"...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 22, 2021

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This brief, but intriguing story appeared in the “South Bend Tribune,” February 24, 1880.  Unfortunately, this is the only news report I’ve found about the mystery.

Lebanon, Ohio, is the scene of a great excitement caused by a wonderful phenomenon of showers of ordinary bird-shot falling from the ceiling of John W. Lingo's hardware store. This strange occurrence was first noticed by parties who retort to the place each evening to spend a few hours in social chat. On the first evening quite a number of persons were in the store when the shot began to fall in different parts of the room, but principally in the midst of the crowd of persons sitting about the stove. As the stove was near a hatchway, it was thought by some that some person or contrivance was in the upper portion of the building which threw or dropped the shot down. Parties were selected and a thorough search made of the building.  All the floors were visited and every nook and corner ransacked, when the committee returned and reported no spooks found. Then someone suggested that they all go to the front end of the store where the ceiling is perfect and no hatchways to the upper rooms. The shot continued to fall the same way at the back portion of the room. Then it was proposed that all present hold their hands up over their heads, in order that no one could use his hands to throw or drop the shot. Still the shot fell, as usual. Many believe the shot is thrown by the spirit of a burglar who was shot and killed in the store in 1874 while attempting to rob it.


  1. I wrote about this bizarre case in The Headless Horror: Strange and Ghostly Ohio Tales. Lingo, hardware merchant and agricultural implement dealer, had, according to the papers, an extensively checkered career: he taught his dog to answer the telephone, was taken to court after being beaten by Lebanon City Councilman Nathan Woods who caught Lingo in Mrs. Woods’ bedroom, and shot a business rival during a field test of a sheaf binder, claiming self-defense. When he was appointed Postmaster of Lebanon in 1887, someone circulated, under cover of darkness, flyers accusing Lingo of “the grossest immorality” and urging the women of Lebanon “for God’s sake” to sign petitions for his recall.
    In short, John W. Lingo was a man to whom Things Happened. I've not been able to trace any story of a burglar being shot. It's possible it was just a PR stunt by Lingo to get people into his store.

    1. That's it! When I came across this story, I knew I had seen it mentioned in a book, but I couldn't remember which one!

      It says a lot about a man that a mysterious shower of bird shot is the *least* weird thing you can say about him.


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