"...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 29, 2020

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

Stories of ghostly faces in mirrors or windows are surprisingly common, but this one is considerably weirder than most. The “Sedalia Democrat,” January 16, 1896:
On a farm ten miles northwest of Pittsfield, III., owned by Mrs. Judge Doocy, of that place, but formerly owned by Jacob Parsley, stands a two story frame dwelling. This house is occupied by Albert Wells, who rents the farm. Parsley lived a number of years in this house and died there a few years ago. The neighbors say he protected bushwhackers.

During the war a stranger was hanged in a grove near the house. Several persons are reported to have mysteriously disappeared there. Parsley’s last request was that the trees in the grove never be cut down.

But Mr. Wells cut ten of the trees,and during the past two weeks ten pictures have appeared on ten window panes of the house fronting the grove.

The pictures are said by the neighbors to resemble Parsley, his wife, his grandchildren, a Jew peddler, who disappeared mysteriously, the stranger hanged in the grove, and other people who could not be accounted for.

New glass has been substituted, but the pictures reappear. Hundreds of people visit the place daily—lawyers, ministers and school teachers—yet none explain the mystery. It is supposed missing people are buried in the grove, and an investigation is likely to follow. During the night a sound, as of water dripping from the roof upon the floor upstairs, then upon the ground floor, are continually heard, yet nothing has ever been discovered to cause the sounds.
Unfortunately, this seems to have been an example of those strange little newspaper stories that make one appearance in print, and then disappear with no follow-ups.


  1. Three thoughts come to mind about this curious little item: 1) was there any photographic or other evidence of these images in the windows? And how did this story get spread to begin with? 2) did Mr. Wells think of charging admission to any sightseers who came to gape at his windows? (never let a crisis go to waste...); & 3) the news article's header could serve as a catchy title for a new sci-fi/horror film: "It Came From Pittsfield"

  2. Stories that appear and have no sequel; it sounds like modern journalism had its birth a long time ago.


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