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The Mystery of Ghost Stories from Old Newspaper Articles


Do you ever have days or weeks where you notice similar trends? This week’s has been ghost stories from old newspaper articles.

The Merry Ghost Hunter

It started when Tim Prasil from the Merry Ghost Hunter shared a link to his Spectral Edition: Ghosts in U.S. Newspapers (1865-1918).

In the months to come, your visitors might find some day-trip destinations among my Spectral Edition ghost reports. It might be fun to discover if the old ghosts still lurk among us!

Intriguing. I of course went to check it out.

Apparently every Wednesday Tim posts “an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1918.” He explains why he limits his Spectral Edition to 1865-1918:

I set the dates for my Spectral Edition project at 1865 to 1918 for a reason. While there are a few ghost reports before and after those dates, it’s surprising how many there are between them. But those dates are more significant for other reasons.

1865 marks the end of the Civil War….

1918 is also significant in regard to death and, specifically, lives cut short. That’s the date World War I ended, and it’s the date that a flu pandemic claimed even more lives than the war had. (The pandemic ended in 1919, and if I find anything of relevance in the ghost reports, I’ll adjust my project accordingly.) With this in mind, 1865 and 1918 stand as grisly but appropriately ghostly bookends.

I added the emphasis to that last sentence, because I wanted to highlight the poetry of it.

Anyway, there are some interesting tales, but this week’s? It’s a ghost report from the Manning Times on February 15, 1888. It has to do with M. L. Holler, his wife, and their 10-year-old daughter. Apparently there were claims that stones were falling inside their house, as if dropped from the roof or thrown through the walls.

The family temporarily moved in with Mrs. Holler’s father, but the falling stones followed them there too. After moving to a third location, someone observed that the stones always seemed to fall in the proximity of Mr. Holler’s daughter. The article ends with a request for scientists to come investigate and some excitement that perhaps the little girl may be North Carolina’s answer to Lulu Hurst. (Who I don’t know but who I will now be looking up.)

Phantoms & Monsters

Then I saw a post in my Facebook feed from Phantoms & Monsters about mysterious ‘stone-throwing’ activity and a picture of a newspaper headline that read: SPOOKS WHO THROW STONES. Ghostly Phenomena in a House on a Virginia Plantation.

Apparently the article ran in the New York World on January 12, 1980. Richard Moten and his family moved into a house in Brandy Station, Virginia, and he and his neighbors claimed that hot stones had been thrown into the house without breaking any glass and the furniture was being moved around.

This sentence from the article caught my eye in particular:

While protesting entire disbelief in the power of disembodied spirits to return to earth and assert their presence by impish pranks, Mr. Moten is unable to account for the strange occurrences at his former home.

What a fancy and proper way to express a “WTF?” reaction. Ah, the good ol’ days…when manners and politeness were fashionable.

Anyway, kind of wild that not only did the fact that ghost stories from old newspaper articles caught my eye this week, but that both dealt with stones being involved in the hauntings.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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