"...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

Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Best of Strange Company 2023


Yes, it's again time for this blog's annual tradition of counting down the most popular posts from the past year.  As usual, it's an eclectic lot, with (for me at least) a couple of surprises.

1. The First American Murder.  

This was Number One in a landslide--in fact, for a time it was one of Strange Company's most viewed posts ever.  And I have no idea why.  Usually, when a post of mine gets a large amount of hits, it's because some bigger blog or website linked to it.  As far as I can tell, that didn't happen here.  Perhaps people just like tales of Colonists Behaving Badly.

2. The Best of Strange Company 2022.

A bit of irony there.

3. Dr. Moore and the Fairies.

An Irish schoolmaster gets tired of being repeatedly kidnapped by spirits.

4. Weekend Link Dump, October 20, 2023.

What would a Top Ten list be without a WLD?

5. The Markley Mystery.

A couple's strange disappearance.

6. Over the Bridge of Time: The Vision of Irene Kuhn

A woman's premonition of death.

7. The Witch-Cats of Scrabster.

I would have been very disappointed if beer-drinking supernatural cats had failed to make the Top Ten.  You guys didn't let me down.

8. The Fine Art of Libelous Tombstones

A look at a little-known, but delightful topic.

9. Screams in the Night: An Unusual Mystery at Sea

The crew of a ship sailing in the middle of nowhere hears…something.

10. The Grave at Herm Island

The case of a very enigmatic burial.

And there you have it for this year!  Happy New Year, everyone, and I hope 2024 will be another year of disappearances, insulting tombstones, and even--if we're very, very lucky--demonic cats.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Weekend Link Dump

"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn


Welcome to the final Link Dump of 2023!

The Strange Company staffers and I wish you a Happy New Year!

An ancient Roman mosaic has just been discovered.

The woman who claimed to control the weather.

A dangerous man at the court of Elizabeth I.

A Christmas Eve murder.

A handy reminder: practical jokes and church bells don't mix.

The ancient underground city that was found in a basement.

A very contentious Christmas dessert.

The sad life of Queen Victoria's daughter Alice.

Imagine being known to history as Roland the Farter.

Photos of Old London.

The mystery of the missing prehistoric fingerprints.

The coronation of King Stephen.

And that's all for this week!  Sorry for the paucity of links, but the blogosphere tends to get quiet over the holiday season.  See you on Sunday, when we'll look at the most popular Strange Company posts of 2023!  In the meantime, happy new year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

Ghost horses?  Ghost cats?  I’m sold.  The “Hamilton (Ontario, Canada,) Spectator,” October 28, 2005:

BY JOHN BURMAN--The Headless Horseman rode one of the most famous spectral steeds in legend and literature. And cats are familiar fixtures come Halloween. But how many people know Hamilton has both a ghost cat that gets stuck between windows and ghost horses eager to haul a city artillery regiment’s long-gone guns? 

There’s no Headless Horseman in Hamilton’s John W. Foote VC Armoury, but members of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry insist there are large four-legged spirits in one corner where the old stables and gun sheds used to stand. No one has seen them. But some have heard hooves stamping and harnesses and chains used to haul the gun carriages rattling and jingling. And they’ve noticed the unmistakable smell of horses. 

The best account comes from a lieutenant who bedded down troops in the area some time ago.

RHLI Captain Tim Fletcher says the horses haunt the area known as the old armouries which is that part of the building that replaced the original wooden structure that burned in 1886. There were stables there for horses used to pull the artillery, long since converted to a gun shed for 11 Battery which is part of today’s 11th Field Artillery Regiment. 

There have been no horses in the building on James Street North since long before the Second World War. Some time ago a group of RHLI recruits on a training course were bunked down for the night in the old stables with, as Fletcher says, the traditional military warning to “get some sleep, you’re going to need it.”

As the troopers hit the sack the lieutenant in charge posted a fire picket — someone detailed to stay awake on fire watch — and then put his head down as well. Around 3 am the officer awoke with a start roused by the clink of chains and heavy breathing. One look at the man on watch told him he wasn’t the only one who’d heard it. Snatching a flashlight, he whirled the beam around the room but there was nothing to see. By now other troopers were awake and the room was filled with the sound of horses moving and a faint aroma of sweating horses filled the air. The noises continued for a while and then died down. 

“The catch,” says Fletcher, “is none of the soldiers involved had any idea the area had been a stable until they told others the story.”

The hapless ghost cat haunts a windowsill at the former Hamilton Customs House, now the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre on Stuart Street, a pretty spooky place for human ghosts as well. 

In 1988 a woman named Annette worked for a martial arts academy located in the building at the time. Haunted Hamilton tour guides in the building referred to her as a “ghost magnet.” She reported many strange things in the building such as doors banging cold breezes and a man’s voice telling her to “get out."

But the strangest thing she saw working late one night was the appearance of a black cat apparently caught between a storm window and an inside window frame in the front hallway. The cat looked terrified, with all its fur standing on end. Annette struggled to pry open the window — both had been nailed shut for months — to free the cat. As she pushed and pulled on the window frame, the cat slowly vanished before her eyes.

Monday, December 25, 2023

The Kindly Poltergeist: A Christmas Story

Via Newspapers.com

What’s Christmas without a ghost story?  This rather sweet example of the genre--complete with a happy ending!--appeared in the “Somerset County Herald,” December 18, 1948:

Mr. Henry Transom, M.A.. came to Taunton in 1730 to teach classics at the local Grammar School.  The same year arrived the newly-appointed Headmaster, the Rev. James Upton. M.A., an Editor of Classical Texts, who came from the rectory of Monksilver, and in later years served the Parish Church of Bishop's Hull.

Taunton then was a small town with a population of about 5.000. Many of the old thatched houses in East-street and East Reach had been destroyed by fire during the three sieges, when the town was defended by Robert Blake. Henry Transom was a bachelor, aged 40, and rented two rooms in a charming Tudor gabled house in East-street, practically opposite the present County Hotel.  This old house has gone. 

Henry was a robust Christian, and regularly attended the services at St. Mary's Church. His friends spoke of him respectfully as "Inasmuch."

The craze for drinking quantities of cheap spirit was as common in Taunton as in other towns. This unpleasant habit spread rapidly among the poor of that period, owing to a bad mistake on the part of the government. Farmers complained that they could not sell their grain, and the government thought of a very stupid way to help them.

