Stalking Night Shadows

Madonna Merced is a third generation ghost tracker who uses the latest techniques and equipment to investigate your home or business!



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EVP Captures Now Available

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 3:40 AM

Hi Everyone,

If you like EVPs you can now listen to my captures. I will be uploading new ones each week! 

Posted video from the Last Investigtion

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Hi All,

I have posted the YouTube upload of the last investigation, "The Haunted Office." Please take a look by clicking throuh on Haunted Oregon Videos!



Old Mine Shaft EVPs

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Here is a link to the EVPs I captured when I completed the paranormal investigation in the ghost town of Cornucopia at the entrance of an old mine shaft.

The first asks, "You a miner?" the second, "Son of a bitch!" the third, "Get out!" and then the last EVP, "You are Madonna!"

The EVPs sound gravely. I set the digital recorder on a rock as I ask questions.

Ghost Story

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 10:00 PM


Henry Saylor, who was killed in Covington, in a quarrel with Antonio Finch, was

a reporter on the Cincinnati Commercial. In the year 1859 a vacant dwelling in

Vine street, in Cincinnati, became the center of a local excitement because of

the strange sights and sounds said to be observed in it nightly. According to the

testimony of many reputable residents of the vicinity these were inconsistent with

any other hypothesis than that the house was haunted. Figures with something

singularly unfamiliar about them were seen by crowds on the sidewalk to pass in

and out. No one could say just where they appeared upon the open lawn on their

way to the front door by which they entered, nor at exactly what point they

vanished as they came out; or, rather, while each spectator was positive enough

about these matters, no two agreed. They were all similarly at variance in their

descriptions of the figures themselves. Some of the bolder of the curious throng

ventured on several evenings to stand upon the doorsteps to intercept them, or

failing in this, get a nearer look at them. These courageous men, it was said,

were unable to force the door by their united strength, and always were hurled

from the steps by some invisible agency and severely injured; the door

immediately afterward opening, apparently of its own volition, to admit or free

some ghostly guest. The dwelling was known as the Roscoe house, a family of

that name having lived there for some years, and then, one by one, disappeared,

the last to leave being an old woman. Stories of foul play and successive

murders had always been rife, but never were authenticated.

One day during the prevalence of the excitement Saylor presented himself at the

office of the Commercial for orders. He received a note from the city editor which

read as follows: “Go and pass the night alone in the haunted house in Vine

street and if anything occurs worth while make two columns.” Saylor obeyed his

superior; he could not afford to lose his position on the paper.

Apprising the police of his intention, he effected an entrance through a rear

window before dark, walked through the deserted rooms, bare of furniture, dusty

and desolate, and seating himself at last in the parlor on an old sofa which he

had dragged in from another room watched the deepening of the gloom as night

came on. Before it was altogether dark the curious crowd had collected in the

street, silent, as a rule, and expectant, with here and there a scoffer uttering his

incredulity and courage with scornful remarks or ribald cries. None knew of the

anxious watcher inside. He feared to make a light; the uncurtained windows

would have betrayed his presence, subjecting him to insult, possibly to injury.

Moreover, he was too conscientious to do anything to enfeeble his impressions

and unwilling to alter any of the customary conditions under which the

manifestations were said to occur.

It was now dark outside, but light from the street faintly illuminated the part of the


room that he was in. He had set open every door in the whole interior, above

and below, but all the outer ones were locked and bolted. Sudden exclamations

from the crowd caused him to spring to the window and look out. He saw the

figure of a man moving rapidly across the lawn toward the building - saw it

ascend the steps; then a projection of the wall concealed it. There was a noise

as of the opening and closing of the hall door; he heard quick, heavy footsteps

along the passage - heard them ascend the stairs - heard them on the

uncarpeted floor of the chamber immediately overhead.

Saylor promptly drew his pistol, and groping his way up the stairs entered the

chamber, dimly lighted from the street. No one was there. He heard footsteps in

an adjoining room and entered that. It was dark and silent. He struck his foot

against some object on the floor, knelt by it, passed his hand over it. It was a

human head - that of a woman. Lifting it by the hair this iron-nerved man

returned to the half-lighted room below, carried it near the window and

attentively examined it. While so engaged he was half conscious of the rapid

opening and closing of the outer door, of footfalls sounding all about him. He

raised his eyes from the ghastly object of his attention and saw himself the

center of a crowd of men and women dimly seen; the room was thronged with

them. He thought the people had broken in.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, coolly, “you see me under suspicious

circumstances, but” - his voice was drowned in peals of laughter - such laughter

as is heard in asylums for the insane. The persons about him pointed at the

object in his hand and their merriment increased as he dropped it and it went

rolling among their feet. They danced about it with gestures grotesque and

attitudes obscene and indescribable. They struck it with their feet, urging it about

the room from wall to wall; pushed and overthrew one another in their struggles

to kick it; cursed and screamed and sang snatches of ribald songs as the

battered head bounded about the room as if in terror and trying to escape. At

last it shot out of the door into the hall, followed by all, with tumultuous haste.

