school-teacher whut board' at Unc' Silas Diggs's house drap in, an' a
powerful lot ob folks drap in. An' li'l' black Mose he seen dat gwine be
one s'prise-party, an' he right down cheerful 'bout dat.
So all dem folks shake dere hands an' 'low "Howdy," an' some ob dem say:
"Why, dere 's li'l Mose! Howdy, li'l' Mose?" An' he so please' he jes
grin' an' grin', 'ca'se he aint reckon whut gwine happen. So byme-by
Sally Ann, whut live up de road, she say', "Ain't no sort o' Hallowe'en
lest we got a jack-o'-lantern." An' de school-teacher, whut board at
Unc' Silas Diggs's house, she 'low', "Hallowe'en jes no Hallowe'en _at_
all 'thout we got a jack-o'-lantern." An' li'l' black Mose he stop'
a-grinnin', an' he scrooge' so far back in de corner he 'mos' scrooge
frough de wall. But dat ain't no use, 'ca'se he ma say', "Mose, go on
down to de pumpkin-patch an' fotch a pumpkin."
"I ain't want to go," say' li'l' black Mose.
"Go on erlong wid yo'," say' he ma, right commandin'.
"I ain't want to go," say' Mose ag'in.
"Why ain't yo' want to go?" he ma ask'.
"'Case I 's afraid ob de ghosts," say' li'l' black Mose, an' dat de
particular truth an' no mistake.
"Dey ain't no ghosts," say' de school-teacher, whut board at Unc' Silas
Diggs's house, right peart.
"'Co'se dey ain't no ghosts," say' Zack Badget, whut dat 'fear'd ob
ghosts he ain't dar' come to li'l' black Mose's house ef de
school-teacher ain't ercompany him.
"Go 'long wid your ghosts!" say' li'l' black Mose's ma.
"What' yo' pick up dat nomsense?" say' he pa. "Dey ain't no ghosts."
An' dat whut all dat s'prise-party 'low: dey ain't no ghosts. An' dey
'low dey mus' hab a jack-o'-lantern or de fun all sp'iled. So dat li'l'
black boy whut he name is Mose he done got to fotch a pumpkin from de
pumpkin-patch down de hollow. So he step' outen de shanty an' he stan'
on de door-step twell he get' he eyes pried open as big as de bottom ob
he ma's wash-tub, mostly, an' he say', "Dey ain't no ghosts." An' he
put' one foot on de ground, an' dat was de fust step.
An' de rain-dove say', "Oo-_oo_-o-o-o!"
An' li'l' black Mose he tuck anudder step.
An' de owl mourn' out, "Whut-_whoo_-o-o-o!"
An' li'l' black Mose he tuck anudder step.
An' de wind sob' out, "You-_you_-o-o-o!"
An' li'l' black Mose he tuck one look ober he shoulder, an' he shut he
eyes so tight dey hurt round de aidges, an' he pick' up he foots an'
run. Yas, sah, he run' right peart fast. An' he say': "Dey ain't no
ghosts. Dey ain't no ghosts." An' he run' erlong de paff whut lead' by
de buryin'-ground on de hill, 'ca'se dey ain't no fince eround dat
buryin'-ground _at_ all.
No fince; jes de big trees whut de owls an' de rain-doves sot in an'
mourn an' sob, an' whut de wind sigh an' cry frough. An' byme-by
somefin' jes _brush'_ li'l' Mose on de arm, which mek' him run jes a bit
more faster. An' byme-by somefin' jes _brush'_ li'l' Mose on de cheek,
which mek' him run erbout as fast as he can. An' byme-by somefin'
_grab'_ li'l' Mose by de aidge of he coat, an' he fight' an' struggle'
an' cry' out: "Dey ain't no ghosts. Dey ain't no ghosts." An' dat ain't
nuffin' but de wild brier whut grab' him, an' dat ain't nuffin' but de
leaf ob a tree whut brush' he cheek, an' dat ain't nuffin' but de branch
ob a hazel-bush whut brush he arm. But he downright scared jes de same,
an' he ain't lose no time, 'ca'se de wind an' de owls an' de rain-doves
dey signerfy whut ain't no good. So he scoot' past dat buryin'-ground
whut on de hill, an' dat cemuntary whut betwixt an' between, an' dat
grabeyard in de hollow, twell he come' to de pumpkin-patch, an' he
rotch' down an' tek' erhold ob de bestest pumpkin whut in de patch. An'
he right smart scared. He jes de mostest scared li'l' black boy whut
yever was. He ain't gwine open he eyes fo' nuffin', 'ca'se de wind go,
"You-_you_-o-o-o!" an' de owls go, "Whut-_whoo_-o-o-o!" an' de
rain-doves go, "Oo-_oo_-o-o-o!"
