Saturday, 16 October 2021

Spook Sightings Of Yester Year - No.22 - A 'Real Ghost' in Punchbowl (Part 1)

(From the Hawaiian Gazette, dated Tuesday, September 29th, 1908)


(From Monday's Advertiser.)

What would you think if the mirror before which you were combing your tresses persisted in turning its face to the wall? Wouldn't it jar you if a roast of beef and a humble soup bone took it into their heads to bounce around the kitchen floor all of their own accord. Wouldn't your hair creep up if you had a stick of kindling wood in your hand and it was suddenly snatched away from you by unseen fingers and disappear? How would you like to watch another pile of kindling hopping stick by stick up on to your lanai, without anyone in sight to make it hop, or have a chunk of rock come into your dining-room through a closed window without smashing the glass, or be hammered in the ribs by an unseen fist? Wouldn't it make you feel nervous? And yet these are the sort of things that have been going on in a house in Punchbowl for the past three days. Plenty of sober, reliable people have seen some of them, and a priest with holy water couldn't stop it.

This is not a fairy tale nor a nightmare, but the truth as testified to by scores of those living on Luso street and Punchbowl street, who thronged the "haunted house" yesterday and waited for ghostly manifestations.

Concerned are a beautiful young Spanish girl, a Polish man and his Spanish wife, three priests from the Roman Catholic fraternity and some hundreds of Portuguese. All Punchbowl is excited, and there were many faint hearts beneath the shadows of the grape-vines last night.

Do you believe in ghosts, anyway, because nearly all the residents of Punchbowl have arrived at the belief that there are ghosts that are real, even though unseen, and that the old Boyd house on Punchbowl street, beyond the Mormon church, is their present abode?

The fact that two priests of the Roman Catholic church were called by the family to the house yseterday morning to bless the house and drive the unseen visitors from the vicinity, gave official standing to the spooks, who withstood the priestly presence and performed elfish antics in their very faces. Not one visit only did the priests make, but last evening another priest, who is rather a skeptic about ghosts, went there again to camp out and ascertain whether someone was playing tricks or whether there was a really real ghost playing pranks.

The story of what has been taking place up there in that big green house reads like a ghost story narrated in the dark of the moon, when the flesh becomes goosey and every sound makes the heart leap into the throat. the tale from that house, moreover, is not altogether of strange things ocurring in the night only, but there are many eyewitnesses who say the saw queer things take place in the broad daylight of yesterday forenoon and continue at regular intervals all day. These stories concern the movements through space of saucepans, shoe horns, stovelid-lifters, knives, forks, snones, benches, pictures, bunches of keys, crockery, stove-wood, and even chunks of meat. The inmates of the house, Stephen Pecarick, who works for the Inter-Island company, his wife and a young Spanish girl residing with the family, who appears to be the special object of ghostly attention, tell of mighty queer things happening around the house for a couple of nights and yesterday, while many of the neighbors corroborate the doings of yesterday.

Yesterday forenoon, after an exciting night, the neighbors flocked to the residence and listened to the tales. They were told how during the night strange noises were heard, how the head of the house called out and went outside after the noises continued ; how he took a lantern to investigate and found the stove-wood he had chopped the evening before pile itself up on a landing of the steps leading to the veranda; how he called out and then got a revolver, while the wood continued to leave one pile and build up another. Then how stones flew around the rooms, the clock fell over two or three times, and a picture of St. Anthony, hanging in the clothes closet, strangely left its place on the wall and was found lying on the floor and, after being replaced, was again found lying on a table and a third time on the bed, with a bunch of keys, that had left the bureau, alongside it. Then a shoe-horn whizzed through space from a bedroom, through various open doorways, until it fell against the wife, standing by the dining-room table. Then pans left their places on the top of the cupboard and fell to the floor, a cup appeared to leap from another cupboard and broke into pieces on the floor several feet away. A knife came through the air from the kitchen to the dining-room and stuck in the top of the table, and a corkscrew did likewise, while all the time the house stood steady on the underpinning and there was no way to account for the phenomena.