That moment the door closed with a sharp concussion. Saylor was alone, in

dead silence.

Carefully putting away his pistol, which all the time he had held in his hand, he

went to a window and looked out. The street was deserted and silent; the lamps

were extinguished; the roofs and chimneys of the houses were sharply outlined

against the dawn-light in the east. He left the house, the door yielding easily to

his hand, and walked to the Commercial office. The city editor was still in his

office - asleep. Saylor waked him and said: “I have been at the haunted house.”

The editor stared blankly as if not wholly awake. “Good God!” he cried, “are you


“Yes - why not?” The editor made no answer, but continued staring.


“I passed the night there - it seems,” said Saylor.

“They say that things were uncommonly quiet out there,” the editor said, trifling

with a paper-weight upon which he had dropped his eyes, “did anything occur?”

“Nothing whatever.”

The Spiritual Meaning of Colors By New Age Spirituality

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 2:35 PM

The Spiritual Meaning of Colors

Aura Colors, Healing Colors

Colors are one of the most beautiful and also one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the physical realm. We are surrounded by colors, but how often do we notice the numerous subtleties in the myriad shades.

Spiritually, color can impart both information - as in aura colors, and energy - as in healing. The aura is the spiritual energy field surrounding living beings which is "visible" to the psychically sensitive.

This short article presents the meanings generally associated with the most common colors. Use these meanings as a starting point in your own explorations. We are each unique individuals and colors may hold different meanings for us than for others, just as a piece of music inspires different feelings in different people.

Use colors to promote those qualities you wish to emphasize. Use them in your surroundings for qualities you wish to emphasize permanently. Wear clothes of appropriate colors to promote those qualities in a particular situation. You can also use colors simply by visualizing them, whether to promote their qualities or to exploit their healing energy for yourself or others.


Red symbolizes energy, passion, strength, courage, physical activity, creativity, warmth, and security. It is also associated with aggression. In healing, use red to bring warmth and burn out disease. Red is a powerful color and should be used in moderation. In the aura red signifies materialism, materialistic ambition, a focus on sensual pleasures and a quick temper.


Orange symbolizes the individual's relationship to the external world, the needs and wants of the physical body and the ways in which these are satisfied, the world of work. In healing orange may increase immunity and sexual energy. In the aura orange signifies thoughtfulness and creativity.


Yellow symbolizes intellect, creativity, happiness and the power of persuasion. It is also associated with cowardice. In healing use yellow to promote clarity of thought. In the aura yellow signifies intellectual development, for either material or spiritual ends.


Green symbolizes money, luck, prosperity, vitality and fertility. It is also associated with envy. Green is the color of healing; it is beneficial in all healing situations. In the aura green signifies balance, peace and often indicates ability as a healer.


Blue is the color of spirituality, intuition, inspiration and inner peace. It is also associated with sadness and depression (the "blues"). In healing blue is used for cooling and calming, both physically and mentally. In the aura blue indicates serenity, contentment and spiritual development.


Indigo is associated with psychic ability. In healing, use indigo for relaxation, reassurance and promoting psychism. In the aura indigo signifies a seeker, often of spiritual truth.


Purple is associated with power, both earthly and spiritual. In healing, purple is used for mental disorders and also for becoming one with Spirit. In the aura purple signifies higher spiritual development.


White is associated with truth, purity, cleansing, healing and protection. It is a good general healing color for the removal of pain and suffering. In the aura it signifies a high level of attainment, a higher level soul incarnate to help others.


Gold represents understanding and luck. Remember though that nothing comes from nothing, It is the most powerful healing color, but so powerful that many are not able to stand it initially and must be conditioned to it via other colors. In the aura it represents service to others.


Pink represents unconditional love, love requiring nothing in return. It is also the color of friendship and conviviality. In the aura it signifies balance between the spiritual and the material.


Brown is the color of the earth and represents practicality, material success, concentration and study. In the aura it indicates "down to earth-ness" and common sense.


Black is the absence of color. It represents the unconscious and mystery. Its visualization can help promote deep meditation. Black also stands for evil (eg black magic). In the aura it signifies some kind of blockage or something being hidden.

Comment on this item

See also The Human Aura: Astral Colors and Thought Forms - More articles on colors, auras, healing

Recommended reading

Color Medicine The Secrets of Color/Vibrational Healing by Charles Klotsche. The secrets of color vibration healing. A practitioner's manual for restoring blocked energy to the body systems with specific color wave lengths. By the founder of The 49th Vibrational Technique.

