narrowly avoided being unfrocked. It did not help matters any when Bacon's friend Catherine Beecher, seeking to defend her, published "Truth Stranger Than Fiction," a thinly-disguised novel based on the scandal. Instead of helping Delia's cause, the book only drew additional attention to her unhappy love life. Bacon, deeply humiliated by the entire episode, disgustedly swore off men altogether.

It was perhaps this general sense of disillusionment that led her, at about this time, to develop a radical notion that would eventually consume her entire life. Her studies of literature gradually led her to entertain the idea--one that was at the time unprecedented heresy--that William Shakespeare was not--could not be!-- the author of the writings which bear his name. If he was the author, she mused, where are his original manuscripts? Why do we know so very little about him? Where did he get the erudition contained in these plays? Could such deeply philosophical works have been intended as mere popular stage fodder for the "unlettered masses?" The more she contemplated this startling notion, the more she succeeded in convincing herself that it was the truth. The man credited with writing some of the most renowned literature in history was, she decided, nothing but "a vulgar, illiterate...deerpoacher." His name, she argued, was used as a front for an underground group of Elizabethan geniuses, headed by Sir Francis Bacon, who really wrote the "Shakespeare" plays to promote their dangerously radical philosophies. She described Sir Francis and his supposed "collaborators" as a "little clique of disappointed and defeated politicians who undertook to head and organize popular opposition against the government, and were compelled to retreat from that enterprise.. .Driven from one field, they showed themselves in another. Driven from the open field, they fought in secret." The idea that the lowly, illiterate Shakespeare , "the Stratford poacher," wrote these transcendent works was, she proclaimed, "this great myth of the modern ages." "What infirmity of blindness is it, then, that we charge upon this 'god of our idolatry!' And what new race of Calibans are we, that we should be called upon to worship this monstrous incongruity--this Trinculo--this impersonated moral worthlessness?"

Although most of Bacon's family and friends scoffed at her new obsession, she managed to convince Ralph Waldo Emerson that she was on to something. An amateur Shakespeare scholar himself, Emerson reflected that what we know of Shakespeare depicts him as "a jovial actor and manager. I cannot marry this fact to his verse. Other admirable men have led lives in some sort of keeping with their thought, but this man in wide contrast." Emerson was so impressed with Miss Bacon and her novel thesis that he supplied her with letters of introduction to aid her in going to England to pursue her research. She made the journey to Shakespeare Country in 1853.

Delia Bacon had landed the chance of a lifetime. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by her own increasingly frail emotional stability. English contacts such as Thomas Carlyle, (who "shrieked" when he first heard her theory,) soon decided that she was less of a serious scholar and more of a deluded eccentric. Probably out of a subconscious fear of proving herself wrong, Bacon rejected the idea of authentic historical research, relying instead on her "intuition." Her proof, she asserted, did not come from dry historical archives, but from the internal evidence found in the plays themselves. Comforting as such daydreams may have been for her, it soon alienated her backers completely. Even Emerson, discouraged by her reluctance to find hard evidence for her beliefs, dropped her, although he remained intrigued by her insights.

Bacon was left stranded in England, friendless and penniless. She was undeterred. She holed herself up in the dingy little room she was renting in the home of a shoemaker and frantically worked on a book about the fraudulent Shakespeare, "the stupid, illiterate, third-rate play-actor."  She knew her work would eventually vindicate her and make all her present sufferings worthwhile. It was "too gross to be endured" that anyone would think this man had written these plays.

Instead, her combination of poverty and overwork made her dangerously ill. Her alarmed doctor wrote for help to the American consulate in Liverpool. He explained that this American lady was "in a very excited and unsatisfactory state, especially mentally." He feared that "she will become decidedly insane."

The consul--who happened to be another author from New England, Nathaniel Hawthorne--did what he could for his distressed countrywoman, and under the care he authorized, Bacon recovered enough to complete her magnum opus, which she titled "The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded." Hawthorne read her manuscript, and while he remained unconvinced of her theory, he thought enough of it to agree that it deserved to be made public. He penned a forward to the work and found an English publisher, Groombridge and Sons, that was willing to take it on. (Unbeknownst to Bacon, Hawthorne secretly promised the publishers that he would cover any losses on the book. This act of literary generosity wound up costing him £238.)