It encouraged the manufacture and sale of spirits, specially gin, by canceling the heavy tax on its production and the need for a licence to sell it. The distillers now bought up all the grain the farmers could let them have, but the effects of the crude, badly-made spirit on the health and character of many poor people were disastrous. Insanitary houses, bad drinking water and dirty streets encouraged the spread of small-pox and cholera. The death mortality of children was very high.

All this Henry Transom noted with pain and deep concern. He was well up in the history of the ancient Greek physicians, who gave freely to the poor and to the stranger, not only of their skill but also of their substance. In therapeutics the school of Hippocrates waited vigilantly upon Nature: it used physical means such as diet, medicinal herbs and waters, fresh air and gymnastics: it did not interfere violently by bleedings or by drugs. Surgery, by this direct and natural study of facts, attained a degree of positive excellence. whereas in the early 18th century England rough operations were still performed by barbers and apothecaries.

A City company, the Barber Surgeons, would cut your hair, corns or throat in the same establishment. To Transom familiar were the legends about Aesculapius, the Greek father of physicians, who in statues was represented sitting on a throne, with one hand holding a rod entwined with snakes, and the other leaning on a serpent's head, suggesting his power over evil. This study of Greek medicine had a powerful influence over his outlook on life.

Thomas Guy had given a large portion of the huge fortune he had made out of heavy investments in South Sea Company stock to found Guy's Hospital In 1722. Other London hospitals were soon built.

Transom, out of his meagre salary, sent a handsome gift to the St. George's Hospital, founded in 1733. How he did hope that Taunton would follow the example of London!  

One evening Henry, a keen Bible student, pondered long over a sentence that lit up the sacred page:--"I was sick, and ye visited me." Henceforth, his ministrations to the sick, his benefactions to the infirm, including a regular order every Christmas for seven parcels of delicacies to be sent anonymously to convalescents, won him a niche in the hearts of many of the poorest of the poor. He believed that fifty per cent of sick persons needed prayer more than pills, meditation more than medication.

He took many risks in visiting sick people, and eventually contracted small-pox from which he died in 1759, a year of severe drought. Friends who knew Transom well spoke of his spirit of goodwill and graciousness that seemed to impregnate the very bricks of his rooms. Later Tenants reported that the warmth of his personality seemed to survive in the rooms.

A corn merchant. Mr. George Marshall, bought the house in 1801. His only child was Henry, aged 10, who was a scholar at the Taunton Grammar School. This was the year when the Headmaster, the Rev. John Townsend, confined the boys one day to the School premises, so that the curious could not see nine men hanged at Stone Gallows, Rumwell, for bread stealing. in 1802, not long before Christmas.

Henry was laid low with a severe attack of pneumonia. Fortunately, the father was able to call in a nurse very different from the "Sairey Gamp" type of that period. The night of the crisis, which was Christmas eve, when she was fighting to save the boy's life (in Transom's bedroom) she declared two extraordinary phenomena happened. A luminous patch appeared on the bedroom wall on which she distinctly saw the outline of a rod and a serpent, and a man's figure glided past her, placed a gentle hand on the boy's forehead, and a voice spoke quietly: "I was sick and ye visited me." The visitor vanished seemingly through the wall. The room seemed filled with a gracious Presence, there was nothing frightening about the experience. From that moment the patient was on the road to recovery, a welcome Christmas gift indeed!

Those who were told the story and remembered Henry Transom had explanations to offer. Two rooms now apparently became the focus of kindly poltergeist activity. On one occasion a roll of bandages appeared from nowhere, at another time the family Bible was paranormally opened at St. Matthew, chapter xxv.  Pencil markings appeared spontaneously at times on the walls. One marking, iatros, written in Greek characters, was deciphered as the Greek word for "physician.'' Sometimes the house seemed filled with the fragrance of medicinal herbs.

On the 11th of April, 1810, the foundation stone of the Taunton and Somerset Hospital was laid, and everything became normal again in Henry Transom's old home in East-street. His spirit was now at rest.

Merry Christmas to the benevolent spirit of Mr. Transom, and all my readers!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Weekend Link Dump


"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

Welcome to The Link Dump Before Christmas.

Santa's almost here!

The coronation of Elizabeth of York.

That time Bronson Alcott tried to create a Utopia.   It didn't go too well, as is usually the case when people try to create Utopias.  It probably didn't help matters that Bronson was kind of a cluck.

The psychology of serial poisoners.

The true story that inspired "The Exorcist."

A haunted ship.

The rules of Christmas Eve ghost stories.

George Washington served some pretty impressive eggnog.

When sailing ships had "learning labs."

A comedian discovers that ghosts are no laughing matter.

The strange life and death of "Dr. Gonzo."

The mystery of strange notes hidden in a 19th century dress.

Recollections of Christmas trees past.

Understanding the language of whales.

How ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon became "winter spices."

Everyone wants a signature of Button Gwinnett.

Some lesser-known Christmas characters.

The different meanings of the word "wicked."

Ancient bricks and mysterious magnetic anomalies.

Has Alexander the Great's tomb been found?

Yet another disappearance in a national park.

A look at Viking dentistry.

DIY vintage Christmas ornaments.

The thoughts of farm animals.  My grandmother grew up on a farm in Latvia. She always thought the animals they raised had thoughts and feelings just like ours.  (Especially pigs; she found them particularly intelligent and sweet.)  It really troubled her that the family would kill and eat them.

A friend of Charlotte Bronte.  Who thought Charlotte really needed to get out of the house more.

A visit to the home of the Benders.

Before there were e-mails from Nigerian princes, there were visits from Zulu princes.

The Thames Torso Murders.

A "humble" Christmas tree turns out to be very valuable.

The meteor shower that some thought signaled the end of the world.

The legend of the "Devil's Talon."

The mysterious death of Thelma Todd.

HMS Dolphin captures a slave ship.

The myths of the Boston Tea Party.

The Kecksburg UFO mystery.

The woman who inspired "Tess of the D'Urbervilles."

That's it for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll celebrate the holiday with another Christmas ghost!  In the meantime, here's a fun version of this carol.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

Bring on the Christmas ghosts!  The "London Sunday Mirror," December 23, 1923:

What would Christmas be without its ghost stories? The children love them.

A Christmas " ghost " has arrived almost opportunely one might say. But it has not chosen a big city like London for its appearance. Cities are probably too dull, unromantic and unbelieving. These things are done better in the country. This year's ghost has chosen a Devonshire village near Taunton as its theatre of operations.

