This is such a perfect article for so many reasons. First of course the obvious would be the Halloween season with the ghost, witches and bats coming out. The second would be it’s so funny and typical of many kids. Finding a way to scare each other is a blast but finding a way to scare your parents that’s classic. I’m sure we have all done it or at least thought about the best way to see our mom jump and our dad run. I would have to say I never made my dad run but oh yeah I made my mom jump with the help of my brothers. I’ll save that story for later.
January 8, 1884
Trenton Evening Times from out of Trenton, New Jersey
THE BAD BOY’S GHOST
How He Made His Esteemed Pa Think the House Haunted.
From Peck’s Son.
“Well, you see, last night we got to talking about haunted houses, and pa said there was no such thing as a haunted house. He said whenever any unusual noise was heard in a house, instead of investigating it, people got scared and went around talking about the house being haunted, and before long everybody believed it, and everybody was nervous. Pa said that haunted houses was on a par with spiritualism, and people of sense never took any stock in either. He said if I ever heard of a haunted house to let him know, and he would go through it and investigate in in the dark. That evening my chum’s cat came over to visit our cat, and when it was time to go to bed the two cats were sleeping by the stove, and pa told me I better put the cats out doors and go to bed. So I took the cats up carefully and raised up the cover to the piano and laid the cats down in the back side of the instrument, among the strings, and petted them, and they went to sleep, and shut down the cover, and we all went to bed. Pa and ma sleep right over the parlor and I sleep at the back of the house. Along about 2 o’clock in the morning, about the time cats usually get wok up and begin to prowl around, there was a faint scratching of toe-nails on the strings, and a yowl that sounded as though it came from the sewer. It was evidently music, such as you get at boarding houses where a boarder practices on the piano for her board. I got up and went to pa’s room, and ma was sitting up in bed with her nightcap off, her hair standing right up straight, and she was trying to get pa to raise up and listen, but it wasn’t pa’s night to listen, and he put his head under the bedclothes and tried to snore. I told pa that I wasn’t afraid, but I wished he would let me sleep on the lounge in his room, and pa raised up and wanted to know what the row was and just then the cats in the piano seemed to have come together for their regular evening fight, and of all the music you over heard that beat everything. Pa listened and said it was somebody next door trying to play opera, but ma said something was in the house, and I told pa the house was haunted, and for him to get up and investigate. Pa was kind of ‘shamed to be afraid, so he got up and went out in the hall, and just then the cats go to fighting another round, and pa rushed into the bath-room and closed the door, and yelled for me to open the window and holler for the police. I got up and asked pa, through the door, if he was afraid, and he said no, he wasn’t afraid, but he thought, seeing he was in the bath-room, he would take a bath, and I told him if he was afraid I would go down and investigate, because there was no haunted house that had any terror for Hennery, and I went down and let the cats out, and they got on the back fence and had a real sociable time, and after it was all still pa came out with a towel in his hand and tried to make us believe he had taken a bath at 2 o’clock in the morning with cold water.