I recently subscribed to Genealogybank.com [disclaimer: I have no affiliation or relationship, other than subscriber, with genealogybank.com] and have spent some time perusing old newspapers. Whether online or on microfilm, this is probably the most memorable article found to date! Not of too much genealogical value, but how fun is this? The Elijah Staats of the article is my 3rd great grand-uncle, a son of Elijah Staats, my 4th great-grandfather. Since they must have known the family, if these spirits manifest themselves in my house, I am going to be sure to interview them and get some facts. They’ll regret ever trying to haunt my house
A case of what is called by some “Spiritual manifestations,” somewhat similar to that which created such an excitement in the neighborhood back of Bridgeport last Summer, now exists in the vicinity of Caldwell, Noble county, Ohio. The “spirits” manifest their presence by breaking windows and crockery, knocking down and smashing to pieces look-glasses, clocks and the like, and acting the vandal and ruffian generally.
They manifest themselves at the house of a farmer named ELIJAH STAATS, who resides some four or five miles east of Caldwell. Mr. Staats is a highly respectable and solid farmer, nearly 70 years of age, who has been living in his present house for several years with his wife, who is almost as old. They keep no hired help about the house, we believe, and the only person in addition to themselves who has access to the house is a son of Mrs. S. by her first husband, who, we believe, is an amiable sort of nonentity who makes that his home and does “chores” for his keep.
The “manifestations” have annoyed the family for many days but they kept the matter to themselves—not being believers in the supernatural as manifested by “mediums”—until the demonstrations became as violent and obnoxious as to make silence no longer impossible [sic]. Mrs. S, as we have said, is an aged lady, and somewhat feeble. She has been a sufferer from a disease of the heart. One night last week the rowdy character of the spirits became manifest in a way that brought such a shock to the old lady as to induce a return of her affliction in such a violent form as to threaten her life. People came from far and near to see, hear and investigate, but when our informant wrote, the guilty author of the miserable work had not been discovered.”
[Source: “More Spiritualism,” Wheeling Register, 24 Oct 1877, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Genealogybank.com: accessed 16 Jan 2010), Historic Newspapers.]