Moreover, Monkton Heathfield, the name of the village, has quite a ghostly sound about it. But the unearthly visitant does not seem to be a monk. It is quite up to date in the sense that, instead of choosing an ivy-clad castle for its operations, it has ensconced itself in a newly-built house. The residence in question was erected for his own occupation by a Mr. Gardiner, a jobbing builder, and during the last few days articles of furniture have been moved about the house without apparent human agency.  So uncanny has the situation become that Mr. Gardiner and his son no longer sleep there.

The trouble began when an extraordinary noise was heard, and Mr. Gardiner was struck on the back of the neck by an orange which a moment before had been reposing on a plate on the dresser.

Other inexplicable occurrences are related by neighbours, who were interviewed yesterday by a Press representative. 

A chair jumped from the floor on to the table, and a matchbox, which was on the table in the kitchen, suddenly rose several feet into the air and then fell to the ground. 

A pair of boots emerged backwards from the cupboard. 

Two Prayer-books and a large postcard album flew from a bookshelf to the opposite side of the room. 

The climax was reached when amazed witnesses saw a lamp rise from the table and gracefully volplane to the kitchen floor.

These things have happened not only at night, but during midday meals, when knives have moved from one end of the table to the other. 

The pepper-box has taken to walking. 

So far no explanation has been found for the phenomena.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Where is Inez Miller?

"Poughkeepsie Journal," July 21, 2002, via Newspapers.com

Once you reach the venerable age of nearly a century, you are entitled to assume that The Weird has permanently passed you by.  You expect to be one of those fortunate souls who end their days in a peaceful, natural, and completely non-mysterious fashion.

As the following story will show, that assumption is not always correct.

Inez McKenzie was born on September 24, 1904.  In 1920, she married Washington Miller, and they eventually settled on a small farm in rural Lynchburg, South Carolina, where she was to spend the rest of her long life.  The Millers eventually had 13 children, six of whom survived her.  The Millers had little money, and had to work hard--Inez often had to work as a maid or cleaning woman to make ends meet--but she was sustained by what one of her grandsons, Greg Wright, described as “quiet grace and strong faith in God.”  After Washington died in 1965, Inez continued her modest rural existence, keeping frequent touch with her many descendants (she eventually had more than 50 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.)  The petite (4’9”) widow was described as feisty and independent, with a good sense of humor.

In 2000, Inez was approaching her 96th birthday.  She was in good physical health for her years, and showed no sign of losing her usual mental lucidity.  However, her 65-year-old son Burrell lived with her, simply because her family worried about someone of her age living alone.

At about 3:30 p.m. on the rainy, cold afternoon of March 10, 2000, neighbors noticed Inez walking to her mailbox to pick up her afternoon newspaper.  Accompanying her were her German Shepherd and the dog’s two puppies.  When Burrell returned home over an hour later after spending the day working on a nearby farm, he was startled to find that his mother was not at home.  After a search of the home and the property around it failed to find any trace of Inez, the Sheriff’s Department was summoned.

Inez has never been seen again, alive or dead.  Some time after she was last seen, two of the dogs returned to her home, but the third permanently disappeared, as well.  (Note: It doesn't seem to be recorded anywhere if the vanished dog was the adult, or one of the puppies.)

When I first came across this case, I assumed that Inez was the victim of some unfortunate accident.  Perhaps the elderly woman had a slight stroke that caused her to wander off until she succumbed to the elements.  Or maybe some wild animal killed her and the missing dog.  However, when I read more about the mystery, I was a bit surprised to note that her relatives--and, more importantly, law enforcement--were instantly convinced she had been kidnapped.  In the words of her son Albert, “Someone came and snatched our mother real quick.”  Neighbors saw a blue four-door car parked in front of the Miller home at about 4 p.m.  Unfortunately, no one saw the driver, and the car was never identified.

Miller’s house was in perfect order.  Her purse was still there, with a small amount of money inside.  Also found in the home were her dentures, eyeglasses and walking stick.  Obviously, when she left to get the newspaper, she wasn’t planning any longer excursions.

The search for Inez went on for days.  The area was scoured using dogs, a helicopter, and an infrared device that detected heart activity.  Nothing.  Police thought there might eventually be a ransom demand, but none ever came.

"The State," March 25, 2001

It did indeed look as if someone had “snatched” Inez “real quick.”  But who?  And why?  What could anyone gain by kidnapping a thoroughly harmless near-centenarian?  Inez had very little money, and no life insurance.  She owned some acres of land, most of which had been in the family for generations, but it’s unclear if the property was of any real value.  In any case, even if any of her relatives could profit by her death, surely they realized that in the normal course of events, they would not have to wait very long.

Adding to the sadness of this case is the fact that Inez’s disappearance caused an estrangement among her six children.  Some of them pointed fingers at each other as possible suspects in the crime.  However, police investigated all Inez’s many relatives, and eventually cleared every one of them.  And they were unable to come up with any possible motive for the disappearance.

Inez’s mysterious fate had a shattering effect on her loved ones.  Two years after she vanished, Greg Wright wrote that “it was as if the soul of my family disappeared with her.”  The disappearance “cast an eerie pall of suspicion and paranoia over my mother’s family.”  Unfortunately, more than 20 years later, the case remains as baffling as ever.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Weekend Link Dump


"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

This week's Link Dump is hosted by more of our Christmas Cats!

Party time!

What the hell are ley lines?

Can't think of a Christmas gift for that special someone?  Get a coffin!

Or perhaps you'd want to give a box of leeches.

The life of a lady-in-waiting at the court of Czar Nicholas II.

A newly-discovered medieval curse tablet.

The world's most haunted bodies of water.

The "Christmas Tree Boat" shipwreck.

The midwinter tradition of the "hobby horse."

The teenager who lives in the 1940s.

A sanctuary for debtors.

A medieval love token.

The costs of schooling in the early 19th century.

More on the "ultimate poltergeist."

Some dancing fairies in Cornwall.

A magical sixpence.

A frigate duel in 1782.

A Victorian boy accidentally has a very merry Christmas.

The rights of the dead.

A look at the friendship between Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.

A photo tour of 1960s Laurel Canyon.  (Incidentally, if you're interested in California's music scene, I recently read a fascinating--if somewhat speculative--book about Laurel Canyon's dark side.)

