Ghost stories from
The Herald Democrat
114 years ago
Grewsome Tale of Headless Man Who Makes Nocturnal Visits to 123 Front Street.
Friday, April 5, 1907
John Wagner has a house which he will rent very cheaply. He will sell it or even give it away if he is unable to find a tenant. The house is at 123 Front street, and has been causing the owner an endless amount of trouble since it was suddenly vacated by its Italian occupants two weeks ago. Neighbors claim it is haunted. Ghosts, they say, are prowling around the place at night, and the residents of that section of the city try to avoid passing near it after sunset. Strange and uncanny noises, they state, are heard coming from the house, and sometimes keep the folks living in its vicinity awake.
Mr. Wagner is a barber. He laughs to scorn the stories of ghosts and hob-goblins. He admits, however, that he has been unable to find a renter for the property, and tells that the former occupants of the place left it very suddenly one night, leaving three weeks of rent paid in advance.
“I never heard that there was anything unusual about the house until a week ago,” said Mr. Wagner yesterday afternoon. “I had rented the place to two Italians who worked at the mines during the day, and used it only to sleep in at night. They paid their rent in advance.
“One morning last week, they came to my residence before I was out of bed. They told me they could stay in the place no longer as it was inhabited by some strange being. They had taken their possessions out of the house, they said, and would allow me to retain the money which they had paid, providing I would not require them to stay there until the end of the month.
“According to their story, the first few nights in the house passed quietly and peacefully. On the fourth night, while they were seated at a table eating a late supper, they were confronted with a headless man walking about the room. They had not seen him enter the building, and could not hear the sounds of his footsteps. He took a seat at the table and partook of their meal, the food which he apparently ate disappearing as he raised it to the position where his mouth would be, were he possessed with a head. The men became frightened and attempted to investigate. As they approached the headless visitor, he disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as he had appeared.
“That night and the night following passed without any further visitation from the ghost.
“On the sixth night, however, they were even more terrified than before. As they were about to retire, they found the strange man in their bed. He appeared quiet and motionless, but was again without his head. They were afraid to disturb him, and in utter fright and confusion left the house without taking time to put on their clothing.
“They went to the home of a neighbor, where they spent the night, and early the next morning came to see me. The next day they went to the house to remove their property, but found no trace of their unwelcome visitor.
“I have tried repeatedly to rent the house, but they all seem to have the idea that it is haunted. They claim they have seen the headless form of a man wandering around the place, and say they hear all kinds of strange noises. I guess I will have to give up the idea of renting it at all, and in order to get rid of it, may give it away.
“There is a story told among the residents of Front street that some years ago a man hung himself with a pair of suspenders in that house, and the superstitious among them — and they are nearly all superstitious — believe that it is the spirit of the man come back to haunt the scenes of his earthly career.”
BANISH “SPOOK” FROM ITS HAUNTS
Professor of the Occult Agrees to Exercise His Powers on Headless Ghost of 123 Front.
Thursday, April 11, 1907
How much is it worth to rid a house of “spooks?”
This question was thoroughly discussed by Walter Stickley, a local real estate agent, and “Prof.” Herman DeMongue, who claims to be a fortune teller, spiritualistic medium and professional ghost tamer, in the office of the former yesterday.
The professor has been in Leadville less than a week. Previous to practicing his art in this city, he held forth at Pueblo. Last week he read the story in the Herald Democrat of the “haunted” house belonging to John Wagner at 123 Front street. He pondered on the subject, and yesterday arrived at the conclusion that he could rid the house of its “haunt” for the sum of $2.50.
Going to Mr. Stickley’s office, he told him of his powers and the amount it would cost him to use them.
Mr. Stickley is agent for the building.
“That spirit is dissatisfied in its present world,” explained the professor, “and it has come back to seek consolation. It must be comforted, and if you will allow me to talk to it, I think I can satisfy it. Maybe it is seeking to right some wrong committed during its life on Earth.”
“But how could it seek anything without a head?” put in Mr. Stickley in a disgusted manner.
“It’s true, they say it has no head, but maybe that’s the cause of its returning to Earth. If I could talk to it, I think I could find a way to console it.”
“Well, how in the world are you going to talk to anything without a mouth, ears, or without even a head?”
“Why, I would do that in the spirit language,” answered DeMongue. “We would communicate with each other without saying a word.”
“You have my permission to exercise all the power you like on the spirit, and if you want the key to the house, I’ll give it to you,” said Mr. Stickley.
“But I thought you would be interested in having the spirit removed.”
“I am interested in having it removed, if there is one there, but it hasn’t bothered me this far.”
“Well, if you are interested in having it removed, it surely ought to be worth something to you. I can satisfy it and guarantee that it will never return for two and a half.”
Mr. Stickley offered to rent him the house for a month for the sum of $1.50, and said he would allow him to practice on the spirit to his heart’s content.
The great spiritualist didn’t seem inclined to do his service at less than the regular union scale and held out for the full price of $2.50.
Stickley refused to sign at that rate, and the negotiations have now been declared off.