By this point, Bacon had become fixated on the idea of opening Shakespeare's grave. She asserted that she "knew" that tangible proof of her theory had been entombed with the impostor. She argued this case so forcefully that the vicar of the church where Shakespeare lay expressed himself as willing to grant her request. Again, her inner lack of self-confidence caused her to back down. Hawthorne later wrote, not unsympathetically, that "A doubt stole into her mind whether she might not have mistaken the depository and mode of concealment of those historic treasures. And after once admitting the doubt, she was afraid to hazard the shock of uplifting the stone and finding nothing. She examined the surface of the gravestone, and endeavored, without stirring it, to estimate whether it were of such thickness as to be capable of containing the archives of the Elizabethan club. She went over anew the proofs, the clues, the enigmas, the pregnant sentences, which she had discovered in Bacon's letters and elsewhere, and now was frightened to perceive that they did not point so definitely to Shakespeare's tomb as she had heretofore supposed." Her secret uncertainties over what had become her life's work--and a work so at variance with her Puritan upbringing--were literally driving her crazy. Her family back in Hartford, deeply concerned about her, implored her to come home, but she refused. "I can not come," she wrote flatly. She was too frightened to seek proof of her theory, but she was too frightened to let it go, either.

Her "Shakespeare Unfolded" came out in April of 1857. In nearly 700 pages of rambling, confusing, virtually unreadable prose, Bacon laid out her belief that the historical William Shakespeare could not have had the broad education displayed in "his" plays. The knowledge of law, court life, and foreign lands shown in these works, were, she declared, indubitably beyond the man whom she dismissed as "Lord Leicester's stableboy." Her cherished book was, sadly, an utter flop. When it was noticed at all, it was resoundingly mocked.

Having one's most cherished beliefs publicly scorned would be hard on anyone. For someone as fragile as Delia Bacon, it proved virtually fatal. Failure left her so mentally and emotionally shattered that she was placed in an asylum in a village outside Stratford. In 1858, a nephew brought her back to Hartford. At the time of her death only a year later, she had never fully recovered her reason. A brother recorded that she died "thankful to escape from tribulation and enter into rest."

She would have died much happier if she had known that her skepticism about the Bard of Avon would, in the years after her death, gain a remarkable popularity. Her writings gained such illustrious adherents as Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Walt Whitman, and Henry James. Although the "Baconian theory" itself is now largely out of vogue, the whole "Shakespeare authorship" debate is still alive and well.

Modern-day literary critic James Shapiro has asserted, "Had she limited her argument to these points ["collaborative authorship" of the plays] instead of conjoining it to an argument about how Shakespeare couldn't have written them, there is little doubt that, instead of being dismissed as a crank and a madwoman, she would be hailed today as the precursor of the New Historicists, and the first to argue that the plays anticipated the political upheavals England experienced in the mid-seventeenth century."

In other words, it could be argued that Delia Bacon was not an absurd fantasist, but a visionary scholar who tragically took a wrong path.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is brought to you by the League of Medieval Rocket Cats.

Who the hell was the Childers Claimant?

What the hell was a fetus doing with a 17th century bishop?

What the hell is this Canadian rock face?

Watch out for Harvard Medical Students!

Watch out for those jilted brides!

Watch out for Udder Snakes!

Watch out for Ohio Frog Folk!

Watch out for Gyre Carline!

One of the first tourists at the Waterloo battlefield.

The dog who became a detective.

The oldest known toy.  It's still darn cute, too.

A 17th century UFO battle.

The judicial murder of Eliza Fenning.  (My look at that sad case is here.)

The legend of Kitty Jay's grave.

A particularly weird story involving sinister letters and a million-dollar house.

It was hazardous to be the son of Peter the Great.  Especially if you were an ineffectual twerp.

Very bad things are happening in one Ohio town.

Knowing your Upper Servant Offices.

Lydia Pinkham, famed "woman's friend."

A rather delightful ghost in 18th century Cambridge.

