"...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, May 18, 2022

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com



This tale of a Welsh poltergeist--complete with all the classic trimmings--appeared in the “Buffalo Sunday Morning News,” January 16, 1910:

(Special Cable to the Sunday News)

CARDIFF. Jan. 15. A quaint tale of a spook comes from the small Carmarthenshire village of Llanarthney, and in this case the ghostly visitant seems to be peculiarly vicious, missiles being hurled through the air by an unseen hand.  The mysterious happenings which have terrified the peaceful villagers have taken place at the Emlyn Arms Inn, and a local correspondent says appearances go to show that this old-fashioned hotel must either be haunted or that an exceedingly marvelous conjurer has been able to completely defy police and other detention. 

On Wednesday night, just after closing the inn, Mrs. Meredith, the landlady, whose husband was spending his holidays in North Wales, was pelted with stones as she was tending the cattle. She attached no significance to this, but when her servant girl, aged 13, who bore her company, responded to a knock at the front door a candlestick came whizzing through the passage. Yet not a soul was seen either in or about the premises. 

More mysterious still, various missiles were presently hurled from every quarter of the kitchen, and, terrified in the extreme, Mrs, Meredith shrieked for help. Mrs. Jenkins, wife of the village constable, and her sister-in-law, Miss Jenkins, hurried to the house of mystery at midnight, but so eerie were the antics of the presumed visitant from the spiritual world that neither dared enter the Inn, nor would others venture therein, until the arrival at 2:30 A.M. of Police Constable Gwilym Jenkins, who had cycled through the colliery districts on duty. 

He believed that his services were needed to arrest a burglar, but search where and how he would, no person could be found, although he heard the tramping of "padded feet" on the stairway and in the upper chambers. Bottles fell at his feet and were smashed, says our correspondent. A heavy black varnished stone ornament "jumped off" a bedroom mantelpiece and fell close to his head as he was looking under the bed for a burglar, and stones which bad been immersed in white lime went hither and thither in most inconceivable fashion, while teapot covers and covers of other things came hurling down, to the astonishment of the constable, his wife, sister-in-law, post office officials and the occupants of the inn. 

The spectators, it is said, saw a polished box fall from Meredith's waistcoat, which was hanging in the kitchen. This waistcoat was ironed by Mrs. Meredith on the previous evening, and she could not have failed to notice the box had It been there then. At 3:30 in the morning mistress and maid sought refuge in the house of a mason employed by Earl Cawdor, who owns the inn, but when they returned the following morning with the constable the mysterious happenings were resumed. 

These occurrences were witnessed by other people, including the vicar and curate of the parish. Constable Jenkins, who has been in the Carmarthenshire constabulary about nine years, asserts that this narrative is true in detail, and that it is not the imaginings of Christmas hilarity, for the spectators were perfectly sober and he is a strict teetotaler himself.

The whole affair is simply inexplicable. The constable had the house surrounded by workmen, and had a burglar been at the inn he would have been captured.

I couldn’t find any updates to this story.  Possibly this was one of those polt incidents that comes and goes almost immediately.

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Transformations of Ida Mayfield Wood

Ida Wood, sometime in the 1860s



During the long history of New York City, untold millions have come to the metropolis in an effort to "better themselves" and fulfill their various dreams.  Most of these hopes are doomed to failure.  Ida Mayfield Wood was one of the few success stories--and she accomplished her goals in a way few have done before or since.

Ida first came to New York in 1857.  The nineteen-year-old was a slight, pretty girl with a charm that was both dainty and sensual.  She told her new acquaintances that she was the daughter of a Louisiana sugar planter named Henry Mayfield.  Her mother, she said with a genteel pride, had been a descendant of the Earls of Crawford.

Ida wanted the wealth and social prestige suitable for such a pedigree, so her first order of business was to find an eligible man who could give them to her.  One name that caught her eye was that of 37-year-old Benjamin Wood.  The businessman was very wealthy, well-connected, (his brother, Fernando, was one of the city's mayors,) and reasonably attractive.  He was also married to his second wife, but Ida was not one to trouble about minor details.

She sent Wood a letter that, to say the least, did not beat around the bush.  "Having heard of you often," she began, "I venture to address you from hearing a young lady, one of your 'former loves' speak of you.  She says you are fond of 'new faces.'  I fancy that as I am new in the city and in 'affairs de coeur' that I might contract an agreeable intimacy with you; of as long duration as you saw fit to have it.  I believe that I am not extremely bad looking, nor disagreeable.  Perhaps not quite as handsome as the lady with you at present, but I know a little more, and there is an old saying--'Knowledge is power.'"

