Category

The Window Rattler 
Fairhaven, Massachusetts 
June 17, 1892

"Fairhaven is in an uproar over the visitation of an alleged ghost. Ghost or mortal spook, spirit, real or unreal, whatever the phantom is that Mr. William Westgate has seen in the tenement he rents, he cannot be hired, compelled, or in any way induced to again enter the habitation after nightfall.

The tenement house in question is situated on Chestnut st., and has for several months past been acquiring a reputation as a haunted house. But not until the events of the past few nights would Mr. Westgate give in to the popular assertion that the real trouble was a visitation or a series of visitations from an inhabitant of another world.

Wednesday evening last Mr. Westgate first became thoroughly aroused to a profound conviction that the strange noises and queer sights which he had come to recognize as intermittent adjuncts to his tenement were the mysterious and frightful workings of evil spirits.

He heard some one outside of his chamber door knocking for admittance and shaking the door angrily because not allowed to enter. Mr. Westgate asked the stranger wanted, but received no reply. The door shaking continued and the apparition of a man danced about in wild endeavor to enter. This frightened Mr. Westgate, who has the reputation of being a God-fearing, hard-headed person, with no foolishness in his composition and plucky withal.

He ran to open the window and screamed for help. Several Fairhaven gentlemen of repute were sitting on the steps of the residence of Mr. J.J. Tripp, nearby, and Mr. Westgate's excited cries of 'help,' 'murder,' 'police,' aroused them, and they ran on the jump to the tenement house and up to the upper rooms which alone are occupied by Mr. Westgate.

As they approached, the windows of the house set up a tremendous [noise] and rattling. Three neighbors, Mr. Tripp, Mr. Dellingtoham, and Mr. Coggershall searched the house inside and out when Westgate explained the situation, but nothing in the way of a trace of the unknown could be discovered. The angry man at the door had vanished with the air leaving four perplexed men, one of them badly frightened.

Mr. Westgate positively refused to longer reside in that home, and now it stands empty, all others have refused to rent it out months ago, and thereby hangs a tale more thrilling than the simple facts of which determined Westgate's hasty retreat.

The lower tenement of the Chestnut st. house has been unoccupied for months past, but Mr. Westgate lived in the upper rooms with his family, defying the spook. Several months back, in cold weather, as the family were sitting about the room at evening, one of them burst out in a thrilling scream, 'the ghost.' She saw the face of a man distinctly as he opened the blinds to the windows where she slept in an upper room.

The man, ghost or devil, whichever it may have been, after opening the blinds quickly slammed them together and faded from view. Mr. Westgate rushed out-doors to search for the intruder but could find nothing of him. It was bright moonlight. He hunted in the snow and could not find the slightest trace of the intruder's feet.

The neighbors were at first inclined to laugh at the story as the freak of somebody's disordered mind, but after that no one would stay in that side of the tenement house. They all found it convenient to sleep at night in other rooms within that dwelling.

Mr. Westgate and his family have accepted the kind of invitation of their neighbor, Mr. Tripp, and have moved out of the haunted house, vowing never to return again.

The ghost has an inordinate desire to get inside the house at night, just after twilight has set in, and is always furious because he is baffled in his attempts, and shakes himself and rattles the doors, windows, blinds and everything at hand to show his anger and [frustration]. This is the tale the neighbors and the dwellers therein tell. Mr. Tripp, the nearest neighbor, is firmly convinced that the house is haunted, as he says he cannot account for the frequent disturbances therein in any way.

Some of the Fairhaven people pooh-pooh the idea of a spook, but none of them volunteer to go to the house at night to attempt to sleep and to prove that there is no ghost. Fairhaven bids fair to be the possessor of a new candidate for investigation by the members of he Society for Psychical Research."




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