The bureau mirror swung back slowly, and the wife set it aright; then it moved back again, as did also, a small mirror standing on the bureau. Three times this took place before her eyes, then she threw holy water on the face of the mirrors and nothing more happened to the bureau.

Then the benches started doing acrobatic stunts. They overturned while standing in the middle of rooms, and even when Father Reginald was in the house, a bench which he was looking at but a moment before was heard to fall over, and on rushing to the door the bench was seen by the priest to be lying on its side, with nobody in the room.

Stove-wood came mysteriously into the house, although the windows were tightly closed and the green shutters latched. In fact, the queerest stunts were done by this mysterious visitor or otherwise. It was beyond the comprehension of the inmates of the house, and the neighbors, aroused by the unusual signs of excitement, attempted to unravel the mystery.

Whilst they talked, even, the ghost is said to have indulged in a special exhibition. Stones which had been shown the neighbors, and which were lying on the floor or table, flew through the air and struck people. The benches were seen to topple over and the neighbors went out to get a breath of fresh air and talk it over in the open.

An Advertiser reporter, who had heard of the strange doings, went there in the afternoon and found the yard deserted save for the young Spanish girl, who was sitting on the front steps. The reporter was accompanied by a young man, formerly a Rapid Transit conductor, who had witnessed some of the strange things of the forenoon. They entered the dining-room and took a look around. There was a table in the centre of the room, a refrigerator near the wall and a chair nearby. An open door looked into the kitchen, the windows closed. The girl leaned against the doorway and told of several things that had happened, gesticulating in true Latin style. The former conductor leaned against the door on the veranda. All were talking over the strange things. As the reporter turned to look toward the bathroom a cakepan came from some mysterious somewhere, struck the wall by the refrigerator and fell clanging upon the floor. The object of the missile wheeled instantly, all gooseflesh, as the young man at the door gave a yell and started for the timber, while the girl was in the attitude of shrinking away from some object. The reporter was skeptical, and while trying to make himself believe that a ghost had had a hand in shying the pan, was inclined also to the idea that the girl had something to do with its flight. If she did, however, she is in line for an acrobatic career on the stage as a lightning artist.

The flying dishpan was enough, however, to induce the Advertiser man to sit in the dining-room and wait for some new developments. He sat there with the members of the family and a few neighbors, all watching the lamp on the table, the stone and the kitchen utensils, but after half an hour's waiting he decided to leave, feeling that he was a hoodoo.

At 6:20 the scribe called again with a friend but found that nothing new had taken place, and then departed, but ten minutes later the ghost jokester got busy. First a brass faucet on the meatsafe in the kitchen was slammed against the wall of another room around a corner from where it lay, and a cup which had had several changes of location. Later the Spanish girl, while working at the sink, suddenly left the room complaining that something had hit her in the side and she was ready to quit the place and go home, and home she went. She had had all the ghosts she could stand.

Father Reginald visited the house last evening again and the entire days doings were recounted and with nearly two hundred people from Punchbowl crowding the yard and house the place was lively enough for a campaign meeting.

At this time many were beginning to think that the girl had had a share in the whole matter, and some intimated that she had tripped over the benches and rocking chairs, thrown the stones and dishes, overturned the pictures, and then someone in the crowd would say : 

"I saw that rocking chair move by itself and then fall over, while the girl was off at the other end of the porch," and the skeptical one subsided. Then others intimated that while she may not have done these things herself, yet she must have a medium's powers, and as long as she was in the house strange things would happen. Away from it the family would be in peace. Two hundred years ago such a discussion would have probably reached the extremes which happened in old Salem.

And while skeptic and scoffe talked, the head of the family was closeted in a room with an old Hawaiian, said to have the powers of a kahuna, who said that the house was buried over the spot where a Hawaiian was buried long ago, and that this spirit had returned and finding new fangled things which he had never known in his lifetime he had got gay with them and was having a good destructive time, both to property and to nerves.