Wood arranged an interview with this demure young lady.  He liked what he saw, and almost immediately accepted the invitation openly offered in her letter.  Ida became his mistress, bearing him a daughter they named Emma.  After Wood's wife died in 1867, the long-time lovers were married. 

Benjamin Wood


Wood was rich and powerful enough for his new wife's dubious history to be tactfully ignored.  She became a leading figure in New York society, extolled by the newspapers as "a belle" admired for her "bright plumage and fragile beauty."  Her social circle ran as high as the visiting Prince of Wales and president-elect Abraham Lincoln.  In 1860, Benjamin was elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served until 1861.  (He won another term in 1881-83.)  In the same year he first entered Congress, Wood became editor and publisher of the “New York Daily News.”

Benjamin, unsurprisingly, was no more faithful to his new wife than he had been to the old one.  Ida was not particularly troubled by that.  However, Wood was also addicted to gambling for very high stakes.  This struck horror into the heart of his financially shrewd and prudent wife.  Characteristically, she dreamed up a novel way of turning her husband's deficit into her advantage.  She presented Benjamin with a deal:  He could gamble to his heart's content with her blessing, so long as he gave her half of everything he won, while paying for his losses himself.  In short, "heads she wins, tails he loses." His play was so important to him that he agreed to this one-sided bargain.  The practically inevitable result was that by the time Mr. Wood died in 1900, virtually every dime he had possessed belonged to his wife.  She had also purchased a controlling interest in the "Daily News," making her one of the first female publishers of a large newspaper.

After her husband’s death, Ida sold the "Daily News" for over a quarter of a million dollars.  She had valuable railroad stock.  She was set for a very comfortable and socially prominent widowhood.

Instead, Ida began to do some very strange things.  She sold all the many beautiful and costly belongings she had accumulated during her years with Wood.  In 1907, she went to her bank and demanded that the balance of her account--some $1 million--immediately be given to her.  In cash.  The bank officers had no choice but to comply and watch in stunned amazement as she stuffed the money into a bag and walked out.

She then checked into the Herald Square Hotel...and never checked out.  We  cannot know what inner demons inspired this woman who had so loved worldly matters to give up on life and turn herself into a recluse.  All she would say was that she was "tired of everything."  Joining her in this voluntary confinement were her sister Mary and her daughter Emma.  The trio never left their two-room suite and they never let anyone in.  Only twice during their long stay did they permit a maid to give them clean sheets and towels.  They never bathed.  The closest the women ever came to contacting the outside world was once a day, when through a closed door, they would ask the bellhop to bring them the same menu, which they paid for in cash:  Canned milk, crackers, coffee, bacon, and eggs.  Every so often, they also requested snuff, cigars, and petroleum jelly.  Ida would spend hours rubbing the last item on her face.  This one remaining vanity rewarded her with flawless pink-and-white skin--an ivory doll's head incongruously balanced on a bent, aged body.   Ida would explain that the three of them were destitute, and no one seeing the way they lived had any reason to doubt her word.

The three stayed together until 1928, when Emma Wood died at the age of 71.  Life--if you care to call it that--for the Mayfield sisters carried on as before until March 5, 1931, when the now 93-year-old Ida did something unprecedented during her stay at the hotel.  She opened the door, peered out into the hall, and screamed for a maid, explaining that her sister was very sick and needed a doctor.  As it turned out, Mary was beyond all help.  She was dead.

The doctor--and, soon, the undertaker--found that over the decades, the women had turned the suite into a rabbit warren filled with haphazard garbage:  Newspapers, food containers, trunks, old clothing, all the detritus of their hermit existence.

No one quite knew what to do with the remaining sister.  It seemed unconscionable cruelty to just leave Ida alone in this sad trash heap.  Morgan O'Brien, Jr., a member of a leading New York law firm, was summoned.  Intrigued by the mystery of the society belle turned recluse, he agreed to do what he could to sort out her murky affairs.

It was then that it emerged that Ida had vanished from life carrying with her a very great deal of money.  O'Brien also learned that she had some $175,000 of railroad stock, and had not cashed any dividends for years.  Ida herself was little help.  She insisted on staying holed up in her suite, where she smoked cigars, endlessly slathered petroleum jelly on her face, and refused to answer any questions, saying she was too deaf to understand anything the lawyers said.

