"...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, March 29, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This week, we visit a haunted house that has a bit of Mystery Blood thrown in.  The "Glen Elder Sentinel," August 20, 1903:

A remarkable ghost sensation is disturbing the serenity of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, where a local photographer has just vacated his residence on the ground that he and members of his family have been terrified by supernatural visitations. 

The photographer states that when taking his meals he has seen arms reaching over his head and endeavoring to take away his food. The pictures on the walls have moved in weird fashion, and there were sounds of rattling chains and ringing bells. 

One evening, according to a writer in the London Express, the tenant's daughter saw an apparition clad in white coming down the stairs. It possessed only one hand, the fingers of which were twice the ordinary length and streaming with blood. 

This spectral visitant, seen on another occasion by the daughter, indicated that her mother's brooch, which was missing, would be found in the range in a certain room. Here it was discovered. 

This so preyed on the girl's mind that she had to take to her bed, and finally the weird manifestations became so frequent that the photographer decided to leave the house. 

Crowds gathered nightly around the place and the authorities deputed several constables to watch the house. When one of these entered the premises a mat flew in his face. Another officer, while sitting in one of the rooms, felt his chair being lifted in midair. He fled in terror. 

After this a number of prominent residents endeavored to solve the mystery.  They chalked the stairs, locked a chocolate box in one of the cupboards and left the premises apparently secure. When they returned shortly afterward there were footprints on the chalked staircase, and the chocolate box was on the middle of a table, with a feather balanced on the top of it. Yet the cupboard in which the box was placed was still locked.

I couldn't find anything more about this particular haunting.  That is a pity, because it sounded like a particularly lively and multi-talented poltergeist.

Monday, March 27, 2023

The Curious Case of the (Allegedly) Murdered Maid

The Scottish-born James Oliphant worked as a surgeon in Newcastle.  In 1755, he married one Margaret Erskine, and the pair went on to have two children.  From all appearances, the family was one of solid 18th century middle-class respectability.

This seemingly ordinary household took a very dark turn in May of 1764.  One of Oliphant’s two maidservants unexpectedly became so ill she had to quit her job.  This sudden turn of events compelled the family to replace her with a young woman named Dinah Armstrong, even though the girl did not provide the usual “character.”  (What we today would call “references.”)

This turned out to be highly unfortunate for all concerned.  It soon emerged that the reason for Armstrong’s lack of “character” was due to her lack of character.  Just a few days before the Oliphants hired Armstrong, she had been dismissed from her previous position on suspicion of being a thief.  However, the Oliphants considered Armstrong’s denials of wrongdoing, as well as her “good countenance” to be sufficient to overlook her alleged transgression.

On June 5, James Oliphant and his wife went to visit relatives, leaving their children in the care of their friend Mrs. Milne, the wife of a Newcastle merchant.  Armstrong accompanied the children to act as their nurse.  When the Oliphants returned on July 10, Mrs. Milne informed them that three of her damask napkins had disappeared, and “from circumstances” she believed Armstrong had stolen them.  When questioned, the maid vigorously protested her innocence, but showed a suspicious reluctance to have her belongings searched.  When Mrs. Oliphant inspected Armstrong’s chest, she found no napkins, but a linen sheet marked with the initials “A.H.”  This proved to be the property of Armstrong’s former employer, Mrs. Heath.  When confronted, Armstrong admitted that she had stolen it, as well as some other items.

Mrs. Oliphant treated her errant maid with unusual mercy.  She told Armstrong that she could keep her position until “her quarter” had expired, and promised that she, Mrs. Oliphant, would put in a good word for her, if only Armstrong would return the napkins to Mrs. Milne.  However, the girl continued to insist that she had not taken anything of Mrs. Milne’s.

Mrs. Milne must have been a woman who dearly loved her napkins, because she now threatened to have Armstrong prosecuted, and urged the Oliphants to immediately dismiss the maid.  For whatever reason--whether through a sense of Christian charity, or a simple reluctance to go to the trouble of finding another servant--Mrs. Oliphant rejected the suggestion.  It occurred to her that if “some person of ingenuity” was to question the girl, Armstrong might be persuaded to admit guilt and turn over those napkins.  Accordingly, a neighbor of “great humanity” named John Green was called in on July 17 to have a chat with the girl.  Armstrong confessed to Green that she had indeed nicked Mrs. Heath’s sheet, but continued to insist she knew nothing about the napkins.  Green--no doubt with a deep sigh--asked her to think things over.  He told her he would return later in the day to see if she had a change of heart.