Life Colors What the Colors in Your Aura Reveal by Pamala Oslie. A colorful array of energy emanates from all beings. Pamala Oslie offers a guide to these aura colors and how they correspond to four main personality types. She also describes 12 combination colors and includes a test to determine one's own aura color. With celebrity examples and ways to cultivate new aura colors, this insightful guide can lead to greater self-understanding.

Auras An Essay on the Meaning of Colors by Edgar Cayce. America's greatest mystic and healer offers readers the results of a lifetime of observations and personal anecdotes relating to the meaning of auras, including the seven basic colors in the aura and how each is connected with a note on the musical scale, a planet in the solar system, and possibly health disorders. A fascinating account.



After Life

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 2:35 PM

After Life?


The question of what happens after death has always fascinated man. Many theories have been developed through religion and philosophy, some of which are discussed below together with my own ideas on the subject.

The movement known as Spiritualism originated in the nineteenth century. The Spiritualist philosophy holds that upon death, the spirit of the deceased passes from the Earth plane to a spirit plane. The living may contact these departed spirits by employing the services of a medium i.e. someone with the gift of communicating with this other world. Generally the medium makes use of clairvoyance and clairaudience to see and hear Spirit, describing their observations to the enquirer in the form of psychic readings. The medium describes the spirit as they would have been, giving details from the spirit to be confirmed by the enquirer for the purpose of providing evidence of survival.

Spiritualism caught the interest of eminent scientists Sir William Crookes (1832-1919) and Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940), and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) creator of Sherlock Holmes, among others. Today there is a network of Spiritualist Churches throughout Britain, with the "headquarters" of the movement, the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain (SAGB), occupying grand premises in Belgrave Square, Central London. In addition to offering individual consultations the SAGB also hold regular demonstrations of clairvoyance, where an invited medium gives psychic readings to members of the audience. The descriptions and messages given by the medium are more often than not recognized by their recipients. Whether this represents proof of an existence beyond the grave is a matter for personal opinion, but it can be quite impressive. Of course such results could be attributable to telepathy, psychology, guesswork or gullibility. For the interested or curious I would thoroughly recommend attending one of these demonstrations, which are open to non-members and held in a friendly, informal atmosphere.

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are the various recollections of people who have come close to death, or actually "died" for a short while. The surprising thing about NDEs is that many of them share the same features e.g. the impression of floating above, and observing, the physical body below including the attempts to restore life; the feeling of traveling down a tunnel towards the light; meeting with dead relatives and friends and a feeling of peace and well-being often with the preference to stay rather than returning to the earthly body. Many people who have experienced NDEs are able to describe details that they couldn't possibly have been physically aware of, e.g. the resuscitation efforts or events in distant locations. What is the significance, if any, of NDEs? Do they confirm the soul's survival of physical death, giving clues to the nature of the afterlife? Or are they merely hallucinations brought about by physical weakness e.g. a lack of oxygen reaching the brain?, and if so why are they often so similar? The large number of similar experiences, many reported by people who haven' previously known of NDEs, indicate they are more than hallucinations which would tend to vary widely from case to case. Descriptions of events of which the observer could have no physical knowledge add further weight to the theory of a distinct spirit, as do the Out-of-Body experiences of advanced esoterics. However, since nobody has crossed the threshold of reassurance and returned we are still, and will remain, ignorant of the true nature of any afterlife.

Tales of ghosts and hauntings abound in both fact and fiction. For such things to occur requires not only a spirit which may exist independently of a body but also one that is capable of affecting physical matter. Not all ghosts come from beyond the grave; poltergeist activity (i.e. the violent movement of physical objects) is thought to be associated with living individuals, usually hyperactive teenagers. Certain places are said to be haunted, often those with a violent or tragic history; their ghosts could be visitations from spirit or, more likely, emotional residues picked up by the sensitive. Whether ghosts exist outside the minds of their observers remains debatable.

The idea of reincarnation states that each spirit lives many earthly lives in different bodies either indefinitely, or until it becomes sufficiently developed to move on to the next plane of existence. Remarkable cases have been reported of people having detailed knowledge of past lives that have subsequently been verified as correct. Such accounts are often, but not always, given under hypnosis. The memories of past lives given by children carry more weight than those from adults, who may consciously or unconsciously be giving details that they have obtained during their current lifetime. Further clues to a previous existence may come from recurring dreams on a theme which has no relevance to the present existence.