He jes speculate', "Dey ain't no ghosts," an' wish' he hair don't stand
on ind dat way. An' he jes cogitate', "Dey ain't no ghosts," an' wish'
he goose-pimples don't rise up dat way. An' he jes 'low', "Dey ain't no
ghosts," an' wish' he backbone ain't all trembulous wid chills dat way.
So he rotch' down, an' he rotch' down, twell he git' a good hold on dat
pricklesome stem of dat bestest pumpkin whut in de patch, an' he jes
yank' dat stem wid all he might.
"_Let loosen my head!_" say' a big voice all on a suddent.
Dat li'l' black boy whut he name is Mose he jump' 'most outen he skin.
He open' he eyes, an' he 'gin' to shake like de aspen-tree, 'ca'se whut
dat a-standin' right dar behint him but a 'mendjous big ghost! Yas, sah,
dat de bigges', whites' ghost whut yever was. An' it ain't got no head.
Ain't got no head _at_ all! Li'l' black Mose he jes drap' on he knees
an' he beg' an' pray':
"Oh, 'scuse me! 'Scuse me, Mistah Ghost!" he beg'. "Ah ain't mean no
harm _at_ all."
"Whut for you try to take my head?" ask' de ghost in dat fearsome voice
whut like de damp wind outen de cellar.
"'Scuse me! 'Scuse me!" beg' li'l' Mose. "Ah ain't know dat was yo'
head, an' I ain't know you was dar _at_ all. 'Scuse me!"
"Ah 'scuse you ef you do me dis favor," say' de ghost. "Ah got somefin'
powerful _im_portant to say unto you, an' Ah can't say hit 'ca'se Ah
ain't got no head; an' whin Ah ain't got no head, Ah ain't got no mouf,
an' whin Ah ain't got no mouf, Ah can't talk _at_ all."
An' dat right logical fo' shore. Can't nobody talk whin he ain't got no
mouf, an' can't nobody have no mouf whin he ain't got no head, an' whin
li'l' black Mose he look', he see' dat ghost ain't got no head _at_ all.
So de ghost say':
"Ah come on down yere fo' to git a pumpkin fo' a head, an' Ah pick' dat
_ix_act pumpkin whut yo' gwine tek, an' Ah don't like dat one bit. No,
sah. Ah feel like Ah pick yo' up an' carry yo' away, an' nobody see you
no more for yever. But Ah got somefin' powerful _im_portant to say unto
yo', an' if yo' pick up dat pumpkin an' sot in on de place whar my head
ought to be, Ah let you off dis time, 'ca'se Ah ain't been able to talk
fo' so long Ah right hongry to say somefin'."
So li'l' black Mose he heft up dat pumpkin, an' de ghost he bend' down,
an' li'l' black Mose he sot dat pumpkin on dat ghostses neck. An' right
off dat pumpkin head 'gin' to wink an' blink like a jack-o'-lantern, an'
right off dat pumpkin head 'gin' to glimmer an' glow frough de mouf like
a jack-o'-lantern, an' right off dat ghost start' to speak. Yas, sah,
"Whut yo' want to say unto me?" _in_quire' li'l' black Mose.
"Ah want to tell yo'," say' de ghost, "dat yo' ain't need yever be
skeered of ghosts, 'ca'se dey ain't no ghosts."
An' whin he say dat, de ghost jes vanish' away like de smoke in July. He
ain't even linger round dat locality like de smoke in Yoctober. He jes
dissipate' outen de air, an' he gone _in_tirely.
So li'l' Mose he grab' up de nex' bestest pumpkin an' he scoot'. An'
whin he come' to be grabeyard in de hollow, he goin' erlong same as
yever, on'y faster, whin he reckon' he 'll pick up a club _in_ case he
gwine have trouble. An' he rotch' down an' rotch' down an' tek' hold of
a likely appearin' hunk o' wood whut right dar. An' whin he grab' dat
hunk of wood - -
"_Let loosen my leg!_" say' a big voice all on a suddent.
Dat li'l' black boy 'most jump' outen he skin, 'ca'se right dar in de
paff is six 'mendjus big ghostes, an' de bigges' ain't got but one leg.
So li'l' black Mose jes natchully handed dat hunk of wood to dat
bigges' ghost, an' he say':
"'Scuse me, Mistah Ghost; Ah ain't know dis your leg."
