The couple in the story below, Mr and Mrs Simon Fisher, had a fraught relationship, much of it over Mrs Fisher’s “friend,” the married Walter Carnes, and all of it conducted very publically in the newspaper. Charges of adultery and abuse were brought; divorce papers were filed; the adulteress and her affinity were arrested and imprisoned in the Workhouse; the Fisher children were sent to the County Home….
Then, unexpectedly, and after an illness of only ten days, Simon Fisher died on March 13, 1911. The dying man made his wife promise that after he was gone she would not marry Walter Carnes, nor even see him again. Linnie promised.
Death-bed promises were a serious matter, having an almost sacred binding force. They were not made lightly. That should have been the end of it.
But love—or obsession—never dies….
SPIRIT OF HER DEPARTED HUSBAND STALKS THROUGH HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT
FOR SHE BROKE PROMISE
SIMON FISHER HAUNTS HIS WIFE, SAYS FAMILY
WIDOW OF LATE SIMON FISHER SHADOW OF HER FORMER SELF
AND FAMILY HAS FEARS
HEAR STRANGE NOISES AND HAVE VISIONS OF MAN WHO HATED WIFE’S AFFINITY IS THE STOUT CLAIM OF FISHERS
The wrath of the spirit of the late Simon Fisher has been brought down upon the wife of Walter Carnes whose second husband was Fisher. Fisher secured a promise from his wife on his death-bed that she would never marry Carnes, whom he hated with a bitter hate; but just one month and three days after the death of Fisher the widow broke her promise and married Carnes. Since a month after the marriage the ghost of the late Mr. Fisher has haunted the little house on North Sixth Street in which Fisher and his wife lived but which is now occupied by Carnes and Fisher’s widow. Mrs. Carnes has worried until she is but a shadow of her former self and little strands of silver have appeared in her hair. Although only 40 years old, Mrs. Carnes looks 50.
Simon Fisher when alive was a non-believer—had no religion. He and his wife quarreled and lived unhappily. Fisher was much older than his wife which partly explained the strained relations. Mrs. Fisher became enamored of Carnes and the two became fast friends. Fisher took a decided dislike to the younger man. At one time he became so enraged that he purchased a revolver and started out to find Carnes to shoot him.
One day Fisher became suddenly ill and rapidly failed. Worry over his family troubles and physical disability soon sapped away his life blood and he died. A few minutes before his death he called his wife to his bedside and extracted from her the promise that she would never marry Carnes and would have nothing more to do with him. The promise was given.
Mr. Fisher was buried wearing a black suit and a white shirt and collar.
Just one month and three days after the death of her husband Mrs. Fisher was married to Carnes—on Easter Sunday last. They lived happily for a month when one night they were awakened by strange noises, as though someone were walking through the rooms of the restaurant in which the Carnes lived at the time. Mrs. Carnes and her husband became so frightened that they arose and lighted up the dining room of their restaurant and spent the rest of the night there.
A few weeks later the restaurant (now the Imperial) was sold by Mrs. Carnes and they moved into a house on North Sixth Street in which Mrs. Carnes and her former husband lived. The strange noises followed them there.
SEES THE SPIRIT
Ernest Middy, a son of Mrs. Carnes’ by her first husband, Christ Middy, was lying on a couch in a downstairs room about two weeks ago when he was awakened by someone gently touching him on the shoulder. He awoke and was startled to see Simon Fisher standing by the couch. Before Middy could speak the shadowy form walked across the room to a door and entered the bedroom which was formerly used by Fisher. Middy, in an interview Tuesday, said that Fisher wore the same clothes he wore when buried. Middy declares that the vision was not an hallucination as he does not believe in spirits.
“I was born with a veil,” said Middy. It is said that if the veil is kept that the child may see and talk with spirits. Middy however does not attach any importance to this.
Middy told the whole story to an Age reporter and is stout in his claim of its absolute veracity in every particular.
Other members of the family have heard strange noises in the house. One of Fisher’s own children says that she heard sounds as though someone were walking through the house. Others have heard dresser drawers in an upstairs room rattle and doors have opened and closed. Investigation into the cause of these has never revealed anything.
DOGS HER STEPS
Mrs. Carnes has been followed around the house for hours by the spirit. She hears the footsteps but when glancing around she is unable to see anything. She will say but little about the strange occurrences but is worrying herself sick. Ever since the first strange noise was heard she has been ill and is rapidly losing flesh.
Mr. and Mrs. Carnes are now spending the summer in a camp to get away from the noises and the spirit’s strange actions. The family fears that Mrs. Carnes may worry herself into a critical illness.
Mrs. Carnes was married three times. Her first husband was Christ Middy. By this marriage one son was born, Ernest, who with his wife lived with Mrs. Carnes. Her second husband was Fisher. They had five children all of whom are at home and all of whom have heard the noises. The third husband is Walter Carnes.
Coshocton [OH] Daily Age 25 July 1911: p. 1
One might think that the apparition of her late husband was simply a projection of Linnie’s guilty conscience—except that there were so many other witnesses….
In an article headed DEATHBED REQUEST VIOLATED; GHOSTS MAKE THINGS LIVELY, it was said that all five of the children were “showing the strain….A grown son and daughter each declare that on separate occasions they saw visions of Fisher. So vividly did he appear before one of them, and so penetrating the stern look in his eyes, that the child shrank back in horror and seemed to suffer a prolonged shock.”
Warren [PA] Evening Mirror 27 July 1911: p. 1
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: You may read the entire lurid, but riveting story in The Face in the Window. It is, Mrs Daffodil regrets to say, like watching a train-wreck.