Friday, October 16, 2015

The Great Amherst Mystery by Hereward Carrington 1915


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This is one of the most remarkable cases on record. It is the case of a haunted house, in which many physical manifestations of all sorts took place, and were observed by nearly a hundred persons, all of whom testified as to the reality of the facts. The house in question is situated in Amherst, N.S. hence the name. Residing in this small house were (when the events occurred (Mr. and Mrs. Teed, their children, Willie, aged five years, and George, aged seventeen months. His wife's two sisters, Jennie and Esther Cox, also lived with them Esther being the person around whom nearly all the phenomena centered. John Teed and William Cox also boarded at the house brothers of Mr. and Mrs. Teed, respectively.

The manifestations began in a very peculiar manner. The two girls, who had just gone to bed (they slept together) were on the point of falling asleep, when Esther suddenly jumped out of bed with a scream, exclaiming that there was a mouse in the mattress. A careful search failed, however, to reveal the presence of any mouse. The same thing happened the next night; and when the girls got up to search for the mouse, a paste-board box, which was under the bed, jumped up in the air and fell over on its side. They decided to say nothing about it; got into bed again, and were soon asleep.

The next night manifestations began in earnest. Esther began to swell; her body became puffed all over, and she thought she was going to burst. She screamed with pain. Just then, however, three terrific reports shook the room, and the swelling suddenly subsided. She was placed in bed; but no sooner had she been placed upon it than all the bed-clothes flew off her, and settled in the far corner of the room. "They could see them passing through the air by the light of the kerosene lamp which was lighted and standing on the table, and both screamed as only scared girls can, and then Jennie fainted."

The bed-clothes were replaced. No sooner was this done than the pillow flew out from under her head, and landed in the center of the floor. It was replaced, but again flew out, hitting Mr. Teed in the face. Three deafening reports then shook the house; after which all manifestations ceased for the night.

The next night, these manifestations were repeated: the bed-clothes flew off, in view of all; and in the midst of this, the sound of scratching became audible, as of a metallic object scraping
plaster. "All looked at the wall whence the sound of writing came, when, to their great astonishment, there could be plainly read these words: 'Esther Cox, you are mine to kill.' Every person in the room could see the writing plainly, and yet but a moment before nothing was to be seen but the plain kalsomined wall!

These things continued day after day, and were seen by many persons. Articles would be thrown about the house; Dr. Carrittee, the family physician, saw "a bucket of cold water become agitated, and, to all appearances, boil while standing on the kitchen table." A voice was heard, in the atmosphere of the house, talking to Esther; and telling her all manner of horrible things. Soon after this, to the consternation of all present, "all saw a lighted match fall from the ceiling to the bed, having come out of the air, which would certainly have set the bedclothing on fire, had not Jennie put it out instantly. During the next two minutes, eight or ten lighted matches fell on the bed and about the room, out of the air, but were all extinguished before anything could be set fire by them."

This fire-raising continued for several days. The family would smell smoke, and, on running up into the bedroom, they would find a bundle of clothes placed in the center of the floor, blazing.
Or they would descend to the cellar; and there find a pile of shavings alight and blazing merrily. They lived in constant danger of having the house burned over their heads.

Soon after this, things got so bad that Esther Cox had to leave home, and went to visit a friend by the name of White, in the hope that the manifestations would cease, when she was removed
from her own home. For four weeks things went well; then they began again just as ever. Knocks and raps were heard all over the house, which answered questions asked them; and told the amount of money people had in their pockets, etc. Articles of furniture were thrown about; voices sounded; and, worst of all, Esther now began to see the ghost; and described it to those about her. Among other terrifying phenomena, which took place at Mr. Whites' house, the following should be mentioned:

"...A clasp-knife belonging to little Frederic White was taken from his hand, while he was whittling something, by the devilish ghost, who instantly stabbed Esther in the back with it, leaving the knife sticking in the wound, which was bleeding profusely. Frederic pulled the bloody knife from the wound, wiped it, closed it and put it in his pocket, which he had no sooner done than the ghost obtained possession of it again and, quick as a flash of lightning, stuck it into the same wound."

Some person tried the experiment of placing three or four large iron spikes on Esther's lap while she was seated in the dining-saloon. To the unutterable astonishment of Mr. White, Frederic and other persons present, the spikes were not instantly removed, as it was expected they would be, but, instead, remained on her lap until they became too hot to be handled with comfort, when they were thrown by the ghost to the far end of the saloon a distance of twenty feet. This fact was fully corroborated.

It was at this stage of the proceedings that the spot was visited by Walter Hubbell, an actor, who remained some time in Amherst, studying the case, and who has written a whole book about it "The Great Amherst Mystery." On the night of his arrival, they all sat round a table, in full light, to see what they could see, and knocks and raps resounded immediately. "We could all hear even the scratching sound of invisible human finger nails, and the dull sounds produced by the hands, as they rubbed the table, and struck it with invisible, clenched fists, in knocking in response to questions."

