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Poltergeist Phenomenon - a compilation of different cases
#1
Quote:We had this thread on the Skeptiko-forum. But since the sub-forum, with this thread in it, is closed for posting, I'm posting it here instead, so more cases can be added and commented upon.

This is a pretty gruesome case of poltergeists:

The Amherst Poltergeist

Background: The Amherst Poltergeist is one of the most frightening poltergeist accounts in Canadian history. The activity centered around Esther Cox, age 19, who lived on Princess Street in Amherst. After nearly being raped by a local shoemaker named Bob MacNeal, Esther started experiencing violent poltergeist activity including moving objects and loud noises. Her body even swelled mysteriously.

Some ghost stories live on because of the sheer terror they brought into the lives of those who experienced them firsthand. For the most part, ghosts and apparitions are harmless to those who witness them, flickering briefly into view to perform some timeless task or to relay a message to a loved one, and then fading back into the unknown. Poltergeist activity, however, is another matter entirely. Seeming to center around an individual, a poltergeist produces physical phenomena that have been known to cause serious harm and otherwise scare the daylights out of its victims.

Esther Cox of Amherst, Nova Scotia was such a victim in a case that became one of the most frightening poltergeist accounts in Canadian history. The strange events were witnessed and documented by many people, and even became the subject of a book.

The year was 1878 and the place was Princess Street in Amherst, a town in north central Nova Scotia where the province borders New Brunswick. Esther Cox, 19 years old, lived in a small rented house with her married sister Olive Teed, her husband Daniel Teed, and their two young children. The crowded little cottage was also home to Esther's siblings, Jennie and William, as well as Daniel's brother, John.


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                                            Princess Street in Amherst


The Attack

Suddenly, into the tedium of this ordinary home, horror struck. But not from some paranormal force, rather from an all-too-human monster: Esther was nearly raped by an acquaintance named Bob MacNeal, a shoemaker with a disdainful reputation of which Esther had been unaware. Although she escaped the attack with minor injuries, the violence against her seemed somehow to open a door to further attacks -- this time from an unseen entity or entities.

And so the Amherst poltergeist mystery began.

Although the house was crowded with the Teeds and their extended family, it wasn't unusual for households to take in boarders to help pay the rent. Walter Hubbell, a sometime actor, was a boarder at the Teed residence when the first stirrings of supernatural phenomena took place, and he recorded them in this book, The Great Amherst Mystery. One night, screams of fright brought all of the adults of the house rushing to the room where sisters Esther and Jennie shared a bed. The girls had seen the formation of something moving under their covers as they were about to go to sleep for the night; Esther thought it was a mouse. A search turned up nothing. The girls returned to bed and the house quieted for the night.
The following night, more screams disturbed the family. Esther and Jennie excitedly claimed that they had heard strange noises coming from a box of fabric scraps that was kept under the bed. When they brought the box out to the center of the room, it leapt into the air of its own accord and landed on its side. No sooner had the girls nervously righted the box when it jumped into the air again, eliciting the screams from the young women. 


Up to this point, the events could have been attributed to the active imaginations of the two girls, especially given Esther's recent, harrowing experience at the hands of Bob MacNeal. But the third night would provide evidence to all in the Teed house that something far out of the ordinary was happening with Esther Cox. That night, Esther excused herself to bed early, complaining that she felt feverish. At about 10 p.m., soon after Jennie joined her in bed, Esther jumped up from the bed to the center of the room, tearing at her nightclothes and screaming, "My God! What is happening to me? I'm dying!"

Jennie lit a lamp and looked at her sister, horrified to see that her skin was bright red and seemed to be swelling unnaturally. Olive rushed into the room and assisted Jennie in getting their sister back in bed as she now seemed to be choking and struggling to breathe. The other adults watched in disbelief as Esther's entire body, which was remarkably hot to the touch, swelled and reddened. Esther's eyes bulged and she cried in pain, fearing she was literally going to burst through her stretched skin. Then from beneath Esther's bed came a deafening bang - like a clap of thunder - that shook the room. Three more loud reports exploded from under the bed, after which Esther's swelling subsided and she fell into a deep, deep sleep.

 [Image: eTsYnCDl.jpg]
                Esther Cox

Torture & Death Threats

Four nights later, these terrifying events repeated themselves - Esther's unexplained swelling and torture ended only by the thunderous noises from under the bed. At a loss to cope with this unearthly ordeal, Daniel asked a local doctor, Dr. Carritte, to examine Esther. And he was witness to some of the most frightening events of all.

Attending at Esther's bedside, he watched in astonishment as her pillow moved beneath her head, untouched by any hands. He heard the loud bangs from beneath the bed, but could find no cause for them. He saw her bedclothes thrown across the room by unseen hands. Then the doctor heard a scratching noise, like a metal tool scraping into plaster. Dr. Carritte looked to the wall above Esther's bed and saw letters nearly a foot high etching themselves into the wall. When it was done, it had spelled out: ESTHER COX YOU ARE MINE TO KILL. A jagged clump of plaster then tore off the wall, flew across the room and landed and the doctor's feet. After two hours, the house fell quiet.

Dr. Carritte - out of courage, compassion or curiosity - returned the next day and bore witness to more unexplained manifestations. Potatoes hurled themselves across rooms... the deafening noises now seemed to be coming from the roof of the house, yet when the doctor investigated, there was no apparent cause. Of these events, years later he would write to a colleague: "Honestly skeptical persons were on all occasions soon convinced that there was no fraud or deception in the case. Were I to publish the case in the medical journals, as you suggest, I doubt if it would be believed by physicians generally. I am certain I could not have believed such apparent miracles had I not witnessed them myself."

The doctor could, of course, do nothing to help Esther or settle the disturbances at the Teed home. The haunting continued and, in fact, became more destructive and threatening:

* unexplained fires erupted around the house

* knives and forks were thrown by some entity, sticking violently into woodwork

* lit matches materialized out of thin air and dropped onto beds

* furniture moved about by itself, flipping over or slamming into walls

* loud slaps were heard, followed by the appearance of red finger marks on Esther's face

* sewing pins appeared from nowhere and were jabbed into Esther's face

* a pocketknife was ripped from the hand of a neighborhood boy and stabbed into Esther's back


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It Follows

Poor, tormented Esther tried several times to escape the devilish entity, but it followed wherever she went. One Sunday, Esther attended a Baptist church service and sat in one of the rear pews. Once the service had begun, knockings and rappings echoed throughout the church, seeming to come from the front of the church. The noises grew louder and louder, drowning out the minister's sermon. Knowing she was the cause, Esther left the building and the noises stopped.

She even tried to spare her family from the malevolent haunting. At first she moved to a neighbor's house, but the poltergeist followed and she was forced to return home. The Teed's landlord, fearing the destructive nature of the phenomena, wanted to evict the family. Again taking responsibility for the events, Esther moved herself out instead, finding work at a nearby farm. When the farm's barn burned to the ground, however, the farmer had Esther arrested for arson, for which she was convicted to a four-month sentence.

Fortunately, Esther served only one month in jail and was released. The short sentence may have at first seemed like a low-point to the much-troubled Esther, but it did have its upside. After she was freed from jail, the poltergeist activity seemed to just fade away. There were minor instances for a short time, and then the haunting stopped completely.

Esther later married, twice, and died in 1912 at the age of 53. Walter Hubbell published his book, The Great Amherst Mystery, after her death, and it included an affidavit signed by 16 witnesses of the horrific events at Amherst.

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Walter Hubbell and his publication about the Amherst Mystery, 1888.

Testimony: A number of eye-witness accounts support this story, including Dr. Carritte who examined the girl because of the swelling. While attending to the girl, the doctor reported watching the words "Esther Cox you are mine to kill" etch itself into the wall plaster by unseen hands. According to The Great Amherst Mystery by Walter Hubbell, the doctor later wrote to a colleague regarding the case, expressing the sentiment that no one would believe him if he published what he had witnessed. In fact, he wouldn't believe if he hadn't experienced it for himself.

Source:The Terrifying Amherst Poltergeist



Amherst Mystery Part 1







Amherst Mystery Part 2






Esther Cox



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#2
BORLEY RECTORY - "The Most Haunted House in England"

The most famous case in the career of Harry Price was undoubtedly that of Borley Rectory, a deteriorating house in Essex.

The tiny parish of Borley is located in a desolate, sparsely populated area near the east coast of England, near the Suffolk border.

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Harry Price got involved in the case after a newspaper carried a story about a phantom nun at the house in June 1929. Price was asked by the paper to investigate and he was told about various types of phenomena that had been reported there, like phantom footsteps; strange lights; ghostly whispers; a headless man; a girl in white; the sounds of a phantom coach outside; the apparition of the home’s builder, Henry Bull; and of course, the spirit of the nun.

The ghosts at the rectory had been relatively peaceful, but all that would change in October 1930 when Smith was replaced by the Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife, Marianne. Their time in the house would see a marked increase in the paranormal activity. People were locked out of rooms, household items vanished, windows were broken, furniture was moved, odd sounds were heard and much more.

However, the worst of the incidents seemed to involve Mrs. Foyster, as she was thrown from her bed at night, slapped by invisible hands, forced to dodge heavy objects which flew at her day and night, and was once almost suffocated with a mattress.

Soon after, there began to appear a series of scrawled messages on the walls of the house, written by an unknown hand. They seemed to be pleading with Mrs. Foyster, using phrases like “Marianne, please help get” and “Marianne light mass prayers”.

Here is the actual photographs of the writings:
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Because nearly all of the poltergeist-like activity occurred when Mrs. Foyster was present, Price was inclined to attribute it to her unknowing manipulations. However, he did believe in the possibility of the ghostly nun and some of the other reported phenomena. The rectory did not fit into pre-conceived notions of a haunted house, which was one of the reasons that it would go on to gain such a reputation.

Despite the implications of the phenomena centering around Marianne, Price maintained that at least one of the spirits in the house had found the rector’s wife to be sympathetic to its plight. This was the only explanation he could find for the mysterious messages.

Link to whole story
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#3
Enfield Poltergeist

This case need no further introduction, and if you are not familiar with the case these two documentaries covers it pretty well:





Interview With a Poltergeist





Even though this story is criticised for instances of some trickery done by this girl, there were many incidents where witnesses watched activity that didn't include any of the kids. Like the two police officers watching a chair slide across the room when they were present, watching it happen right in front of them. Or the photographer that watched the apport of small objects appearing and flying across the room, even hitting him in the head. In many cases with poltergeists a ray of activities can happen very quickly and then go dormant for longer stretches of times. I can imagine that how the whole ordeal of this case was something like this:

- The Hodgsons family was plagued by instances of poltergeist activities, and was dumbfounded and scared of what was happening. As the mother said; it started with the kids claiming they heard knocks and tapping from the walls and furnitures in their room. The mother thought the kids where playing around and was irritated by their nonsense when they were screaming. She then heard this for herself in the room, and watched the heavy chest of drawers moved by itself out in the room, and when she were trying to push it back she was unable to.They initially sought help from their neighbours, a man who went in to Hodgsons house alone - while the whole Hodgsons family stayed at his house - and he could hear these knockings in the wall that seemed to following him around while he was walking around from room to room in the whole house, looking for the cause of them.

They called the police who came and investigated. While there the officers watched one of the chair in the livingroom slide across the room while no one was near it. The officers immediately looked if the floor was tilted, and if the chair could have slide because of that - but it wasn't. They looked for wires or strings and found nothing. As the police said this was nothing they could help the family with 8since it wasn't anything criminal going on), they said that they have to look for help elsewhere. Without knowing who could help them, the mother called the local newspaper to hear if they knew of someone, and they of course sent a news-team there. As I mentioned above, the photographer and reporter watched the apport of small objects appearing and flying across the room, even hitting one of them in the head, while they were in one of the room.