A memorable (if sad) moment in platypus history.

A murder/suicide in Pennsylvania.

The tricky subject of museum thefts.

A significant discovery of underwater relics.

We are still arguing about Neanderthals.

The islands that boast "talking gravestones."

The strategic gambles of Admiral Nimitz.

A brief history of the expression "dog days."

The days of Parisian costume balls.

The world's oldest known fortress.

A photograph of a ghost.  Maybe.

A tour of a Pompeii bakery.

That's all for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll look at an elderly woman's inexplicable disappearance.  In the meantime, here's more of King's College.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

As I have mentioned before, my beloved “Illustrated Police News” is an unexpected source of nifty little ghost stories, such as this item in the September 4, 1897 issue:

The good folk of Halton Holegate, a village near Spilsby, in Lincolnshire, are excited over a ghost story. For some time rumours have been afloat of human bones having been discovered under the brick floor of a farm near the village, of strange, unearthly tappings having been heard, and of the appearance of a ghostly visitor as the precursor of these happenings. 

The farmstead, where the weird sounds are said to have been heard and the ghost is said to have been seen, stands some distance from the high road, and is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Wilson and a man-servant. Mrs. Wilson has been seen, and has told the following remarkable story: 

"We came here on Lady Day last. The first night or so we heard very strange noises about midnight, as though someone was knocking at the door and walls.

“Once it seemed as though someone was moving all the things about in a hurry downstairs. Another time the noise was like a heavy picture falling from the wall, but in the morning I found everything as right as it was the night before.

“The servant man left, saying he dared not stop, and we had to get another. Then about six weeks ago, I saw something.  Before getting into bed, my husband having retired before me, I went downstairs to see the cow, and just as I was about to go up again I saw an old man standing at the top looking at me. He was standing as though he was very round-shouldered. How I got past I can't say, but I darted past him into the bed-room and slammed the door.

Afterwards I felt that someone was behind me; I turned round sharply,and there again stood the same old man. He quickly vanished, but I am quite certain I saw him. I have also seen him several times since, though not quite so distinctly.”

Mrs. Wilson next conducted her interviewer to the sitting-room, where a gruesome discovery had been made.

The floor in one corner had been very uneven, and a day or two ago Mrs. Wilson took up the bricks with the intention of relaying them. No sooner had she done this than a most disagreeable odour was emitted.  Her suspicions being aroused, she called her husband, and the two commenced a minute examination.

Three or four bones were soon turned over, together with a gold ring and several pieces of old black silk. All these had evidently been buried in quicklime. Asked what her own opinion of the affair was, Mrs. Wilson confidently asserted her belief that at some time or other foul play had taken place.

She was fully persuaded in her own mind with regard to the apparition, and though it was suggested she might have been mistaken, she disdained the idea as being beneath notice.  Dr. Gay, a local medical man, to whom the bones have been submitted, states that they are undoubtedly human, but he believes them to be nearly 100 years old.

The story made headlines in newspapers as far away as New Zealand, but I was unable to find any follow-ups.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Haunting of Hannah Hall

Anyone who has taken Forteana 101 knows that if a sinister old lady knocks on your door, only to be unceremoniously sent packing, don’t be surprised if you start experiencing some sort of supernatural annoyance.  A sterling example of this rule occurred in the village of Little Tew, England, during the years 1838-1839.

Our little cautionary tale centered around a servant girl named Hannah Bench, a “modest, quiet, and unassuming young woman” of about 20.  One day, an old woman presented herself at Hannah’s door, asking to tell her fortune.  Hannah scolded the woman for being an obvious impostor--who could possibly see anyone’s future?--and told the stranger to go on her way.  The old woman indignantly replied that she did indeed know Hannah’s future.  The girl would be married in three months, and although she did not give the gentleman’s name, she provided a detailed description of him.  Hannah called her a liar, and slammed the door in the visitor’s face.

Soon after this encounter, Hannah saw a very ugly creature resembling a newt clinging to her dress, which so alarmed her that she went into a violent fit.  Thereafter, she had so many such convulsions that she was unable to continue her duties, and went to live with relatives.  Fortunately, this change of scene led to an immediate improvement in her health, and within three months, as the old woman had predicted, she was married to a blacksmith named Thomas Hall.

Unfortunately, this marriage marked the start of a whole new set of troubles for Hannah.  “Unearthly sounds”--scratching noises, moans, whistles--began to be heard throughout her house, which so terrified her that her fits returned, which often left her unconscious for hours.  Others heard these eerie sounds, but Hannah was the only one to be physically affected by them.

This supernatural persecution got bolder.  Hannah’s bottle of medicine was frequently thrown to the floor by an unseen force.  Cups holding this medicine would be dashed out of her hand and smashed into pieces on the floor.  A friend of Hannah’s offered to keep the medicine in her own house, so Hannah could take the prescribed doses unmolested.

Hannah began to feel invisible hands tugging at her dress, which would sometimes untie her apron and hurl it across the house.  “It” would remove her wedding ring and hide it, and place the front door key in bizarre places.  The windows of her cottage would mysteriously shatter.

Before long, the weird happenings became the talk of the village.  One woman scoffed, insisting that Hannah, for whatever reason, must be faking the phenomena, and she would prove it.  When she went to Hannah’s cottage, she was told that the bedroom window had just been smashed.  When the woman went upstairs to investigate, a…something lifted her off the floor towards the ceiling, and then, after a moment, set her back down.  The woman was so unnerved that she immediately returned home, where it took several days in bed for her to recover from the experience.  One hopes she gave Hannah an apology.

The “ghost” began to speak.  Unfortunately, it was a highly impolite voice, uttering “very vulgar language.”  Hannah and her friends, deciding that this really was the last straw, resolved to hold a prayer meeting in her cottage, hoping that this would drive away the rude visitor.

It did not go well.  Whenever anyone would begin to pray, the ghostly voice would shout “Amen!” in a sarcastic fashion.  When the voice was asked who it was, and why it was bothering them, the only reply was a fiendish chuckle.  On a later occasion, the voice was more amenable to answering questions.  It claimed to be the spirit of a certain deceased person.  It gave this person’s name, and some details of his history.  However, all these details proved to be false, proving that they were dealing with “a lying, mischievous, and malicious spirit.”  The voice was fond of shouting at visitors, “You’re a fool!  You’re a fool!”