Life on earth is either a random accident of a deterministic nature or a bonding of an immortal spirit with a physical body. Either way it is of limited significance, being at best a single step along an infinite journey. If we accept that the mind/spirit/soul is distinct from the physical body, as is suggested by our seeming freedom of will, then there is no reason to suppose that it ceases to exist at death. Scientific explanations of the observable universe are based on the principle of transformation between different forms of matter and energy. Rarely, if ever, is anything created from or destroyed to nothing. It is therefore unlikely that our spirit miraculously appears at birth and vanishes at death.

In questioning existence beyond death we should also consider the nature of existence before birth. If we believe the spirit remains after death then it more than likely existed before birth. What brings about the alliance of spirit with body? In the case of human beings life is created through an act of will (of spirits in incarnation), i.e. that of sexual union. The joining of a spirit with the newly formed body would occur some time between conception and birth. This view of a physical-spiritual partnership raises the question of whether all forms of life possess spirits. I believe they almost certainly do, with the potential of the spirit to exercise its will being determined by the type and complexity of the organism it occupies, and the complexity being determined by the degree to which an individual spirit has become differentiated from what is the generic spirit realm. Single-celled organisms and plant life provide evidence of the evolutionary steps towards producing more advanced creatures through which the spirits may achieve a more sophisticated earthly incarnation.

It is for the skeptic to define what it is within me that causes me to reach these opinions, or in them that fuels their skepticism? Is it merely the deterministic motion of the atoms in our brains? Could a random swirling of matter have really built the self-organizing complexity that we observe within the short life of this planet? Or could there be some deeper, hidden, non-physical driving force?

Following my father Ron's recent passing I was struck with doubt and despair. Desperately seeking reassurance that he continues in some form my contemplation and searching produced what follows:


• Mind is a distinct entity, not just a product of the physical being. This is suggested by our free will, emotion and non-survival motivations such as art appreciation.

• The non-physicality of mind is suggested by the mind's desire to believe there is something more than mere matter and energy, most strongly evidenced by the power of religious faith. A purely physical being would be untroubled by its purely physical nature. A psycho-physical one would be driven to prove it was more than atoms and molecules.

• If mind is non-physical and exists independently of the physical body it cannot be destroyed when the body ceases to function. It is natural for entities to be transformed from one state to another, but not for things to appear from nothing nor be completely destroyed. Thus mind, soul, spirit, consciousness... survives physical death, in some form.


• We each of us act unquestioningly as though there is some lasting purpose to our existence. If our mortality coincided with the finiteness of our very being we should not strive for satisfaction and significance in the way that we do.

• Thousands upon thousands of individual accounts suggest those that pass continue to exist and are able to touch those that remain. Just one account need be true for survival to be fact, every single account must be false if it is fallacious.

• In addition to individual experiences certain individuals, known as mediums, are able to provide evidence of the survival of individuals as distinct entities. I have been attending demonstrations of clairvoyance for a number of years and have personally witnessed numerous displays of mediumship that have far surpassed what could have been achieved by guesswork.

• I have also been given numerous personal messages by mediums unknown to me the accuracy of which were in considerable excess of what might have been obtained by physical means.

• The Church of England Majority Report of 1937, subsequently suppressed by the Church, found evidence that spiritualistic mediums could indeed communicate with departed spirits.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;

I am not there. I do not sleep.




Psychic definitions

Posted on July 10, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Clairaudience: Psychic perception involving sound.

Clairsentience: Psychic perception that involves emotion.

Lithomancy: Divining through the use of stones or jewels.

Numerology : Using numbers, birth date and time and reducing each to determine personality traits and fortune.

Dowsing: Through the use of a fork created from a stick, metal etc a dowser finds lost objects or water.

Crystallomancy: Divination through the use of crystals or a crystal ball.

Dereu: Divining through the use of druid sticks that are marked with rumic symbols or the words yes and no.


Central Oregon: Ghosts Are Everywhere DVD

Posted on November 1, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Madonna complete yet another paranormal investigation in central Oregon! Check out her new DVD on amazon!

Central Oregon: Ghosts are Everywhere!

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Ghateau at the Oregon Caves A Haunting

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 5:50 PM

I have a new version of the paranormal investigation completed by BoOSS at the Chateau at the Oregon Caves! Great extended footage of the investigation! The Chateau is haunted and some ghosts more aggressive than others!

Please be sure to check it out!


Posted on October 5, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Halloween is upon us and it seems only fitting to share an old ghost story or two! So here is the first in a four part series on Historical Ghost Stories:



The Rev. Samuel Wesley is chiefly known to posterity as the father of the famous John Wesley,

the founder of Methodism, and of the hardly less famous Charles Wesley. But the Rev. Samuel

has further claims to remembrance. If he gave to the world John and Charles Wesley, he was

also the sire of seventeen other Wesleys, eight of whom, like their celebrated brothers, grew to

maturity and attained varying degrees of distinction.