This story may well have ended very differently if only the Oliphant home had been on dry land.  Their residence was on the south end of Tyne Bridge.  Mr. Oliphant’s shop was on the ground floor, with the kitchen and parlor on the middle floor.  The family’s living quarters were on the top floor.  Underneath the shop were winding stairs leading to a cellar.  The cellar had a door cut into two parts: the upper part could be opened to receive air and light, while the under part was used to load or unload goods into or from the river Tyne.

At one p.m. on July 17, the Oliphants gathered for dinner in the parlor.  Dining with them was Mrs. Oliphant’s father and one Henry Thompson, a patient of Mr. Oliphant’s who had been living with them since the previous month.  Armstrong cooked the meal, while the other servant, Mary Shittleton, waited at the table.  Dinah was in a noticeably sulky mood, which is hardly surprising under the circumstances.

In the kitchen with Armstrong was a staymaker named Margaret French.  She was waiting for the Oliphant’s daughter to come home from school so she could have a fitting for a new pair of stays.  Mrs. French, “amusing herself at the window,” paid little attention to Armstrong, who could not have been a very cheerful companion at the moment.  When Shittleton came into the kitchen to fetch more food, she noticed that Armstrong was not there.  Mrs. French told her that she thought the girl had gone downstairs.

Shittleton called down the stairs.  Getting no reply, she went down to the shop.  Failing to find Armstrong there, she descended into the cellar.  As she went down the stairs, she saw reflected on the east wall of the cellar the shadow of a figure leaping from the lower half-door into the river.  As the tide was out, she heard, not a splash, but a dull thud upon the shore.  When she looked out, she saw Armstrong lying on the sand 13 feet below.  Shittleton rushed upstairs to summon the family.  By the time everyone had gone down to the cellar, Armstrong was gone.

The Oliphants instantly gathered neighbors together to form a search party, but although they found the mark where Armstrong had landed, no other trace of the girl was found, in or out of the river.  It was assumed that the maid had attempted to drown herself, but when she saw the tide was out, she “escap’d undiscover’d by some of the passages leading from the water side into the town,” and her guilty conscience prevented her from contacting either the Oliphants or her own family.

That night, Armstrong’s sister Jane, who lived in Newcastle, was informed of her sister’s disappearance.  Jane replied that she had heard nothing from Dinah.  The following morning, Jane arrived at the Oliphant home.  She told the family that another sister, Tamar, lived in Long Benton, three miles from Newcastle.  She thought Dinah might be there.  

On July 19th, Jane paid another visit to the Oliphants, asking that Dinah’s clothes and chest of personal possessions be turned over to her.  As Jane seemed unconcerned about her sister’s odd disappearance, the Oliphants assumed she knew where Dinah was, and with the threat of prosecution hanging over her head, their maid wished to remain in hiding.

On the morning of the 22nd, a keelman named Joseph Barlow came to the Oliphant’s home.  When Mary Shittleton opened the door, he asked if the family “had a maid that was drowned lately.”  Shittleton replied that they had one that was missing, but she certainly hoped she hadn’t drowned.  When Mr. Oliphant came to speak with Barlow, the keelman told him that he and another man had just “taken up a woman floating in the middle of the river Tyne.”  From Barlow’s description, Oliphant could not be certain if it was Dinah or not.  He recommended that Barlow see Jane Armstrong about the matter.  Oliphant dispatched Shittleton to see the body, which she immediately identified as her former co-worker.

When gawkers examined the corpse, it was noted that Dinah, who always wore a necklace or ribbon on her neck, had a circular mark around her throat, causing these amateur pathologists to surmise that the girl had been strangled.  (However, when the body was first recovered, her cap was hanging behind her head, tied under the chin with a small string.)  Gossipmongers seized on this theory, immediately spreading lurid rumors that the Oliphants had murdered their erring maid.  The day after Dinah’s body was found, Tamar Armstrong went to the Oliphant home in order to issue “the most scurrilous abuse and threats” against the family.