The spirit continued to throw poor Hannah into fits.  At other times, this invisible force would throw pans, stools, and even hatchets at her.  One day, Hannah’s infant child was dashed from her lap into the fire, but fortunately, the baby was rescued unhurt.

Mystery Blood even made an appearance in our story.  One day, the voice was heard emanating from Hannah’s pillow.  Someone who happened to be in the room stabbed the pillow with a fork, after which, “blood or something like it” seeped out.  Most curiously, while there was blood on top of the pillowcase and on the sheet under the pillow, there was no blood inside the pillow itself.

On one occasion, Hannah was complaining to a friend about her wedding ring being removed from her finger.  She feared that this time, it was lost for good.  The ghostly voice informed her that it was in a handkerchief that was on the table.  And so it was.

As Hannah feared being alone in the house while her husband was at work, her mother came to stay for a time.  While she was there, the house door key again disappeared.  While the women were vainly searching for it, one of them snapped, “Depend on it, that thing has got it hid somewhere.”  A shrill voice replied, “It’s in the pail of water, it’s in the pail of water!”  Seeing that a pail of water was nearby, Hannah’s mother fished around in it, but found nothing.

“Drat that lying thing; it is not here!” the old woman exclaimed.  

“It’s in the pail of water!” the shrill voice insisted.

Hannah’s mother examined the pail again, and this time the key was there.  The two women then heard a mocking laugh.

Hannah and her husband were almost constantly exhausted.  At night, their ghostly guest would appear by their bed, crowing and chirping in a very unnerving manner, and would sometimes lift them from the bed and gently lay them back down.  Such occurrences did not promote a restful sleep.  Hearing of these troubles, a neighbor, “T,” and another young man, “Tom,” volunteered to sleep in their room.  On the first night, Tom was also lifted from the bed, but this time, was rudely dropped to the ground.  The voice was then heard to say, “Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up!”

Tom was not cheered.

On another night, a rushing sound suddenly came through the room, and something fell heavily on the bed between “T” and Tom.  T grasped hold of it, only to find that he was holding on to a pound of rushlights.

Finally, the local minister, Edgar Hewlett, (who later published a pamphlet about the “ghost”) came to pray with Hannah.  When the now all-too-familiar voice lectured him, “You’re a fool, you’re a fool!”  Hewlett retorted, “Who are you?  I defy you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the name of Jesus I bid you depart and trouble this woman no more.”

His words were met with total silence.  After some minutes of this unusual peace, Hannah said, “I do think that he is driven away.”

Happily, she proved to be correct.  Whatever the malicious spirit tormenting Hannah may have been, it was never heard from again.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Weekend Link Dump


"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

Welcome to this week's Link Dump!

Let's get this Christmas party started!

Archaeologists are recreating the lives of medieval Cambridge residents.

When your nickname is "Bad Tom," don't be surprised when you're convicted of murder.

Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved."

"Witch bottles" are washing ashore in Texas.

New Hampshire allegedly has the worst weather in the world.

Two divas of the Arab world.

Newfoundland's "Isle of Demons."

The mystery of an Iron Age brain.

Making artificial limbs during WWI.

An eccentric aristocrat in the British Parliament.

Why red and green became Christmas colors.  (Shorter version: nobody knows.)

A tale of death and bell-ringing.

A possible Arctic graveyard from the Stone Age.  Even though there are no bodies.

A girl's peculiar death.

A heroic sailor.

The comet that became a punchline.

Meet Jack, scat-sniffing superdog.

Impressive Stone Age engineering.

The "ultimate poltergeist."

The disappearance of Flight 19.

The New York corner that's seen 100 years of vice.

We've had a hard time deciding how to spell "Hanukkah" and "Christmas."

Micro-napping penguins.

The woman who lived on 15 cents a day.

A brief history of Christmas greens.

The Welsh "Rebecca Riots."

In other news, Bigfoot has been kidnapped.

The man who yearned for highway death markers.

The Queen of Thai desserts.

A WWI "ghost ship."

Dining with Margaret of Austria.

That's it for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll visit those pesky poltergeists.  In the meantime, here's one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

While I can’t say I’d like to have a ghost move into my residence, I’d make an exception for one that’s willing to take over the housekeeping.  The “Cincinnati Enquirer,” March 21, 1891:

Mechanicsburg, Ohio. March 20. Of late years this section of territory has been fortunate in escaping the visitations of ghosts, but it appears that one has recently been stalking about.

Mr. Hiram Ruthless is a sober, reliable, industrious man, whose word is as good as his bond among his associates. Something over a year ago Mr. Ruthless took unto himself a wife and, renting a house, set to housekeeping.  During their stay in this house the family has been subjected to strange sounds issuing from the interior of the dwelling in the dead of night, which up to this time remain unaccountable. On several occasions they have been aroused from slumber as by someone pounding on the head-board of the bed, shoveling coal into the stove, footsteps overhead, a search and examination in each instance resulting in no discovery of the mystery.

A few mornings ago the family arose at the usual hour, when, upon entering the dining room, they found that the ghost. as was supposed, had been there first, and placed the knives, forks and plates upon the table in their accustomed places. The wife questioned her husband in regard to the matter, thinking it a practical joke of his, but he maintained that he had been no party to the action, and casually mentioned that the ghost might know something about it. The lady scouted the idea, however, as she is no believer in ghosts. 

The night following the above circumstance, after the family had retired to bed, Mr. Ruthless was aroused from his slumbers by what appeared to be voices in the room. Opening his eyes and looking around he beheld a sight that caused his heart to beat tumultuously for a few seconds. Standing within a few feet of him was a figure clad in a white robe which enveloped the entire form from head to foot. The figure was considerably bent forward, not unlike that of a person whom years bore heavily upon. 

It seemed to be motioning for Mr. Ruthless to follow it, as it began to slowly glide backward toward the dining room door. He arose with a feeling born of fear, and nervously slipped into his garments. By the time he had accomplished this feat and taken his revolver from under his pillow, he was prepared to follow the retreating figure of the apparition. But just at this juncture it faded from sight, seemingly enveloped in a sort of phosphorescent light. 

This has been the last seen of the apparition, if such it may be termed, although the ghostly noises have since been noticeable about the house.

Monday, December 4, 2023

The Mascots of the Skies

This is something of a companion piece to my earlier post about Sailor Cats. In October 1919, "Flying" magazine carried this story by Henry Woodhouse paying tribute to some of the surprisingly numerous animals who served as mascots--and, often, passengers--in the then-fledgling world of aviation.

