"...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, May 14, 2014

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

The Hamilton, Ohio "Republican" published a ghost story with a rather delightful sequel on October 19, 1892:
At Hazelwood, a small village along the Cincinnati & Northern Narrow gauge railroad, resides Jerry Meyers, a prominent farmer, with his wife in a beautiful home.

Several months ago they took to live with them their niece, Miss Anna Avey, for many years a resident of Middletown.

A week ago last Sunday Miss Minnie Hendrickson, a daughter of Marshal Hendrickson, of that city, went to spend a week with Anna at her uncle's home. Last Thursday morning the aunt, Mrs. Meyers, left home for a two days' visit to friends at Lockland. On the following day the uncle also left home, leaving the girls alone.

And now comes a chain of strange circumstances which has thrown that whole community into a condition of the greatest excitement. Immediately after the uncle left home Friday, Anna devoted her time to the discharge of her domestic duties in the kitchen, and her visitor went into the parlor to while the time away by playing the piano.

In a short time Minnie came running to the kitchen in a state of great excitement, and asked Anna what kind of a trick she was playing on her. Anna protested her innocence when Minnie explained that somebody or something had been thumping the doors of the house and that they were being opened and shut. Both girls now becoming thoroughly excited started to leave the cause of the noises and movements.

They saw other doors open and shut, but were unable to see who or what did it. A lamp that had been sitting on the center table in the parlor was found on top of the upright piano. A chair was taken from a chamber and placed in the sitting room. As the girls ascended the cellar steps a poker was thrown after them. The girls becoming thoroughly frightened ran to their neighbors, Mrs. Poepke, for refuge and safety. She advised the girls to call two men who were working near by.

About noon the uncle returned home and was told the strange and supernatural happenings.

The old gentleman was mystified, but sat down and waited for future developments, while the girls started for the barn to gather eggs. As they were about to enter the barn a large bowlder [sp] was thrown and struck near the door, they ran screaming to the house and told their uncle what had happened. The old gentleman arose to get his hat, and found it was gone, and it could nowhere be found. The next morning the hat was found tucked away in the flour barrel. The girls then started to clear away the dinner table, and found that the coffeepot that had been left on the hearth of the stove was gone. On search being made the lid of the coffeepot was found back of the stove, and the coffeepot itself in the oven. While Anna was standing near the stove a large nail, which had been used to fasten the sitting room window, dropped from some invisible direction upon the hearth. The old gentleman ran out into the yard with his gun to apprehend the intruders, but they could nowhere be found. while he was out some missile was hurled as if from the inside of the house, and lodged between the glass and screened doors of the sitting room. Upon its being shown to the old gentleman he said it was a casting taken from his grindstone, which was at the barn.

The girls started to the barnyard to milk, accompanied by Johnny Werster. armed with a double-barreled shotgun. As they were returning, a bowlder the size of two fists was thrown in their direction, and fell near them, and was picked up by Werster, and taken to the house, and as they passed by a workshop, which stood in the yard, another large bowlder was hurled through the window. The men rushed into the adjoining field of corn, and fired their guns, and attempted in every way to uncover the retreat of the author of these mysterious depredations.

Another bowlder was hurled through the sittingroom window, tearing the inside curtains and falling on the floor.

The next day, the paper reported an unusual twist to the mystery:

The weird ghost story, which was published exclusively in the Republican last evening will, in all probability, result in the bringing of a suit for damages. Since the Meyers residence was the scene of such a display of the supernatural powers, the old gentleman has concluded that his niece, Miss Avey, and Miss Hendrickson have bewitched his house, and has since charged the girls with that very serious offense.

The young ladies claim that they had nothing to do with boulders, pokers, chairs and lamps flying through the air; that if they were in communion with any foreign spirit they were not aware of it. They further claim that they did not "jonah" the old man and are not able to account for the strange actions that occurred at his house last week. One of the young ladies said that she had oftentimes read about spiritualism, but took no stock in it, but that since her experience at Hazelwood she is of the firm opinion that spirits can cause lots of trouble if so inclined.

The young ladies were consulting with an attorney yesterday concerning the charges of Jerry Meyers and promise to make the old man hold his tongue or dance according to the law.

I have found no report on how this family feud--never mind the ghost--was resolved. Personally, I'd rather deal with "bowlder"-throwing goblins any day than lawyers.

[Note: The two articles go back and forth in spelling the farmer's name as "Myers" or "Meyers." I stuck with the latter for the sake of clarity.]


  1. Wonderful story! New to me and love how it ended up in court.

    1. Since I haven't found any more about the story, I assume the dispute never actually went to court, which is a pity. I would have loved to read about them subpoenaing a ghost.

  2. It sounds like an incident with a poltergeist. They are often associated with adolescents, especially girls. It's frustrating that these stories seldom have any follow-up articles. It sounds like my town's local newspaper...


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