Word quickly spread that the hotel was housing a very old and very rich woman, and, inevitably, a parade of long-lost relatives turned up holding out their palms.  First on the scene was Otis Wood, a son of Benjamin Wood's brother Fernando.  Accompanying him were his three brothers and their children.  Then came Benjamin's son from his first marriage, along with his children.  Soon, a crowd of Mayfields descended on the scene, loudly proclaiming their close blood ties to this elderly relative.  Some Crawfords joined the crowd, too, anxious to prove that they were kin to Ida through their common ancestry from the Earls of Crawford.  Before long, over a thousand people bearing the name "Wood,” “Crawford,” or "Mayfield" turned up to claim family ties with Ida--and her fortune.  Although they all claimed to be coming forward out of altruistic desires to help their dear, long-lost relative, their keen interest in her financial status was clearly their priority.  Their idea of "helping" Ida was to have her declared incompetent.  In September of 1931, they got their wish.

Ida was distraught to learn of her loss of independence.  "Why?" she wailed.  "I can take care of myself."  Much against her will, she was removed from her suite and brought to another room in the hotel.  

When her old hotel room was searched, over $700,000 in cash was found hidden here and there.  An old box of crackers was found to contain a diamond necklace. The suite proved to be a veritable time capsule.  Ida was storing 54 trunks filled with lovely 19th century gowns, exquisite jewelry, and valuable historical documents, such as a letter Charles Dickens had written to Benjamin Wood in 1867.  Ida's self-imposed squalor had been hiding a veritable Aladdin's Cave.  Ida's new-found family eagerly awaited the day when she would finally die so they could divide the spoils.

Ida herself, however, was disinclined to oblige them.  Despite her frail body, her mind remained as sharp and obstreperous as ever.  She was not the woman to go out meekly.  When food was brought to her, she would ask its cost.  If it was over a dollar, she would imperiously order that it be taken away.  On the rare occasions when her nurses and guardians would leave her alone for a moment, Ida would rush to a window and scream, "Help!  I'm a prisoner.  Get me out of here!"  In her mellower moments, she would fondly reminisce about the past, telling the nurses and reporters colorful, magical-sounding stories about her pampered New Orleans girlhood, and the fine education she had received thanks to her cultured, multi-lingual mother.

Before long, though, Ida became tired of fighting her imprisonment.  Her iron will gone, she simply gradually let go of life until she died  of pneumonia on March 12, 1932.  That left the question of who would inherit her wealth.  Although she had left a will, it left everything to her sister and daughter, who had, of course, both predeceased her.  Joseph Cox, counsel to New York's Public Administrator, was given the job of investigating Ida's lineage to see who had the best claim to be her heir.

It took Cox several years of hard work before the full truth about this strange woman emerged.  He  learned that Ida was not the Louisiana daughter of sugar planter Henry Mayfield.  Her real father was Thomas Walsh, a penniless Irishman who had emigrated to Massachusetts some time in the 1840s.  Her mother was a semi-literate woman from the Dublin slums.  "Ida" was not even her real name.  She had been born Ellen Walsh, but changed her name as a teenager, simply because she thought it sounded more elegant.  Her sister Mary, caught up in these alluring fantasies, became a "Mayfield" as well.  Oh, and Emma, "Ida's" daughter with Benjamin Wood?  She turned out not to be Ida's daughter at all, but another sister. (Benjamin Wood was apparently a willing partner in this little deception.)  The Mayfields and Woods and Crawfords were thus left out in the cold financially.  The pseudo-relatives did not take this news well.  They filed suit to get their "fair share" of Ida's estate.  The court made the reasonable ruling that, as "Ida Mayfield" was a pseudonym, the would-be heirs could go whistle for their money.  “Ida’s” estate went instead to ten living relatives of Ellen Walsh, who were stunned to learn they had a very odd--and very rich--kinswoman.  They each received about $90,000 (about $1.5 million in 2022 dollars.)  For them, at least, this sad story had a very happy ending.

Towards the end of her life, Ida/Ellen liked to tell her nurses a story from her girlhood.  One day, she went to a "gypsy seer" to have her fortune told.  After reading her palm, the fortune teller told the girl that she was going to be very lucky:  "You are going to marry a rich man, and get everything you want out of this life."