An' whut dem six ghostes do but stand round an' confabulate? Yas, sah,
dass so. An' whin dey do so, one say':
"'Pears like dis a mighty likely li'l' black boy. Whut we gwine do fo'
to _re_ward him fo' politeness?"
An' anudder say':
"Tell him whut de truth is 'bout ghostes."
So de bigges' ghost he say':
"Ah gwine tell yo' somefin' _im_portant whut yever'body don't know: Dey
_ain't_ no ghosts."
An' whin he say' dat, de ghostes jes natchully vanish away, an' li'l'
black Mose he proceed' up de paff. He so scared he hair jes yank' at de
roots, an' whin de wind go', "Oo-_oo_-o-o-o!" an' de owl go',
"Whut-_whoo_-o-o-o!" an' de rain-doves go, "You-_you_-o-o-o!" he jes
tremble' an' shake'. An' byme-by he come' to de cemuntary whut betwixt
an' between, an' he shore is mighty skeered, 'ca'se dey is a whole
comp'ny of ghostes lined up along de road, an' he 'low' he ain't gwine
spind no more time palaverin' wid ghostes. So he step' often de road fo'
to go round erbout, an' he step' on a pine-stump whut lay right dar.
"_Git offen my chest!_" say' a big voice all on a suddent, 'ca'se dat
stump am been selected by de captain ob de ghostes for to be he chest,
'ca'se he ain't got no chest betwixt he shoulders an' he legs. An' li'l'
black Mose he hop' offen dat stump right peart. Yes, _sah_; right peart.
"'Scuse me! 'Scuse me!" dat li'l' black Mose beg' an' plead, an' de
ghostes ain't know whuther to eat him all up or not, 'ca'se he step' on
de boss ghostes's chest dat a-way. But byme-by they 'low they let him go
'ca'se dat was an accident, an' de captain ghost he say', "Mose, you
Mose, Ah gwine let you off dis time, 'ca'se you ain't nuffin' but a
misabul li'l' tremblin' nigger; but Ah want you should _re_mimimber one
thing mos' particular'."
"Ya-yas, sah," say' dat li'l' black boy; "Ah'll remimber. Whut is dat Ah
got to remimber?"
De captain ghost he swell' up, an' he swell' up, twell he as big as a
house, an' he say' in a voice whut shake' de ground:
"Dey ain't no ghosts."
So li'l' black Mose he bound to remimber dat, an' he rise' up an' mek' a
bow, an' he proceed' toward home right libely. He do, indeed.
An' he gwine along jes as fast as he kin' whin he come' to de aidge ob
de buryin'-ground whut on de hill, an' right dar he bound to stop,
'ca'se de kentry round about am so populate' he ain't able to go frough.
Yas, sah, seem' like all de ghostes in de world habin' a conferince
right dar. Seem' like all de ghosteses whut yever was am havin' a
convintion on dat spot. An' dat li'l' black Mose so skeered he jes fall'
down on a' old log whut dar an' screech' an' moan'. An' all on a suddent
de log up and spoke to li'l' Mose:
"_Get offen me! Get offen me!_" yell' dat log.
So li'l' black Mose he git' offen dat log, an' no mistake.
An' soon as he git' offen de log, de log uprise, an' li'l' black Mose he
see' dat dat log am de king ob all de ghostes. An' whin de king uprise,
all de congregation crowd round li'l' black Mose, an' dey am about leben
millium an' a few lift over. Yes, sah; dat de reg'lar annyul Hallowe'en
convintion whut li'l' black Mose interrup'. Right dar am all de sperits
in de world, an' all de ha'nts in de world, an' all de hobgoblins in de
world, an' all de ghouls in de world, an' all de spicters in de world,
an' all de ghostes in de world. An' whin dey see li'l' black Mose, dey
all gnash dey teef an' grin' 'ca'se it gettin' erlong toward dey-all's
lunch-time. So de king, whut he name old Skull-an'-Bones, he step' on
top ob li'l' Mose's head, an' he say':
"Gin'l'min, de convintion will come to order. De sicretary please note
who is prisint. De firs' business whut come' before de convintion am:
whut we gwine do to a li'l' black boy whut stip' on de king an' maul'
all ober de king an' treat' de king dat disrespictful'."
An' li'l' black Mose jes moan' an' sob':
"'Scuse me! 'Scuse me, Mistah King! Ah ain't mean no harm _at_ all."