When Maurice Grosse of the SPR got involved in the case I think he got somewhat emotionally invested in this. He stated that he wouldn't abandon them on this case and help them through it no matter what He was staying there and doing vigils days and weeks on ends and eagerly waiting for some poltergeist activity he could record, but the activity was dormant then. I think that especially Janet, whom, as the rest of them, was really afraid of what had happened to them initially, thought of Maurice as a father figure, and really wanted to please him as he was so eager to really get evidence of this poltergeist recorded. But more, I think she felt the comfort of having him around, and if this poltergeist stayed dormant for a longer period of time the risk was that Maurice would eventually lose interest and not come around and stay there. So with this in mind I think Janet started to create some of the activities for that reason. Mind you, that there was things happening during this time that was inexplicable but they weren't as intense as they were in the beginning.

Many other poltergeist activities are like a sparkler; there is an intense line of incidents that happens on top of each other in a short period of time, but as a sparkler they "burn fast", and its like "it" runs out of energy and stays dormant for periods of time. So, in a mix of Janet really wanted to give proof of what has happened to them initially, and that she wanted also to please Maurice because his eagerness - and also have him around as a father figure and not feeling frightened when activity stir up again - I think she started to "spice up" some of the events.

This is, I think, the case of many poltergeist activities. The eagerness to convince people of what has happened to them initially, and the sheer frustration that things doesn't happen "on cue" when investigators are there to investigate and record proof. The mix of being believed and not brushed off, and frustration of the "pockets of inactivity" I think can drive those involved to act like this. For debunkers like Randi, French, Nicolls, etc, this is like "christmas" for them. If they can point out that some of the activities was staged and forged they can then claim that everything else - even if they are totally inexplicable and compelling - somewhat also must have been tricks (without giving some explanations to how) and/or are false memories and other bullshit excuses - case closed.

The challenge for paranormal investigators, I think, is to don't get to emotionally invested - even though it might be hard - and always stay objective. Do everything to eliminate/exclude the possibilities of tampering - and if suspicious don't encourage those involved when things, that you cant control for, are happening. And also; don't try to make those involved feeling like you are frustrated that nothing happens during investigations.
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#4
It Was Raining Stones - for 6 years
This isn't your run-of-the-mill poltergeist, but since the apport phenomenon is often happening in "normal" poltergeist cases it should be filed as such.

The incident of stones bombarding a couple of adjacent houses in Birmingham during the night time initially points to shenanigans and normal means by vandals. But as the police got involved, staking out the place, putting totally 3500 man-hours into this case. They heard stones, during the night stake-outs, that seem to come out of nowhere, hitting the house randomly, verticality (falling down on top of the roof), and horizontally (hitting the housewalls and windows), but they couldn't see, or find any kind of perpetrators even though they, themselves, stood there in the garden. 

It was going on (as far the police involved) for 18 months, with incidents almost every night, regardless weather or seasons. And it was ONLY hitting these particular houses, even though these five houses was chain-houses connected with others The full length of incidents was going on for 6 years!.



"Residents of Thornton Road, Ward End, still speak in hushed tones about the police investigation that turned into a paranormal probe. Yet the trauma remains for those who lived through the nightmare – which left cops and churchmen baffled.

For three years from 1981, windows were smashed repeatedly by polished stones that seemingly rained continually from the night sky. Roofs were also damaged and frightened householders even erected barricades after what they feared were paranormal attacks. Yet despite round-the-clock surveillance by police officers who camped out in gardens, hid in trees and set-up secret cameras, the culprits were never caught. Even ballistic experts couldn’t help. In desperation, paranormal investigators and the clergy were called in.

At the height of the problems, Chief Inspector Len Turley, in charge of the investigation, spoke of his frustration. He said: “We have spent more than 1,000 man hours on this case.[*comment* that was in the middle of the investigation. 3500 man hours was years later] We are keeping an open mind about the whole thing. We don’t know why it’s gone on for so long. ‘‘If we even knew the reason for it, we would be one step nearer.”

The strange case repeatedly made headlines in national newspapers and was even aired on TV by acclaimed sci-fi author Arthur C Clarke. Even now, householders are torn over whether they were in the midst of poltergeist activity or simply victims of vandalism. Three homes – numbers 32, 34 and 36 – bore the brunt of the damage, with rear windows continually smashed and roofs damaged.







At the height of the trouble, residents placed chicken wire over windows and erected corrugated sheeting. In May, 1982, the Birmingham Mail reported: “As dusk falls tonight on a Midland suburban road, frightened residents will check their barricades and prepare to fend-off yet another mystery attack on their homes. ”The colourful piece was accompanied by a picture of Evelyn Malcolm, with the tin hat she wore for protection.

Other householders wore safety helmets and laced cotton thread around their gardens to see if it would be broken by the culprits. Amazingly, despite their properties being trashed, the cords were never snapped.

Natalie Holford was just 17 when the attacks started at her home – Number 32. Today, she has an open mind over links with the afterlife.  “Nowadays, I believe very much in psychic things. I just wish I knew then what I know now. ‘‘At the time, I said there was someone who knew what was going on – but I’m more open-minded now. “It was like being stalked, as if someone was watching us. The police would leave here at 2am and by the time they had reached the police station, there would be another attack. “You could hear the stones rolling down the roof. It was so weird. ‘‘It always happened when you were falling asleep. I was studying for A Levels at the time and it took its toll on me. My A Levels were rubbish. “It got to the point where you couldn’t sleep, you were just waiting for something to happen...‘‘It was happening so regularly.

“There were police everywhere and they even put a camera in one of our rooms. My mum was at her wits’ end, it was the lack of sleep.” The home of Geoffrey Sidebotham and sister Gwenneth Donnelly sustained the worst damage. They still live at 36 – the home they shared with their parents. Geoffrey, aged 67, said: “I’m still very bitter. It was an absolute nightmare and hastened the death of my mother, without a doubt.” His mother, crippled with arthritis and emphysema, died in 1982.

Geoffrey worked nights for the Co-Op so was not present when windows were put through. There were police everywhere, even in the trees, freezing,’’ he recalled. “Windows were smashed every night by stones. As soon as you replaced one, it would be put through again. ‘‘One bed was covered in glass. We weren’t fully insured, so it must’ve cost a fortune.”

Gwenneth wept as she recalled the nightly torment. The 64-year-old said: “It took my mother’s life. I can remember a stone coming through the window and landing right by her wheelchair. ‘‘I used to go to bed with a Bible under my pillow and prayed every night for it to stop. "
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#5
This is one of the more extensive and meticulously written down account of a poltergeist case. This first part is the translation from German and retelling of the event, by Robert McLuhan at Paranormalia
This is the shorter `summary` of the case. In the next post I will post the full length story and diary of Joller - the owner of the house, and the father in this family.

The Poltergeist at Stans, Switzerland - in the 1860's

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"One of the fullest descriptions of poltergeist activity is a nineteenth century case that took place in Stans, Switzerland. I first came across it in Gauld and Cornell's Poltergeists, and from their summary and extracts found it to be one of the most dramatic cases I'd ever come across. Pure Hollywood. The source is a pamphlet written in the mid 1860s by Melchior Joller, the lawyer whose household had been torn apart, and who was anxious to give the true story of the events, based on the diary he kept at the time.

However it's in German, so is not as well known as it deserves to be. So I've been amusing myself in my spare time by doing an English translation. It's quite long, about 40 pages in the original. You can read the full version here if you're interested, and I plan to make it available on Kindle in due course (for free). In the meantime, here's a summary.

We're talking about a large ramshackle old house on the outskirts of Stans, a small town in the central part of German-speaking Switzerland, near Lake Lucerne (see picture - it was torn down quite recently). It was occupied by Joller, a 42-year-old lawyer and member of parliament who had lived in it all his life, and his wife and seven children. The events started slowly in late 1860, when various members of the household - although not Joller himself - started hearing odd knockings from bedsteads and walls. They were especially alarmed when, as happened in some cases, the knockings appeared to respond to their spoken commands. However whenever they told Joller about it, he told them it was superstitious fancy, and to forget about it.

One day when the children were alone in the house, things started to get more serious:

During the course of the morning 14-year-old Melanie was alone with the housemaid when she mentioned that her younger sister Henriette often heard a peculiar knocking on the wall of the bathroom, so the two of them went there to look. Henriette came by at that moment and confirmed what she had said. But Melanie couldn't hear anything and wouldn't believe it, calling out loudly 'in God's name, if something is there, then come out and knock!' And immediately there was a knocking, like someone rapping with his knuckles. Then Oscar turned up, and hearing what had happened made the same demand, and again it immediately answered with the same knocking. When their older brother Edward heard what was going on he too rushed up and made the same request and for the third time it gave the same answer.

Terrified, they flew headlong out of the house and sat on the bottom of the front steps. At this point an oval stone, roughly the size of a fist, flew between Melanie and the youngest boy Alfred, who was standing quite near to her, however without hurting either of them. After a while they plucked up enough courage to go back in and get their lunch, finding all the cupboard doors in the downstairs living room and chamber, big and small, wide open. They closed them and went into the kitchen, from where they saw that the door of my study was also standing open. They closed it and took out the key, but soon it was standing wide open again. Thinking it might be because of an air current, they closed the windows and shut the doors firmly, and then stood by the front door, to see whether it would open again. Nothing happened, but the moment they turned to go the door stood wide open. Again they closed it. Now they clearly heard the muffled steps of someone coming down the stairs. Then the bedroom door opened again; they closed it and bolted it but the moment their backs were turned it opened again. As things were getting ever more peculiar, they again left the house.



It was time for lunch so the maid went back into the kitchen. Looking towards the corridor, she thought she saw someone hanging a sheet from one corner down the stairs from the upstairs banister. Observing more closely, it seemed to be rounded off at the top and with two long black marks at the bottom, like the tips of two feet. Shocked she called out, "who's there?" With a sound like "Wuh", the form suddenly vanished, at which the girl went white and stumbled outside screaming.



The children spent the day outside in the barn, venturing near to the house every so often. But things became so extremely weird - groans, strange shapes flitting around, doors constantly springing open, and other bizarre events - that when their mother came back in the evening she found them outside weeping with terror.

Joller seems to have been typical of many educated men of his time, conventionally religious, but at the same time holding a modern, progressive outlook and an interest in science. So far he had no direct experience of the phenomenon, and was exasperated at repeated mention of it. If they bothered him any more about it, he warned his children, he'd take a stick to their backsides.

Soon afterwards his wife heard the familiar knockings in the corridor and made him come and listen. He agreed it was odd, but since it was getting late he said he'd get to the bottom of it the following day. In the meantime he read aloud from an improving book on the evils on superstition, in the hope that it would persuade his family to stop being so stupid. Right on cue, the noises started up again, and he spent the rest of the evening in a fruitless search for the cause.

The next day the disturbances started in earnest:


The din began again at six o'clock in the morning and spread all over the house. It started underneath the living room door, two or three quick blows as if made by a heavy wooden mallet; this was followed by a heavy knocking on the doors ... and in various places upstairs, with short pauses between. The knocking on the doors sometimes ended with strong blows...

All the time the racket was going on all over the house - now here, now there; now upstairs, now downstairs - with increasing strength. I narrowed my investigation down to the phenomenon itself, which seemed to occur at short intervals mainly on the doors and floors of the living room and lower bedroom. I placed my hand on the door, variously on the inside and outside, and on the upper half around which the blows were perceptible, yet without feeling anything on my hand, not even a draught or disturbance of air. I also held the door half-open, so as to observe it from both sides; the rapping occurred again without my perceiving any cause.