And so she did.  Although one can't help but think that in the end, it turned out to be a Faustian bargain.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Weekend Link Dump

 

"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

This Friday the 13th Link Dump is hosted by one of our Lucky Black Cats!




What the hell were the Roman dodecahedrons?

I guess it's not surprising to learn that North Korean music is really weird.

So is the music on Mars' moon.

The Case of the Camberwell Ghost.

The man who feels no pain, and why that's a tragedy.

Our planet is full of mysterious blobs.

In search of a six-fingered civilization.

A corpse behaves in an unseemly manner.

The making of "Exile on Main Street."

A guy in Turkey has an Iron Age complex under his house.

A new exhibition about the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb.

Napoleon and the Battle of Friedland.

Meet Hector, Australia's most popular thunderstorm.

The king of Ohio's body-snatchers.

The last British peer to be hanged for murder.

A reality show based on "Lord of the Flies."  No, really, someone thought that would be entertainment gold.

England's cost of living crisis in 1800.

The Gardener of Hoxton.

The use of footprints in witchcraft.

Two sisters who became 18th century celebrities.

The disappearance of the USS Cyclops.

Summer fashions from 1822.

Some weird ways people died in the 19th century.

Contemporary newspaper reports on the notorious Ruth Ellis case.

Yes, cats see things that aren't there.

Jimmy Page and the Great Pyramid.

Butchery in Massachusetts.

The saga of Mike the Headless Chicken.

The theory that Stonehenge is a recycled Welsh monument. 

That's all for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll look at a woman's unusual career.  In the meantime, here's some early Sinatra.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com



A word of warning: this story is quite gruesome, even for this blog.  That said, if my blog stats have taught me anything, it’s that you lot seem to enjoy this sort of thing.  It seems that the more hideous I get, the more my readers say, “Hot doggie!  This one’s for me!”  In any case, the obvious relish with which this reporter lingered on every ghoulish detail amused me.  Peeping out from behind all the moral outrage was the sense that the journalist’s day had been made.  The “Cincinnati Enquirer,” February 25, 1885:

Evansville, Ind., February 24. The excitement caused by the horrible discovery made in the abandoned Medical College yesterday, was increased rapidly to-day, and hundreds of curious people visited the building to meet even more disgusting sights than was witnessed yesterday. A further investigation of the late college and premises was made this morning and the ghastly objects remain undisturbed, the hideousness of which seems to have been intensified by thoughtless and unfeeling persons who have placed some of the remains in such grotesque positions as to show their frightful features in more terrible light. 
There was one brawny and unsightly carcass, which had been partly dissected, that had been placed in a sitting position, leaning on one elbow, with chin resting on its hand, the top of the skull removed, the grinning mouth wide open, facing the door with its eyeless sockets turned menacingly, at any one entering the door. Close to a window, looking out on the gang at the rock-pile, had been placed all that was mortal of some female, which was held in that position by the headless trunk of a large man, and a hideous background made up of large and small subjects that had been dragged from other portions of the room, for the sole purpose seemingly of making the scene more repulsive and disgusting than that of yesterday. Some of the parts that had been noticed by the reporter yesterday were gone, having probably been taken by some relic fiend for the purpose of terrorizing sensitive individuals or a neighborhood by exposing them to public view. 
An instance of this kind was discovered last night at the corner of Main and Third streets, where some human ghouls had procured a huge skull, one of the most repulsive to be found in the collection, which had been set on top of a hitching-post at that corner, in full view of all who chanced to pass after night. This was discovered by a gentleman who placed it in the barrel that covers the fire-plug at that point, where it still remained this morning, with its sightless eyes showing through the opening in the barrel.  
To add to the horrors of the scene, evidence is everywhere to be seen of the ravages of the rats that feed upon these decaying human forms. Among clothing found there is evidence that the remains of some well-to-do people have been removed from their graves to the dissecting-table. 
Why the building was left in such a condition is unknown. Members connected with the faculty can not or will not say anything about it. A man named Scofield was janitor, and, it is said, has several times asked the former President of the "faculty" concerning the cleaning of the building and the disposition of the remains, but was advised to leave it as it was, as he would not be paid for his labor. 
The city papers this morning contained editorials denouncing the faculty for permitting this pestilence-breeder to remain in the heart of the city. The Grand Jury have taken hold of the matter, but with what object no one can tell, as the college faculty have committed no offense against the law other than the public sensitiveness. It is stated that some citizens will take the matter in hand to-night and cremate the whole business.
As a side note, our charming little tale also shows that 19th century Evansville residents had some curious notions about entertainment.

