Leeds Intelligencer (24/Mar/1855) - A Ghost Story
Capture of a Ghost.
As mentioned in our last, the residence of Mr. S. Routledge, dyer, Seed Hill, had, during the whole of the preceding week, been haunted by strange and unaccountable noises, but which always appeared to be in and about the passage. Numerous rumours detrimental to Mr. R. and his family were rife in every quarter, and every one explained the extraordinary circumstance in his own way. While conjecture was thus kept on the tip-toe, Mr. Routledge was unremitting in his exertions to discover the cause. Steam, gas, and water pipes innumerable were emptied and explored; sinks, drains, &c., ripped up, but all to no purpose, as his ghostship did not choose to descend to such lowness. An extra watchman was engaged, and up to Thursday night kept watch and ward. A joiner was engaged to thoroughly examine the house to ascertain if any mechanical apparatus had been fixed whereby, with the aid of galvanism or other scientific means, the strange unearthly sounds might be produced, but all was in vain, for notwithstanding these exertions, the invisible one still continued its "rappings." On Sunday it took another shape, and the bells were continually rung, but no explanation offered itself as to the cause. The rappings were again renewed, and the same took place on Monday. The services of Miss Challand, who has "got her name up" as a faithful clairvoyante (since the discovery of the body of the missing female from Marsden), were put into requisition ; but, after being placed in the required state, nothing could be elicited from her, inasmuch as, not having heard the ghost perform his operations, she could discover nothing to detect his whereabout, or the means he employed to effect such startling sounds. On Tuesday the knockings were not so violent, and the operator confined his freaks to the daytime. Still no suspicion was entertained by any of the family that the ghost was an inmate of the house, this idea being the farthest from their thoughts. On Thursday, however, the pranks of the undiscovered visitant took another range. The bells being silent, from the fact of the wires being unhooked, it took it into its head to enter the bedrooms, and denuding the beds of their coverings, pillows, &c., dragged them down the stairs to the landing, and there left them. This was done several times, and notwithstanding the fact that, whenever there was a loud knocking or bell ringing, an Irish servant girl was sure to appear the only one really frightened, no one for a moment thought that she could he capable of playing such extraordinary tricks, so successfully as she had done ; and had she continued to confine her duties to the "rapping," in all probability the mystery would have still remained undiscovered. The continued knocking, together with the abstraction of the bed clothes, so terrified the housekeeper that she left the house in the afternoon of Thursday, and refused to return till after the discovery. The man left in possession was so worked upon by his feelings that although he remained in the house he dared not close his eyes. Mr. R. having returned from Bradford, was informed of the whole circumstances, when it at once occurred to him that some person in the house might have been the cause of the annoyance, and considerable expense he had been put to. He, therefore, in company with a few friends, took a stick and proceeded to try by sounding the walls, &c., to discover anything which would produce the same dolorous sound, when, after spending some time in the examination, his son accidentally struck the end of the barrel of a large washing-machine standing in the back kitchen, and like magic the sounds were at once explained, and on the outer end being examined hundreds of indentations were discovered. At an early hour the next morning the servant girl, who had been taken into the house nine months ago by Mr. R. from motives of charity, and whose name is Catherine Haley, was closely questioned as to her knowledge of the "rappings." Her reply was, "Shure she knew nothing about it at all at all," but subsequently she admitted she had "knocked a little." On being taken to the police-office, she during the forenoon further admitted to our reporter that she had "done it all," could not tell how she had done it, and added that no one told her to do it, and she could not tell why she had so acted. Subsequently she stated it was done to "frighten" the housekeeper, whom she did not like ; then she said she had done it at first for a "bit of fun," but finding so many people come about the place she had continued it for the purpose of driving them away. On further examining the premises the whole of the room doors leading into the passage were found to be in a state of indentation produced by the little urchin's "rappings," and under the pillow of a sofa was found a good sized stone, which had been "rapped" against the inside of the kitchen door, which upon examination bore visible marks of the effect produced. Thus at length the formidable ghost of Seed Hill has been discovered, and turns out to be nothing more than the vicious freaks of an Irish girl. No doubt the circumstance will be food for the gossips of the country for many a day to come.