I went and stood outside while my family observed from inside - for a long time in vain. Eventually there were such mighty thumps on the door between the bedroom and the kitchen that each time, being made of soft pinewood, it visibly bent. At around ten o'clock I went and stood by the bedroom door and gently pulled back the bolt so that the door was only just held on the latch. My wife stood with one of the boys some twenty-two paces behind me, placed so that when the door opened she could see the kitchen window in the background, whilst I could only see the dark kitchen wall.

After a little while the door was so powerfully struck that it flew open and hit the wall. In that moment I saw - I was certain of it - something dark, although I couldn't make out its shape precisely against the dim background. It shot like lightning from the door to the side of the chimney. Rushing after it, and before I could say a word, my wife and son called out that they had just clearly seen a dark-brown half arm bone dart back from the door, and their assertions were so quick and simultaneous there could be no doubt this apparition had passed in front of them... I made a stringent search of the chimney, but found it empty, with no mark on the fallen soot, nor any other clue.


The next day Joller got back from work to find the whole family outside, shaking with terror. He went inside and found that the disturbances repeated every few minutes, including blows on the floor "so violent, it was as though a wooden mallet was being swung with all the strength of a powerful arm, causing the living room table to spring in the air and displacing the objects sitting on it." The heavy living room door burst open and slammed shut again "with the greatest force", and there were blows on the bedroom door that were so strong he feared it break into pieces at any moment.

Joller was becoming seriously alarmed, especially as crowds were starting to gather in the street outside. He got various local worthies to come and help, who although they could plainly see and hear what was going on, could only offer vague speculations that led nowhere. He then told the police, who also observed the phenomena, and by the middle of the next week the town council had authorised an official investigation.

Joller seems to have hoped this would take over the burden, but to his bitter disappointment it petered out without achieving anything. This seems at least partly because the family had temporarily moved out while the investigation was in progress, and in their absence the phenomena largely disappeared. Yet as soon as the investigation terminated and the family returned, it all started again in force.

From early September to the third week in October the Jollers were effectively left to cope on their own,. By this time they dared not sleep in the house, and instead lodged nearby, but the phenomena raged during the day while they were there. The backdrop was the bangings and door slammings, which occurred at more or less short intervals, although not necessarily continuously. They also found themselves being bombarded with objects - stones, mainly, but also things like apples and pears (which presumably were lying under the trees or were being stored somewhere). There were sounds - brooms sweeping, spinning wheels, water running, etc - that sounded entirely realistic but had no visible source, as in this example:

As we were sitting at the table after lunch, two of my children saw a transparent fuzzy silhouette tripping towards them from the front door, and through the corridor to the open living room door, where there were several loud knocks; the door then slammed shut in the usual way. Around one o'clock in the afternoon the sweeping was again to be heard in the dark corridor, and it carried on in front of the opened door; there, heavy muffled steps were heard, as if someone was walking away. Soon afterwards I heard a sound in my study as if someone in the little closet next door was working a spinning wheel, with the thread being turned in long pulls. The whirring of the spindle was so clear and lifelike that I was sure it was just what it sounded like. Yet I found no trace of such a thing, and it seemed that wherever I went it was always in the next room - nor did my investigations seem to disturb it. The maid claimed she had already heard this spinning several times of late; it sometimes sounded to her like the grinding of cogs, like an old Black Forest clock being wound up.

Objects were also displaced, in an apparently mischievous manner:

While the family were sitting down to coffee, the maid, sweeping by the open living room door, drew our attention to a noise upstairs. We hurried up, together with three students who had dropped in out of curiosity. In the upstairs living room a strange sight of disorder met our eyes. On the left wall a big tableau (of Amazons fighting) had been taken down and was lying upside down on the floor, as were both mirrors from the further wall. A glass sugar bowl, which normally stood on the right on the high chiffonier, lay likewise tipped over on the floor in front of it, the cover at its side. A fruit basket that had been standing on the chest-of-drawers at the backwall lay in the same condition, and the oil lamp at the far wall had moved. Next to an ornamental lamp a little sun-blind that had previously stood in a corner of the room now hung from its handle, stretched wide open. Under it a red cloth that normally hung by the window had been laid on the floor and nearby a uphostered chair lay upside down. Many of these items were fragile, yet none were broken... Meanwhile a neighbour who had just come into the house was gazing in astonishment at the weird arrangement in the living room, where all the chairs lay upside down around the table.

And in another example:

When I got to the house I discovered that shortly after my departure in the morning there had been three quick and very violent blows from under the living room floor. My wife, who was in the bedroom, went with Emaline and stood by the door; in this moment both saw a stool in the living room move slowly from its place and then in a flash turn over with its legs in the air, hitting the floor so violently that the dust from the grooves in the floorboards blew up. Then the living room doors slammed so violently that the noise could be heard far over the neighbourhood.

As a busy professional, Joller was under immense pressure to keep up with clients and court cases, while simultaneously dealing with the constant havoc in his household. Being an MP he had a reputation to think of, and to be the centre of unexplained disturbances that made him an object of gossip, speculation and innuendo, must have been intolerable. For the next six or seven weeks the Jollers had crowds gawping outside, many of them on a day-trip from nearby Lucerne. There were numerous curiosity-seekers in the house itself - probably admitted by Joller in order to back up his own claims about the inexplicability of what was happening - and at one point the crowds outside managed to break in.

In our age we're used to the phenomenon of ordinary people being suddenly engulfed in a media firestorm, often through no fault of their own. We have a lively sense of the ghastly destructive havoc it causes in their lives. In Joller's time, I guess, it wasn't so common, but this is effectively what happened to him. He calls it a "public stoning", and says: "Woe betide anyone unlucky enough to get mixed up in such a thing. He will be shown no mercy, thrown as prey to the raging monster."

By mid-October Joller was beginning to lose heart, and around the 23rd he and his family moved out of the house for the last time. As far as I'm aware, little is known about their movements after this, except that they fetched up in Rome, where Joller died some three years later.

What are we to make of it? Is any of it true?

If we think such things don't happen, and must always be attributed to hoaxing or misunderstandings, then I suppose we have to dismiss it as a confabulation, however convincing it sounds. On the other hand the case is well-known in Germany and Switzerland, and I imagine there must be documentary evidence of it, in newspaper reports, town records, personal reminiscences, and so on. In which case it could not be completely made up.

But then could it be a hoax played by one member of the family, a line that was vigorously promoted by sceptics and scoffers at the time? I think that's hard to sustain, if you accept at face value what Joller described. There was far too much going on for one person to have achieved it on his/her own, and the sheer variety of the phenomena would have required not one bit of trickery but a whole range of different devices. Nor is plausible that that a household of ten people would not have quickly discovered the tricks. It's slightly more plausible that Joller was the victim of a hoax by the rest of his family, or by a group of his children. But if you read Joller's account, you will quickly see that he was careful and methodical in his observations, and it's hard to believe that he would not quickly have figured out what was really going on.

What especially weighs with me is the rich literature around these sorts of unexplained knockings. Some of the other phenomena - stone throwing, realistic sounds, misplacement of furniture and objects - have been reported in several hundred other cases as well. So it's by no means an isolated example. If we accept that such things can occur in nature, then this would seem to be an authentic example.

But then we may go on to ask whether it has to do with psychokinesis of the living or spirits of the dead. The narrative describes a strong sense of presences in the house, and many visual sightings - in the early stages, of fuzzy or transparent shapes, but then towards the end of faces at the window glimpsed from the outside. There are also frequent sounds - of unseen people groaning, and occasionally also of speech. In this context an incident that occurs early on may have some relevance. The children are sheltering from the disturbances outside when an old crone hobbles past and engages them in conversation: it appears she knew four young girls who used to live there, and who were drowned in the nearby river in a tragic accident. So there's something there to support the idea of a haunting, although Joller does no more than hint at it and clearly does not want to go into detail.

What strikes me most about this narrative is its immense pathos. Always the most interesting thing about the paranormal for me - by far the most interesting - is that vortex of interaction between the normal and the utterly, absurdly abnormal. Many people in modern secular society are exactly like Joller. Their ideas are informed by science, and it's natural for them to abhor superstition. Tales of ghosts and things-that-go-bump are for inferior types, the weakminded. Yet very rarely, such a person is badly bitten by the real thing. Suddenly he becomes an outcast, a denizen of the world he once complacently despised, of the supernatural believer, desperately semaphoring his discovery to the world - which merely jeers, as he himself would surely have done, and takes no notice.

Throughout the narrative you sense a man clinging to the hope that if he only observed everything that was going on, and faithfully noted it down - in such a way that he could get the rest of the world to accept it - then he would remain sane and untouched. Alas for him, this did not happen. The fact that he died so soon afterwards, and in exile - ruined and perplexed - makes his story all the more poignant.

Source: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormali...stans.html
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Here is the translated full length story, and diary, of Joller - the owner of the house, and the father in this family:


The Ghosts at Stans (original text)
THE UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA

[Note about the house: The ground floor was not a living space but used as a sort of all-purpose out-house, for laundry, dairy, wine-press and suchlike. It was enclosed by thick brick or stone walls with few windows. The rest of the house was of wood, and rested on these foundations. Outside steps led up to the front door on the first floor, where there was a porch, a hallway leading to the main living room, the kitchen and a pantry, a bedroom and a small corridor leading to a bathroom. The second floor contained Joller's study and four bedrooms linked by a corridor. The attic space included an upstairs living room, a drying room, two small bedrooms - one occupied by a maidservant - and some storage space.]

Autumn 1860
It was first noticed - as far as we could recall, not knowing what it was at the time - by our housemaid around the beginning of autumn 1860. She slept in a third floor attic room above the bedchambers, and one morning she told us she had heard and felt a distinct knocking on her bedhead during the night. She was sure it meant someone in the house was about to die. I rebuked her for this superstition and told her firmly to keep such things to herself, putting the knocking down to a hallucination, although she stuck absolutely to her conviction. The matter was soon forgotten, the more so as everyone remained perfectly well.

Returning from a business trip a few weeks later, my wife told me that she and our second daughter Melanie had experienced something extraordinary that night. Shortly after going to bed they were woken by a rapid knocking on the table next to the bed, and wondered what on earth it could be. As they were talking the knocking began again, some 10 to 15 quick blows that started strong and gradually faded. Astonishment now changed to fear: they demanded it knock if it had something to communicate, at which it replied in the same way. They were terrified and waited in dread for the morning. They too they were inclined to see it as a 'warning' of something to come, and were strengthened in this idea by the death of a female friend some days later. Personally I was sure the cause would be found in the complicated construction of the table, perhaps in the loosening of a joint, as I could not begin to imagine how an inanimate object could make knocks.

1861
A striking incident occurred at the beginning of June 1861 involving my second youngest son Oscar, then nine years old, tough and fearless. One evening he went into a little kitchen room on the third floor, which at that time was used to store logs. As he didn't turn up for supper, we went to look for him and eventually found him lying on the pile of logs in a deep swoon; it was some considerable time before we could bring him round. When he was able to speak he told us that shortly after entering the room there had been three knocks on the door. He paid them little attention, but then suddenly the door opened and a white formless shape came in - at which he passed out. I took this to be an effect of the imagination, following from the frightening knocks which themselves could have a quite natural origin, and once the boy had recovered we gave no more thought to it.

