Today I bring you another tale from the Missourian's archives, this one dated Jan. 26, 1938.
Given prominent play among other headlines such as as "James A. Kinder Not In Mayoral Race" and "Asbestos Heiress Gives Up Citizenship" is the story "7 Mysterious Taps Alarm Man On Walk Through Cemetery," and it reads as follows. (As always, all language, errors, and typos remain preserved as originally published.)
"Seven mysterious ghost-like taps on his arm as he walked through historic Old Lorimier Cemetery in the cold gray dawn of a recent morning were reported today by a man, who for months has used a path through the cemetery in going to his work in a Broadway building. The man, a Negro caretaker, lives on Mill street near the cemetery and in the past has found it convenient to walk through the cemetery because of the time and distance saved.
"He said that the other morning, just before dawn, as he walked across the cemetery toward the south from near the northeast corner, he felt seven distinct tappings on his right arm, all between the wrist and elbow.He could see or hear nothing, and each tap felt about like his arm was being struck pretty briskly with an empty glove."
SEVEN! That's quite a lot if you think about it. Most people are never even touched once by a spirit. Not to mention, that once you've experienced something seven times, you're bound to be certain it really happened, especially considering his description of the way the tappings felt. I would think it would be hard to mistake such a sensation for something such as the wind or bumping into a branch. At any rate, he continued on.
"Shortly after he passed the first graves at the north side of the cemetery, the man related he felt a tap on his wrist. Glancing around quickly he saw only nearby tombstones, nothing else, so he thought little of the incident.
"He walked ahead at the same gait, he said, when he felt another rap on the same part of his arm. Again he looked all around, but could see nothing in the early morning haze except jutting tombstones."
OK, I'll say it. I'm both amazed and a little proud of him for not high-tailing it out of there. Pre-dawn light is certainly creepy, especially on cold winter mornings like this one undoubtedly was.
"Three other taps followed one by one until finally, near the giant elm at the Don Louis Lorimier tomb, he felt another gentle blow, the sixth one. He wheeled about to see if anything was around, and as he did so felt the seventh and last mysterious tap.
"He then walked, the man said, from the cemetery. This morning he said he used the same path through the graveyard again, but had no unusual experience."
A strange tale, to be sure. But it doesn't end there. Two characteristically skeptical reporters decided to investigate the matter. Check back later this week to see what they discovered in their attempt to put the matter to rest.
Just for fun, I've attached a scan of a segment of the original page of this edition. You know. Just in case you want to read about the asbestos heiress. I know I did.