"...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, January 15, 2020

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This tale of a ghost who, like Garbo, just wanted to be alone comes from the "Philadelphia Times,” May 16, 1897:
A most extraordinary case of "haunts" is reported from what Is known as "The Old Bailey House," located about two miles north of the village of Dunnville, in Casey county, Kentucky. If this house is not really haunted, and if it hasn't good cause for being visited by the departed spirits of troubled souls, the testimony of William Cravens and family and William Turner and family, all of whom have recently been forced to vacate the premises, is worthless, and along with their depositions must go the reputations for reliability of Captain Edward Pelley, merchant, and Thomas Chelf, tavern-keeper, of Dunnville, and James Shelton, coroner of Casey county. A signed statement from Pelley and Chelf will be found below.

The story of the Bailey house and the developments of the past month have aroused the deepest interest among the people in all the country around the ancient structure. The Bailey house is on the old state road between Somerset and Jamestown. The building is a very old one. The time of its erection is more remote than anything remembered by the oldest men in the neighborhood. It is said to have been a wayside inn many years ago when the State road was the main thoroughfare through that country into Tennessee. Before the region near Dunnville was as thickly populated as it is now the Bailey house was in a lonely place, just at the end of a deep and dark ravine, which winds between two giant spurs of the Green river mountains. The house had always borne a good reputation so far as its occupants were concerned, but at one time its early history either the Bailey house or one in its immediate vicinity was occupied by a gang of men who were known to be counterfeiters, and who were believed to be robbers and highwaymen. It was during this period, some of the good people of that portion of Casey county now believe, that the foul deeds were committed which resulted in the present nightly visitations of departed spirits. It is also believed that at least three foul crimes were committed in or near the old Bailey house, for three graves were found beneath its floors.

The ghostly manifestations complained of and still in nightly evidence began some six weeks ago. The house had been vacant for some time, when William Turner and family moved into it. Trouble began the very first night they slept there. Along toward 12 o'clock Turner's eldest son was aroused by singular noises. He listened a while and became thoroughly frightened at the uncanny sounds, from unknown sources. He heard groans and moans and sounds of persons moving about in adjoining rooms. He awakened his father but the old gentleman could not be made to take in the situation before the noises ceased. He then laughed at the boy's story and went back to sleep. The following night Mr. Turner himself not only heard ghosts but saw them. He was rudely awakened along toward midnight, and being a man of nerve, listened carefully and attentively for a while to see if he could detect some natural cause of the disturbance. In this he was disappointed. He heard, just as his son had described, heart-rending groans and blood-curdling moans ,and presently cold chills began to run up and down his body. But he was destined to soon see and hear more than this. Glancing toward the door the sight which met his eyes almost froze the blood in his veins. Standing there was a tall figure dressed in white, apparently a woman. It pointed its finger at Turner, uttered one word, "Move," and disappeared. Turner moved the next day. He said he wouldn't spend another night in the house for a cool hundred thousand dollars.

The story of the ghosts spread rapidly through the community and a party of young men from Dunnville went out to the Bailey house a few nights after the removal of the Turner family to see if they could locate the ghosts or get a glimpse of one. They went quietly into the bedroom which Turner had occupied and began their vigil. The understanding was, that no noise should be made and nothing done calculated to disturb the spirits in their midnight revels. The watchers had been on duty about an hour, and were beginning to lose hopes of seeing even a small ghost, when suddenly the still night air was rent by a most unearthly yell which seemed to come from beneath the floor where the young men sat. This was followed by a series of groans, moans and other expressions of grief and terror which at once surprised and amazed the silent sentinels in the house. There was a sudden cessation of the noises, a moment's pause, and then they recommenced with renewed fury. One dark figure arose from the floor and shot through the half-opened door, others followed in rapid succession, and soon the detecting party was en route to Dunnville at a 2:40 gait.

The next day, when the young men told their story in the village, an old citizen said he had heard many years ago that three travelers had been murdered somewhere near the old Bailey house, and he proposed that another party go there, this time in daylight, and make a minute investigation of the premises. His suggestion was acted upon, and in an hour the search was begun. The old house was ransacked from first floor to garret, but nothing was found to excite the suspicions of the most credulous. Finally some one proposed that as there was no cellar to the house it would be well to examine the ground underneath the floor. Several planks were pried up and then was the mystery explained. The searching party found three excavations, all of them about six feet long by two wide and from a foot to a foot and a half deep. They had evidently been the temporary resting places of dead bodies, put there after having been killed and robbed and afterward removed for final disposition. There were many other evidences of foul deeds committed, and Coroner Shelton, when notified of the discovery, at once summoned a jury to look into the case.

The jury, after careful investigation, expressed the opinion that three unknown men had met their deaths there at the hands of unknown parties, but, of course, no further action could be taken. The coroner's investigation and the developments incident to it, coupled with the stories told by the Turner family, created a profound impression throughout that section of Casey county, and people began to fear the Bailey house, many of them refusing to pass it at night.

It remained vacant for some time, until William Cravens, of Russell county, arrived at Dunnville in search of a house. He was told that the Bailey house was unoccupied, but at the same time informed that it was "haunted." Mr. Cravens said he was not afraid of any "hant" that ever stalked at midnight, and that if he could get the place at a satisfactory price he would take it. Cravens leased the douse. The first night that Cravens' family spent there passed off peacefully.

Neighbors casually dropped in next day to see how things had progressed during the night. Mr. Cravens simply smiled, and said he knew there were no such things as "hants," and that he wasn't to be frightened by them if there were. But the second night brought trouble. About 12 o'clock Cravens was aroused by screams, yells and moans. He listened to them a few minutes until they finally died away, and succeeded in convincing himself that it was all imaginary and fell asleep. In a short time he had a similar but more thrilling experience. Just as he opened his eyes a cold, clammy hand passed over his face and a white object flitted across the floor and through the door. Mrs. Cravens was also awake this time. When she heard her husband gasp she whispered, terror-stricken: "Did you see that thing? It stood by my bed and told me to move."

Cravens moved next day. If anyone doubts this story in the least, he is not only referred to the appended indorsement of the facts as related, but requested to write to the gentlemen whose names are thereto attached. They are reliable men who would under no circumstances lend their names to an untruth.

Dunnville, Ky., April 2d. To Whom It May Concern: The undersigned, Ed. Pelley, merchant, and Thomas Chelf, tavern keeper, of Dunnville, certify that they know the Bailey house, which is said to be haunted; that they know the Cravens and Turner families moved from it on account of curious disturbances at night which they could not account for, and which terrorized them, and that a party which Mr. Chelf, one of the undersigned, accompanied to the house to make inquiry into the singular things reported became scared and left because of a recurrence of things described by Cravens and Turner. We know, further, that three graves were found beneath the floor of the old house, that Coroner Shelton investigated the case, and that the people in the neighborhood of the Bailey house are many of them afraid to pass it at night.
Captain Ed. Pelley
Thomas Chelf.


  1. This one sounds almost stereotypical in its characteristics: moans, groans, screams, figures in white... But I guess stereotypes have to start somewhere...

  2. We live not that far from that area the house is said to be. I've lived in Casey County, KY all my life never heard of this place til now.
    Sarah Allen


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