Around this time the boys who slept in the bedroom above the first floor living room complained they often heard a noise at night, as if something was in the upstairs living room or hallway above them, knocking on the floor. I recalled later that they had called me into their bedroom one day to hear this odd knocking, and I really did hear something that sounded like a dog scratching with its foot on the floor. So I went upstairs, but found the door closed, and could not discover the cause, either in the room or anywhere else. I told the boys it was doubtless something to do with cats, rats or a bird in the roof; after this, the disturbance was often heard but no longer heeded. Again, I was firmly of the view that such noises could be traced to a quite natural cause, and as the noises tailed off I remembered having frequently heard something similar in my study during the day, perhaps for the past two years even.

In the late summer the housemaid complained that in the evenings when she was in the kitchen, cleaning shoes on the stairs, as she often did, she was frightened at seeing grey forms downstairs in the dark, on the ground floor. One of them once even came up to where she was sitting and then vanished. Then one morning she claimed that during the night someone had gone up the stairs, past her room on the third floor, and onto the stairs leading to the upstairs living room. From there her name was called distinctly several times. Then it went up and down the stairs three times and finally entered the living room, where she heard a deep sobbing that went on for the longest time. My wife told her not to talk about such imaginary things to the children, and personally I considered her to be a most superstitious person.

Shortly afterwards - this was still in August - my youngest daughter Henriette, then around eleven years old, found herself alone one sunny afternoon in her bedroom, which was situated above the main living room. She was preparing for exams and was leaning by an open window with her face buried in a schoolbook. Looking up, she saw a cheerful-looking child coming towards her, half-clothed. At first she took him for her little brother, but then the form changed aspect and suddenly disappeared right in front of her. This terrified her and she and ran from the room. I learned about the incident only some days later, when I was trying to get Henriette to tell me why she wouldn't go into the living room on her own. However I managed eventually to reassure her by persuading her that it was just her imagination.
In October we decided that we would manage the housework on our own in future, and accordingly the housemaid was dismissed, and her place taken by a 13-year-old girl for basic duties.

1862
From now until the summer of the following year we don't remember noticing anything unusual. However at this time the two boys who slept in the room overlooking the garden told me they often heard a strong scratching on the wall. Also upstairs at night a distinct coming and going could be heard that sounded like a big dog, as well as knocking here and there on the floor and walls. My insistence that all this had a natural cause managed to keep fear from the children until

Assumption Day, 15 August
I had business to attend to in Lucerne, and set out at around seven in the morning with my wife and eldest son Robert, returning home very late. On the following morning my children wanted to tell me about some unusual incidents that had shocked and frightened them through the whole day. Without really listening to them I rebuked them for their superstitious fear and hinted that I would take a rod to their backsides if I heard any more silliness. Reluctantly they withdrew, muttering that father would not believe anything. From now on nothing of the kind was said in front of me, and it was only later when I myself had become convinced that something was going on that I found out what had happened. Here it is, as accurately as I can make it:

During the course of the morning 14-year-old Melanie was alone with the housemaid when she mentioned that her younger sister Henriette often heard a peculiar knocking on the wall of the bathroom, so the two of them went there to look. Henriette came by at that moment and confirmed what she had said. But Melanie couldn't hear anything and wouldn't believe it, calling out loudly 'in God's name, if something is there, then come out and knock!' And immediately there was a knocking, like someone rapping with his knuckles. Then Oscar turned up, and hearing what had happened made the same demand, and again it immediately answered with the same knocking. When their older brother Edward heard what was going on he too rushed up and made the same request and for the third time it gave the same answer.

Terrified they flew headlong out of the house and sat on the bottom of the front steps. At this point an oval stone, roughly the size of a fist, flew between Melanie and the youngest boy Alfred, who was standing quite near to her, however without hurting either of them. After a while they plucked up enough courage to go back in and get their lunch, finding all the cupboard doors in the downstairs living room and chamber, big and small, wide open.

They closed them and went into the kitchen, from where they saw that the door of my study was also standing open. They closed it and took out the key, but soon it was standing wide open again. Thinking it might be because of an air current, they closed the windows and shut the doors firmly, and then stood by the front door, to see whether it would open again. Nothing happened, but the moment they turned to go the door stood wide open. Again they closed it. Now they clearly heard the muffled steps of someone coming down the stairs. Then the bedroom door opened again; they closed it and bolted it but the moment their backs were turned it opened again. As things were getting ever more peculiar, they again left the house.

It was time for lunch so the maid went back into the kitchen. Looking towards the corridor, she thought she saw someone hanging a sheet from one corner down the stairs from the upstairs banister. Observing more closely, it seemed to be rounded off at the top and with two long black marks at the bottom, like the tips of two feet. Shocked, she called out, "who's there?" With a sound like "Wuh", the form suddenly vanished, at which the girl went white and stumbled outside screaming.

My oldest daughter Emaline now came home, and the maid had recovered sufficiently to fetch the meal from the kitchen quickly and bring it outside. The children ate in the garden under the hazelnut tree, something which rarely happened. Just as the maid was taking the dishes back into the kitchen, and as she was going through the porch, she saw and heard the doors and windows in my room, the terrace and garden rooms and the door leading to the veranda, as well as the corridor - all suddenly spring open together. The opening of the windows was seen also by the children from under the tree. After quickly washing up the girl ran outside again.

Now the children hung around the barn, where my workers were busy with the hay harvest, creeping every so often towards the house to see what was going on. They almost always heard noises, even from the barn some forty or fifty steps away. Once the maid and Edward ventured up the steps, from where they could see through the window into the living room, which, like the two windows underneath, again stood open, despite having been bolted from inside. As they looked they saw a chair slide of its own accord from its place and then in a flash turn upside down with its legs in the air. Everyone standing below heard the commotion and sprang away in terror.

Another time, standing in front of the house, they clearly heard through the open bedroom window a deep, groaning voice say, in tones of unbearable melancholy, `Even when no one at all is around!' - with heavy emphasis on the word all. From the barn the children kept seeing formless shapes moving around my room.
Later, when Melanie was standing at the western corner of the house and Edward was by the well, halfway between the house and the barn, they heard a peculiar music appearing to come from the upstairs living room. A melancholy voice, accompanied by a single-tone string, was whimpering a slow movement with the tune of Camille's prayer in Zampa [a comic opera by Ferdinand Hérold].

Eventually my tenant's wife - they lived with their three small children in an outside annex - came by, so they asked her to go inside with them to help find out what was going on. There, on the floor in front of the grindstone they discovered a little snow-white picture, so like a death's head in the smallest detail that an engraver could not have bettered it. It was no bigger than a small coin, and looked as if it had been poured on. They scrutinized it at length: the eye holes were deeply set and from one side it was shaded blue, appearing to grin at them; the nose bone and apertures were sharply represented, as were two teeth in the jaw. They could not see what the picture was made of, however; shortly it grew darker and lost its shape. Now they heard a big commotion in the rooms and went outside again.

As they were gathered together under a tree, an old crone hobbled up to ask if this was the house where Veronica Gut had lived after the accident. The children said it was, and offered her some fruit. She told them that she had known their great grandmother well, and had tolled the bell in St Joder's chapel after their grandfather's four sisters drowned in the Aawasser [a nearby river]. It seemed only yesterday that she and her brother Sigrist suspected the worst. As night came on a man dressed in white and carrying a lamp came to the chapel, a sign that the bell was about to toll for someone. But when her brother went over he couldn't see anyone, either nearby or far off, and he this really disturbed him. In the morning they heard the tragic news, and the death bell tolled for some time. Thanking them and giving them all best wishes the old woman then went on her way.

Between four and five o'clock they lit a fire in the ground floor area to heat a kettle, and at about seven o'clock the maid lit the kitchen range to prepare supper. Suddenly it became light in the chimney, and, looking upwards she saw coming down it an object shaped like a sugar-loaf giving off lots of little blue flames. This object disintegrated inside the chimney, and as it did so it doused the fire with a great deal of water; however a piece also fell into the adjoining chimney to the ground floor, just where Edward at that moment was scraping soot off the kettle. Both he and the maid simultaneously cried out, 'The chimney is on fire!' Edward found the kettle, and the maid her jacket, covered with the thousand sharp little flames that a moment ago had seemed to dissolve into water. At all this they lost their heads completely, and when Frau Joller returned about 8.30 pm she found them in the annex outside, weeping with terror.

Later I heard from relation in Germany that on the very same day he and his whole family had experienced a similar inexplicable incident. A strong knocking had started up in a nearby room, repeating several times and so loudly that the landlord came by to find out what was causing such a racket. However most careful search produced not a trace of a cause. Similar incidents were said also to have occurred in other houses.
The reprimand that I delivered the following morning, as I mentioned earlier, at least meant that nothing more was said about it in my presence

Tuesday 19 August
Just as I was arriving home on the following Tuesday my wife called down from the corridor for me to come and listen to a peculiar knocking on the wall. I went somewhat reluctantly, and heard from the pantry back wall a repeated rapping of ten to twelve peculiar blows that speeded up towards the end, as if someone was tapping nervously on a door with his finger, demanding instant admission. The rappings were repeated many times after short pauses. Putting my ear to the wall I found the precise location of the sounds, but then realised they frequently moved. I assumed it must be a living creature such as a rat, and hit the wall to frighten it away. Instead it replied, more than once, with the same tapping sound, ending with one or two more powerful blows as if with a fist.

I had a candle brought, went into the little room and searched it with the greatest care to try to find some trace of the disturbing agency. While I was doing so the rappings continued as before, and my investigation remained without result. Listening longer and more carefully, I now perceived the raps coming from other places in the corridor. Stubbornly insisting that the cause could be found, I reassured my family with a promise to carry out a thorough investigation of the entire house the following morning.

After supper I got out Zschokkes' Family Prayerbook from my bookshelf and read out the chapter on 'The Power of Superstition'. Straight away there began a knocking on the living room floor, in the same manner as before, and it frequently interrupted my reading, although I tried, firmly but in vain, to continue. Now and again there was a strong blow - did I think this too was a rat, my children could not resist asking. Then there was a knock on the living room door - the first time this had happened - as if someone was outside demanding admittance.

Convinced that someone was play-acting a ghost, I took a candle and a sharp knife and proceeded to the ground floor, where I made a careful search. I knew all the rooms like the back of my hand, especially the cellar beneath the living room and all the containers stored there. While I was investigating the knocking went on above me, but without my being able to discover the cause. I repeated the search first with light and then without it, creeping around quietly, but could not find anything amiss in the slightest apart from the noise of the knocking.

As it was now becoming somewhat quieter, I told my children to say their prayers and go to bed. The two oldest boys Robert and Edward went to their bedroom above the living room, while the other children, still very much afraid, all went together into the big chamber, where the maid would watch over them. My wife and I went to bed, but hardly had we arrived when a frightened cry came from the chamber; it was the children complaining of a loud noise coming from their bed. Apart from the two oldest boys, who had gone to sleep, the entire family was now gathered in the big chamber.

After a moment I sat on the edge of the bed. The tapping began again in the west corner of the room, came nearer and nearer, then thumped with strong and heavy blows on the footboard of the bedstead, and then on the chair standing right next to me. I quickly struck a light, searched everywhere in vain, and found all the doors and windows closed. A longer pause followed. I put the candle out and sat down on the footboard of the bedstead. After a while the tapping on the wall began again, also the blows on the footboard which I held with my left hand - they were so strong that it shook violently, as did the whole bedstead, yet I felt nothing more than a light touch on the index finger of my left hand. The sounds repeated while the candle was alight without my being able to see anything at all. At last, getting on for midnight, things grew quieter, and by and by I fell asleep.

Wednesday 20 August
The din began again at six o'clock in the morning and spread all over the house. It started underneath the living room door, two or three quick blows as if made by a heavy wooden mallet; this was followed by a heavy knocking on the doors - the one to the living room, the one leading from the kitchen to the chamber, and the one from the kitchen to the little room - and in various places upstairs, with short pauses between. The knocking on the doors sometimes ended with strong blows.

