"...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, November 20, 2013

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Here's the tale of rather unusual...poltergeists?--natural phenomena?--general un-classifiable weirdness?--that was recorded in the "Indianapolis Sun" on October 17, 1896:

The excitement at the Newport house, on N. Capitol-ave., continues. Friday evening, shortly after 7 o'clock, Mr. Newport was in the front room and Blacksmith Ambuhl was sitting at the table in the dining room, when a series of shocks began and, before ceasing, 18 were counted.

The occupants ran out as people do in earthquake countries. Mr. Newport confesses that the series of frightful shocks made him nervous, and he has decided to sleep in the house no more until something more is learned of the affair. Saturday morning, at 8 o'clock, there were seven distinct shocks. The characteristics of the quakings resemble earthquakes. There is no house nearer than 100 feet to the house in question. The rumblings of the Newport house can be heard at times by the neighbors, but they have never yet been felt by them.

The property owners in the immediate neighborhood are signing a petition which asks the state geologist to make a complete and thorough investigation. This is to be presented to Geologist Blatchley when he returns from the oil fields of Indiana Saturday evening. Those in the neighborhood are beginning to realize that it is a serious matter and that if Mr. Newport's house is destroyed by an eruption of some sort, their property will also be injured. The Board of public safety will be asked to do something. It has the power of ordering the house torn down if it is found unsafe. The shaking house, however, is well built and it is a question whether it could go so far as to condemn a house on account of disturbances under the foundation.

The yard was crowded with people Saturday morning, and they came and went until noon. Many of the visitors have advice to offer. It's "Well, I tell you," and "If I were you" until the Newports are weary of life. At present the family is living with Mrs. Newport's mother, on Pratt-st. A man came in from Plainfield, Friday, and offered to trade his farm for Newport's property. He offered a "Dick-nailin'" good trade, but Newport says he's going to stay with it until he finds out what the matter is.

It was theorized that these strange noises and shakes were caused by oil or gas deposits under the house. In November, drilling commenced on the property, but after going down nearly a thousand feet without anything of significance being found, the project was abandoned the following month and as far as I can tell, the mystery was left unsolved.


  1. This one isn't so much otherworldly as simply puzzling. I would have taken the farmer's offer of exchange - though I'd see how much his farmstead shakes first. Maybe some oil prospectors were fracking near by.


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