He was himself a man of distinction as preacher, poet, and controversialist. His sermons were

sermons in the good, old-fashioned sense of the term. His poems were the despair of the critics,

but won him a wide reputation. He was an adept in what Whistler called the gentle art of making

enemies. Though more familiar with the inside of a pulpit, he was not unacquainted with the

inside of a jail. He raised his numerous progeny[Pg 37] on an income seldom exceeding one

thousand dollars a year. And, what is perhaps the most astonishing fact in a career replete with

surprises, he was the hero of one of the best authenticated ghost stories on record.

This visitation from the supermundane came as a climax to a series of worldly annoyances that

would have upset the equanimity of a very Job—and the Rev. Samuel, in temper at any rate, was

the reverse of Job-like. His troubles began in the closing years of the seventeenth century, when

he became rector of the established church at Epworth, Lincolnshire, a venerable edifice dating

back to the stormy days of Edward II., and as damp as it was old. The story goes that this living

was granted him as a reward because he dedicated one of his poems to Queen Mary. But the

Queen would seem to have had punishment in mind for him, rather than reward.

Located in the Isle of Axholme, in the midst of a long stretch of fen country bounded by four

rivers, and for a great part under water, Epworth was at that epoch dreariness itself. The Rev.

Samuel's spirits must have sunk within him as the carts bearing his already large family and his

few household[Pg 38] belongings toiled through quagmire and morass; they must have fallen still

farther when he gazed down the one straggling street at the rectory of mud and thatch that was to

be his home; and they must have touched the zero mark, zealous High Churchman that he was,

with the discovery that his peasant parishioners were Presbyterian-minded folk who hated

ritualism as cordially as they hated the Pope.

Whatever his secret sentiments, he lost no time in endeavoring to stamp the imprint of his

vigorous personality on Epworth. Forgetful, or unheedful, of the fact that the natives of the Isle

of Axholme were notoriously violent and lawless, he began to rule them with a rod of iron. Thus

they should think, thus they should do, thus they should go! Above all, the Rev. Samuel never

permitted them to forget that in addition to spiritual they owed him temporal obligations. In the

matter of tithes—always a sore subject in a community hard put to extract a living from the

soil—he was unrelenting.

Necessity may have driven him; but it was only to be expected that murmurings should arise,

and from words the angry islanders[Pg 39] passed to deeds. For a time they contented themselves

with burning the rector's barn and trying to burn his house. Then, when he was so indiscreet as to

become indebted to one of their number, they clapped him into prison. His speedy release,

through the intervention of clerical friends, and his blunt refusal to seek a new sphere of activity,

were followed by more barn burning, by the slaughter of his cattle, and finally by a fire that

utterly destroyed the rectory and all but cost the lives of several of its inmates, who by that time

included the future father of Methodism.

The bravery with which the Rev. Samuel met this crowning disaster, and the energy with which

he set about the task of rebuilding his home—not in mud and thatch, but in substantial brick—

seem to have shamed the villagers into giving him peace, seem even to have inspired them with

a genuine regard for him. He for his part, if we read the difficult pages of his biographers aright,

appears to have grown less exacting and more diplomatic. In any event, he was left in quiet to

prepare his sermons, write his poems, and assist his devoted wife (who, by the way, he is said

to[Pg 40] have deserted for an entire year because of a little difference of opinion respecting the

right of William of Orange to the English crown) in the upbringing of their children. Thus his

life ran along in comparative smoothness until the momentous advent of the ghost.

This unexpected and unwelcome visitor made its first appearance early in December, 1716. At

the time the Wesley boys were away from home, but the household was still sufficiently

numerous, consisting of the Rev. Samuel, Mrs. Wesley, seven daughters,—Emilia, Susannah,

Maria, Mehetabel, Anne, Martha, and Kezziah,—a man servant named Robert Brown, and a

maid servant known as Nanny Marshall. Nanny was the first to whom the ghost paid its respects,

in a series of blood-curdling groans that "caused the upstarting of her hair, and made her ears

prick forth at an unusual rate." In modern parlance, she was greatly alarmed, and hastened to tell

the Misses Wesley of the extraordinary noises, which, she assured them, sounded exactly like the

groans of a dying man. The derisive laughter of the young women left her state of mind

unchanged;[Pg 41] and they too gave way to alarm when, a night or so later, loud knocks began to

be heard in different parts of the house, accompanied by sundry "groans, squeaks, and tinglings."

