Well readers, its 2021 and after a long break, The Fortean is back.
Let’s kick-off with one of my favourites; a stone-throwing poltergeist, this time from Phoenix, Arizona in 1898. This item first appeared the Phoenix Weekly Republican on 29 September 1898.
“A goodly number of the Mexican people of this city are considerably wrought up over the seemingly strange occurrences to which a Mexican family of this city have been subjected of late. The demonstrations which have become a matter of common report are for the lack of a better name referred to as the latest ghost story, but whether it be really a peculiar demonstration or the rank faking of evil-minded persons, the matter has at least to the principal victim passed the funny stage and become a serious subject. About a quarter of a mile east of Phoenix Park stands a neat little brick house formerly occupied by Mr. Bridger, the “chicken man.”
Some time ago Sacramento Verdugo, his wife and family of children of all ages moved into the house. About three weeks ago it was noticed that at times the wife, Angela, would be hit, usually on the head, but sometimes on either parts of the body, by stones varying in size from a walnut to a missile weighing a pound and a half. The projectiles were seemingly impelled by some unseen hands. She told her friends about it but no credence was given her story until these visitations became so numerous that the woman gradually developed a very nervous condition and at the present time she is so prostrated as to be unable to hold a cup to her lips without assistance. She is so overcome with fear that she cannot walk without assistance and her condition is pitiable.
Sane people naturally ascribe the cause of these demonstrations to some practical joker or to some person who is really trying to scare the woman to death but so far all investigations have failed to discover their identity and the poor woman not finding any other accounting for the mystery naturally lays it to some evil spirit though she professes to have no faith in such things and has heroically submitted to experiments till she is well nigh insane. Hundreds of Mexicans and scores of Americans have visited her but while all have theories none can change results.
Believing that some malicious person wanted them to vacate the premises they moved into town on Wednesday and installed themselves at the corner of Seventh and Jefferson street but the mysterious reck thrower followed. A party visited the family last night and witnessed the arrival of a rock which she says hit her on the jaw but as it was rather dark the witnesses were hardly satisfied. The missile weighed 12 ounces and had it travelled any great distance must have done her injury. Then too the rock when first picked up was warm as though it had been in someone’s pocket in fact even warmer than would be expected from that source. Other rocks that hit her seem to be cold and the peculiar thing about it is that none seem to hurt to amount to anything.
The woman said last night that she would go back to the ranch this morning and submit to further investigation. Accordingly, about 11 o’clock today a party of fifty people, both Americans and Mexicans, assembled at the ranch. The woman said that she had already been hit three times before the arrival of her guests. After more or less talk and persuasion the woman who was sitting outside arose, escorted on one side by her son and on the other by her daughter, entered the house, passed on into an inner room separated by a brick partition, several of the Americans present, including a HERALD reporter accompanying. Hardly had she entered the room when a rock weighing four or five ounces fell from her shoulder to the floor with a thud that all could hear. None of the Americans however saw the rock until it hit her though several of the Mexicans aver that they saw it come from the roof which seemed intact.
In conclusion the presence of the rocks is not doubted and further if there was any chicanery connected with the affair it must have been the work of the son or daughter whose arms encircled her waist. Those present who refuse to be anything but skeptical believe that there is where the mischief lies. However such a theory is hardly tenable unless the children are utterly devoid of filial feeling for their mother is almost wild. Further there seems to be no family trouble and no apparent reason why they should desire to frighten the old lady. The family is poor and she could not possibly leave an estate should she be haunted to the grave.
The only action of the family today that laid them open to criticism was the fact that after this occurrence it was suggested that the experiment be repeated those accompanying the woman first being searched and all save a committee be excluded from the house. This they would not listen to being highly incensed at the suggestion that they were parties to the old lady’s distress. Thereupon they returned to their wagon and while getting in to start home another stone hit the unfortunate woman.
There are a dozen other stories of queer happenings in the house such for instance as the breaking of window glass and the burning of the paper from the walls when a stone would strike it and the burning of a pair of pants that hung on a nail but it would fill a book to relate it all.”