It Wasn’t Ghosts (Part III)

erik-muller-zrfD9aVUVsU-unsplashHello! I’m back with ghost hoaxes and false spirits from the newspaper archives. If you haven’t yet, check out Part I & Part II.

Today’s stories have a theme: pipes.

What’s in the Oil Well?

Tales of a haunted oil well on the edge of Rosedale Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania spread in 1910. Residents reported hearing “blood-curdling groans” and desperate pleas: Help! Let me out! I’m being smothered!

A party decided to investigate as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

It was found that a pipe extended from the casing of the well back into the woods. A member of the Investigating party groaned into the pipe. His colleagues at the well almost jumped out of their shoes. The groans, apparently, came from far down in the earth. The mystery was solved. 

Even though they found the hoaxer’s tool, the hoaxer was never identified.

Source: 23 September 1910, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (pg. 2)

“A Pipe Dream”

Residents of Joplin, Missouri found out their local ghost story was just “a pipe dream” according to the Joplin Globe (1929). A disembodied voice that sounded like it was coming from the “bowels of the earth” was repeatedly heard near a cottage at 12th Street and Michigan Avenue. A ghost moving around in a pasture next to the cottage was also reported. The cause? Child’s play!

A brother and sister found that talking into a drainage pipe in their yard would frighten their playmates and neighbors as it created spooky sounds. The kids even took it to the next level by creating a ghost with a broomstick and a sheet.

Source: 27 August 1929, Joplin Globe, Joplin, Missouri (pg. 2)

Who knew pipes were so good for supernatural tricks!


Photo by Erik Müller on Unsplash

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