Oddly enough, the only member of the family unvisited by the ghost was the Rev. Samuel, and

upon learning that he had heard none of the direful sounds his wife and children made up their

minds that his death was imminent; for a local superstition had it that in all such cases of

haunting the person undisturbed is marked for an early demise. But the worthy clergyman

continued hale and hearty, as did the ghost, whose knockings, indeed, soon grew so terrifying

that "few or none of the family durst be alone." It was then resolved that, whatever the noises

portended, counsel and aid must be sought from the head of the household. At first the Rev.

Samuel listened in silence to his spouse's recital; but as she proceeded he burst into a storm of

wrath. A ghost? Stuff and nonsense! Not a bit of it! Only some mischief-makers bent on

plaguing them. Possibly, and his choler rose higher, a trick played by his daughters themselves,

or by their lovers.

Now it was the turn of the Wesley girls to[Pg 42] become angry, and we read that they forthwith

showed themselves exceedingly "desirous of its continuance till he was convinced." Their desire

was speedily granted. The very next night paterfamilias had no sooner tumbled into bed than

there came nine resounding knocks "just by his bedside." In an instant he was up and groping for

a light. "You heard it, then?" we may imagine Mrs. Wesley anxiously asking, and we may also

imagine the robust Anglo-Saxon of his response.

Another night and more knockings, followed by "a noise in the room over our heads, as if

several people were walking." This time, to quote further from Mrs. Wesley's narrative as given

in a letter to her absent son Samuel, the tumult "was so outrageous that we thought the children

would be frightened; so your father and I rose, and went down in the dark to light a candle. Just

as we came to the bottom of the broad stairs, having hold of each other, on my side there seemed

as if somebody had emptied a bag of money at my feet; and on his, as if all the bottles under the

stairs (which were many) had been dashed in a thousand pieces. We passed through the hall into

the kitchen, and[Pg 43] got a candle and went to see the children, whom we found asleep."

With this the Rev. Samuel seems to have come round to the family's way of thinking; for in the

morning he sent a messenger to the nearby village of Haxey with the request that the vicar of

Haxey, a certain Mr. Hoole, would ride over and assist him in "conjuring" the evil spirit out of

his house. Burning with curiosity, Mr. Hoole made such good time to Epworth that before noon

he was at the rectory and eagerly listening to an account of the marvels that had so alarmed the


In addition to the phenomena already set forth, he learned that while the knocks were heard in all

parts of the house, they were most frequent in the children's room; that at prayers they almost

invariably interrupted the family's devotions, especially when Mr. Wesley began the prayers for

King George and the Prince of Wales, from which it was inferred that the ghost was a Jacobite;

that often a sound was heard like the rocking of a cradle, and another sound like the gobbling of

a turkey, and yet another "something like a man, in a loose nightgown trailing after him"; and

that if one stamped his foot, "Old[Pg 44] Jeffrey," as the younger children had named the ghost,

would knock precisely as many times as there had been stampings.

None of these major marvels was vouchsafed to Mr. Hoole; but he heard knockings in plenty,

and, after a night of terror, made haste back to Haxey, having lost all desire to play the rôle of

exorcist. His fears may possibly have been increased by the violence of Mr. Wesley, who, after

vainly exhorting the ghost to speak out and tell his business, flourished a pistol and threatened to

discharge it in the direction whence the knockings came. This was too much for peace-loving,

spook-fearing Mr. Hoole. "Sir," he protested, "you are convinced this is something preternatural.

If so, you cannot hurt it; but you give it power to hurt you." The logic of Mr. Hoole's argument is

hardly so evident as his panic. Off he galloped, leaving the Rev. Samuel to lay the ghost as best

he could.

After his departure wonders grew apace. Thus far the manifestations had been wholly auditory;

now visual phenomena were added. One evening Mrs. Wesley beheld something dart out from

beneath a bed and quickly disappear. Sister Emilia, who was present,[Pg 45] reported to brother

Samuel that this something was "like a badger, only without any head that was discernible." The

same apparition came to confound the man servant, Robert Brown, once in the badger form, and

once in the form of a white rabbit which "turned round before him several times." Robert was

also the witness of an even more peculiar performance by the elusive ghost. "Being grinding

corn in the garrets, and happening to stop a little, the handle of the mill was turn [sic] round with

great swiftness." It is interesting to note that Robert subsequently declared that "nothing vexed

him but that the mill was empty. If corn had been in it, Old Jeffrey might have ground his heart

out for him; he would never have disturbed him." More annoying was a habit into which the

ghost fell of rattling latches, jingling warming pans and other metal utensils, and brushing rudely

against people in the dark. "Thrice," asserted the Rev. Samuel, "I have been pushed by an

invisible power, once against the corner of my desk in the study, a second time against the door

of the matted chamber, a third time against the right side of the frame of my study door."

