Haunting in Wyoming County

It was in 1929 in Orangeville - located in Wyoming County, in the state of New York - that Rodolphe V. carried out his first investigation into a haunting. As a journalist who had travelled to the United States to report on the impact of the Wall Street crash and the ensuing Great Depression, he took an interest in a small haunted house in Orangeville. Poltergeists and apparitions were terrifying  the occupants of the house and their neighbours.

The personal diary of Clark White, a farmhand and devotee of spiritualist séances and magic.

The Surnateum actively seeks out the notebooks and handwritten notes of spiritualists, magicians, witches, witnesses to disturbing phenomena, and others.
This notebook dates from 1855 and is one of the oldest and smallest in our collection. Despite this, the writing is perfectly legible, although the spelling seems a bit eccentric. Rodolphe V. brought this notebook back with him from the United States in 1929.
The notebook belonged to Clark White of Wyoming County, New York, who apparently lived in Orangeville; the entries begin on 1 March 1855. The notebook, which may have been kept at the home of the Butler family, near Warsaw, includes several references to spiritualist séances and magic. It would appear that Clark White was a member of a religious congregation or sect, because he refers to his neighbours as fathers, sisters and brothers. The notebook is actually fairly humourous. A few examples are given below.

For instance, on 20 March he writes that it is "cold as Greenland,". On 21 March, "I chopped enough to break my ax (oh dear me)."
Although an excellent writer, White sometimes spelled his words phonetically, which can be confusing to the reader. One example: "wimin" instead of "women ".
1 April: "Cold windy snowy day. I kept the house. Cracked butternuts. Boiled a little sap … How good it is."
17 April: "I arose early and hunted skunks. Caught one in a box and played with him awhile and held the light for him to get away."
He sometimes acts like a shy young man with regard to the opposite sex: "Rained today. I worked in the house washing walls and run some upstairs and down and (was) led around by a woman, so I am tired."
The first mystery appears in early May: "My boy came from Buffalo." This was the first mention of any family.
On 4 May the mystery deepened: "Had an unsatisfactory talk with Jane White." Jane must have been his wife.
He first mentions spiritualism on 13 May: "Went to D. Griffins and heard a good spiritual lecture from his wife."
24 June: "Mr Green and wife staid until 2 o'clock (presumably 2 a.m.). We had a circile and the table tipped and rocked like a cradle."
1 July: "Went to Mr McWethey's and heard a lecture from an intranced (in a trance?) medium."
15 July: "Went to McWeithey to meeting. Good communication."
4 July (Independence Day): the child is mentioned again: "Went to Buffalo. Found Jane sick. William went to Mr Butts to live."

Such diaries are extremely rare. To find out more we contacted the historian for Wyoming County in the state of New York.