On July 24, John Robson, one of the coroners for the County of Durham, came to Dunston to hold an inquest.  Unfortunately for the Oliphants, Robson, as well as the jurors he empanelled, had heard the tittle-tattle blaming the family for Armstrong’s death, and were all inclined to believe it.  Mary Shittleton was summoned to give evidence.  However, although the Oliphants volunteered to give testimony, the offer was ignored.  Likewise, although John Green attended the inquest, the coroner also refused to take his deposition.  It was clear that Robson saw the inquest as a court of the kangaroo kind.

Five witnesses testified at the inquiry.  Jane Armstrong stated that on July 16, she visited Dinah, who was “very dull and heavy.”  She claimed that when she returned later in the week, Mrs. Oliphant told her that John Green had been sent to “threaten” Dinah about the missing napkins.  She added that Mary Shittleton informed her that after Dinah leaped from the cellar window, Mary saw her “rise up and run.”

One Thomasine Elwell testified that on the day after the body was found, she was in Mr. Oliphant’s surgery.  Mrs. Oliphant told her that Dinah’s death “was the greatest trouble that ever came to her family.”  She added that three sheets and a tablecloth were missing, and “that she had her [Dinah] there [the cellar] from the Friday before to the Tuesday till she did that wicked deed.”

Mary Shittleton gave her account of seeing Dinah’s leap into the river.  A woman named Jane Greeves testified that three weeks before Dinah vanished, she encountered the maidservant on the quayside.  Armstrong told her that she was in Mrs. Oliphant’s service, and was doing very well.  On July 23, Greeves accompanied Jane Armstrong to ask Mrs. Oliphant “What she had to lay to the charge of the said Dinah.”  Mrs. Oliphant told them about finding Mrs. Heath’s sheet, and that she herself was missing some linen, but that Dinah had begged her not to tell any of the Armstrongs about it.

The coroner had requested a surgeon named Robert Somerville to inspect the body.  Somerville testified that he had found “a circular mark on her neck about half an inch in breadth, which has been made (to my judgment) by a rope, or might have been done by a ribband, necklace or the like nature, but there was no such thing found upon her neck when taken up.  Her face was quite black, occasioned by a stagnation of the blood, which is a concomitant of strangling or suffocation.”  He found no other marks of violence.

We do not have a record of how Robson summed up this rather sparse evidence to the jury.  This is a pity, for his oration must have been a humdinger.  It resulted in the jurors making the remarkable declaration that “James Oliphant, Margaret Oliphant, and Mary Shittleton, with force and arms, in the cellar of the dwelling-house of the said James Oliphant at Gateshead in the county of Durham, feloniously, wilfully, and of their malice aforethought did strangle and suffocate Dinah Armstrong with a certain cord of the value of sixpence.”  No motive was offered for why this hitherto law-abiding household dealt with an unsatisfactory servant not by firing her, but by strangling her and dumping the body in the river.  The Oliphants and Mary Shittleton were arrested early the next morning.

The three defendants stood trial at the Durham Assizes on August 17.  The Crown witnesses offered little that had not been heard at the inquest.  The defense called just two people: Henry Thompson and Margaret French.  Thompson asserted that the deceased had always been treated kindly by the family, and that the maid had never been restrained in the cellar, or anywhere else.  Mrs. French stated that she saw Dinah going about her business as usual, although she seemed “very dull.”  She corroborated Mary Shittleton’s account of the subsequent events.

No doubt much to the disappointment of Coroner Robson, the defendants were acquitted, “to the entire satisfaction of the whole court.”  The judge added that he believed they were “as innocent of the crime laid to your charge as myself.”

In September 1764, Mr. Oliphant, naturally anxious for some redress for the financial and emotional trauma his household had experienced, exhibited a complaint against Robson to the Court of King’s Bench.  The Court refused the motion, advising Oliphant to take his troubles to the Grand Jury.  However, Oliphant learned that such a proceeding would be too expensive for his severely diminished funds.  The unhappy man had to settle for publishing a pamphlet detailing his long ordeal.  The Oliphants continued to live in their tragedy-scarred home until the Great Flood of 1771 destroyed the dwelling.  A short time afterward, the family returned to Scotland, for good.  The Oliphants probably spent the rest of their lives earnestly wishing that Mrs. Milne had just forgotten about her damned napkins.