[Pg 46]

On at least one occasion Old Jeffrey indulged in a pastime popular with the spiritistic mediums

of a later day. John Wesley tells us, on the authority of sister Nancy, that one night, when she

was playing cards with some of the many other sisters, the bed on which she sat was suddenly

lifted from the ground. "She leapt down and said, 'Surely Old Jeffrey would not run away with

her.' However, they persuaded her to sit down again, which she had scarce done when it was

again lifted up several times successively, a considerable height, upon which she left her seat and

would not be prevailed upon to sit there any more."

Clearly, the Wesley family were in a bad way. Entreaties, threats, exorcism, had alike failed to

banish the obstinate ghost. But though they knew it not, relief was at hand. Whether repenting of

his misdoings, or desirous of seeking pastures new, Jeffrey, after a visitation lasting nearly two

months, took his departure almost as unceremoniously as he had arrived, and left the unhappy

Wesleys to resume by slow degrees their wonted ways of life.

[Pg 47]

Such is the story unfolded by the Wesleys themselves in a series of letters and memoranda,

which, taken together, form, as was said, one of the best authenticated narratives of haunting

extant. But before endeavoring to ascertain the source of the phenomena credited to the soidisant

Jeffrey, another and fully as important inquiry must be made. What, it is necessary to ask,

did the Wesleys actually hear and see in the course of the two months that they had their ghost

with them? The answer obviously must be sought through an analysis of the evidence for the

haunting. This chronologically falls into three divisions. The first consists of letters addressed to

young Samuel Wesley by his father, mother, and two of his sisters, and written at the time of the

disturbances; the second, of letters written by Mrs. Wesley and four of her daughters to John

Wesley in the summer and autumn of 1726 (that is to say, more than nine years after the

haunting), of an account written by the senior Samuel Wesley, and of statements by Hoole and

Robert Brown; the third, of an article contributed to "The Arminian Magazine" in 1784 (nearly

seventy years after the event) by John Wesley.

[Pg 48]

Now, the most cursory examination of the various documents shows remarkable discrepancies

between the earlier and later versions. Writing to her son Samuel, when the ghost was still

active, and she would not be likely to minimize its doings, Mrs. Wesley thus describes the first


"On the first of December, our maid heard, at the door of the dining-room, several dismal groans

like a person in extremes, at the point of death. We gave little heed to her relation and

endeavored to laugh her out of her fears. Some nights (two or three) after, several of the family

heard a strange knocking in divers places, usually three or four knocks at a time, and then stayed

a little. This continued every night for a fortnight; sometimes it was in the garret, but most

commonly in the nursery, or green chamber."

Contrast with this the portion of John Wesley's "Arminian Magazine" article referring to the

same period:

"On the second of December, 1716, while Robert Brown, my father's servant, was sitting with

one of the maids, a little before ten at night, in the dining-room which opened into the garden,

they both heard one knocking[Pg 49] at the door. Robert rose and opened it, but could see

nobody. Quickly it knocked again and groaned.... He opened the door again twice or thrice, the

knocking being twice or thrice repeated; but still seeing nothing, and being a little startled, they

rose and went up to bed. When Robert came to the top of the garret stairs, he saw a handmill,

which was at a little distance, whirled about very swiftly.... When he was in bed, he heard as it

were the gobbling of a turkey cock close to the bedside; and soon after, the sound of one

stumbling over his shoes and boots; but there were none there, he had left them below.... The

next evening, between five and six o'clock, my sister Molly, then about twenty years of age,

sitting in the dining-room reading, heard as if it were the door that led into the hall open, and a

person walking in, that seemed to have on a silk nightgown, rustling and trailing along. It

seemed to walk round her, then to the door, then round again; but she could see nothing."

As a matter of fact, the contemporary records are silent respecting the extraordinary happenings

that overshadow all else in the records of 1726 and 1784. In the former, for[Pg 50] example, we

find no reference to the affair of the mill handle, the levitation of the bed, the rude bumpings

given to Mr. Wesley. There is much talk of knockings and groanings, of sounds like footsteps,

rustling silks, falling coals, breaking bottles, and moving latches; allusion is made to the badger

like and rabbit like apparition; and there is mention of a peculiar dancing of father's "trencher"

without "anybody's stirring the table"; but the sum total makes very tame reading compared with

the material to be found in the accounts written in after years and commonly utilized—as it has

been utilized here—to form the narrative of the haunting. Not only this, but a rigorous division

of the contemporary evidence into first hand and second hand still further eliminates the element

of the marvelous. Admitting as evidence only the fact set forth as having been observed by the

relators themselves, the haunting is reduced to a matter of knocks, groans, tinglings, squeaks,

creakings, crashings, and footsteps.