Desperate for an explanation I searched through the whole house. I had been born there in 1818, and apart from my years at university lived there permanently. With a child's natural curiosity had paid close attention to all the maintenance work and was familiar with literally every knook and cranny. For all that, my careful search was in vain and revealed nothing suspicious. All the time the racket was going on all over the house - now here, now there; now upstairs, now downstairs - with increasing strength.

At this point I narrowed my investigation down to the phenomenon itself, which seemed to occur at short intervals mainly on the doors and floors of the living room and lower bedroom. I placed my hand on the door, variously on the inside and outside, and on the upper half around which the blows were perceptible, yet without feeling anything on my hand, not even a draught or disturbance of air. I also held the door half-open, so as to observe it from both sides; the rapping occurred again without my perceiving any cause.
I went and stood outside while my family observed from inside - for a long time in vain. Eventually there were such mighty thumps on the door between the bedroom and the kitchen that each time, being made of soft pinewood, it visibly bent. At around ten o'clock I went and stood by the bedroom door and gently pulled back the bolt so that the door was only just held on the latch.

My wife stood with a boy some twenty-two paces behind me, in such a position that when the door opened she could see the kitchen window in the background, whilst I could only see the dark kitchen wall. After a little while the door was so powerfully struck that it flew open and hit the wall. In that moment I saw - I was certain of it - something dark, although I couldn't make out its shape precisely against the dim background. It shot like lightning from the door to the side of the chimney. Rushing after it, and before I could say a word, my wife and son called out that they had just clearly seen a dark-brown half arm bone dart back from the door, and their assertions were so quick and simultaneous there could be no doubt this apparition had passed in front of them. I had always held to the Biblical saying that 'spirit lacks flesh and blood', but this crippled it. I made a stringent search of the chimney, but found it empty, with no mark on the fallen soot, nor any other clue.

Finally I called on my oldest sister to find out if perhaps earlier, unknown to me, something similar had occurred in the house. She was shocked by the phenomena and declared she had never heard of anything of the kind before. Meanwhile the housemaid, engaged with her chores in the kitchen, was constantly flying into the living room: one time she claimed she had just at that moment clearly heard someone coming down the stairs and three times she heard a deep voice groaning, 'have pity on me', but when she looked she saw no one. Soon she was back again, claiming to have seen a transparent little grey cloud that floated in through the partly-open kitchen window, crossed the room and pounded on the door to the bedroom. Meanwhile our tenant's wife also came by. As I was carrying on my search, with the blows pounding ever more strongly on the floors and doors, everyone was becoming increasingly frightened and asked me, as the episcopal commissioner Niedgerberger was away just then, to let the local priest be told of it. I assented readily, as I knew the old man to be as richly endowed with scientific understanding as with experience, and no less as a mystical visionary.

The priest was kind enough to accept the invitation in the afternoon. I told him the whole story; he said nothing like that had happened to him in his whole life. He observed the phenomenon closely and at length, but ended up likewise unable to shed any light on the problem. He was no expert, he pointed out; he thought the best thing would be for knowledgeable men to carry out a thorough investigation. But it should be done only with extreme care, he advised, and the family should be as discreet as possible, so that the noises should not become public. He then gave the house the customary blessing and left. As evening came on the racket started up violently and only subsided at around 10 pm.
It then occurred to me to see what I could find on the subject in my library, and I got down a dusty college text on experimental physics by Professor Sieber in Munich, but without finding a key to the riddle. All the time I kept hoping for a quiet end to these goings-on.

Thursday 21 August
The disturbances began in the early morning at a high level of intensity and went on throughout the morning at short intervals. The situation was becoming ever more distressing. I was no long able to calm people down, and with my whole family trembling in abject terror at every new violent blow, I feared the worst consequences of staying there any longer. I also noticed people gathering on the road outside and taking account of the noises. When a man came to invite me to a local meeting the following day I saw how his dog cowered behind him at every knock, taking it for a game by mischievous boys.

This was court day and I had to leave for work as I had a lot of business to attend to. Before I had finished at court one of my children came rushing to call me home, as the noise had become so terrible that everyone had fled. I finished up quickly and hurried home. (I had planned to notify Herr Kaiser, the head of the local canton authority, but at the time he was on his way to England.) At home I found my entire family outside in the open air. I wasn't afraid - fear has seldom troubled me in my life - and went inside, finding the disturbances repeating at intervals of between three and five minutes. The blows on the floor were so violent it was as though a wooden mallet was being swung with all the strength of a powerful arm, causing the living room table to spring in the air and displacing the objects sitting on it. The blow was quite local, however; the house itself did not seem to shake. The massive nutwood door of the living room burst open and slammed shut again with the greatest force. There was a blow from the kitchen on the bedroom door, equally violent, and I feared that at any moment it would burst into the room in fragments. The walls of the living room meanwhile remained undisturbed.

The tumult was attracting more and more attention in the neighborhood. I investigated the matter again with as much coolness as possible, tested the pressure by laying my hands on both sides of the doors and felt not even the slightest air movement, whilst the force of the blows, like that of the most powerful fist, jerked the closed door two or three inches from the hinge. Once when I came into the kitchen, I noticed the bottles, glasses and vessels on the table being struck as if with a metal instrument. The blows in the different parts of the house followed each other so quickly that if the ghost was a hoax it would have had to involve at least four or five people.

Seized by the apprehension that the whole unexplained business could soon damage the house, if not utterly destroy it, I sent for councillor H. Zimmerman, an old family friend, who soon appeared and was astonished by the din. We agreed to call in Dr K. von Deschwanden, a scientifically educated man; he came, together with the court president Odermatt and judge Schallberger, as well as the master builder Alois Amstad and the art teacher Odermatt - all of them convinced themselves of the extraordinary racket that was going on, although as dusk fell it fell off somewhat. Attempts were made to arrive at a physical cause, and a great number of hypotheses were put forward - vulcanism, galvanism, electricity, and so on. Among other things it was thought that the asphalt terrace floor might be conducting an electrical current, but on closer reflection nothing provided the slightest clue as to the origins and character of the phenomenon. At around 12 o'clock the company broke up, perplexed. Meanwhile calm was returning, and the rest of the night passed without disturbance.

Friday 22 August
The din began again in the early morning. I had to go out on business at seven o'clock and expected to be back soon afterwards. During my absence the court president Odermatt and others of yesterday's visitors positioned themselves to witness the day's incidents; the blows followed quickly, and with even more violence than the previous day, if that were possible. A client 'K.S'. who had called by and insisted on waiting for my return, was sitting in the living room near the door when there was a sudden blow on the floor and door, so violent that he leaped up in panic.

He had once had occasion to see an electrostatic generator in action, and his first idea was that there must be such a thing in the house. Robert, who was present at that moment, and who like everyone else had been told to keep the affair as secret as possible, did nothing to disabuse him of this idea, and he took his leave. However a bit later a second neighbour 'A.J.' came by to see what was going on, and from him the affair could not be hushed up. Both he and my tenant's wife witnessed a thumping on the door between the kitchen and the bed chamber, so strong that the metal hooks again sprang from the posts and were flung into the opposite wall. As this happened Melanie, who was in the living room, saw by the door a snow-white, oval shaped form, extending to the height of the door, an apparition that Frau L. who, moments earlier had opened the door, also witnessed amid a violent racket.

By now more and more people were calling in, among them the head of the provincial government Franz Zelger, who lived in the neighborhood. The racket was again observed and investigated, how the doors wrenched open and slammed shut. I could hear the blows quite clearly from high up on the mountains where I had gone to mark the boundaries of my woodland. Hurrying back, I met some of these people, and I now promptly proceeded to notify the police about it; the local police inspector Jann came in person and with all judiciousness confirmed what was going on. After a while Dr Christen arrived too and soon had an opportunity to witness the racket. At this time Edward, coming through the front door, saw in the kitchen a white form like a little hand waving, at which he passed out, but sprang up after a while and stumbled into the living room to tell what he had just seen.

In the afternoon the episcopal commissioner Niederberger saw and heard the phenomena, as also did the priest for a second time. Niederberger installed himself in the lowest chambers of the house and investigated with great attention until around seven o'clock. For the purposes of comparison a knocking was made on the cellar ceiling to see what the effect would be in the hall upstairs - this caused the house to shake and the windows to clang, which did not happen in the places where the disturbances occurred; the tone and the manner of the blows was different too. By the afternoon the force had diminished somewhat and there were long intervals between the noises. Herr Niederberger, a man whose sharp perception and scientific understanding cannot be denied, left in the evening with the firm conviction that this remarkable business was neither mere hallucination, nor someone playing at ghosts. Indeed he doubted that even the most thorough physical investigation would lead to a satisfying result.

Meanwhile rumours were spreading, and in the evening I watched with growing anxiety as crowds streamed up to the house, feeling just as a home-owner does when he sees river floodwaters breaking the dams and threatening to engulf his property. With the living room and the porch full of curiosity seekers, there occurred among other things a heavy blow on the living room door, as if someone had thrown himself against it with full strength. One heard less frequent but still quite violent knocks on the door between the kitchen and the living room. Towards 8.30 pm it got quieter, and the police inspector posted two of his men to guard the house.

My fears were not misplaced. In this country, as everywhere else, there are people who believe far too much, some who believe too little, and a few who believe nothing at all. One person hears the noise and flees in terror; another commands the devil to come out; a third has electrostatic generators on the brain (this notion, which my son allowed the visiting client to go away with, came in handy). Alas, some people found it hard to distinguish the concept of electrostatic machines from conjuring, and seized on this hybrid as an explanation of last resort. In this they were strongly encouraged by the performances that Schneider theatre company was giving in Stans at the time.

Actors were still regarded by a large part of the public as jacks-of-all-trades, gypsies or magicians, and they soon got mixed up with the affair in some people's minds. To make matters worse, my son had been seen in the company of one of them, a man by the name of Stöbe from Baden: it was soon being said that the boy had 'learned sorcery from the gypsy' and was using it to terrify people for his amusement. I mention this particular simple-minded rumour only because it found its way into a local scandal-sheet, and from there spread like wildfire in newspapers throughout the land, served up with every kind of margin illustration as the true explanation of the ghost.

Saturday 23 August
On Saturday the violence of the banging diminished significantly. Various apparatus were applied in the search for electrical, magnetic or vulcan causes - all to no effect. Her Odermatt kindly travelled to Lucerne to consult with Professor Ineichen, who was away however. Other similar requests were refused. The throng of visitors became ever bigger and more burdensome. The somewhat sparse phenomena of these days were as follows:

At nine o'clock in the morning the living room door, which was resting on its latch, wrenched open and juddered shut; this was followed by strong blows from within on the kitchen-living room door, throwing the catches far into the kitchen. A few minutes later there was a heavy blow on the living room door, then at 3.03 pm two blows on the living room door, the second of them weaker; the same at 6.10. At 8.45 in the presence of a large company the living room door, which was closed, opened and slammed shut with the greatest vehemence; violent blows followed on the kitchen door. From then on it became calmer.

Towards midnight I went to my bedroom, leaving three police guards in the living room to keep watch. I lay down on the side of the bed and waking after some time, I propped my head on my right hand and looked over to the window opposite; this was closed, covered on the inside by a curtain; the outside shutters were open. I could clearly see the grey-white clouds in the sky. All was quiet, apart from the snoring of the guards in the living room, which I could distinctly here. I was alert but not at all excited. Suddenly I felt a soft rustling of the hairs on my left temple, as if caused by a playing finger. Thinking that someone wanted to wake me, I grasped at it with my left hand and felt a soft warm little hand - I felt quite distinctly the thumb and finger. As I did so it softly withdrew in the direction of the window, where I saw, in sharp relief against the shutters, a dark shape moving slowly backwards and forwards.