A drawing of a Hawaiian Kahuna

In the evening the police got into the ghost-laying business ; Sergeant Aea, Detective Joe Leal and Mounted Officer Machado being ready to tackle anything tangible, although, not having any silver bullets for their guns, they looked nervous about tackling a ghost. If everything else fails it is likely that Chief Kalakiela will proceed to unwind the mystery today.

Away up a little lane near Luzo street a reporter found the home of the Spanish Girl, a little house where she and her mother lived. They found a pretty girl of thirteen years, although she looked older. She had a bandage about her head, but even this seemed to add to her prettiness. She was of the true Andalusian type, with fine, lustrous, and yet snappy, eyes. She spoke English brokenly, but prettily.

"I don't know how these things happen," she said. "I have worked for other people, but have no trouble like this. But here I work only four day and such queer thing happen. I see picture go from one place and dish fall on floor and wood fly up in the air. When the man he pick up a stick of wood it jump right up from his hand. Oh, yes, I made one bench fall down, but that was when I take ice in my hand to put in box and bench in my way. I push an' it fall down. How this all happen I don't know," and then speaking with her mother in Spanish the word "diablo" could be heard. "Then the lady she go out to tree but I think this diablo hit at her feet with stick. Then she put on cross and throw church water."

When asked if she knew that a medium was, one who, for instance, could make pictures move from one wall to another, she answered:

"No, I no see moving pictures, I don't think I'm medium. You want my name? No, no, I not tell you my name," and her eyes blazed angrily. "If you put my name in the newspaper, when I walk down the street everybody point at me and say, 'There go Esperanza Gonsalves.'" And believing she had outflanked the newspapermen, she again smiled prettily, showing a row of teeth which even a society queen might envy.

Until late in the night crowds remained at the house on Punchbowl street waiting for further demonstrations. The head of the house was quite worn out and nervous, while his wife, too, was breaking down under the strain and the presence of crowds of curious people.

A couple of years ago another house in the Punchbowl district, or rather on Emma street opposite Col. Parker's home, was said to be haunted ; that a lady in white mistily swirled through the rooms at night and leaned over the beds, and frightened the inmates. So frequent were the visitations of the lady in white that one night the family fleed from the house carrying their bedclothes, clothing , and a few belongings and took refuge across the street on the veranda of a little store. That was the last time the house was tenanted and the owners had to finally raze the structure.

"Now, do you believe in ghosts?"


(from another article in the same paper)


Punchbowl Spook Laid, But House Was Jammed All Day

Ghosts evidently dislike publicity. Since the Advertiser printed the doings of the Punchbowl spirit, that spook has retired, and yesterday all was peace and quietness about the Pecarick residence, so far as any ghostly manifestations were concerned. There was anything but peace otherwise, however, the little house and the surrounding yard being so crowded with visitors all day that in the afternoon the services of the police had to be called upon to keep the curious from stringing through the house, trampling down the flower beds, frightening the little Spanish servant by innumerable questions and generally overrunning everything.

Nothing that has occurred lately in Honolulu has attracted so much general attention as the spooky doings in the Pecarick home, the subject of ghosts fairly crowding politics to one side throughout the city. Early in the morning, as soon as everyone in the city read the Advertiser, the street cars towards Punchbowl began picking up fares bound to the scene of the ghostly revels the day before. Theosophists, spiritualists, esoterics, telepathists and other of the cults flocked up the hill to see the spot where mediumistic tricks had been done without the aid of mediumistic paraphernalia. They took the matter very seriously. In questions bristling with terms of the occult they besieged little Eperance Gonsalves, marveled at her unconcious power and generally frightened that damsel to the verge of hysterics, Pecarick and his wife told and retold the doings of the three days before, but everyone demanded miracles and hung around expecting the cookstove to pirouette, the family portraits to commence a conversation or ghostly fingers to thumb a tambourine. And not a thing happened more astonishing than the arrival of the police when they were wanted.