We are, therefore, justified in believing that in this case, like so many others of its kind, the

fallibility of human memory has played an overwhelming part in exaggerating the[Pg 51]

experiences actually undergone; that, in fine, nothing occurred in the rectory at Epworth,

between December 1, 1716, and January 31, 1717, that may not be attributed to human agency.

Who, then, was the agent? Knowing what we do of Wesley's previous relations with the

villagers, the first impulse is to place the responsibility at their door. But for this there is no real

warrant. Years had elapsed since the culminating catastrophe of the burning of the rectory, and

in the interim matters had been put on an amicable basis. Moreover, the evidence as to the

haunting itself goes to show that the phenomena could not possibly have been produced by a

person, or persons, operating from outdoors; but must, on the contrary, have been the work of

some one intimately acquainted with the arrangements of the house and enjoying the full

confidence of its master.

Thus our inquiry narrows to the inmates of the rectory. Of these, Mr. and Mrs. Wesley, may at

once be left out of consideration, as also may the servants, all accounts agreeing that from the

outset they were genuinely alarmed. There remain only the Wesley[Pg 52] girls, and our effort

must be to discover which of them was the culprit.

At first blush this seems an impossible task; but let us scan the evidence carefully. We find, to

begin with, that only four of the seven sisters are represented in the correspondence relating to

the haunting. Two of the others, Kezziah and Martha, were mere children and not of letterwriting

age, and their silence in the matter is thus satisfactorily accounted for. But that the third,

Mehetabel, should likewise be silent is distinctly puzzling. Not only was she quite able to give

an account of her experiences (she was at least between eighteen and nineteen years of age), but

it is known that she had a veritable passion for pen and ink, a passion which in after years won

her no mean reputation as a poetess. And, more than this, she seems to have enjoyed a far greater

share of Jeffrey's attentions than did any other member of the family. "My sister Hetty, I find,"

remarks the observing Samuel, "was more particularly troubled." And Emilia declares, almost in

the language of complaint, that "it was never near me, except two or three times, and never

followed me as it did my sister Hetty."

[Pg 53]

Manifestly, it may be worth while to inquire into the history and characteristics of this young

woman. Her biographer, Dr. Adam Clarke, informs us that "from her childhood she was gay and

sprightly; full of mirth, good humor, and keen wit. She indulged this disposition so much that it

was said to have given great uneasiness to her parents; because she was in consequence often

betrayed into inadvertencies which, though of small moment in themselves, showed that her

mind was not under proper discipline; and that fancy, not reason, often dictated that line of

conduct which she thought proper to pursue."

This information is the more interesting, in the present connection, since it contrasts strongly

with the unqualified commendation Dr. Clarke accords the other sisters. From the same authority

we learn that as a child Miss Mehetabel was so precocious that at the age of eight she could read

the Greek Testament in the original; that she was from her earliest youth emotional and

sentimental; that despite her intellectual tastes and attainments she gave her hand to an illiterate

journeyman plumber and glazier; and that[Pg 54] when the fruit of this union lay dying by her

side she insisted on dictating to her husband a poem afterward published under the moving

caption of "A Mother's Address to Her Dying Infant." Another of her poems, by the way, is

significantly entitled, "The Lucid Interval."

There can, then, be little question that Hetty Wesley was precisely the type of girl to derive

amusement by working on the superstitious fears of those about her. We find, too, in the

evidence itself certain fugitive references directly pointing to her as the creator of Old Jeffrey. It

seems that she had a practice of sitting up and moving about the house long after all the other

inmates, except her father, had retired for the night. The ghost was especially noisy and

malevolent when in her vicinity, knocking boisterously on the bed in which she slept, and even

knocking under her feet. And what is most suggestive, two witnesses, her father and her sister

Susannah, testify that on some occasions the noises failed to wake her, but caused her "to

tremble exceedingly in her sleep." It must, indeed, have been a difficult matter to restrain

laughter at the spectacle of the night-gowned, night-capped, much bewildered par[Pg 55]son,

candle in one hand and pistol in the other, peering under and about the bed in quest of the

invisible ghost.

To be sure, it is impossible to adduce positive proof that Hetty Wesley and Old Jeffrey were one

and the same. But the evidence supports this view of the case as it supports no other, and, taken

in conjunction with the facts of her earlier and later life, leaves little doubt that had the Rev.

Samuel paid closer attention to the comings and goings of this particular daughter the ghost that

so sorely tried him would have taken its flight much sooner than it did. Her motive for the

deception must be left to conjecture. In all probability it was only the desire to amaze and

terrorize, a desire as was said before, not infrequently operative along similar lines in the case of

young people of a lively disposition and morbid imagination.