"...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, March 29, 2023

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This week, we visit a haunted house that has a bit of Mystery Blood thrown in.  The "Glen Elder Sentinel," August 20, 1903:

A remarkable ghost sensation is disturbing the serenity of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, where a local photographer has just vacated his residence on the ground that he and members of his family have been terrified by supernatural visitations. 

The photographer states that when taking his meals he has seen arms reaching over his head and endeavoring to take away his food. The pictures on the walls have moved in weird fashion, and there were sounds of rattling chains and ringing bells. 

One evening, according to a writer in the London Express, the tenant's daughter saw an apparition clad in white coming down the stairs. It possessed only one hand, the fingers of which were twice the ordinary length and streaming with blood. 

This spectral visitant, seen on another occasion by the daughter, indicated that her mother's brooch, which was missing, would be found in the range in a certain room. Here it was discovered. 

This so preyed on the girl's mind that she had to take to her bed, and finally the weird manifestations became so frequent that the photographer decided to leave the house. 

Crowds gathered nightly around the place and the authorities deputed several constables to watch the house. When one of these entered the premises a mat flew in his face. Another officer, while sitting in one of the rooms, felt his chair being lifted in midair. He fled in terror. 

After this a number of prominent residents endeavored to solve the mystery.  They chalked the stairs, locked a chocolate box in one of the cupboards and left the premises apparently secure. When they returned shortly afterward there were footprints on the chalked staircase, and the chocolate box was on the middle of a table, with a feather balanced on the top of it. Yet the cupboard in which the box was placed was still locked.

I couldn't find anything more about this particular haunting.  That is a pity, because it sounded like a particularly lively and multi-talented poltergeist.


  1. There is a little more info on this case, but sadly not much. The haunted photographer of St. Peter Port was a Mr. Basil Colenette, and the story was enough of a nine days' wonder to attract the attention of a wealthy local eccentric, a Mr. Henry Turner, who had once worked as the personal bookbinder of Victor Hugo. (Yes, *that* Victor Hugo, who is probably Guernsey's most-famous-ever resident.) Turner began a series of 'investigations'/personal publicity events at the house in question.

    There is also a Daily Express article dated 31 March, 1903, and which can be read in part here https://www.priaulxlibrary.co.uk/articles/article/henry-turner-ghosthunter, although its text is identical to the Glen Elder Sentinel article you posted, with only the addition of Turner's later involvement.

    The case was also discussed in Season 6, Episode 26: Under the Rocks & Stones (Part 1) of Richard MacLean Smith's podcast Unexplained: http://www.unexplainedpodcast.com/episodes/2022/12/2/season-06-episode-26-under-the-rocks-and-stones-pt1-of-2 (Relevant details start at the 6:30 mark.)

    Thank you so much for all your incredible research and writing. This blog has been a source of wonder, joy, and occasional terror for many years, and I hope it will continue to be so for many more!

    1. Thank you! And thanks for the additional info about this story. I was hoping to find the photographer's name somewhere!

  2. The extra long fingers were a creepy touch, and the arms reaching for the man's food. But the rattling chains and ringing bells are straight from old ghost stories. That poltergeist was a blend of routine and sensational.


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