Back to the Index Page

An Idiot Ghost with Brass Buttons edited

by Joseph Lewis French

(Philadelphia Press, June 16)

  In a pretty but old-fashioned house in Stuyvesant square--ghosts like squares, I think--is another ghost. This house stood empty for several years, and about six years ago a gentleman, his wife and little daughter moved in there, and while fitting up allowed the child to play about the empty attic, which had apparently been arranged for a children's playroom long ago. There was a fireplace and a large fireboard in front of it.

  When the house was about finished down stairs the mother began to pay more attention to the little girl and tried to keep her down there with her, but the child always stole away and went back up stairs again and again, until finally the mother asked why she liked to go up there so much. She replied that she liked to play with the funny little boy. Investigation showed that it was utterly impossible for any person, man or child, to get in that place or be concealed there, but the little girl insisted and told her parents that he "went in there," pointing to the fireboard.

  The parents were seriously concerned, believing that their daughter was telling them an untruth, and threatened to punish her for it, but she insisted so strongly that she saw and played with a "funny little boy, with lots of brass buttons on his jacket," that they finally gave up threatening and resolved to investigate.

  The father, who is an old sea captain, found out that this house had been occupied by an Englishman named Cowdery who had had three children--two boys and a girl. One of the boys was an idiot. This idiot was supposed to have fallen into the East River, as his cap was found there, and he had always shown a liking for the river when his nurse took him out. Soon after this Mr. Cowdery moved West.

  This was enough for my friend's friend, who had the fireboard taken down, and short work in the wall by the side of the chimney brought the body of the unfortunate idiot boy. The back of his skull was crushed in. He still had the dark blue jacket on, with four rows of buttons on the front. The poor little bones were buried and the affair kept quiet, but the captain left the house.

Back to the Index Page