Thinking it must be a member of my family, I called out to the maid who was lying on the sofa. At this my wife anxiously asked if I too had felt something touching my head, but I replied evasively so as not to worry her. The girl, who could only be woken after repeated calls, went to turn on the light to see the time. She found the three guards in the living room in deep slumber and woke them; it was 2.45 am and everything was still quiet. She went back to our bedroom, turned out the light and lay down on the sofa, only to start up wailing that just at that moment something had stroked her on the brow, then moved the curtain and fluttered lightly against the wall. She fled into the living room, turned on the light and spent the rest of the night there. My wife now told me that earlier, after having been touched gently on the head, she felt the gentle hand of a child, which quickly withdrew from her hand; however she noticed at once that it was not the hand of the child sleeping at her side. In the morning I told her what had happened to me.

Sunday 24 August
Today it was quiet until about eleven o'clock, when in the presence of several neighbours there were some very heavy blows on the floor and doors. This happened again at one o'clock, after which everything was silent until the evening at 5.05, when there were another two knocks on the living room floor, and then it remained quiet.

The few incidents of these days were witnessed by a great many people. In the evening the crowds pressed in, in the belief that these sorts of incidents would be most likely occur during the night. In vain, however: people who waited for hours for something to happen left shaking their heads and opining that the whole thing was a false alarm, as they hadn't heard anything. Some strong spirits plucked up enough courage to come right up to the house in the middle of the night to carry out an exorcism. In such circumstances any semblance of normal order in the household was completely lost - most of my children had already had to leave. Only a strengthened police guard was able to hold back the press of the crowds.


Monday 25 August
On Monday the phenomena started only towards midday, but this time with much of its former violence. At 11.30 am we noticed a rustling on the wall of the little kitchen room, as it first appeared, then three or four strong muffled blows on the open living room door, which then slammed shut. At 1.05 pm there were three blows from underneath the living room floor. Some forty minutes later the kitchen-corridor door, which was almost always left open and until now had been left in peace, pulled itself shut rapidly, despite its weight. This happened again some minutes later.

At 3.30 pm there were two quite strong blows from under the floor of the living room and after some minutes four or five hard thumps on the living room door, followed by the violent slamming of the kitchen door. A young doctor from Lucerne who witnessed all this complained of a strong prickling on his skin, although I put it down to fright. About 5.45 there were another two blows on the living room door and, after a short pause the kitchen door started to slam repeatedly, bringing the events of the day to an end at about 8.30.

I made my notes in the presence of the police guards, who themselves had made careful observations. The police subsequently brought the matter to the attention of the weekly council meeting with the declaration that 'due attention has been made and investigations instituted on the part of the police, but steps will need to be taken by the high government to determine whether or not the knockings can be ascribed to a natural cause'. The authorities then appointed a commission charged 'with all dispatch, legal authority and proper qualifications to institute an investigation with all the necessary resources, as long as the knocking should continue'. The appointed members were W. Zelger, L. Wursch and inspector Jann. After all this, one might have expected the investigation to start promptly, all the more so as the decision had been made early on when phenomena were continuing to be reported. However the day went by without any arrangements being made.

Tuesday 26 August
The racket began early at 7.20 am with two knocks - in the hall and, after an interval of nine minutes, on the door of the living room. The tone was somewhat harder than before and it was no longer observed upstairs, but entirely on the doors downstairs. After twelve minutes the kitchen door flew violently shut. From then on there was a pause until 10.07, when there were more powerful blows on the floor of the living room; at 11.25 there was a knocking four or five times, in rapid succession and stronger than for some time, on the slightly-ajar living room door which was violently torn open and just as quickly slammed onto the latch. This immediately also happened with the kitchen door, all the work of two to three seconds.
At 12.13 pm there were three knocks on the living room door. Then it was quiet until the evening at around eight o'clock, when there were another two hard blows on the same doors, and the same on the floor of the kitchen. The slamming of the kitchen door that followed some twenty minutes later was the last disturbance noticed in the house today.

Herr Zelger, president of the investigatory commission, took no steps today either to get things started, despite our having informed him immediately of the day's events, and this did nothing to strengthen my confidence in the commission having any real interest in carrying out an investigation in the interests of science. The only exception was police inspector Jann, who had personally seen what was going on several times, and had warmly agreed to take part, unfortunately in vain. As for myself, stuck in the midst of this calamity, I was greatly perturbed by the crowds of curiosity-seekers that continued to press, and overburdened with professional business that could not be put off.

Wednesday 27 August
Today the racketing began around 9.30 am similar to yesterday, namely: 9.20, two knocks on the floor of the living room; 9.27, on the doors; 9.28, slamming of the kitchen door; and at 9.35 the living room door, also this time in the presence of many people. At 11.35 there were four knocks on the living room door, which was standing slightly ajar but which after the fourth blow slammed violently. At 12.30 pm we heard a weak tapping on the hallway outside my study; five minutes later the kitchen door slammed shut, after which it became quiet until 2.50. There followed a double hard banging on the living room door, then a light tapping on the kitchen door, at which it slammed so violently we feared it would spring off the hinges. From then on things were quiet.

Still the state commission had raised no kind of investigation; it was only late in the evening, when the disturbances had stopped, that it showed signs of making a start. After a short interview I was tasked with providing a written report about the goings on, which I undertook to do at once, and then - this would have been around eight o'clock - I was told to leave the house immediately with those members of my family who still remained. I obeyed without demur, despite having four trials to prepare for the following day, and the inconvenience of being separated from my office and my books. Yet at the same time, I was convinced that what I had failed so completely to get to the bottom of would similarly elude these gentleman. The police guard was replaced by another, which I had no doubt would minutely examine every corner of the house, but without uncovering anything suspicious that might lead to the cause of this extraordinary phenomenon.


Bitter Complaints
By now the affair had now got to the stage where it was not just the daily talk of the locality but had become a national scandal. If you have never experienced the rumours and antagonisms that a natural disaster can stir up, you can still less imagine the confusion that follows a supernatural occurrence like this. The public wants explanations for every detail and finds it all too readily; superstition, scepticism, exaggeration and speculation all jostle with each other. Woe betide anyone unlucky enough to get mixed up in such a thing. He will be shown no mercy, thrown as prey to the raging monster, and neither his good family name nor spotless reputation will save him from the maws of the ravening beasts. It was just like the heated passions in my years of political campaigning, when enemies would stick their heads up like vermin after a warm spring rain. It might sound exaggerated, but I was made to feel like a criminal, as much among my immediate circle as in the country as a whole.

I would certainly have expected better from the liberal Swiss press. Alas, the papers didn't bother to look for true information; instead they repeated the silliest rumours that were being made about me, all the most bitter barbs and dirtiest suspicions. I, who for the past twenty years had laboured in the field of liberal politics, often at great personal sacrifice and in the toughest conditions, found myself being subjected to a public stoning. I appealed to the liberal citizens of Stans to help me, but apart from my loyal political allies these people treated me grievously, even to the point of besmirching my personal honour, something which not even my most implacable opponents in political campaigns ever did. And all because of some petty rumours. Why? Because an inexplicable incident in my house made so much noise that eventually I could not longer keep it secret and it was seen and heard by hundreds of people. That was my crime.

At the same time it would be wrong not to mention the warm support that I received from worthy men in the various political parties. It's in one's hour of need that one truly learns to know people. Many of those who had regularly stood against me as political opponents now held out the hand of friendship and vouched for my honesty even against their colleagues. But by the same token some of those who spread incense for me in happier days now gave me a cold shoulder. How childish! Even a strong character, it seems, will rush to disown something that frightens him but which he knows is real, simply because he fears being mocked for credulity.

Monday 1 September
Proceedings of the commission
Meanwhile it appeared that the racket was no longer to be heard. On Monday, on the recommendation of the investigating committee, the local authority decreed the investigation closed, although the committee was to remain in being and the house kept under police guard. It was returned to me that afternoon, and the government considered it appropriate to reimburse me for the costs of my eviction.
My fear that the investigation would not go very deep was fully born out, as will be seen from what follows.


From the wording of the report it appeared the disturbances had tailed off, not just from the moment when the commission's guard was mounted, but already from Wednesday afternoon at 2.50 pm. Had there been a sincere will to get to the bottom of the business, or at least to discover the facts and manner of the disturbances, one might have supposed the commission would interrogate those who had been personally convinced of what had happened and whose position and intelligence qualified them as credible witnesses. Expert views would have been presented, or an investigation carried on while the family was again living in the house, the more so as the same incidents subsequently occurred again. But nothing of kind happened. In my report I offered to put myself at the commission's disposal, so that the house could be investigated by the scientific authorities. In vain. It seemed things had got to the point that the majority of the commission just did whatever would save them trouble.

In possession of the house once more, my ruined family gathered in the hope that the terrible disturbances had run their course. We came up to the house at nightfall, but in the event only three of my children dared to spend the night with me. Even I felt scared for the first time, and slept little, although as it turned out the night passed peacefully.

Tuesday 2 September
On the following day two of my children heard the tapping on the stairs to the second floor; I tried to calm them down, which I was able to do the more easily as the following day passed peacefully. 

Thursday 4 September
Business called me to Beckenried, and when I got back in the afternoon my family told me that around one o'clock, with my wife and daughter sitting at the table by the window, there had been a blow on the floor so powerful that it could be heard far from the house and made the little table spring high into the air - at which they ran outside shaking with fear. Towards evening, the maid and one of my children heard heavy muffled steps coming through the entrance corridor towards the front door, where the heavy iron bolts jolted up and the door slowly opened. They could see no one and were so overcome with fear they tumbled out of the window, a height of twelve to thirteen feet, suffering light sprains to their ankles.

Saturday 6 September
Nothing was remarked on the following day. However on Saturday in the morning there were two violent knocks outside the living room, and the whole day long we heard a light quick knocking on the doors and walls, now here, now there, ending in the evening with three violent blows in the southwest corner of the living room, which until then had remained quiet. All these incidents were reported to the commission, but a majority of its members seemed disinclined to bother with it.

Sunday 7 and Monday 8 September
The rustling on the corridors and walls continued during these two days at short intervals. It was heard in particular in the little corridor as well as in my study, where there was a knocking on the floors, from below and above, on the walls, and quite distinctly on the cupboard doors of my library - in the presence of dozens of observers who had fanned out into the various rooms. Among them was a militant sceptic from the neighboring canton Obwalden, who in the press had been eagerly explaining it all away as hallucinations, but was now himself completely convinced - a knocking which I ruefully recalled I myself had heard some time ago without paying any special attention to it.

Tuesday 9 September
Midday 12 pm, a banging three times on the living room floor, followed by a strong banging on the half-open door.

Wednesday 10 September
A court appearance called me today to Beckenried: I left in the morning at 7.30 am and returned in the evening at about 7.30 pm. As I was arriving, neighbours told me they had heard a racket going on in my house from some distance. When I got to the house I discovered that shortly after my departure in the morning there had been three quick and very violent blows from under the living room floor. My wife, who was in the bedroom, went with Emaline and stood by the door; in this moment both saw a stool in the living room move slowly from its place and then in a flash turn over with its legs in the air, hitting the floor so violently that the dust from the grooves in the floorboards blew up. Then the living room doors slammed so violently that the noise could be heard far over the neighborhood.
At around 12 pm Emaline was in the garden in full sunshine when she suddenly heard a noise on the trellis wall of the house; she looked up to see a pale figure in the area of the little corridor, leaning out of the window and reaching onto the trellis.

