"...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, September 2, 2020

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

It’s tough enough having one ghost as an uninvited houseguest. When a whole crowd of them shows up at once, then things really go to hell. The “Chicago Tribune,” July 18, 1889:
The troubles of Northern Chicago appear to be endless. Having been afflicted with bacilli in its drinking water, Boldenweck in its Executive Chair, a world renowned tragedy in its Carlson cottage, the climax has been reached at last. The latest addition to the chamber of horrors is a weird, horrible, and blood curdling gang of ghosts which has sprung out of s the relics of the departed City of Lake View to torment its erstwhile citizens.

The spirit visitors at present rule the residence district from Lincoln avenue towards the lake, along Belden and Fullerton avenues.

Dr. W. C. Rowe lives at No. 334 Belden avenue. The doctor is a deacon in the Congregational Church at Seminary and Lill avenues, 4 Lake View. Dr. Rowe used to live at No. 1 1305 Wrightwood avenue in Lake View. He was afraid, however, that the residents of that suburb might decide not to be annexed, and therefore took time by the forelock about three months ago and moved into Chicago. Now he wishes he had staid in Lake View. In all probability there will be an exodus of the Rowe family from No. 394 Belden avenue at an early date.

Dr. Rowe, being a deacon and a reputable physician, as presumably a man of truth. His account of the things that have been going on in his house o' nights is, it must be admitted, out of the usual run, but his statements are corroborated by the members of his family and his neighbors.

The truth of the matter is that the Rowe household is the abiding place of a gang of ghosts. They are not ordinary ghosts. They cannot be seen. They do not softly and silently glide all in white. On the contrary, they yell, and fight, and fire pistols, and fall downstairs, and do all sorts of mysterious, not to say diabolical, things.

When Dr. Rowe first removed to Belden avenue he got all his furniture moved into the house in the daytime and by hard work had things pretty well arranged by nightfall. When bedtime came he went to sleep with his wife and baby in the front bedroom on the second floor. There is a narrow hallway on the floor, running from the top of the front stairs to the top of the back stairs, and two bedrooms besides the front one open upon it. In one of these bedrooms Belle, the 15-year-old daughter, went to sleep, and in the other the two boys, 10 and 12 years old, retired. The first floor was occupied by the housekeeper and Dr. Rowe's 3-year old boy.

Everybody was sound asleep at midnight, when suddenly there was a tremendous noise in the front hall. It was so loud that Dr. Rowe and his wife, Belle, and the housekeeper were awakened. The noise grew gradually louder and louder, then dwindled away into silence. Everything was still for a minute, then there were more noises, as if some men were in the hallway and stamping up the front stairs to the second floor. Suddenly the sharp report of a pistol rang out so loud that the rest of the members of the family were aroused.

Dr. Rowe struck a match and lighted a lamp, and with it in his hand walked out into the hallway where he could see down the front stairs to the door. While he stood there the housekeeper came up through the back stairs with another light. They went through all the rooms, even to the basement, kitchen. and the dining-room, but found no one and nothing that could have caused the noises. The doors were all closed and locked, and even the windows were found to be fastened. Nothing had been disturbed in the front hallway.

As soon as the house was again still and the lights out there were more noises. Sounds were heard on the back stairs by the housekeeper, as if men were running up and down. Then there was the noise of a struggle in the front hallway. and a heavy body fell down the stairs and against the front door. Dr. Rowe again hurried out of his bedroom, this time without a light, but as before found nobody or nothing.

The third night the members of the family planned to entrap the practical joker, if there were one. Dr. Rowe concealed himself in the parlor as soon as the lights were out. Mrs. Rowe waited in the front bedroom up-stairs and the housekeeper in her room on the first floor.

Shortly after midnight there was a great rushing and banging in the upper hallway, as if two men were grappling in a death struggle. There was the loud report of a pistol and the sound of a heavy body falling down the stairs. Simultaneously Dr. Rowe, his wife, and the housekeeper lighted lamps and hurried from their hiding places. They went upstairs and, as before, found everything undisturbed in all the rooms.

At first Dr. Rowe and his wife were disposed to laugh at the idea that there was anything supernatural in the noises, but are now thoroughly alarmed. The noises have been repeated with variations every night. Dr. Rowe has heard noises such as would be made by a man walking through the hallway, and shaking each door as he came to it. He has heard noises such as would be made by lighting parlor matches, and has heard the chairs in the parlor move about.

The family did not tell anyone about the visitations for nearly a month, because Dr. Rowe was unwilling to have anyone think he was in the least superstitious. But Mrs. Rowe told the neighbors, and has invited a number of persons to stay overnight in the house. Everyone who has done so has heard the noises, been mystified, not to say frightened, and investigated without result.

Sleep is impossible for any member of the family, and Dr. Rowe, although he still refuses to believe in the ghost theory, has decided to move.

Since the fact that the house was haunted was first told to the neighbors there has been a good deal of excitement about it. Other houses are said to be haunted, and a lawyer who lives a block away declares that he was stopped on the street by a ghost as he was walking from Clark street home last Saturday night. A Lake View policeman, who patrols along Fullerton avenue, says that the same night he saw a white object flit across a vacant lot and disappear over a housetop as if flying.

I haven't found anything more about these unusually raucous spirits.

[Note: the "world renowned tragedy" refers to the notorious 1889 murder of Dr. Patrick Cronin.]

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering about the 'tragedy'. But it seems that merely having the egregious Boldenweck as head of the community seems pretty bad, too.


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