On 7 June 1903, Adelia A. Warren, Mrs. Robert Warren, of Bowdoinham, Maine, died, age 48, leaving behind a bereft husband and two sons: 28-year-old Randall S. and 33-year-old Edwin W. Just six months later, it was reported that Mrs. Warren, a Spiritualist, had returned to try to communicate with the family through a mirror.
The final chapter in my book The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past tells of a little-known 19th-century panic over those mistresses of the dark, The Women in Black. They were the female equivalent of Spring-heeled Jack, without the flames and (sometimes) the leaping, and they terrified communities across the United States from roughly 1865 to 1915.
The folktale “The Golden Arm,” is a classic ghost story long told at sleepovers and around the campfire. It is paralleled in this ghost story linked with an Ohio River steamship disaster. Steam packets United States and America collided in the Ohio River December 4, 1868, two miles above Warsaw, Kentucky.
As we have all painted our faces like La Calavera Catrina and are munching sugar skulls to honor our Dear Departed on this Day of the Dead, let us settle down among the marigolds for a ghost story. On previous holidays, we have met a faithful dead nun and a skeletal bishop with his evil raven companion. Today we go to a churchyard in San Juan where a seductive entity sought its prey.
There is a horrific tale called “The Croglin Grange Vampire” told by Augustus Hare in The Story of My Life (1896/1900). The hideous Thing in this story from Van Wert, Ohio is strongly reminiscent of Hare’s unearthly creature found in a churchyard vault.