Although everybody is thinking and talking about flying, there is one feature of the aviation game which nobody has mentioned. Yet it is a very novel and amusing one, and it is also scientifically interesting.

I refer to the extraordinary number and variety of animals which have gone up as passengers in aeroplanes. I know of at least a score of dogs that are as much at home in the air as are the pilots with whom they fly. And the list includes also cats, monkeys, and other animals. 
As for birds—well, you wonder how chickens and pelicans must have felt to find themselves hundreds of feet in the air. And what do you suppose were the sensations of an eagle when it discovered that it could soar and swoop and dive without using it own wings? 
I have seen it stated that a dog cannot safely go to an altitude above five thousand feet, and that cats cannot live above three thousand feet. 
These limits may apply to some dogs and cats, for it has been found that animals differ, just as human beings do, in their ability to withstand the loss of oxygen at high elevations. Certain individuals—either among men or animals—cannot with safety reach as great an altitude as others can. 
But it is a mistake to apply the above limits to all cats and dogs. So far as I know, an English lighting bulldog named Don Orsino holds the altitude record for animals. He has been up twelve thousand five hundred feet. Don belongs to Major Cushman A. Rice, and has made all the flights, and taken part in all the stunts, which a human flyer performs to get his Junior Military Aviator certificate. 
If it had not been for the war, we might have waited a dozen years to find out what we now know about how animals behave in the air. But there is one trait of fighting men which has incidentally added to our scientific knowledge. That trait is their deep love of animals, their universal habit of annexing some kind of a pet on which to lavish their care and affection. 
This craving for pets was one of the finest things about our soldiers. The stories of devotion between them and their four-footed comrades made one of the bright spots in the grim record of war. Regulations against having pets simply could not be enforced. 
In fact, it is to the credit of the officers that they did not really try to enforce them. For that matter, many of the officers had their own pets. And even when they themselves had none, they were wise enough to realize that this craving for something to love and care for, in the midst of all the cruelty and horror of war, was a feeling which ought to be respected and cherished. 
In one case, a couple of doughboys adopted a little kid—a real one of the goat persuasion—which they found bleating pathetically by the roadside. With incredible patience and tenderness they cared for the little creature. Then orders came for their regiment to go to a sector several days' march distant. The kid couldn't possibly cover all those miles on its own feet, but not for a moment did they think of abandoning it. On their backs they had their own heavy equipment) weighing about seventy pounds. But they took turns in carrying the kid too. It rode in state, first on the back of one man's neck, then on the other. 
Hundreds of stories are told of mutual devotion between the fighters and their pets. But the aviators, because they remained longer in one place and had regular living quarters, had more mascots than anybody else. Not all of these mascots went up into the air; and in that respect, also, they are like human beings. 
You may not know it, but there are certain men who are classed as "arm-chair aviators." They are tremendously interested in the sport. They haunt the aviation fields. They talk the lingo of the game. But—they don't fly. 
Perhaps the most famous of these arm-chair animal aviators are Whisky and Soda, two lion cubs which were the pets of the Lafayette Escadrille. Major Lufberry, whose tragic death was so keenly felt in America, was especially fond of Soda, while Major William Thaw was devoted to Whisky. 
The cubs finally had to be sent to a zoo in Paris, because they were too nervous under fire. After their experience with Whisky and Soda the men of the squadron decided that there was something wrong with the old saying, "As brave as a lion." When a bombardment was going on, the cubs would roar, sure enough; but they roared with fright. They simply ran amuck with terror, dashing headlong among the men and clawing blindly at anything and everything. It got so that nobody but Lufberry and Thaw could manage them, so they were shipped off to Paris. 
Whisky stood especially in awe of—what do you think? An ordinary North Dakota rabbit and a rooster! One day the cub was nosing around when he blundered into a corner where C. C. Johnson had installed his own particular pet, the rabbit. At the approach of the investigating Whisky, the rabbit turned around and let out a kick which landed squarely on the cub's nose. Whisky never forgot that kick. It gave him a wholesome respect for rabbits in general. And he stood equally in awe of another aviator's pet, a rooster, which used to delight in picking on him. At the sight of either the rabbit or the rooster, young Mr. Lion would hike for cover. 
There is an old story about a brand of whisky which "would make a rabbit spit in the face of a lion." This cub must have been named after that brand. Even after he had grown to be quite a lion, the aviators one day squeezed a jack rabbit through the bars of his cage to see what would happen. What did happen was that Whisky backed off into a corner and whined and yelled until they took pity on him and removed the rabbit. 
Perhaps the best story about these two cubs is that of a wager by Kenneth Marr, of the Lafayette squadron, and Rene Haas, another American aviator. Haas had brought two Alaska dogs to France, and perhaps because he had heard of the rabbit episode, he declared that his Baldy and Wolf would just about make one good meal off Whisky and Soda. 
Marr resented this aspersion, and offered to bet a lump of Nevada gold, which he carried around as a souvenir of his mining days, that the dogs wouldn't last any longer with the lion cubs than an ice-cream soda lasts with a high-school girl. The match was arranged to take place at the Paris zoo, to which the cubs had been removed. Matt was on hand with his friends; and sundry other allied airmen, who had heard the news, showed up to watch the sport. It promised to be lively enough, for the cubs w-ere in an irritable mood. As the dogs approached, the young lions showed their teeth in vicious snarls, while Baldy and Wolf raced madly around the outside of the cage, apparently aching to get at their traditional enemies of the feline tribe. 
Both Marr and Haas were pretty nervous, but neither one was willing to back down, so when all was ready the door of the cage was opened. Immediately, Baldy and Wolf bounded in and took up a strategical position in the center of the cage, ready to attack or to defend, whichever seemed wisest. The cubs appeared to be equally belligerent. 
But at the critical moment, when Soda seemed to be sizzling and Whisky burning, the latter suddenly decided to lie on his back with his paws in the air. At that, Soda yawned, licked his chops, looked bored, and stretched out for a nap. 
Apparently this convinced Baldy, the erstwhile bloodthirsty invader, that he had chanced upon a couple of possible playmates, and he began a friendly tussle with Soda. Wolf started on a critical investigation of the cubs' quarters, and then, having found them satisfactory, he, too, stretched out for a quiet snooze. 
As a fighting match, the affair was a fiasco. But as a demonstration of the "live and let live" principle among animals it was a convincing success. 
Among the animals which have actually flown, dogs are easily in the lead, both in numbers and in their enjoyment of the sport. Captain Boyriven, the French airman who was an instructor at aviation camps in this country, has a bull terrier named Billiken, who is a close second to Don Orsino in high flying. Billiken has gone to twelve thousand feet without feeling ill effects. 
Like other dogs that go to high altitudes, Don has special clothes to protect him from the cold. He will sit in an aeroplane for hours, all togged up like a regular aviator, without even taking the trouble to look over the side of the machine. 
Some people have a curious theory that aviation cannot be a genuine success because, as they say, "it is contrary to the laws of nature." They say we were not meant to fly, and that, therefore, we will never be able to do it safely. I think the attitude of animals is decidedly interesting in this connection. Nature certainly never intended them to fly; and yet, when they have become accustomed to the sensation, they do not, as a rule, show any "instinct" against it. We rely a good deal upon instinct in animals, and it seems to me that, in this case, it confirms the belief that we were intended to fly. 
Speaking of instinct, a remarkable case is that of Jim, canine pet of Maurice Hewlett, Jr.. son of the famous English novelist. Hewlett, who was in the Royal Flying Corps during the war, always had his dog with him, and whenever possible took him on flights. Jim had what we call "air sense," an intuitive feeling about atmospheric conditions. But he had also an uncanny instinct about the aeroplane itself. If anything was wrong with the mechanism, he seemed to have a "hunch" about it, and would bark and jump nervously until the necessary repairs or adjustments were made. It is asserted that he actually inspected the machine and, if any part of the fittings was not bright and shining, would move about restlessly until they were wiped off. Then he would jump into his place and signify unmistakably his readiness to start. 
Jim enjoyed flying and made scores of trips across the English Channel with his master. If Hewlett made a flight without him he was almost broken-hearted. He could not be induced to go up with any other aviator, and he took absolutely no interest in their machines. When his master went up without him he refused to go off about his own business, but sat patiently waiting until Hewlett returned, no matter how long he was delayed. 
There is one feature about an aeroplane which almost always puzzles a dog. That is the propeller. They see a man swing the big blades, they see the thing start to revolve—and then apparently it disappears. For when a propeller is making a thousand revolutions a minute, all one sees is a vague blur. 
This "now-you-see-it-and-now-you-don't" procedure excites a dog's curiosity, and if he isn't watched he is likely to try an investigation, with the result that he literally loses his head in the attempt. For the propeller blades cut it off. But the dogs are getting wiser, and there are fewer casualties among them now. 
Captain is an English bulldog belonging to Commander E. W. Coil, who piloted the naval "blimp" which made its splendid flight to Halifax in May, and then, breaking from its moorings, was blown out to sea and lost. At first, Captain was one of the misguided dogs who try to play with the propellers, but he soon learned better. He is the only dog I know of that wears a wound chevron, although he did not win his honorable scars in actual warfare. It was an indirect consequence of his fondness for automobiles.

