Thursday, 18 October 2018

Spook Sightings Of Yester Year - No.8 - Peculiar Poltergeists

Poltergeist (Conroy Maddox, 1941)

Time for some more Spook Sightings from old newspapers again, and this time we're looking at those 'noisy spirits' that love to chuck stuff around, Poltergeists!

A few of the stories were short enough to include as pictures, and the other pictures scattered around are mostly old ads from the same pages as the stories they appear with, which again I'm including to give you more of a feel for the old newspapers! There are also a few I've added myself to add to the spookyness....

Harry Price with a ghost (photo by William Hope)


( From the Daily Mail, dated Friday, July 10th 1925)


A remarkable and, on this occasion, authentic case of what is described as "psychic phenomena" is now under observation in London.
A young girl from the North of England, whose case had attracted attention, is undergoing what may be described as a 'rest cure' in surroundings where she will escape the unsympathetic and disturbing influences that were aggravating her condition during employment at home.

She has, I am told, made some improvement since her stay in London, but is still the centre of what are described by psychic students as " a new and quite extraordinary series of poltergeist manifestations." These "manifestations" have been numerous and, said my informant, "exhibit a degree of power in the movement of heavy objects quite beyond human capacity."

I Understand that several well-known persons interested in psychic science have been watching the developments in this case very closely. What are called "poltergeist disturbances" are,I am told, a common experience among psychical workers, but the case now engaging attention exhibits some unusual features. A few months hence it is hoped to make a scientific report upon the case. - London Correspondent of the "Yorkshire Post".


(  A couple of weird tales from The Northern Daily Mail, dated Wednesday 22nd July 1936 )


( From The Press And Journal, dated Friday, November 17th 1950 )


For several days there have been flying suacers and teacup tantrums in a cafe in St Margaret's, Ipswich, and last night, the proprietor, Mr Leslie Dunget, decided to do something about it.

He called in the Rev. A. C. Henning, an expert on the famous haunted Borley Rectory.

"Will you rid me of my poltergeist?" he asked, and Mr Henning said, "I will do my best," adding, "The remarkable thing is that the phenomena are vouched for by many persons. That is most unusual" - the phenomena are vouched by eleven members of the staff.

The poltergeist went into action on Monday, when six cups and a plate were thrown through the air and smashed. On Tuesday a cup blew up and another flew off a shelf when no one was near.


On Wednesday a teapot smashed and yesterday a cup glided across the room and smashed on the floor as a waitress was serving a customer. 

"This time last week I would have laughed at the idea of poltergeists - to-night, I am a very worried man," said Mr Dunget.

Mrs Grace Ransey, the cook, said :- " I have always been cynical about spooks, but there is no doubt about this one. We have the evidence of our own eyes and ears. Two of the cups blew up with a noise like a gun-shot."


Lewis Poltergeist (Aberdeen Press & Journal, Friday 4th Feb 1938)


( From The Yorkshire Evening Post, dated Thursday August 29th 1912 )


The Poltergeist - the "spirit who throws things about" - is considerably in evidence in Yorkshire just now. Only the other day there was an exciting story from a village near Malton of a household which was thrown into disorder by a series of mischievous pranks of the kind in which the Poltergeist delights. Its favourite trick in this case was the abstraction of wearing apparel and other articles by way of a sooty chimney. Various things in the room were knocked about, in the way characteristic of those so-called "manifestations;" but it was the sudden disappearance of the bedclothes up the chimney that was the most provoking incident. There can be no question, of course, that sheets and other things did so disappear. They were found outside the house afterwards, blackened with soot and charred by the fire; and the lady of the house actually saw her waist-belt absconding before her eyes, and was just in time to catch hold of it when it was half-way out of sight. To-day an even more extraordinary story comes from Hull of mysterious noises, of furniture displaced, and of lights suddenly extinguished, in the house of a respectable working man. There too, the "manifestations" are not mere fancy. They are vouched for by a clergyman.

Some ten years ago, one of the most extraordinary cases on record happened at Cudworth. In a cottage there "manifestations" of a most violent and unaccountable character occurred. Furniture jumped about in the bedrooms, a family Bible flew off the top of a chest of drawers, sailed downstairs, and hit one of the inmates full in the chest. A "peggy tub" containing the family wash was left alone for a moment in the scullery, and it was found directly afterwards turned upside down. In fact, for some days the cottage was uninhabitable; and the reality of the phenomena was vouched for by sworn statements in the police court, after two miners had stepped into the deserted house one day and helped themselves to some eatables. Shortly afterwards a case occurred in Lincolnshire, and another at Attercliffe, a working-class district of Sheffield.

In the Attercliffe case, however, the mischief was traced to human agency; and the "manifestations" at Norton, near Malton, though difficult to explain, have ceased since the police began to make investigations. If that does not point to human agency, it suggests that the the Poltergeist at least has a wholesome respect for the gentleman in blue. In fact, the Man in the Street has good ground for the attitude of wholesome scepticism with which he regards "ghost stories" of every sort.

At the same time, the thoughtful man with a scientific turn of mind recognises nowadays that the freaks of the Poltergeist deserve something more than mere ridicule. Malice or mischief is at the bottom of most of them; but, when all the cases which are capable of that simple explanation have been set aside, there remain what the late Mr. Andrew Lang once called "an unexplained residuum" which demand more serious treatment. We are far, of course, from suggesting that there is anything supernatural about either the Poltergeist or its manifestations. But they are something abnormal; and - well, Hamlet's remark may be old and stale by this time, yet it is still true that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. For our own part, we have more respect for the spirit world than to imagine that its inhabitants have nothing better to do than play Puck in workmen's cottages, or any other of the silly tricks with which ghosts are credited, or the still sillier sayings revealed by table-rapping.

But the whole field of psychic force is more or less a mystery to scientists, and there is much about electricity that is still far from clear. It is well to bear in mind, too, that much valuable knowledge has been acquired through the investigations of apparently silly things. the unfortunate thing is that, when "ghosts" are heard of, people who come in touch with them are usually either too credulous or too sceptical to make investigations with the open mind of a true scientist.


Thanks to The British Newspaper Archive, DC Thompson and Co. Ltd, Johnston Press plc., and Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror, without whom this post wouldn't exist!

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