Although it seems most probable that Dinah, having failed in her first attempt at suicide, succeeded with the second, there are still mystifying elements to the case.  While it is natural that Dinah’s relatives would prefer to think she had not committed suicide, it is baffling that the coroner would pursue such a determined persecution of the Oliphants on such extremely scanty evidence.

And, of course, there is the question we are all thinking:  What happened to those napkins, anyway?

Friday, March 24, 2023

Weekend Link Dump


"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

Welcome to the first Link Dump of Spring 2023!

The staffers are doing the annual spring cleaning of Spring Company HQ.  It's going about as well as expected.

Where the hell is "Tucker's Cross?"

What the hell was "Oumuamua?"

The building of Britain's fairy kingdom.

How to make a monster gun disappear.

A new look at Richard III.

To hell and back.  Literally.

Rumors of supersecret aircraft.

If you should see a photo of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, it ain't her.

A female Napoleonic soldier.

Africa is splitting up.

Virginia Woolf's only play.

A pickpocket's very bad day.

The secrets of Beethoven's DNA.

Egyptology and the Third Reich.

Technology, the Holocaust, and the Third Reich.

A scandalous elopement.

A visit to Seahenge.

Paris in the time of cholera.

Piracy on the River Wandle.

The phantom canoe of Lake Tarawera.

Surviving the sinking of HMS Namur.

The war over a salesman's Weird Will.

Scotland's memorial to Dudley the Cat.

A forgotten Elizabethan noblewoman.

The mother of Dido Elizabeth Belle.

Notre Dame's fire continues to reveal secrets.

A menu fit for a Tudor royal.

A historical door in Cornhill.

A suffragette outrage.

The world's strongest baby.

A famed oyster eater.

The life of Paula Hitler, Adolf's sister.

The origins of "y'all."

The groundbreaking career of an Indian lawyer.

So, let's talk Patent Preserved Potatoes.

Ghost cougars of the Eastern U.S.

A London steeplekeeper.

In which Jane Austen goes dancing.

Europe's oldest map.

The cave art with missing fingers.

The Baldwinsville murder.

The Stanford alien abduction.

That's all for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll look at a maidservant's mysterious death.  In the meantime, here's Albinoni:

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This account of strange doings in Teddy Roosevelt's neighborhood appeared in the "Washington Star," August 2, 1907:

OYSTER BAY, N. Y. August 2--The inhabitants of the summer capital are trying to fathom the meaning of two mysterious portents which appeared here yesterday. While many are sure that the occurrences are symbolical of disaster, others, on the contrary, are sure that they foretell good luck. At any rate, whatever the meaning of the phenomena, the village has been furnished with fresh food for gossip. 

The first of the happenings came to light yesterday morning, when Miss Louise Denton, the librarian of the Oyster Bay Public Library, opened that institution for the day. Miss Denton noticed that a large mahogany chair presented to the library by Theodore Roosevelt when he was governor of New York state and often used by him, which has been a highly prized possession ever since, was split down the center of the back. The chair is built in cathedral style and is elaborately carved and upholstered in leather. At the top and furnishing a portion of the back is a large American eagle exquisitely carved. 

It is the eagle that is split directly in two. How it happened no one apparently knows. Miss Denton says it was all right when she left the building the day before, and no one had so far as is known, entered the place in her absence. The split occurred where the two parts of the eagle were joined together, and some of the trustees of the library say it was the heat that caused the wood to crack. The superstitious, however, are of the opinion that the severing of the eagle foretells he breaking up of President Roosevelt's good fortune, and that from now his star of good luck will be on the wane.

The other portent that is disturbing the minds of the villagers and furnishing food or thought was seen by many last night.  It was a light, considerably larger than a star, that seemed to hover directly over Sagamore Hill, the President's home.  It first made its appearance about 9 and was distinctly visible about three hundred feet the air until 11 o'clock, when it slowly faded to a spark and went out altogether. Many persons witnessed the phenomenon, but no one could explain what it was. The light was intensely white, and seemed to remain in a fixed position. So far as is known the light was not visible anywhere but from Oyster Bay, and the President's admirers proclaim that it is a sign that Mr. Roosevelt would continue to lead the destinies of the nation for another four years. 