After inspecting all the machines in the officers' garage, Captain would pick out the most comfortable one and go to sleep in it. If the owner came along, Captain sort of let the gentleman know that he wanted a ride, his method being the simple one of refusing to get out. But before the machine had gone very far, Captain would decide that going farther might means a long walk back; so, without the least intimation, he would jump out. He had done this scores of times without getting hurt, but one day he miscalculated and came to grief. And that was how he got his wound chevron. 
Don Orsino is one dog that never fools with the propeller; he is too clever. Don is a real flying enthusiast, anyway. The minute he hears the road of a starting motor, he races to the machine and shows as plainly as a dog can that he wants to go up. One of Don's minor records was made when he flew over New York City in a machine piloted by Eddie Holterman. The weather was not especially good for flying that day, but Don wanted to go—and went. During the trip he stuck his nose out a few times, but the chilly air was not to his liking, so he curled up on the front seat and stayed there until the flight ended. 
The only animal which, so far as I know, ever jumped from an aeroplane when the machine was in the air, was Jeff, a little monkey belonging to the late Captain Vernon Castle, famous first as a dancer and later as a skillful aeronaut. 
Castle had an extraordinary love for animals of kinds. He never was happy unless he had one or more pets—the more the better. He was as tender-hearted as a woman in all that concerned these little friends of his, and if one of them died he was as grieved as if he had lost a human comrade. When he traveled it was never too much trouble for him to carry bird cages and cat baskets, or to escort enough dogs to fill a kennel. 
When he was with his squadron in France, one of his pets was Jeff, the monkey I spoke of. Castle used to take the little fellow up with him whenever he could; and Jeff, while he was not very keen about flying, preferred to go along rather than to be separated from the master he loved. 
The monkey was inclined to be nervous, so Castle usually tied him to the machine. One day, however, he neglected this precaution and Jeff took it into his head to jump out; but to everybody's amazement and Castle's profound joy, the little creature landed on its feet and was quite unhurt. 
I believe the first cat to take an aeroplane trip was the one carried by John B. Moissant when he made the very first air crossing of the English Channel. That was back in 1910, when even very few human beings had made flights. The kitten, which was presented to Moissant by a lady as he was on his way to the Channel, was in a small basket, with only its head sticking out. 
The average cat does not like to go up in an aeroplane, but it is not because of any instinctive objection to flying. Cats do not like to go into any strange environment. They are confirmed "home bodies," and this particular kitten was no exception. At first it protested by mewing piteously; but after a while it philosophically accepted the novel situation and went to sleep until Moissant landed on English soil. 
Among the other famous aviation cats is Negre, which went through the war as the particular pet of Captain Gautier, the commanding officer of a French flying squadron. 
Lieutenant Gombant of the same squadron, owned a dog named Toto, which not only made ordinary flights with his master, but used to accompany him on raids over the enemy's lines. Toto took it all very calmly, and usually was fast asleep when the machine got back to the aerodrome. 
Prince of Princeton is a well-known police dog mascot that was "attached to" the Princeton Aviation School. Spark Plug was the equally popular cat mascot belonging to the same bunch. Little "Sparkie," as he was called for short, lost his tail in the flying propeller blades; a trying experience, of course, but not so bad as losing one's head, as the dogs occasionally do. Both Prince and Sparkie have made many flights with the student aviators. 
Bully, mascot of one of the squadrons of the British R. F. C, has been flying with his master, Colonel Halahan, since 1913. He is always keen to go up, and will jump into the observer's seat without being told. He thinks he has a right to that place and resents it if anybody takes it away from him. He always wears a flying uniform with all the insignia. 
Practically every aviation unit in the United States had a mascot of some sort which made frequent flying trips. Booze was an Airedale belonging to Major General Reinburg. commanding officer at Taliaferro Field in Texas. Like Don Orsino, Booze repeatedly went through all the Junior Military Aviator test flights. He enjoyed the sport so much that if his master went up without taking him along he would seize the tail skid with his teeth and hang on until the machine actually left the ground. Then, giving it up as hopeless, he would let go and be rolled over and over by the fall. Booze was keen about "stunting"; that is, looping the loop, spinning nose dives, and that sort of thing. Unfortunately, in his eagerness to get to the plane one day he ran into the whirling propeller and was killed. 
Booze had a brother, Twoey, belonging to Major H. 0. Wheeler. Apparently the flying spirit runs in the family, for Twoey is like his deceased relative in his eagerness to go up. 
Edgar Bouligny, of New Orleans, the first American to join the French Foreign Legion when the war began, has a kitten which accompanies him on his flights. 
Lieutenant Bert Hall, of the Lafayette Ecadrille, had a pet goat which he took up with him in his aeroplane. But when the machine came down and the goat was lifted out it reeled around as if it were drunk. Hall decided that high flying was one of the few things a goat couldn't get away with, so he reluctantly dispensed with the animal's company after that— at least in the air. 
