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Poltergeist on a Farm in Groton, Connecticut

A note about this peculiar poltergeist case was published in the “Great Bend Tribune” on September 28, 1908.

The setting is a farm in the town of Groton, Connecticut, USA. The farm was inhabited by an elderly couple, Mr. Hemstead, 70 years old, and his wife, who had lived peacefully in marriage for over 30 years, as well as their 13-year-old nephew, Frankie Gardner, and his younger brother, whom they had adopted.

Their farm was quite large, so the Hemsteads hired workers to help them. At the time the poltergeist activity began, a 16-year-old neighbor boy named Gilbert Edwards was working there, along with three adult laborers.

It all started suddenly when the old Mr. Hemstead was standing in the cornfield near the house. Out of nowhere, a ball that boys usually played with fell at his feet, and when the old man looked in that direction, he saw a cloth flapping in the window on the second floor, as if someone were waving it.

Hemstead immediately entered the house and went up to the second floor, only to find that the room was completely empty and there was no one there. He later found out that the boys were not in the house at all, and all the workers were in the field. He was puzzled but soon forgot about the incident.

However, a few days later, a new strangeness occurred in the house. Beans that were lying in the attic drying out ended up scattered throughout all the rooms. And soon it was noticed that the beans were moving on their own!

“Of course, beans sometimes dry out in pods and burst on a hot day, scattering everywhere, but I have never seen beans that could descend the attic stairs, move around the room, round corners, and fall to the floor. In the northeast room, there was a bean that came out of the north wall, swam across the room, circumvented the sewing machine, and, making several sharp movements, fell to the floor.”

Then balls that the boys had long since abandoned started rolling on the floor by themselves.

“Balls that the boys hadn’t touched for months started moving around the house. They would roll into a door, cross the room, and stop. We made sure it wasn’t the boys’ doing because such things happened when the boys were not at home.”

The two-story Hemstead mansion was built a long time ago and was a sturdy and reliable house. Nothing unusual had ever happened in it before, and the Hemsteads themselves were big skeptics when it came to the supernatural; in fact, they claimed they categorically did not believe in ghosts and superstitions.

Then Hemstead observed as a bunch of old rusty keys, lost many years ago, rolled down the attic stairs and flew into the room. The old man immediately went up to the attic, but found no one there.

“I’ve heard that some of our visitors explain it by electricity. We have a telephone, and the wire runs halfway around the house and exits through the dining room window. But I’ve never heard of a telephone wire doing such a thing,” Hemstead recounted.

The poltergeist activity intensified, and spools of thread, knives, and other small items began moving around the house. And all this always happened only during the day, never at night.

When rumors spread throughout the district, people started coming to the Hemsteads’ house on purpose by carriage and automobile, those who wanted to see this phenomenon with their own eyes.

Some believed that a ghost had gone wild because not far from the Hemsteads’ house was an old family cemetery. However, no one had seen any ghosts, and it was difficult to understand why the ghosts had gone wild now and not earlier.

One of the peculiarities of this phenomenon was the strange behavior of the watchdog, Tiger. He never showed fear when the poltergeist activity occurred; on the contrary, he “demonstrated joy” in every possible way.

Attempts to explain the movement of objects by the activity of squirrels, rats, or birds flying into the attic were unsuccessful. How this whole story ended is unknown.



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