A Cornish Horse God.

Identifying ancient bones.

Dysfunctional ancient Roman men?

Yes, we're still arguing over the Shroud of Turin.

Yes, we're still looking for Amelia Earhart.

John Pitcairn, a notable 18th century officer.

Exhuming Napoleon.

Did Stalin really have a breakdown in June 1941?


The two deaths of Raymond Stansel.

An unpublished early 19th century travel journal.

A famous entry in the Stupid Murder Sweepstakes.

Celebrating the second anniversary of Waterloo.

The history and mystery of the Major Oak.

Another Donald McCormick fraud.

Next time I complain about how much I hate wearing makeup, I have to remind myself that at least it's not crocodile dung.

House-training dogs through the ages.

The sad death of Margaret Thatcher, 1817.

The Restoration actress who unwittingly instigated a tragedy.

The Scarborough whirlwind, 1823.

Bigfoot is really growing up!

Worm charming.  Because it's just that kind of planet.

An experiment that showed how little we really know about sleep.

Schrödinger's Cat, RIP.

Midsummer Eve and the Black Death.

Was Richard Ivens guilty?

How to rebut your own death notice.

Examining the world's oldest dog.

And, finally, some dessert for your weekend: an ancient recipe for a tasty-sounding elderflower cheesecake.

We're done!  See you on Monday, when I'll be looking at the tragic tale of the woman who went up against William Shakespeare. In the meantime, here's Gillian Welch:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

You may recall that last week, I presented the story of a woman who was engaged to a ghost. I think I've managed to top that one. From the "Hartford Herald," March 13, 1901:

Milwaukee, Wis., Mch. 7.--Edith Wagner, of Waukesha, has been married by a rural Justice of the Peace near Binghampton, New York, to her maltese cat. Her family has just been advised of the extraordinary wedding.

Miss Wagoner is a believer in the transmigration of souls. Some years ago she was engaged to be married to a young man named Edward Hamlin but before the wedding day arrived, he died of typhoid fever. On his death-bed Hamlin told his sweetheart that he knew he was going to die, but that he would always be near her.

Not long after his death a fine maltese cat appeared at her home and remained there and Miss Wagoner was convinced that the soul of her lover dwelt in this feline. Some time ago she went to New York, and while in Binghampton decided to marry her pet.

She took out a license in due form, giving a name that served for the cat, but when she tried to arrange for the performance of the ceremony, difficulties were encountered. Several ministers positively refused to officiate, and she finally went into the country, where she succeeded in finding a Justice of the Peace, who performed some sort of a marriage rite.

Miss Wagoner's friends are trying to persuade her to return home.

Hey, scoff all you want, but I'll bet this turned out better than any of the other marriages I've covered on this blog.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Close Encounters of the Granger Taylor Kind

There are many people who long to make direct contact with extraterrestrials. Granger Taylor took this wish a step further: He longed to become an extraterrestrial.

What has made him a minor legendary figure in ufological circles is the fact that there are some who think he may have achieved his desire.

Taylor lived with his mother and stepfather, Grace and Jim Taylor, on a farm in Duncan, British Columbia. Granger was always something of a prodigy—“an eccentric genius” in the words of a friend. His particular talent lay in the field of mechanics. There seemed to be nothing he could not build or fix. When he was fourteen, he built from scratch a one-cylinder car. Three years later, he was overhauling bulldozers and locomotives. Eventually, he put together his own airplane. He dropped out of school in the eighth grade. He subsequently worked for a local mechanic, but soon quit the job. Thereafter, he followed a semi-reclusive life at home, dreaming his own peculiar dreams.

Those dreams soon centered on UFOs. Taylor became an obsessive student of the topic, ardently searching for some key that would unlock the mystery of alien sightings. He even built his own “flying saucer.” He would spend hours inside the contraption, brooding over the question of galaxy travel. Taylor had no doubt that extraterrestrial visitation was real. He just couldn’t figure out how the aliens did it.

