Two New Ghost Pamphlets, Three New Ghost Hunters

A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I’d come across four “ghost pamphlets” published around the 1870s. Each one zooms in on a specific haunting. I went looking for more such pamphlets, and sure enough, I found two.

The first is Thomas Heaphy’s A Wonderful Ghost Story, being Mr. H’s Own Narrative (1882). Apparently, some dude named Charles Dickens, editor of All the Year Round, published a story about Heaphy’s ghostly encounter, and Heaphy wasn’t pleased that someone else had told his story. Poorly. So he wrote his own account and published this. I’ll get to reading it eventually…

The second pamphlet I discovered led me to discover a trio of ghost hunters. The publication is Thomas Brownell Clarke’s The Oakland Ghost and Ancient Phenomena, with a Review of the Oakland Committee. Clarke recounts poltergeist-like activity at his home in Oakland, California, but it’s the Oakland Committee I found interesting. The group was made up of distinguished members of the community, and they arrived at a conclusion that Clarke did not like at all. You see, Thomas Clarke really wanted his visiting ghost to be the real thing. But the committee said there simply wasn’t enough evidence to support the conclusion that anything supernatural had happened. It turned into a whole thing.

Face off
Thomas Clarke faced off against Joseph Le Conte and two more members of the Oakland Ghost Committee

I added the two new pamphlets to a special section in the Victorian Ghost Hunter’s Library page. And I added the Oakland Ghost Committee to the Ghost Hunter Hall of Fame, where you’ll find a link to a more detailed report on the haunting, its investigation, and Clarke’s strong objection to the findings of that investigation.

— Tim

P.S. While researching the Oakland Ghost case, I stumbled across a reference to a pamphlet about another committee investigating a much earlier, more famous case: the Cock Lane ghost. The pamphlet, which has been credited to Oliver Goldsmith, is titled The Mystery Revealed (1762). If anyone happens to know of an online scan, please let me know. I’m digging these ghost pamphlets!

1 thought on “Two New Ghost Pamphlets, Three New Ghost Hunters

  1. Excellent work, Tim. Great finds. I was glad you found the Memphis pamphlet, too, since that is my hometown and I know the story. Thanks so much for cataloguing these items for the rest of us to be able to view.

    Liked by 1 person

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