Usually I go all out for Halloween: I set up a cemetery in my front yard, carve pumpkins with scary faces on the front and reversed words on the back so that they will cast wavering messages on the walls or gravestones behind them when lit, and come up with an elaborate costume. Then I watch the old Universal classic horror movies incessantly until the season is past.
But this year I just wasn’t feeling it. I never got around to setting up the cemetery. I bought only one pumpkin and never got around to carving it. The party I was going to attend was cancelled, so my costume had barely been begun before I set it aside. I did buy candy to hand out to the seven trick-or-treaters who braved the torrential rain to come knocking at my door, but instead of passing the evening with Dracula or the Wolfman, I stared at reruns of Batman and Wonder Woman.
Halloween was over before I really began to feel the spirit (pun intended). Now that I should be preparing for Thanksgiving, I am finally watching those old Universal films. If it didn’t seem silly to put them up so late, I would be out in the rain erecting my collection of foam tombstones. And I’m considering going back to work on that costume so it will be ready for next year.
And it was in this mood, with the Wolfman snarling onscreen, that I revisited a page of the Sedan Lance in order to create a better source citation for a couple articles about John and Cora Brosius. It was a February edition, but a most Halloweenish statement caught my eye:
A ghost was seen in East Sedan last week, one dark night. It passed along the street dressed in a gown, and never said a word.
Of course I realize that the idea of ghosts was taken more seriously in the past than it is today, but to see such an item stuck casually in among the local news, and at a time (1893) that seems to me not so very long ago, was startling. And in February, when one’s thoughts don’t quite so naturally turn to ghosts...
“Local News,” Sedan Lance, 8 Feb 1893, p. 3, col. 1; digital images, America’s GenealogyBank (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 22 Sept 2011), Historical Newspapers.