In 1980, he told friends that he was finally on the road to success. He confided that one night while he was lying in his do-it-yourself UFO, aliens made telepathic communication with him. When he asked how their spaceships operated, all they would say was that “it was magnetic.” However, he added ecstatically, these space visitors promised to pick him up for a guided tour of the cosmos. They would give him a certain day and time when they would start.

No one knew what to make of this.  His friends reassured themselves that, no, he couldn’t possibly be telling the truth, but…as one of them later said, “He was such an unusual sort of guy.”

On November 28, 1980, he sat his stepfather down for a serious talk. He wanted Jim to know that he had been a great parent, and Granger was grateful for that. (His mother was vacationing in Hawaii—a fact that she would later bitterly regret.) The young man then wrote out what amounted to two wills, referring to himself only as “departed” rather than “deceased.”

The next day, he wrote out a note for his parents, saying, “I have gone away to walk aboard an alien spaceship, as reoccurring dreams assured a 42-month interstellar voyage to explore the vast universe, then return. I am leaving behind all my possessions to you as I will no longer require the use of any. Please use the instructions in my will as a guide to help.” The other side of the note contained a map of nearby Mount Waterloo.

And then thirty-two year old Granger Taylor, along with his truck, disappeared. The question of what happened to him has never been satisfactorily resolved. Six years after he vanished, a few human bone fragments and metal debris judged to be pieces of Granger’s truck were found scattered around a site about eight kilometers from his home. At that same time, it was revealed that some explosives Granger had (legally) owned were missing. A coroner’s jury made the assumption that these bone fragments were all that remained of the missing man, and ruled that he had blown himself up—why he would do such a thing, no one could say.

Mystery more-or-less solved? Was this “eccentric genius” merely a self-destructive lunatic? Not everyone is convinced. It has been pointed out that these minuscule remains were never indisputably identified as Taylor’s. There are people who like to think that he is still out there in the universe, having the road trip of his—or any other earthling’s—life.

Jim Taylor was one of them. In a newspaper article about the mystery (“Is Vanished Son Adrift in Space?” “Times-Colonist,” March 18, 1985) he is quoted as saying wistfully that he found it hard to believe his stepson is hitching a ride in a spaceship, “But if there is a flying object out there, he’s the one to find it.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekend Link Dump

Because black cats are always good luck.

Why the hell didn't the Norse settle North America?

What the hell are these cliffs on Mercury?

Where the hell was the Hanging Garden of Babylon?  Now we know?

What the hell were all those infant skeletons doing in an ancient Greek well?  Now we know?

Speaking of ancient Greeks, what the hell were these zombie skeletons?

What the hell happened to Adolf Hitler?  Some people are still wondering!

Where the hell is the Amber Room?  Many people are still wondering!

What the hell are those bright lights on Ceres?  Everyone is still wondering!

Watch out for the Black Dog of Bouley!

Watch out for the Lambton Worm!

Watch out for those home invading reptilian humanoids!

Anyone want some Zimbabwean currency?  Cheap?  Uh...real cheap?

An out-of-this-world gravestone.

An Irish sheep boy.

I find it oddly pleasing to learn that there are Sex Pistols conspiracy theories.

Remember that Anglo-Saxon brew that killed MRSA?  Here's a Viking drink to use as a chaser.

Click here to learn what the traffic rules were in 19th century London.  Ha-ha!  Fooled you!  There weren't any!

The wonders of the Waddesdon Bequest.

Summarizing Waterloo in 16 objects.

The actress who made her admirers scream.  Uh, not in a good way.

Goodyer Long's unfortunate romantic life.

Double the horror:  The twin Brighton Trunk Murders.

A Waterloo survivor writes home.

A vision of Waterloo.

A phony "Waterloo veteran."

The world's most glamorous Siamese twins.

Ghosts of bacon past.

That time UFOs crashed a sporting event.

Training your waist, 18th century style.

File this one under "Well, duh!"

Ireland's amazing Rock of Cashel.

I'll see your Loch Ness Monster and raise you one camel-horse.

The hidden secrets of a 15th century map.

This one was new to me:  "The Count of Monte Cristo" had a co-author.

Gladiator graffiti.

The lovely ghost of an early 20th century Romanian casino.

