Ghosts of the Times

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Collected ghost stories from the New York Times, circa late 1880s to early 1900s.

THE GHOST DECLINED TO WALK

Hundreds Waited for Him and Were Much Disappointed at His Absence

The only thing worse than ghosts? Ghost rumors. At least on the Upper East Side, where a crowd of “several hundred persons” annoy 72nd Street residents nightly as they wait for one to appear.

—New York Times, August 20, 1894


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A GHOST IN GUSTERIN’S FLAT

Groans and Rattles Chains and Scares Away Tenants

Mr. J. Weller Not Afraid Till He Heard Its Awful Antics to the Accompaniment of Waves at Rockaway

A “ter-ri-ble” ghost on Rockaway Beach wasn’t enough to scare well-meaning vacationer Mr. J. Weller, but it was enough to drive him back to “dear, old, quiet Brooklyn,” and to the bottle (but don’t tell that to the neighbors). But the “phlegmatic German” who runs this flat won’t hear any talk of ghosts. After all, why would a ghost even deign to dwell in an apartment building? That would be “contrary to all spook history.”

—New York Times, January 9, 1896


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AN UNSHAVEN GHOST

He has a black beard and goes to a party

A hip bearded ghost sets new trends in Morrisville, PA.

—New York Times, February 27, 1887


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BROOKLYN GHOST? PSHAW

Superintendent Campbell Laid the Spectres Long Ago

TWENTY-SEVENTH WARDERS FOOLED

Three Hundred of Them Hunt a Hysterical Female Spook—A Policeman Says It’s the Bad Whisky Sold There

Hundreds of whisky-crazed Brooklynites hunt a scantily clad dancing ghost across modern day Bushwick (a “rocky, bleak, lonesome district” that “offers exceptional advantages to ghosts”). Brooklyn Police Superintendent with strong anti-ghost policy takes it as reason against consolidation with Manhattan.

—New York Times, November 23, 1894


[5 notes]