Mr. William Ainsworth, a retired business man of South street, vouches for the occurrence. He says he saw the light distinctly, and it was different from any light he had ever seen. It seemed, he said, to show with the dazzling intensity of an arc light.

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Flying Pansini Brothers

Sometime in 1901, a mason and architect named Mauro Pansini brought his family to live in an old house near the Palazzo Municipale in Ruvo di Puglia, in southern Italy.  Then things got weird.

Very weird.  Even for this blog.

A few days after the family moved in strange and terrifying things began happening.  Mysterious and eerie noises were heard throughout the house.  Pictures fell from nails.  Plates, glasses, and bottles flew into the walls, shattering them.  Then the furniture took to moving itself around.  The Pansinis assumed their new home was possessed by demons, and called in a priest to perform an exorcism.  This had the usual depressing lack of results.

So far, what we have here is a pretty bog-standard poltergeist case.  But then the two Pansini boys, seven year old Alfredo and eight year old Paolo, got into the act in a big way.  One evening, Alfredo went into a trance, and began speaking to his family in a voice that was not his own.  This voice said that he had been sent by God to drive away the demons.  The boy started to fall into these trances often, where this strange voice would perform recitations in French, Latin and Greek.

For a while, it looked like the Pansinis were at least being pestered by a generous pack of spirits.  Before their eyes, food would suddenly appear in the pantry or on their dining table.  Various sweets and candies were brought to them by invisible hands.  One night, Alfredo announced that he was witnessing a battle between the good and bad ghosts.  His increasingly rattled parents took him to church, where he instantly fell unconscious.  He only revived when the bishop spoke his name.  Alfredo stayed with the bishop for a few days, but as this failed to bring him out of his uncanny state of mind, he was returned to his family.  The Pansinis sent him to a seminary school, hoping that the change of scene would bring him back to normal.  Unfortunately, all his new surroundings did was inspire him to add telepathy to his growing list of weird talents.

After Alfredo returned home two years later, the High Strangeness really got into gear.  One morning around 9 a.m., the two boys were in Ruvo di Puglia.  Just half-an-hour later, they appeared at the Capucine convent in Malfatti, thirty miles from where they had last been seen.  A few days after this, the Pansinis were sitting at their dining table.  Paolo was sent to fetch them wine.  He did not return.  Half an hour after this, Alfredo also disappeared.  The instant Alfredo vanished, both he and Paolo suddenly appeared in a fishing boat at sea off the port of Barlatta.  The fisherman--who was just as terrified as the boys--brought them to dry land, where they were lucky enough to find a coachman who knew them and was able to take them home. 

One day, as the mother was discussing her problematic sons with the bishop, the boys--who had been nearby, within view--both vanished.  A few minutes later, they got word that Alfredo and Paolo had been seen several miles away.  Their father, thinking they had merely run away, locked them in their room.  A short time later, the boys suddenly appeared at the home of an uncle, many miles away.  On another occasion, they disappeared from a moving carriage, only to be found at their intended destination.

In the same inexplicable, instantaneous fashion, the brothers continued their unwilling visits.  They would suddenly appear in a number of far-distant towns, with nobody--most particularly the boys themselves--able to say how in the world they got there.  Alfredo and Paolo were investigated by various scientists and doctors, only to leave these “experts” completely baffled.  They could only mutter that the boys were suffering from some sort of “ambulatory automatism”--in other words, a form of amnesia.  Of course, this failed to explain how the boys could travel such vast distances in such a short time.

The brothers could only conclude that they were transported “through the work and power of the Holy Spirit.”  In 1905, Alfredo told the editor of the “Corriere delle Puglie,” “I don’t know how to explain what happens to me.  What happens seems to be a succession of events without any reason, without cause.  The change of place seems to happen before my eyes, with no one making it.  And my own person, suddenly, is located in another place without knowing how and why.”  Intriguingly, he said that an older brother of theirs was also plagued by these involuntary transportations before he joined the military.

The Pansini brothers continued their unwanted disappearances and appearances until they reached puberty, when, luckily for them, the teleportations stopped.  Their adult lives, as far as anyone knows, were perfectly normal.

