The 1820 Vampire Craze

I discovered this intriguing newspaper article about the 1820 “vampyre craze” in featured in The National Gazette (Philadelphia, Penn.) 21 Nov. 1820, p. 2. From a late French Journal. VAMPYRISM. Vampyres have been, of late, brought into fashion, by romances … Continue reading The 1820 Vampire Craze

New England’s Dark Day, as later told by Jane Austin

235 days ago today, on 19 May 1780, New England experienced a mysterious “Dark Day”. The sky was reported as dark or yellow, and the sun was reported as red or completely obscured. Ash filled rain fell from the sky in some areas, and some reported the smell of smoke in the air. For many it was taken as a possible sign of the coming apocalypse. Today it is believed that massive forest fires in and near present-day Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario were the cause of New England’s Dark Day. Tales from that day were passed down for generations. … Continue reading New England’s Dark Day, as later told by Jane Austin

Tombstone Tuesday: An 18th Century Graveyard “Haunting” in Hingham, Massachusetts

Just in time for Halloween, a bit of historical haunting debunking… By the 1820s, Dr. James Thacher of Plymouth, famed Revolutionary War surgeon and doctor, was on a mission: to provide scientific or medical explanations for superstitions he had encountered. He gathered evidence from medical journals as well as anecdotes from learned friends near and far and compiled An Essay on Demonology, Ghosts and Apparitions, And Popular Superstitions. Also, An Account of the Witchcraft Delusion at Salem, published in 1831. He reported the following story: “Were all the supposed apparitions and spectres to be met with the intrepidity displayed in … Continue reading Tombstone Tuesday: An 18th Century Graveyard “Haunting” in Hingham, Massachusetts

Ghost stories of Hilton Head, SC

The majority of places we visited on the island were related to historical and cultural locations or events. However, most of Hilton Head has been developed in recent years. The majority of the island is divided into tourist and residential resorts with condos, hotels, and summer rental homes. With such relatively recent history, it was interesting to note the preponderance of ghost stories on the island. They were printed in restaurant menues, referred to in tourist literature, and displayed within the little museum in the Harbour Town Lighthouse. It would be fascinating to do a study to see at what … Continue reading Ghost stories of Hilton Head, SC

"The Ghost is Clear"

Today’s Enterprise had a fun article in the Local section that is “part of an occasional series leading up to Halloween” entitled “The Ghost is Clear” It discusses the gravestone of Veva L. Johnson who is buried at the Mayflower Hill Cemetery in Taunton, MA. A large family monument lists her basic birth and death dates: born 28 OCT 1880 and died 26 APR 1884. Beside the family obelisk is a small cement rocking chair that states “Her vacant chair”. It features a photograph of the chair filled with stuffed animals, and a few interesting quotes. City Councilor Charles Crowley … Continue reading "The Ghost is Clear"