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Ngatea Crop Circle

Diagram of the "crop circle" which was published in the "Waikato Times"



“Crop circles” are, of course, among the most famous categories of alleged Fortean phenomena.  For years, the debate has raged about whether they are human-engineered hoaxes, the work of extraterrestrials, or the result of some bizarre natural forces we aren’t even close to understanding.  One of the strangest “crop circle” accounts is also, oddly enough, among the most credible.

On September 4, 1969, one Bert O’Neill was walking around his farm near Ngatea, New Zealand.  He noticed that some of his manuka trees were sporting an odd silvery color on the tips.  As he walked further, his surprise only increased: he saw a whole group of the trees quite dead, and completely bleached to that same silver color.  They formed a perfectly round patch, nearly five feet in circumference.  In the center of the circle were three distinct, evenly spaced V-shaped depressions in the soil.  The depressions had been made so forcefully, they cut down to the roots of the trees.

The baffled farmer didn’t know what to think.  Several days later, he shared the peculiar occurrence while having dinner with a bunch of friends.  Someone brought up the fact that later on the same day that O’Neill discovered his decimated trees, two Straits Air Freight Express pilots reported seeing a UFO over Wellington.  Perhaps, he said only half-jokingly, the two events were related?  Had a craft from another planet landed on O’Neill’s manuka trees?

The following day, someone from the dinner party told Harvey Cooke, president of the Tauranga Science Space Research Group, about what had happened on O’Neill’s farm.  Cooke immediately went to investigate.

After examining the site, he became convinced that whoever or whatever had caused the damage, it had not been human beings.  The three depressions which formed an equilateral triangle had been caused by about 20 tonnes of pressure.  In 1997, Cooke told “New Zealand Geographic” that “the toes had been moved out from the pad after the object had landed.  The ground had been pushed away and the flat end cut through the roots of the manuka.”  He added that the trees had been cooked by “Some kind of short-wave high-frequency radiation…I know of no earthly source of energy which could have produced these effects.”

News of the strange goings-on at O’Neill’s farm soon spread throughout the country, and his property was soon swarming with reporters, Ufologists, and simple lookey-loos.  Poor O’Neill, unable to do any farm work because of all the commotion, soon wished he had just kept his mouth shut.  Cooke collected samples of soil and the manuka trees and shared them with the University of Auckland’s UFO research group, the New Zealand Scientific Space Research Group, as well as a prominent horticulturist, John Stuart-Menzies.  Stuart-Menzies initially assumed the damage had been caused by weed killer or some other poison, but after examining the samples, he reluctantly had to rule that out.  When he ran a Geiger counter over the dead trees, it showed an increase in shortwave radiation.  He contacted the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research about his findings, but, for whatever reason, the DSIR declined to get involved.

On October 6, Stuart-Menzies released a report about his tests.  He concluded, “Some kind of short-wave high-frequency radiation has cooked the material from the inside outwards.  The effects appear to have been instantaneous.  The energy received has reduced the pith to black carbon without the outsides showing any signs of burning.

“I know of no earthly source of energy which could have produced these effects.  A meteorite or lightning couldn’t do this, and it has been too sudden for combustion.  Some outside object appears to have landed on the spot, and in taking off emitted the energy which cooked the plants.”

Well.  This not-so-subtle hint by a well-respected scientist that a UFO had used O’Neill’s farm as a rest stop created a nationwide sensation.  The furor went all the way up to New Zealand’s parliament, urging the government to compel the DSIR to investigate the matter.

More reports came in suggesting there was a high level of extraterrestrial weirdness going on.  Cattle on a farm in Puketutu suddenly fled a pond from which they had been drinking.  It was found that reeds on a small island in the middle of the pond had somehow been flattened into a circular shape about 27 yards across.  The reeds seemed to have been burned and pressed down in a spiral pattern.  Tripod marks very like the ones found on O’Neill’s farm were in the middle of the circle.  Soon after this, a family near Dargaville saw what they assumed was a low-flying airplane with flames shooting from the back.  The next day, four circles measuring about 5 yards in diameter were found on a nearby hill.

New Zealand’s minister of agriculture and science, Brian Talboys, finally instructed the DSIR to send a delegation of scientists to O’Neill’s farm.  Unfortunately, the site had been so ravaged by souvenir hunters that there was virtually nothing left for them to investigate.  All they had to work with were the samples collected by Cooke.

