"...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, April 19, 2017

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

File this one under "Uncategorizable Odd." The "St. Louis Post-Dispatch," May 7, 1908:
This is the latest from Alton, home of the nature fake and of the freakish and unusual. The furniture in the locked home of H.B. Sparks, a wealthy resident, was disarranged during a heavy storm, and the only explanation possible, neighbors say, is that "spirits were at work."

Mr. Sparks and his family discredit the spirit theory, but they are unable to offer any other.

While the family slept during the thunderstorm Monday night the pictures in the parlor were turned to the wall, the piano was set in the middle of the floor, chairs were overturned, a marble statuette was faced about and the bookcases were emptied of their contents.

Every window and outside door was securely locked when examination was made Tuesday morning, according to members of the family.

Right in the middle of the parlor floor was a copy of Shakespeare's "Tempest," open at the first scene of the fourth act, where this significant quotation occurs: 
"Our revels now are ended. These, our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits
And are melted into thin air, like
The baseless fabric of the vision."

I like a poltergeist who appreciates literature.


  1. The spirits' use of Shakespeare was too incredible. But then, the town of Alton was credited by the newspaper as being "the home of the nature fake and of the freakish and unusual". Apparently, a reputation had already been established.

    1. For whatever reason, Alton was the favorite butt of jokes in the St. Louis PD. They were constantly printing weird news items from the place, with comments like, "Yes, it's Alton again!"

      You might say that Alton was the midwestern early 20th century Florida Man.


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