Thinking for sure it was the housemaid picking grapes, she observed the figure dispassionately, and it then struck her that the figure's straight hair, hairnet and dark neckerchief were rather unusual, and that the head was sunk forward with an air of melancholy. She called out for the maid, who however emerged from the cellar, while the figure ducked under the leaves and disappeared. An immediate investigation discovered nothing more. Later a knocking was heard in this little corridor; as dusk fell there was a racket from outside the house and soon afterwards a violent knocking on the living room door. Around nine o'clock, as I sat at the table and looked through the open door towards the kitchen, I heard the sweeping noise which my children had repeatedly told me of, especially in the little corridor. Listening closely it sounded like someone in floppy shoes sweeping the corridor with a beech broom in the direction of the living room door, and taking long steps. It was so realistic that I had to positively convince myself that no sweeping was really going on at all.

Thursday 11 September
Even during the night there was a loud racket throughout the house. Then in the morning the banging continued all over the floors and walls. It was a bright sunny day. At around 9 am the living room was empty. In the middle stood the massive walnut table, placed lengthways as usual, with the chairs and the sofa against it. Everything being thus in order I left the room with my wife and two children (all the others were away), taking them upstairs, as they were very frightened. The servant girl was busy in the kitchen. G

Going up the stairs we heard a quick rapping on the corridor wall above us, in a sort-of dancing rhythm.
Then our attention was caught by a stirring in the living room and we rushed back to the door, which I had never taken my eyes off, and listening outside for a moment heard a noise that sounded like a lot of people dancing around in socks. We opened the door quickly: it was quiet, but the heavy table lay upside-down by the door, while further into the room to the left, two chairs next to the stool by the sofa had also been overturned. We could hardly believe our eyes - barely a minute had passed since we left the room.
Sitting on the bedroom sofa, which was placed by the back wall, I saw through the open window opposite something that looked like a big horsefly flying rapidly down towards me and crash into the sofa.

Looking closely I found two newly-torn twigs, roughly two inches in length and covered with leaves. Moments later a girl walked under the window and a similar twig fell on her from above. There was hardly any breeze. Opening a cupboard we found shoes that in the morning had been in good order all jumbled up. Rapid knocks broke out all over the house on the walls and floors. As things quietened down round about three in the afternoon, one of my boys saw the living room door slam shut in its usual way, but then also something quite new: an upholstered chair standing near him began to move of its own accord; it travelled some one and a half yards from its place and then suddenly, and without the slightest noise, tipped over. When he came to tell us about it we all went into the living room and found that the same thing had happened to a second chair.

From then on things were quiet until around 6.30 pm. We were sitting down to supper just as the light was starting to fade, the door standing ajar, when we saw something floating in that looked like a little three-cornered grey shawl, that extended from the floor to the height of the lock in the door. It hovered by the open cupboard door of the corner sideboard, swinging lightly, and vanished. The same phenomenon appeared half-an-hour later in the kitchen, where the maid was standing by the sink. She felt something stroking her on the foot, and thinking it was a cat paid no attention, but then it suddenly pulled roughly on her skirt and she saw the same form going away from her to the ground floor staircase - she nearly fainted from fright. As it happened someone else was with her at that moment and could also see the phenomenon.

Friday 12 September
Everything remained completely calm until 2.45 pm. While the family were sitting down to coffee, the maid, sweeping by the open living room door, drew our attention to a noise upstairs. We hurried up, together with three students who had dropped in out of curiosity. In the upstairs living room a strange sight of disorder met our eyes. On the left wall a big tableau (of Amazons fighting) had been taken down and was lying upside down on the floor, as were both mirrors from the further wall. A glass sugar bowl, which normally stood on the right on the high chiffonier, lay likewise tipped over on the floor in front of it, the cover at its side. A fruit basket that had been standing on the chest-of-drawers at the back wall lay in the same condition, and the oil lamp at the far wall had moved. Next to an ornamental lamp a little sun-blind that had previously stood in a corner of the room now hung from its handle, stretched wide open. Under it a red cloth that normally hung by the window had been laid on the floor and nearby a upholstered chair lay upside down. Many of these items were fragile, yet none were broken. The photograph hanging over the chest-of-drawers remained undisturbed, as did a painting above the chiffonier. Meanwhile a neighbour who had just come into the house was gazing in astonishment at the weird arrangement in the living room, where all the chairs lay upside down around the table. It can be readily understood that I had been able to keep an objective eye on everything going on as long as I was in the house, and knew the situation and circumstances better than anyone, and was completely convinced that this 'ghost' was not made by human hand.

Saturday 13 September
In the morning we found even greater disorder in the rooms, even though they had been locked. In the upstairs living-room the tableau, the armchair and both mirrors again lay on the floor in the same state as yesterday, together with the fruit basket from the chest-of-drawers. The red cloth was now hanging on the screw that had previously held one of the mirrors, while the curtain on the highest window had been wound round the curtain pole several times. In the garden room a little tableau had been taken off its screw, which had been bent back almost to the wall, and now rested upside down on the floor next to a tipped-over clothes chest.

Called by business to Lucerne, I had among other things to pay someone a large sum of money. On my return my family told me they had experienced something quite new: when they were together in the living room they suddenly heard in the adjoining chamber a loud clinking of coins. So distinct was the sound of coins being laid one on top of another, and then the rolls of coins being laid on their side, that they were all convinced there was someone in the room the process of paying money. However when they went to look they found no one. When I asked when this happened it appeared to have coincided exactly with the time I was performing my business in Lucerne. 

Later the three older boys, Robert, Edward and Oscar, were standing outside the front of the house when a shower of stones fell around them. One of them felt a stone as big as a fist strike him on the shoulder, but without hurting him. Looking up, they saw a large stone coming out of the chimney and, without hitting the roof, fall on the path near them. When we all sat down at the table in the evening, one person and then another remarked that their chairs were moving slightly.

Sunday 14 September
I had ordered everything in the rooms to be left undisturbed, just as we had found them yesterday morning, so that we could see what else happened to them. When we made the rounds the next morning we found the objects all undisturbed, although in the upstairs living room another footstool had been turned over. The sunshade that on Friday we had returned to its place in the corner was again fully extended and hanging by its handle from the screw that had held the tableau. The wooden clasp of the lamp had wound round the screw that had held one of the mirrors and the little red cloth was hanging from underneath by the hem.
In the garden room it seemed as if a satyr had moved in. A pillow hung from a wall screw next to the window, and where the tableau had been now hung a blanket by the torn end. Both these objects were more or less covered by the window curtain, of which a corner had been lightly turned round the further screw. In the little closet next door the mirror and a plaster cast of St Anna lay face down on the floor, and on the bedcover, partly concealed by the foot cushion, lay a slate from my mineral collection that had been covered with a fairly accurate drawing in blue chalk of a human skull. The coffee grinder, a jar, a pewter pot and a bowl had appeared from the kitchen - all likewise spread out on the floor. And in the cellar, spread out over a barrel of fermenting wine, we found an apron which the servant girl had been unable to find that morning, although she swore she had put it in her chest.

At midday I entrusted the house to a reliable guard and took my family, those that were still with me, to Kehrseiten to make a little distraction and get away from the crowds. Just as we were coming home, and as dusk was falling, we saw something like a light grey little cloud blowing out towards us. In the living room we found as many as twenty people who had come by from the neighborhood. At least there was protection in numbers - no one could be frightened with so many people around. As night came on and I sent for lamps to be lit, one of my girls gave a cry of terror and complained of ice-cold finger tips ruffling her neck and face. When the lights arrived this stopped, but going out into the dark corridor she felt the same disturbance. The servant girl complained of it as well, and later insisted that in this spot she had been plagued the whole distance by something like cold spiky dogs claws.

The crowd departed only towards midnight; I led the last one at around 12 am to the front door, which I then closed. I looked around carefully and shut the living room door, pushing the heavy iron bolts in place with extreme care, and satisfying myself afterwards that I had done so. I went back into the bedchamber where my family had all gone to bed - none of them dared be alone anymore in a room even in daylight, let alone sleep at night on their own - and here too I pushed the bolt into place. The candle had not yet been put out, and a weak nightlight burned in the stove pipe opposite. Just at that moment I saw something move like a bolt of lightning across the faltering flame in the stove pipe, and there was a clanging that made everyone start up in shock. When I looked here, I saw to my great surprise fragments of glass, broken tiles, rags, cores of fresh pears and an old hatchet that normally lived in the pantry. The bedroom door was ajar, and as I went to the living room with the candle I saw that the living room door was also half open.
One of my neighbours, whose character vouches for the truth of his words, later told me that on the same evening, just as he was passing by the house, he saw a flame as bright as day some feet above the ground; as he got closer it suddenly seemed to vanish in the far distance.

Monday 15 September
As we were sitting at the table after lunch, two of my children saw a transparent fuzzy silhouette tripping towards them from the front door, and through the corridor to the open living room door, where there were several loud knocks; the door then slammed shut in the usual way. Around one o'clock in the afternoon the sweeping was again to be heard in the dark corridor, and it carried on in front of the opened door; there, heavy muffled steps were heard, as if someone was walking away. Soon afterwards I heard a sound in my study as if someone in the little closet next door was working a spinning wheel, with the thread being turned in long pulls. The whirring of the spindle was so clear and lifelike that I was sure it was just what it sounded like. Yet I found no trace of such a thing, and it seemed that wherever I went it was always in the next room - nor did my investigations seem to disturb it. The maid claimed she had already heard this spinning several times of late; it sometimes sounded to her like the grinding of cogs, like an old Black Forest clock being wound up.

In the rooms upstairs there had been no more disorder, however downstairs the satyr had been up to its tricks again. At around two o'clock my wife was getting ready to go out when her hat, which she had put on the sofa in the living room, suddenly disappeared. Puzzled as to what could have happened, as no one could have touched it, she eventually found it hanging above an oil painting in the chamber, while the portrait of myself hanging nearby had been turned round. I put the pictures to rights, and kept an eye on them for a moment, but hardly had I turned my back than both of them were face to the wall. After this had gone on for a while they were finally left in peace. At the time the servant girl was busy cleaning the living room floor, and two people, one of them from the neighborhood, were playing cards at the table; both assured me they had not noticed anything, which ruled out any manipulation by human hands.

In the evening, three acquaintances arrived to keep watch, as a way to provide us with some relief, as by then we had not been left alone for a single evening for several weeks, and very seldom during the day either. As we sat at the table and on the sofa and chatted about the awful disturbances the day before, it occurred to us to extinguish the candles. My wife and children immediately complained of ice-cold fingers tickling them on the face and neck: my wife said it was a light stroking on her forehead, as if by a cold dead hand, and fainted in my arms. I was sitting opposite the window, on the right of my family and the three guests and could clearly see the silhouette of innumerable hands wriggling and jerking in front of the windows; however I felt no disturbance and neither did the guests. The spectacle stopped
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#7
Also this investigated by David Fontana 
Cardiff Poltergeist
http://www.british-paranormal.co.uk/the-...-services/
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#8
The haunting of Jackie Hernandez - Poltergeist in San Pedro CA

In the summer of 1989 in a quiet neighbourhood in San Pedro, California, Jackie Hernandez awoke in the middle of the night to see a ghastly vision in her children’s bedroom. Sitting in one of the beds, looking right at her, was the image of a haggard old man. He wore a lumberjack flannel shirt and denim suspenders.

Jackie was petrified by terror. And in that twilight moment of adrenaline, she caught a glimpse of the bright eyes that were inside her children’s bedroom. The eyes belonging to a cadaverous face that had been staring at her. Motionless, threatening.

What follows is the true story based on multiple eyewitness accounts of the strange events that happened one summer in San Pedro, California.