One of the strangest of these flying animals is a grey fox which belonged to one of the British squadrons. It was adopted when quite young, which may account for the ease with which it acquired a taste for aviation. 
These pets run a long gamut. One British squadron had a jay for a mascot; another had a raven; another pet was Nancy, an antelope which the South Africans brought with them to France. Rabbits, chickens—the barnyard variety— pigeons, canaries, all these have "done duty" at the military aerodromes. Some Scotch aviators had a pair of eagle owls as their mascots. 
One of the British airmen at Salonika had a stork which would meet the pilots when they landed and perch on their machines. The stork is a favorite in Germany, but this one definitely attached itself to the Allies. 
One mascot, which was secured in an unusual manner, is an eagle, the pet of Captain Mortureaux. The eagle and its mate encountered the captain's machine in the air one day and resented this invasion of their special domain so much that they proceeded to attack him. He was forced to turn his machine gun on them to keep them from clawing the wings of the plane or getting into the propeller blades. One of them was killed. The other was wounded and, being forced to make a "landing," was captured. 
A famous Russian flying unit had as its mascot Baiko, a Russian bear. When this squadron was sent to France, the men turned the bear over to the French sky fighters as a gift. Baiko enjoys the distinction of having been "mentioned in dispatches." 
The Newport News Air Station, in Virginia, also had a young bear cub, but he was an arm-chair aviator. None of the land planes at the station was large enough to accommodate him, and they couldn't take him on a seaplane because he didn't like the water and would set up a rumpus if taken near it. 
The first pelican to get a ride in a flying machine was one of a colony of these creatures that used to make fun of the naval aviators, back in 1911-1912, at North Island, near San Diego. At least, the flyers there felt sure that the pelicans were giving them the laugh. 
At that time, Glenn Curtiss had just made the first flight ever accomplished with a hydroplane. And, by the way, just stop a minute and remember that this was only seven years ago. Seven years before the first small success with this type of machine and the recent achievement of crossing the Atlantic in a seaplane! That helps one to realize the immense advance that has been made. 
In those early days, aero motors had a bad habit of quitting without notice, forcing the machines to "land" on the water, where they would float ignominiously, waiting to be towed in. When this happened, as it did almost every' day, the pelicans would flop and splash around, making peculiar noises which sounded like derisive laughter. 
This insulting conduct finally got on the nerves of William B. Atwater, and he determined to show the pelicans that a hydroplane really could fly. He provided himself with a large net, Hew over the pelicans and spotted the most disdainful of them standing in the shallow water. Atwater scooped up the big bird with his net.  And although the tussle which ensued came near to capsizing the plane, he and his companion got the bird and flew back with it to the hangar.
Commander Bellinger, who piloted the NC-1 on the Transatlantic flight in May, was at the Hampton Naval Air Station when Buddy, a Boston bull terrier, was the pet of the station. Buddy is of the fickle sex, which probably accounts for the fact that while she began flying when the seaplane was first developed, she later transferred her affections to the "blimps," and later still had another change of heart back to the seaplanes. It is worth mentioning that Buddy be came so addicted to aviation that, as Lieutenant C. W. Bell expressed it, "she cared no more for her puppies than she did for a hill of sweet potatoes."
I don't know whether or not this should be regarded as a warning of what will happen when the ladies begin to fly. I do know that women make enthusiastic aviators. They show less hesitation about going up than the average man does, and quiet and interested passengers, apparently untroubled by timidity or nerves. 
Ruth Law, by the way, has one of the few dogs which show an querable aversion to flying. Poilu, the police dog which she brought back from France, acts just like the human beings who object to having a relative make a flight. He will not go up himself, and when his mistress is in the air he follows every movement of the machine with anxious eyes. When the plane is safely down again, he is so overjoyed that he has to be prevented by main force from rushing into the whirling propeller blades.
Ralph and Ella are two dogs with much the same aversion to flying--either for themselves or for their owner, Trubee Davison, son of H. P. Davison. The first time they saw a flying boat, in July, 1916, they paid little attention to it. But when their beloved Trubee went up in the newfangled contrivance, they became frantic, and swam far out into Long Island Sound in their attempt to follow it.
Their master's flights became a daily tragedy for Ralph and Ella. When he had gone, they would sit on the shore for hours, waiting for him. They would swim out to meet every plane that appeared. When a number of machines came down together, the dogs would pick out Trubee's and escort it in, with frantic barking and every indication of relief and joy.
Of all the pets of the aviators, dogs are the most affectionate and faithful. When Lieutenant Alexander Blair Thaw, the young American pilot, was killed in France, his dog, a terrier, disappeared. It was not until four days later that he was found, hidden away, disconsolate and brokenhearted. A dog belonging to Major Byford McCudden, the famous British ace who lost his life after bringing down about. seventy German machines, refused to leave his master's grave, but stayed there until he became so weak that he could not resist the kindly hands which took him away and cared for him.