The next day, Mr. Hubbell records the following facts, among others: "I had been seated about five minutes when, to my great astonishment, my umbrella was thrown a distance of sixteen feet, passing over my head in its strange flight, and almost at the same instant a large carving knife came whizzing through the air, passing over Esther's head, who was just then coming out of the pantry with a large dish in both hands, and fell in front of her, near me having come from behind her out of the pantry. I naturally went to the door and looked in, but no person was there.

"After dinner I lay down on the sofa in the parlor; Esther was in the room seated near the center in a rocking chair. I did not sleep, but lay with my eyes only partially closed so that I could see her. While lying there a large glass paper-weight, weighing fully a pound, came whizzing through the air from a corner of the room, where I had previously noticed it on an ornamental shelf, a distance of some twelve or fifteen feet from the sofa. Had it struck my head, I should surely have been killed, so great was the force with which it was thrown. . . ."

"On Monday, June 23, they commenced again with great violence. At breakfast, the lid of the sugar bowl was heard to fall on the floor. Mrs. Teed, Esther and myself searched for it for fully five minutes, and had abandoned our search as useless, when all three saw it fall from the ceiling. I saw it, just before it fell, and it was at the moment suspended in the air about one foot from the ceiling. No one was within five feet of it at the time. The table knives were then thrown upon the floor, the chairs pitched over, and after breakfast the dining-table fell over on its side, rugs upon the floor were slid about, and the whole room literally turned into a pandemonium, so filled with dust that I went into the parlor. Just as I got inside the parlor door a large flower pot, containing a plant in full bloom, was taken from among Jennie's flowers on the stand near the window; and in a second, a tin pail, with a handle, was brought half-filled with water from the kitchen and placed beside the plant on the floor, both in the center of the parlor, and put there by a ghost. Just think of such a thing happening while the sun was shining, and only a few minutes before I had seen this same tin pail from the dining-room hanging on a nail in the kitchen, empty! And yet people say, and thousands believe, that there are no haunted houses! What a great mistake they make in so asserting; but then they never lived in a genuine one, where there was an invisible power that had full and complete sway. By all the demons! When I read the accounts now in my 'Journal,' from which my experience is copied, I am almost speechless with wonder that I ever lived to behold such sights."

"On this same day, Esther's face was slapped by the ghosts, so that the marks of fingers could be plainly seen just exactly as if a human hand had slapped her face; these slaps could be plainly heard by all present. I heard them distinctly, time and again."

"On Thursday, June 26, Jennie and Esther told me that the night before Bob, the demon, had been in their room again. They stated he had stuck them with pins and marked them from head to foot with crosses. I saw some of the crosses, which were bloody marks, scratched upon their hands, necks and arms. It was a sad sight. During the entire day, I was busy pulling pins out of Esther; they came out of the air from all quarters, and were stuck into all the exposed portions of her person, even the head, and inside of her ears. Maggie, the ghost, took quite an interest in me, and came to my room at night, while the lamp was burning, and knocked on the headboard of my bed and on the wall near the bed, which was not next to the room occupied by the girls, but on an outside wall facing the stable. I carried on a most interesting conversation with her, asking a great many questions which were answered by knocks."

"A trumpet was heard in the house all day. The sound came from within the atmosphere I can give no other description of its effect on our sense of hearing. ... I wish to state, most emphatically, that I could tell the difference in the knocks made by each ghost just as well as if they had spoken. The knocks made by Maggie were delicate and soft, as if made by a woman's hand, while those made by Bob Nickle were loud and strong, denoting great strength and evidently large hands. When he knocked with those terrible sledge-hammer blows, he certainly must have used a large rock or some other heavy object, for such loud knocks were not produced with hard knuckles."

In July the phenomena became so bad that the landlord came and told the Teed family that either Esther would have to go, or they would all have to leave the house. It was decided that Esther should go, which she did, visiting some friends by the name of Van Amburgh. From the time she left her home the second time, she was never afterwards troubled with the ghosts. Some years later, she married and went to live in another town where she was interviewed by the present writer in 1907.

This account was sworn to by Mr. Hubbell before a notary public, and he asserts under oath that every word of the account is true. He has also produced the written confirmatory testimony of a score of still-living witnesses of the phenomena in Amherst.

A very similar case occurred in Tennessee, in 1818, and is recorded in full by M. V. Ingram, in his book, "The Bell Witch." Many other cases of a like nature are to be found in the "History of the Supernatural.

You may also like Over 100 of the Freakiest, Creepiest and Scariest Books on DVDrom andSupernatural Horror in Fiction Literature - 350 Books on DVDrom and Forgotten Tales of Ghosts and Hauntings - 100 Books on CDrom and The Paranormal and Supernatural - 400 Books on DVDrom

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