"...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, October 12, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

And here we have The Case of the Fortean Flower Pots. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch," December 28, 1896:

Mrs. Wm. Niedig of Belleville is a handsome young matron, buxom and high-spirited. She enjoys a good story and tells them herself in a way to convulse her listeners. She has a new one now. But she tells it in awed tones to only her most intimate friends, and they do not laugh.

It is a story of flower pots, not ordinary flower pots which sit demurely on the shelf and never say a word, but flower pots which make strange noises and dance about most unbecomingly. Mrs. Niedig is not superstitious, but flower pots that dance and hop about are not to her liking.

Mrs. Niedig has a very dear friend whose name until a few months ago was Mrs. Jennie Decker. She was a young and pretty widow with a literary bent, and she attracted the discriminating attention of Wm. T. Crouch, a photographer. Mr. Crouch has white hair and a patriarchal beard, but his cheeks are rosy and he is an inveterate punster. He is a prominent G. A. R. man, and belongs to most of the secret orders. He is also an excellent judge of female beauty. He proved this when he selected the attractive and intellectual Mrs. Decker for his third connubial companion. They were married and took a. trip to Chicago. Then they settled down in Belleville in the handsome and modern brick residence at Monroe street and Mascoutah avenue, which had been built by the second Mrs. Crouch. When the second Mrs. Crouch died about a year ago she left a will which occasioned much comment. She was possessed of considerable property, but she cut off her husband with a pittance. Mr. Crouch formally relinquished his rights under the will, and took instead what the law allowed him. which was much more than the bequest. She also gave detailed directions about the dimensions and cost of her tombstone and set aside a fund for keeping her grave green. One of her nieces was commissioned to perform the latter task. There were many other queer provisions, not all of which have been carried out. It is said that in life Mrs. Crouch No. 2 was credited with the ability to take care of herself and incidentally make it uncomfortable for those surrounding her. It is said "she had often threatened if things did not go to suit her after her death that she would return and give token of her displeasure in the usual way. She was very fond of flowers, and left behind her, when she went to heaven, a choice collection of beautiful flower pots. The widower did not share her love of posies, and after her death the pots were unceremoniously consigned to a dark corner of the cellar. His new wife appreciated the beauty of the pots, but it was perhaps only natural that she left them reposing in the cellar. A few days ago Mrs. Niedig called to see her friend. They were looking over the house and came to the cellar. Mrs. Niedig is also an enthusiastic floriculturist. She went into raptures over the beautiful pots. "Pick out half a dozen of them." said Mrs. Crouch, "and I will send them to your home." The pots were sent and Mrs. Niedig filled them with rare flowers and placed them on a broad window sill at her cosy home on East Main street and Douglas avenue. They had not been there long when they began to get prankish. Strange noises issued from them, Mrs. Niedig says, and they shifted about in a manner suggestive of spirit agency. Mrs. Niedig got nervous and kept a close watch on the uneasy pots.

Saturday she was sweeping at a far side of the room when the pots became restive. She stopped and looked up. As she did so the largest of the pots was hurled by unseen hands across the room. It crashed into fragments at her feet. Mrs. Niedig was entirely unnerved by the manifestation. She locked up the house and went down town. She found Mr. Crouch at the photograph gallery. He was as full of life as the flower pots and began to twit her about looking pale. She told him about the performance of the flower pots. He stopped joking and turned very pale himself. "If I were you." he said, very soberly and earnestly, "I would destroy those pots." Mrs. Niedig hurried back home. One by one she carried the pots into the back yard and dismantled them into small pieces. Then she breathed freely again and the color came back into her cheeks. Mrs. Niedig does not, as stated, believe in supernatural manifestations. She does not attempt to explain the phenomena which she witnessed, but she is very sure it all happened just as she says. She could not be induced now to accept anything which belonged to the lamented Mrs. Crouch.

If this is how Mrs. Crouch #2 felt about losing custody of flower pots she had once owned, one wonders what she had in store for the woman who appropriated her husband.

Just a thought.


  1. Mrs Niedig got off lucky, considering some of the punishment meted out by spirits in your stories.

    Oh, and I just saw the "god of Hallowe'en" on your sidebar. A naked, pumpkin-headed man holding a cat. Thanks for that... The cat looks decidedly uncomfortable, even if the pumpkin-headed man does not.

    1. If you think this blog is a chamber of horrors, you should see my Twitter feed.


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