A few days later, Talboys announced the DSIR’s solution to the mystery:  the trees had been killed by a fungus.  Period.  He did not mention the triangular-shaped depressions or the radiation Stuart-Menzies had reported.  He also refused to address the inconvenient fact that while fungus attacks dead trees, it does not kill living ones.  As far as the New Zealand government was concerned, the subject was now closed.

Not very many people were convinced by this too-tidy official explanation, but bureaucracy, as usual, managed to have the last word.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Weekend Link Dump

 

"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

This week's Link Dump is here!  And we're not clowning around!

Well, maybe some of us are.



New York City's first professional dog walker.

The life of Margaret of Brabant, Countess of Flanders.

A 17th century man of parts.

The link between horse racing and eugenics.  This article reminds me of something one of the old boys at Santa Anita once said to me.  He had been an exercise rider for Citation--the greatest racehorse who ever lived, in his opinion.  He mentioned that he had also ridden Citation's full brother, Unbelievable.  "What sort of horse was Unbelievable?" I asked.  "He wasn't worth two dead flies!" Jack growled.

Brazil's first female war hero.

The man who invented Creepy Clowns.  (Quick question: Are there any clowns who aren't creepy?)

The legend of "Owd Parr."

The time when Paris was forced to eat zoo animals.

It appears that the Brontes drank graveyard water.  Which would explain a lot about their novels.

An assortment of historical ciphers.

Body-snatching isn't exactly the safest profession.

Murder and a ghostly axeman.

A fatal elopement.

Eerie vintage photos of the Thames.

The world's loneliest post office.

The legends around a 600 year old glass.

People have spent forever trying to live forever.

The Vatican's Garden of Eden.

The history behind a portrait by George Romney.

The mysterious murder of Benjamin Nathan.

How two Tudor enemies wound up having a face-off on New York's Fifth Avenue.

How "It's a Small World" became so damn ubiquitous.

A history-making heist.

The momentous events of April 1945.

A black Gilded Age celebrity.

An Isle of Man memorial of a shipwreck.

A debunking of death omens.  Spoilsport.

A destitute man stranded in 1875 London.

The mystery of "crisis apparitions."

Our ancient ancestors and their complicated sex lives.

The "Wicked Bible."

Meet The Bridge You Will Never See Me Even Go Near.

How "clotheshorse" came to mean "chic."

A photo of 1850s Manhattan.

A bit of astronomer humor.

That's all for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll talk crop circles.  In the meantime, here's a folk singer I recently discovered.



Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com


As I have mentioned before, the “Illustrated Police News” periodically featured nifty little ghost stories.  The following example appeared in their January 8, 1898 issue:

The people of Buckingham and neighbourhood are troubled at the appearance of a ghost, the truth of which is vouched for by a well-known farmer living in the neighbourhood.

About six miles from the outskirts of the town there stands a weather-beaten hand-post at the corner of four cross-roads, and also a small plantation of young oak saplings at the terminus. Near to this spot some few nights ago the farmer referred to, accompanied by a friend, was driving his horse and trap along the roadway. The night was well advanced and dark, when suddenly the farmer saw standing a few yards in front of him. a black object. 

"What's that?" he said to his friend, and aloud to the figure, "Hullo! there; move on, please." 

There was no answer, and the figure remained almost motionless. It was completely enveloped in a long black sheet, and had the ghastly appearance of a headless woman. Simultaneously the horse saw it, and trembled like a leaf, as if paralysed with fear.

Again the farmer cried, "What do you do there? Move on, please." But there was no response, and the apparition remained still. The horse became restive, and commenced backing into a ditch. 

At this stage the driver's companion got down, took the reins, and endeavoured to back by the spot. Then for a minute or so their queer visitant disappeared. As the trap again faced the roadway the occupants were greatly alarmed at the further appearance of the black, sombre figure a few yards ahead of them, in the same motionless position as before. 

Their situation was now getting positively serious. The farmer, whose presence of mind had stood him in good stead, now finding his nerve on the point of giving way, asked the apparition in the name of God to speak. Then it was that the spectre slowly glided away, and appeared to float through the thick-set bordered hedge. The animal at once galloped off at a rattling pace towards the village they were bound for. Other people in the district have related their experiences, and the belief now prevails that there is a ghost to be seen, and not a little surprising the spot referred to has been less frequented of late.