Jackie Hernandez. The single mother of two was barely making ends meet in 1989. She worked long hours at various menial jobs and would usually drop off her two baby boys with her friend and neighbour, Susan Castenada.

However one summer morning Jackie showed up to Susan’s door. She was in a state of panic and disarray. After calming down, she told Susan about what she had just seen over at her house. She told her the ghoulish figure in her boys’ bedroom and that she had been hearing strange sounds coming from her attic for the last few days. Susan knew that what Jackie had seen was a ghost and knew exactly who to call.

Dr. Barry Taff received the telephone call from Susan in which she explained to him the urgency of this matter. She told him that her neighbour was afraid of going back to her own house. She told him that two small children were also involved. Dr. Taff showed up to the residence as soon as he could. He brought with him his friend and accomplished cameraman, Barry Conrad. There were also a few associates of Dr. Taff involved in the first visit to Jackie’s house.

Upon entering the residence the investigators were hit by the putrid stench that filled the air. The malodorous stench of death and decay. They couldn’t find the source of the smell so they decided to air out the tiny bungalow the best they could and prepared for their investigation. Dr. Taff, a Parapsychologist, was getting down to the preliminary round of questions with Jackie when a loud crash came from the attic. Everyone froze.

Boom! Another one. This time it was louder.

Jackie made her way to her kitchen and pointed towards the ceiling. She told the investigators that it was coming from up in the attic and that she knew exactly what it was. That it was the severed head she had seen floating there before.


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[i]Several loud bangs is heard from the attic[/i]


Susan, Dr. Taff, and the rest of them stood in disbelief of what Jackie had just said.

The investigators opened the attic door that was in the kitchen and hoisted themselves up along with cords and camera equipment. They found nothing besides junk, dust, and cobwebs.

Back in the living room, Jackie admitted to everyone of having heard what sounded to her like a muffled voice coming from the attic a few months before. One day she decided to investigate when the voice was heard and she popped her head through the attic door. Armed with only a flashlight, Jackie saw nothing or nobody inside the dark and dusty attic. However when she shined the light in a corner, she told the investigator that a floating, disembodied head came at her. Jackie said she had never gone up there since and hasn’t told anyone about it until now. She said that weeks prior, soda cans as well as other random objects were flung at her by unseen hands. She also told them about finding mysterious puddles of a water-like substance around her house.

Jackie was able to show them where and Dr. Taff proceeded to collect samples of the oozing liquid that was coming from within the cupboards. Later analysis resulted in the viscous liquid being human blood plasma. The blood of a male with a heavy iodine and copper content. Jackie was questioned about it but she claimed she knew nothing about the blood. Blood that all of the investigators saw ooze out of the wooden cupboards.


[Image: 6CFcikY.jpg]
Mysterious ooze. Later revealed to be human blood plasma.


When questioned about the ghostly vision, Jackie confessed to them that she had seen the gnarled old man sitting in her dinning room table before. Sitting in dark, staring at her.

After a few hours of questioning and photographing Jackie’s place, the team decided to call it a night. They were packing up their gear when one of the assistants asked the photographer, Jeff Wheatcraft, to go up in the attic and take a few final shots of it empty. Barry Conrad accompanied Jeff. While they were up there shooting pictures, something grabbed ahold of Jeff’s 35 MM camera and threw it across the attic. Before Jeff could react, Barry saw that he was shoved by the same phantom hands that snatched his camera. When they both came down from the attic, Jeff’s face was pale white. Nothing more happened that night in Jackie’s house.

Not until September 4th when Jackie called Barry Conrad at midnight telling him that there was more activity in the house now and that it was becoming difficult to live there. Barry, Jeff and assistant photographer Gary Boehm quickly reached Jackie’s house. They came with state-of-the-art equipment and were ready to capture what was happening inside the house.

On this second visit, the investigator were able to film several small (sometimes large) corpuscular masses of light. In other words, small globs of light that travelled across and through the rooms. They were able to film the unexplained lights zooming in and out of the place. Jeff and Gary went up into the attic. Jeff wanted to determine what happened to him just a few weeks ago when he was up in the attic with Barry Conrad. As they both snapped away, nothing was happening. Gary mentioned that they should probably go back downstairs. When they were making their way back, Jeff let out a gasp.

As Gary turned around, he snapped a photograph in total darkness. The flash momentarily illuminated his friend’s terror stricken face. Jeff had been hung up on a rafter by a pair of unseen hands.


[Image: OVwR4uK.jpg?1]
[i]Wheatcraft hung from his neck by an unseen force.[/i]


In that moment Barry, Jackie, and Susan all heard the commotion coming from upstairs. They quickly gathered around the attic entrance to help down a disheveled and confused looking Jeff. His clothes were covered in spiderwebs and dust. His face was completely flushed of color. Around Jeff’s neck as a tight noose that left a red mark across his neck.


[Image: rT8NKw0.png]
Jeff Wheatcraft quickly leaves the attic with panic in his eyes


When Jeff was able to compose himself, he told them that he was making his way down, right behind Gary, when he felt someone put the noose around his neck and yank hard and hoisted him up on a rafter. Gary had ran back and had to lift Jeff up in order to unhook the noose from the large nail it was hung on.

It would be the last time Jeff Wheatcraft ever set foot inside the San Pedro house.


[Image: lvniRfB.jpg?1]
[i]The knotted cord that was stringed around his neck, got twisted tight, and then pushed / lifted him up to the rafter[/i]


The activity continue for several months to a lesser extent. There were random lights that appeared throughout Jackie’s house and spectral voices that were still coming from the attic. The overpowering stench also seemed to come and go with time.

Shortly after the San Pedro incident, Jackie had moved to Kern county, which is a small and rural area about 380 miles north of Los Angeles. When she had reported to the team that the activity had followed her, Jeff and Barry had made their way up north. They wanted to capture more activity on film. Jeff felt that as long as he was nowhere near the house on San Pedro he would be fine.

A seance was arranged by one of Jackie’s neighbours and Barry and Jeff sat in to observe. Simple questions like: Are you a ghost? were answered with the planchette moving towards the written “Yes” on the board. When the team pressed on about the spirit’s former life, it told them that he had been murdered in the harbours of San Pedro.

Barry asked: “How many ghosts are there in here?” he was given an unnerving answer: “Phantoms fill the skies around you.”

They had asked why it had targeted Jeff. It replied that he “[i]resembled his killer.[/i]

When they asked it why it targeted Jackie, it replied with: “Energy.” So they asked: “what kind of energy?”

“Dead” was its response.

Whatever it was that was communicating via the Ouija board had signed off, telling them: “I must go now, the sun cometh.”

Shortly after this last message, Jeff Wheatcraft has again shoved by unseen hands, throwing him back against the wall. Although the cameras were rolling at the time, they captured nothing as the equipment began to malfunction as soon as they stepped foot inside Jackie’s house. Jeff recovered physically from this injuries however the San Pedro case left a deep, reminiscent scar in his psyche.

Jackie Hernandez moved several other times and with each, the activity lessen. To the point where it completely stopped. Jackie Hernandez now lives in Los Angeles and has put the terrifying ordeal behind her. To this day, the house on 593 West 11th street has seen many tenants come and go. Some have reported hearing strange bumps and sounds coming from that dusty, dark attic.

Source



Documentary: The haunting of Jackie Hernandez - a true paranormal story








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#9
The Gorton Poltergeist


A set of houses in Gorton, Manchester, England, were plagued by poltergeists back in mid 90's

Those six families living in these six residences complained of things like: childlike apparitions haunting their bedrooms, a dog involved in a sort of tug-of-war by some unseen force pulling a bone it had in its mouth, unaccountably cold rooms, a man being pushed across the room by an unseen force, weird smells appearing out of nowhere, moving plants, televisions activating even when not plugged in, and pillows found put in unexpected shapes while people were away, and apparitions of a man walking straight through walls.



The Case of The Gorton Poltergeist - Part 1/2





The Case of The Gorton Poltergeist - Part 2/2


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#10
The Zaragoza Poltergeist (Zaragoza Duende)
- started on September 27, 1934 in Zaragoza Spain.

"The Palazon family, residing in an apartment complex on the “Gascón Gotor” street, encountered a frightening ordeal when they started to hear maniacal laughter and voice coming from inside their home. The family did not know what or who was causing this. As the neighbors started to hear these strange sounds coming from the residence, word started to spread about the strangeness that surrounded this building.






As it is often the case, the phenomenon or poltergeist quickly turned its attention to the young maid named Pascuala Alcocer. She had reported that the voice was tormenting her and coming from the wood stove. The family realized that she was not making this up. The voice was coming from the stove and seemed to have an intelligence behind it. It would interact and answer questions at times. As the news of this poltergeist spread, thousands, and I do mean thousands, of people took to visiting the building. Standing outside and blocking the streets, the spectators all came interested in hearing this so-called “duende of Zaragoza“. The word spread so fast and so wildly that the London Times had made a report on the case.


(I recommend this more detailed documentary from Spain. about the case, - it's subtitled in engish)




Taking it upon themselves to “put an end to this circus”, local police and judges personally investigated the home and brought with them a few psychiatrists to analyze Pascuala. Informally putting the blame on her from the beginning. But while investigating, the officials found more and more evidence to prove that this was not a hoax.

The entity was reported to not only speak, but also to be able to see what was going on around the home. It would guess the number of people that were in a room at a time, it would interact with police officers directly when they asked it what it wanted.

P = Policeman
E = Entity

P ask: Do you want money?

E: No!

P: Do you want a job?

E: No!

P: Oh man,...than what do you want?”

E: ...I’m not a man.


It was said that when someone turned off the light in the room as a test, the entity would scream: “Light! Light! I cannot see!”

With no real answers to the strange events, the judges, police and psychiatrists assumed that Pascuala was using ventriloquism to create this hoax. They were in extreme pressure to come up with a solution to this hysteria, that blaming the girl was the best way they could think of quieting the situation. Their theory of ventriloquism did not survive though.

Soon, all the tenants in the building were evacuated. The whole block was quarantined and Pascuala was removed from the premise. An architect was called to examine the whole building, corner to corner. Even the army was called in to investigate the issue and cut all communications (radio/telephone) from the outside. The maniacal voice continued emanating from the wood stove, but now with a different attitude. It started yelling and insulting everyone in the room. Telling them that it would kill them all!

The investigators and architect were dumbfounded. Pascuala was nowhere near the neighbourhood, so their theory about ventriloquism fell flat.

When the architect called a skilled mason in order to take some measurements of the kitchen, something else happened. The voice showed them it had knowledge of the building. While the man was measuring a certain part of the kitchen the voice said: “Don’t worry, it measures 75 centimetres.”.

Of course when he measured, it was exactly 75 centimeters. The mason got up and left the building never to come back. Leaving his tools behind.

Arturo Grijalba was only a kid when the entity spoke to him. He was the building owner’s son and the only remaining witness alive to this story. While the investigation was taking place, he had wondered into the kitchen to take a look at this infamous voice. He noted that there were no residents in the building. Only police men were next to the stove and around the building, guarding the perimeter.

When Arturo turned to his dad and said: “Let’s go dad, this thing is crazy”
The voice then replied: “Not crazy, little one..” (in a guttural response. Everyone heard it and were scared).

After two months of insults and threats, the maniacal voice suddenly stopped. Like in all poltergeist cases, it manifested quickly and without warning and vanished the same way. Never to be heard again.

Today, the building no longer stands. It was demolished in a draconian effort to shut that maniacal voice once and for all. In its place, stands a modern building with many residents which none have reported any strange occurrences.
The name of the new building?; Edificio Duende. ( The Goblin Building )
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