Imagine the stories Alfredo and Paolo had to tell their kids.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Weekend Link Dump


"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

The staffers at Strange Company HQ wish you a happy St. Patrick's Day!

History's worst parties.

A "most atrocious murder."

China's "river highway."

The world's largest known gold nugget.

Authors manage to find weird ways to die.

The bizarre "Alice in Wonderland" syndrome.

Eating the holy clay.  Just be warned that it's one of those "ewww" stories.  But then, if you're a reader of my blog, "ewww" is probably mother's milk to you.

There's a new theory about the identity of Leonardo da Vinci's mother.

What dinosaurs may have sounded like.


Mars has some weird sand dunes.

The boy who was kissed to death.

Good wishes, best wishes, and well wishes.

An author who was the "land mine" of German literature.

The short and tragic career of Thomas Crawford of the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

The monument to Nipper, the Listening Dog.

A magical ancient tomb.

Meet a man who survived being cremated.

A 15th century deathbed confession.

The Loch Ness Monster may have a friend.

In which things go all pear-shaped for Thomas, Earl of Lancaster.

London fashions for March 1823.

The Westminster Cemetery Scandal.

The turning angel statue of Natchez.

A man missing for 24 years returns home.

The history of "suicide by proxy."

The mystery of the missing kitten.

Mozart's equally talented sister.

Catching a child-killer.

Does the future influence the past?

A revolutionary drinking song.

Charles Dickens and the begging-letter writer.

For anyone who wants a peek at a funeral cookbook.

A huge Roman-era complex has been uncovered in France.

Images of "Wonderful London's" East End.

An ancient monument to unknown gods.

The knight who stood up to the Nazis.

One very deep--and very cold--dive.

Tools from 3 million years ago.

Irene of Athens, Byzantine Empress.

Garfield phones have been washing up on a French beach, and it took thirty years to find out why.

That's all for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll meet two brothers with very wild talents.  In the meantime, here's some Mozart.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

Because everyone loves a haunted cornfield, I present this story from the (Bowling Green, Ohio) "Daily Sentinel Tribune," November 8, 1904:

The "ghost" in the large cornfield on the Stephen Laskey farm, northwest of Rudolph, still prospers and is the cause of much wondering on the part of many residents of the village and surrounding country.

The cries which resemble the wails of a babe are still heard in the field as many residents of this village will testify. Cap. Nelson is given as a reference, but he says he has not visited the scene of the weird doings but will do so soon with the expectation of seeing and hearing something. 

A number of explanations of the mystery are offered but none have been found as yet which seem to exactly hit the point. Despite the speculation the wails continue to rise from the ground and the neighbors continue to be mystified or scared according to their temperaments.

One story has it that the noises are the cries of some wild beast which was discovered in the same territory about six years ago. It was hunted and wounded by a farmer with a shotgun after creating the same kind of excitement at that time. The animal, beast, or wild man was shot during the night and clots of blood were discovered around the next day. 

A gruesome murder of forty years ago is recalled by some of the older residents and the more superstitious explain the phenomenon of the present day as the wails of the murdered man’s ghost complaining of the treatment he received. 

About forty years ago, when the farm was owned by another party, an old peddler reached the place late one evening and seeing a light in the old house went to it and sought shelter for the night. He was invited in and made comfortable. The peddler never left the premises, so the narrator says, and that later the body was discovered in an old well which was located near a tree. This well has been filled in and the exact location is not known though it is thought that the stump where the sounds were heard last week by Hon. P. Reigle and others is the remains of a large tree that stood very near this old well.  Furthermore, the story goes on saying that one of the laborers was a witness of the deed and that his mind was effected and that he has never recovered from the shock. This man was about seven years of age at the time of the disappearance of the peddler.  From this story one can draw their own conclusions and if superstitious the reader will at once be convinced that the old peddler has just thought that it was about time to make some complaint about the ill treatment that he received some years ago.

Some have pronounced the story a fake and the dream of a deluded reporter but be that as it may, hundreds have visited the premises and returned from the scene convinced that the thing is as real as can be. It can not be denied that many of the county’s most reliable citizens have gone, listened, heard, and searched then gave it up and went home without solving the mystery. About half of the village of Rudolph have visited the Laskey farm in the last three days and the other half is going.