But nobody ain't pay no _at_tintion to him _at_ all, 'ca'se yevery one
lookin' at a monstrous big ha'nt whut name Bloody Bones, whut rose up
"Your Honor, Mistah King, an' gin'l'min _an'_ ladies," he say', "dis am
a right bad case ob _lazy majesty_, 'ca'se de king been step on. Whin
yivery li'l' black boy whut choose' gwine wander round _at_ night an'
stip on de king ob ghostes, it ain't no time for to palaver, it ain't no
time for to prevaricate, it ain't no time for to cogitate, it ain't no
time do nuffin' but tell de truth, an' de whole truth, an' nuffin' but
An' all dem ghostes sicond de motion, an' dey confabulate out loud
erbout dat, an' de noise soun' like de rain-doves goin',
"Oo-_oo_-o-o-o!" an' de owls goin', "Whut-_whoo_-o-o-o!" an' de wind
goin', "You-_you_-o-o-o!" So dat risolution am passed unanermous, an' no
So de king ob de ghostes, whut name old Skull-an'-Bones, he place' he
hand on de head ob li'l' black Mose, an' he hand feel like a wet rag,
an' he say':
"Dey ain't no ghosts."
An' one ob de hairs whut on de head ob li'l' black Mose turn' white.
An' de monstrous big ha'nt whut he name Bloody Bones he lay he hand on
de head ob li'l' black Mose, an' he hand feel like a toadstool in de
cool ob de day, an' he say':
"Dey ain't no ghosts."
An' anudder ob de hairs whut on de head ob li'l' black Mose turn' white.
An' a heejus sperit whut he name Moldy Pa'm place' he hand on de head ob
li'l' black Mose, an' he hand feel like de yunner side ob a lizard, an'
"Dey ain't no ghosts."
An' anudder ob de hairs whut on de head ob li'l' black Mose turn' white
An' a perticklar bend-up hobgoblin he put' he hand on de head ob li'l'
black Mose, an' he mek' dat same _re_mark, an' dat whole convintion ob
ghostes an' spicters an' ha'nts an' yiver-thing, which am more 'n a
millium, pass by so quick dey-all's hands feel lak de wind whut blow
outen de cellar whin de day am hot, an' dey-all say, "Dey ain't no
ghosts." Yas, sah, dey-all say dem wo'ds so fas' it souun' like de wind
whin it moan frough de turkentine-trees whut behind de cider-priss. An'
yivery hair whut on li'l' black Mose's head turn' white. Dat whut
happen' whin a li'l' black boy gwine meet a ghost convintion dat-away.
Dat's so he ain' gwine forgit to remimber dey ain't no ghostes. 'Ca'se
ef a li'l' black boy gwine imaginate dey _is_ ghostes, he gwine be
skeered in de dark. An' dat a foolish thing for to imaginate.
So prisintly all de ghostes am whiff away, like de fog outen de holler
whin de wind blow' on it, an' li'l' black Mose he ain' see no ca'se for
to remain in dat locality no longer. He rotch' down, an' he raise' up de
pumpkin, an' he perambulate' right quick to he ma's shack, an' he lift'
up de latch, an' he open' de do', an' he yenter' in. An' he say':
"Yere's de pumpkin."
An' he ma an' he pa, an' Sally Ann, whut live up de road, an' Mistah
Sally Ann, whut her husban', an' Zack Badget, an' de school-teacher whut
board at Unc'-Silas Diggs's house, an' all de powerful lot of folks whut
come to de doin's, dey all scrooged back in de cornder ob de shack,
'ca'se Zack Badget he been done tell a ghost-tale, an' de rain-doves
gwine, "Oo-_oo_-o-o-o!" an' de owls am gwine, "Whut-_whoo_-o-o-o!" and
de wind it gwine, "You-_you_-o-o-o!" an' yiver-body powerful skeered.
'Ca'se li'l' black Mose he come' a-fumblin' an' a-rattlin' at de do' jes
whin dat ghost-tale mos' skeery, an' yiver'body gwine imaginate dat he a
ghost a-fumblin' an' a-rattlin' at de do'. Yas, sah. So li'l' black Mose
he turn' he white head, an' he look' roun' an' peer' roun', an' he say':
"Whut you all skeered fo'?"
'Ca'se ef anybody skeered, he want' to be skeered, too. Dat 's natural.
But de school-teacher, whut live at Unc' Silas Diggs's house, she say':
"Fo' de lan's sake, we fought you was a ghost!"
