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,
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
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.