Saturday, February 28

Ghostly Sightings In New York 1888

New York 1888
Winter In New York 1888
I like to keep up with the news, so here's an item from 1888! Ghostly sightings in New York were reported.

New York February 14, 1888. City Island in winter is a desolate spot. The sound about it is frozen inches thick, and the fishing smacks that make the summer harbour a happy scene are fast and helpless. Cold winds sweep across the flat waste. The snow lies unshovelled on the sidewalks, and half the houses are empty.

Miss Allie Sturgis, rosy cheeked and 18, who serves customers with fresh rolls on the counter of Weber's bakery, was much frightened by a spectral apparition late at night, which rapidly approached her over an adjoining field. This ghost, although it was described by Miss Sturgis as a little one, was much talked about, but now it has given place to another, a six footer.

The present ghost did not appear until the bay between the town and Hart Island was a firm and solid sheet of ice. A jolly crowd had been sledding down the only hill in town, behind the post-office. Will Darling was returning late from the sledding party, when he saw a sight that made his blood run cold.

It was on Main Street but the street was deserted and dark. What it was he never told, except that it was white and tall, and rolled along above the ground, never seeming to touch it. He ran, and did not see the thing again.

But that same night it appeared to William Applebaugh, a telegraph operator in the signal service office, and it either pushed him or frightened him, so that he fell into a snow drift on the road side. Appleburgh never seemed certain whether he fell from a push or because the creature frightened him.

Later that same night Will Drayton, son of a hardware merchant in town, caught sight of a tall, grayish white something in the street opposite Liviness's hotel. It seemed to move along about three feet from the ground, but what form its form and appearance was never told, because he never knew. He says the night was dark, and he ran after the first glance.

On Thursday night Stephen Collins saw a strange sight in Prospect Avenue, opposite the Vail property. He could not describe the appearance, except to say it was white and tall and motionless. His home was nearby, and he quickly got indoors, and did not venture out until morning. He told the story the next day, and on top of the visions seen by others it created much talk.

Collins told them it did not stand upon the ground, It seemed suspended several feet in the air. That was all he had time to notice.

On Friday last more fuel was added to the popular flame. Eugene Hallett was coming home late at night, and a dismally dark night it was. Right opposite Flynn's ice house at the Forks he saw the same white apparition. It was a good half mile from home, but Hallett started at a hundred-yard pace. He said next morning that the white being followed him, rolling along over the ground without seeming to touch it.

The last time the spectre was seen was on Sunday night. Dave Liviness saw a ghost blacker than the night on which he saw it. He was passing Von Liehn's hotel and was not thinking of ghosts at all, when he suddenly noticed something tall and black and strange on the bathing pavilion. It was six feet tall at the very least and looked like a woman's form, except that he could see no face. He stopped, and the thing moved toward him. It seemed suspended in the air. He could see a glint of water in the dim starlight under the spectre. He was rooted to the spot in terror for a moment, but as the thing approached he gained strength and ran as never he ran before. He looked around and saw it following, and finally when he reached home he was completely exhausted.

The Justice of the Peace, Peter Martin, said, "Oh, there's ground for it, of course: something is scaring folks. If it continues, I'm going to get detectives out and sift the thing to the bottom. It won't do to have women and children scared out of their wits."

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  1. Fascinating tales. I wonder if the justice of the peace made good on his promise?

    1. I wasn't able to find that out - but I doubt it!

  2. There strange - they all a bit different but seemed to travel in the same fashion.