To those who showed any intelligent interest in the phenomena reported, the truth of which was reiterated by many who had been witnesses, the principal actors told their stories, but as the day aged the crowd grew until the occupants of the house had to have someone clear a place for them to move in. At one time yesterday morning it looked as if half the children in the city were on the lawn around the house, jamming the doorways, swarming around the windows and making general nuisances of themselves All day crowds of older ones came, some rapping in the door and asking questions of the ones answering, others walking in without any formalities and treating the place as a sort of show.

As yet, the whole mysterious doings in the house are unexplained. The priests who were called in shrug their shoulders when questioned and refuse to advance any theory, and those among the callers who are skilled in things occult decided that there are more things in heaven and earth and Punchbowl than are dreamed of in ordinary philosophy. It was disappointing, of course, to have the bacon frying in the pan in the most matter of fact way instead of jumping out onto the floor, and to see the cups stay on the shelves and the pictures on the wall, but it was some satisfaction to handle the very stone that had been dropped by an unseen hand through the unpierced roof and to see the very picture that had sudden and mysterious migrations only a few hours before.

Girl Denies Being A Medium

The ghost affair, while it has interested and amused the city, has not been unalloyed joy to either Mr. and Mrs. Pecarick or to Esperanza Gonsalves, who is now known as "the beuatiful Spanish girl." Pecarick is worried. He stated yesterday that he had neither eaten nor slept for three days, and his looks bore out his statement. He is much more worried than his wife, although she, too, was plainly wornout by last night. The little girl is the most seriously affected, however, and yesterday afternoon she was in tears the greater part of the time. It was small wonder, too, for her appearance on the street was the signal yesterday for the children to circle around her and point her out as a witch, taunting her, but shunning "the evil eye" carefully. It would appear that she is due for a series of persecutions over the alleged manifestations on Sunday, which the ignorant ones among her neighbors are convinced were the doings of the devil.

Any share in the stunts and any necromancy on her part the tearful damsel strongly denies. She also resents being told that she is a medium, unconcious or otherwise.

"Those women they say I do those things but I don't know. I don't do those things and I do know," she says indignantly. "They say that the power it pass through me. I don't feel nothing pass through me. I see the things pass bzz past my head, but I don't feel no thing pass through me. How could I do those things, eh? If I could make those things I could get a million dollars, and I dont have to work no more. It silly thing, those women say. They come to me and talk, all of things I don't know. I don't think these women know themselves. that doctor man, he feel my heart go jump, jump, in my wrist. That's silly. What my wrist go to do with those things? I don't like you put my name in the paper, too. Every place I go they point finger at me. I don't like that at all. Soon no one like me to work their house. The paper say when I come, things start; when I go, pau. That's not true."

A Buried Treasure

It isn't true, either, that this little girl could do all the things that eyewitnesses say were done, because there were some hard-headed men around on Sunday morning who watched the girl and everyone else to detect any trickery. There is as much sense in blaming her as there is reason to believe the story related with a wealth of details by some of those gathered at the house yesterday, that there was a treasure buried under the building, the exact spot of burial known only to a young girl who had died in the house.

That story was only one of a dozen similar ones told and reported.

At any rate, as a result of the excitement of which the Pecaricks have been the center, the house will be wanting a tenant very shortly, Pecarick having decided to move just as soon as he can find a place to move into. The house is one under control by Castle & Withington, to whom prospective tenants are referred.

In connection with the renting, a story of a mortgage foreclosure and spite arising thereby was told, a kahuna, threats, desire for revenge and a few other details being supplied. The last tenants, who moved out only a short time ago, state that during their occupancy of the house there was nothing worse seen or heard than cockroaches



I'll be doing a follow up post on this next week, so be sure to keep an eye out for that! In the meantime, if your eyes haven't been burnt out by the wall of text, you could always go and see what everybody else has been posting over at the Countdown to Halloween hub! Just click the badge below!

No comments:

Post a Comment