So li'l' black Mose he sort ob sniff an' he sort ob sneer, an' he 'low':
"Huh! dey ain't no ghosts."
Den he ma she powerful took back dat li'l' black Mose he gwine be so
uppetish an' contrydict folks whut know 'rifmeticks an' algebricks an'
gin'ral countin' widout fingers, like de school-teacher whut board at
Unc' Silas Diggs's house knows, an' she say':
"Huh! whut you know 'bout ghosts, anner ways?"
An' li'l' black Mose he jes kinder stan' on one foot, an' he jes kinder
suck' he thumb, an' he jes kinder 'low':
"I don' know nuffin' erbout ghosts, 'ca'se dey ain't no ghosts."
So he pa gwine whop him fo' tellin' a fib 'bout dey ain' no ghosts whin
yiver'body know' dey is ghosts; but de school-teacher, whut board at
Unc' Silas Diggs's house, she tek' note de hair ob li'l' black Mose's
head am plumb white, an' she tek' note li'l' black Mose's face am de
color ob wood-ash, so she jes retch' one arm round dat li'l' black boy,
an' she jes snuggle' him up, an' she say':
"Honey lamb, don't you be skeered; ain' nobody gwine hurt you. How you
know dey ain't no ghosts?"
An' li'l' black Mose he kinder lean' up 'g'inst de school-teacher whut
board at Unc' Silas Diggs's house, an' he 'low':
"'Ca'se - 'ca'se - 'ca'se I met de cap'n ghost, an' I met de gin'ral
ghost, an' I met de king ghost, an' I met all de ghostes whut yiver was
in de whole worl', an' yivery ghost say' de same thing: 'Dey ain't no
ghosts.' An' if de cap'n ghost an' de gin'ral ghost an' de king ghost
an' all de ghostes in de whole worl' don' know ef dar am ghostes, who
"Das right; das right, honey lamb," say' de school-teacher. And she
say': "I been s'picious dey ain' no ghostes dis long whiles, an' now I
know. Ef all de ghostes say dey ain' no ghosts, dey _ain'_ no ghosts."
So yiver'body 'low' dat so 'cep' Zack Badget, whut been tellin' de
ghost-tale, an' he ain' gwine say "Yis" an' he ain' gwine say "No,"
'ca'se he right sweet on de school-teacher; but he know right well he
done seen plinty ghostes in he day. So he boun' to be sure fust. So he
say' to li'l' black Mose:
"'Tain' likely you met up wid a monstrous big ha'nt whut live' down de
lane whut he name Bloody Bones?"
"Yas," say' li'l' black Mose, "I done met up wid him."
"An' did old Bloody Bones done tol' you dey ain' no ghosts?" say Zack
"Yas," say' li'l' black Mose, "he done tell me perzackly dat."
"Well, if _he_ tol' you dey ain't no ghosts," say' Zack Badget, "I got
to 'low dey ain't no ghosts, 'ca'se he ain' gwine tell no lie erbout it.
I know dat Bloody Bones ghost sence I was a piccaninny, an' I done met
up wif him a powerful lot o' times, an' he ain' gwine tell no lie erbout
it. Ef dat perticklar ghost say' dey ain't no ghosts, dey _ain't_ no
So yiver-body say':
"Das right; dey ain't no ghosts."
An' dat mek' li'l' black Mose feel mighty good, 'ca'se he ain' lak
ghostes. He reckon' he gwine be a heap mo' comfortable in he mind sence
he know' dey ain' no ghosts, an' he reckon' he ain' gwine be skeered of
nuffin' never no more. He ain' gwine min' de dark, an' he ain' gwine
min' de rain-doves whut go', "Oo-_oo_-o-o-o!" an' he ain' gwine min' de
owls whut go', "Who-_whoo_-o-o-o!" an' he ain' gwine min' de wind whut
go', "You-_you_-o-o-o!" nor nuffin', nohow. He gwine be brave as a lion,
sence he know' fo' sure dey ain' no ghosts. So prisintly he ma say':
"Well, time fo' a li'l' black boy whut he name is Mose to be gwine up de
ladder to de loft to bed."
An' li'l' black Mose he 'low' he gwine wait a bit. He 'low' he gwine jes
wait a li'l' bit. How 'low' he gwine be no trouble _at_ all ef he jes
been let wait twell he ma she gwine up de ladder to de loft to bed, too.
So he ma she say':
"Git erlong wid yo'! Whut yo' skeered ob whin dey ain't no ghosts?"