The wonderful horse paintings of George Stubbs.

A weirdly beautiful Welsh village.

It's raining vampire fish in Alaska.

Decoding medieval books.

Scientists are starting limb farms.

Buddha is now a hologram.

Is the world becoming less weird?

If you've been wondering how to say "rabbit pate" in Latin, here you go.

If you've been wondering how to have a Vestal Virgin hairstyle, you're in luck as well.

If you've been wondering how George Washington did his hair, oh boy is this your week.

If you've been wondering how to make ancient ice cream, prepare for your life to be filled with joy.

Some non-alien weirdness from Roswell.

In short, despite the fact that she was a queen of England, we know next to nothing about Anne Neville.

Quote of the week:  "I think someone would have said something if we suddenly found ourselves under nuclear attack."

Life in a Georgian-era workhouse.

The Devil's Footprints of Japan.

The year without a summer.

An early 19th century recipe for back pain.

And that's a wrap!  See you on Monday, when I'll look at the strange disappearance of a UFO enthusiast.  In the meantime, here's my favorite moment from my favorite opera.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Some months back, I related the story of a female spiritualist who was having an ardent adulterous love affair with a ghost. At the time, I thought it was a unique case.

Silly me.

From the "Boston Post," June 10, 1900:

St. Louis, June 9--For the first time in the history of the courts a ghost will appear as correspondent in a divorce suit next Tuesday.

The ghost is that of William J. Florence, who was one of the best actors who ever graced the boards. Mr. Florence, of course, in life was full of fun, a great practical joker. It may be that Mr. Florence's spirit has continued to play pranks. Charles L. Bates, an expert on diamonds in the largest jewelry store here, names the spiritual Mr. Florence as correspondent in his suit for divorce from his wife, Mrs. Lou E. Bates, who has herself brought a suit for divorce, in which she names as correspondent a "grass widow and Spiritualistic medium." But, it turns out, the grass widow is in the flesh. She is Miss Marion L. Wilson of El Paso, Tex., who once lived at the home of the Bateses here.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Bates are Spiritualists. To be authoritative one must quote from the sworn depositions in Mr. Bates's suit. Mrs. Mattie Brayelle swears:

"Mrs. Bates has often spoken to me of meeting the ghost of William J. Florence, the actor. She told me she made love to the spirit, and when I was dubious she informed me that though it was a spirit he was just as tangible as if he had been mortal and existed in the flesh.

"I am a Spiritualist myself and believe that a spirit can appear in human shape. Whenever it appears it can dominate the action of any person it dominates. Mrs. Bates also told me that her husband would die, that she had a premonition to that effect and named a date."

In her deposition Miss Marion Wilson states that she has gone to places of entertainment with Mr. Bates, but his wife was always with them, save on one occasion.

"Mr. Bates has often kissed me," swears Miss Wilson--"never at Spiritual manifestations. He always kissed me as he would his daughters. I was considered a member of the family. I went to their house at Mrs. Bates' request. I was so intimate with them that I called them 'Papa' and 'Mamma.' Our first meeting was at a Spiritual seance."

Mrs. Louise C. Patterson, a daughter of the Bateses, declares:

"Mamma never went to church. She spoke to me frequently of Mr. Florence's ghost, and told me that he would be her husband in the next world. Mother has frequently told me of visiting actors behind the scenes, and she was much taken up with all stage work.

"She secured me a position with the Effie Shannon company, which was playing at local theatres, and I also acted at her suggestion at other times, but always against father's will. I have seen father kiss Marion L. Wilson, but it was always done in the presence of mother and the rest of us. In fact, she was considered a member of the family."

Last December Mrs. Bates, with her son Charles, 11 years old, was at Mrs. Mary Gile's house, No. 694 Monroe street, Brooklyn. Mrs. Bates then exhibited a large revolver, saying she would shoot anyone who tried to kidnap her son. But no one tried.

Regrettably, the shade of Mr. Florence did not show up in the courtroom to testify on his own behalf. The Bateses did get their divorce, but I am in no position to say if Mrs. Bates did indeed remarry in the afterlife.

William J. Florence, ghostly adulterer