An' li'l' black Mose he scrooge', and he twist', an' he pucker' up he
mouf, an' he rub' he eyes, an' prisintly he say' right low:
"I ain' skeered ob ghosts whut am, 'ca'se dey ain' no ghosts."
"Den whut _am_ yo' skeered ob?" ask he ma.
"Nuffin'," say' de li'l' black boy whut he name is Mose; "but I jes feel
kinder oneasy 'bout de ghosts whut ain't."
Jes lak white folks! Jes lak white folks!
[K] Copyright, 1913, by The Century Company.
SOME REAL AMERICAN GHOSTS
THE GIANT GHOST
(Philadelphia _Press_, Sept. 13, 1896)
A case in point is the Benton, Indiana, ghost, which is attracting much
attention. It has been seen and investigated by many people with
reputations for intelligence and good sense, but so far no explanation
of the strange appearance has been found.
A farmer named John W. French and his wife were the first to see this
apparition. They live in the country near Benton, and were driving home
one night from a neighbor's. The road passed an old church, moss-covered
and surrounded by a graveyard, overgrown with shrubbery and filled with
the bones of hundreds who once tilled the soil in the locality. Ten
years ago an aged man who lived alone not far from the old church and
visited the graveyard almost daily to pray over the resting place of
some relative was foully murdered for the store of gold he was supposed
to have hidden about his hermit abode. The robbers and murderers escaped
justice, and the luckless graybeard was buried in the graveyard where he
spent so much time. Just as French and his wife drew within sight of the
white headstones in the churchyard the horses reared back on their
haunches and snorted in terror. French was alarmed, and suspecting
highwaymen had been scented by the horses, he reached for a shotgun
which lay in the bottom of the wagon for just such an emergency. But
before his hand touched it he was startled by a scream from his wife.
Clutching his arm she pointed straight ahead and gasped: "Look, John,
Far down the road, just beside the glimmering monuments of the old
graveyard, he saw an apparition. It was that of a man with a long white
beard sweeping over his breast. The figure appeared to be eight feet in
height and in one hand it carried a club, such as the brains of the old
man had been beaten out with ten years before. Slowly raising one arm
the ghost with a majestic sweep beckoned French to come ahead. He was
too startled to do anything except try to restrain the prancing horses,
which were straining at the harness in attempts to break away and run. A
cold sweat started out all over the body of the farmer as he realized
that he was at last looking at a ghost, and then the sound of his wife's
voice came to him begging him to return the way they had come and escape
the doom which seemed impending. French was still too much scared and
excited to control the horses, and as he gazed steadfastly at the
fearful white object in the road it slowly began to move toward the
wagon. The club was now raised to its shoulder, as a soldier carries a
rifle, and it seemed to move forward without touching the ground, like a
Then the farmer recovered his faculties and, whirling his team around,
he lashed the horses into a run and began the trip to the house of the
friend he had just left. When they arrived there both the man and his
wife were almost fainting from fright.
The next man to see the ghost was Milton Moon. He had the reputation for
being not only a man of intelligence but one without fear. His
experience was much the same as that of the Frenches and it brought
about several investigations by parties of citizens. In each case they
saw and were convinced of the actual presence of the ghost without being
able to discover any satisfactory explanation.
SOME FAMOUS GHOSTS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITOL
(Philadelphia _Press_, Oct. 2, 1898)
The Capitol at Washington is probably the most thoroughly haunted
building in the world.
Not less than fifteen well-authenticated ghosts infest it, and some of
them are of a more than ordinarily alarming character.
What particularly inspires this last remark is the fact that the Demon
Cat is said to have made its appearance again, after many years of
absence. This is a truly horrific apparition, and no viewless specter
such as the invisible grimalkin that even now trips people up on the
stairs of the old mansion which President Madison and his wife, Dolly,
occupied, at the corner of Eighteenth Street and New York Avenue, after
the White House was burned by the British. That, indeed, is altogether
another story; but the feline spook of the Capitol possesses attributes
much more remarkable, inasmuch as it has the appearance of an ordinary
pussy when first seen, and presently swells up to the size of an
elephant before the eyes of the terrified observer.
The Demon Cat, in whose regard testimony of the utmost seeming
authenticity was put on record thirty-five years ago, has been missing
since 1862. One of the watchmen on duty in the building shot at it then,
and it disappeared. Since then, until now, nothing more has been heard
of it, though one or two of the older policemen of the Capitol force
still speak of the spectral animal in awed whispers.
Their work, when performed in the night, requires more than ordinary
nerve, inasmuch as the interior of the great structure is literally