Thursday, October 31, 2019

John Armstrong Haunting in Carlisle Iowa

Every night at just after sunset the residents of Carlisle. Iowa grew accustomed to seeing Mr. and Mrs. John Armstrong sitting in their armchairs. The only thing that bothered people a bit was the couple had been dead for two years. 

In July 1903 their grandson, C. C. Sumter sent a man to fix up the home so he could rent it out. The man came back, wild-eyed, screaming that he’d “seen the ghosts of two old folks, as real as life.”

Sumter had his doubts and asked Mayor Atkins to investigate. 

The mayor wrote back: Decorator right. Ghosts of John Armstrong and wife seen nightly at their old home. Entire town perplexed and witnessing the spectacle.

Sumter thought they were crazy but came to see for himself.

Sure enough his grandparents materialized in their chairs at daybreak and faded out come nighttime. Just like in real life, his deaf grandmother tapped on the floor with her cane to get the old man’s attention. The couple appear to talk. Their lips move, but no sounds are heard.

Upon further investigation, it developed that ghosts only appeared on bright, sunshiny days. Apparently, John Armstrong didn’t like dark, gloomy days. He’d close the blinds and hide away in his house. 

Years later, a small boy solved the mystery. The stained glass window in the Christian Church across the street had an image of an old couple. When the sun shone it cast their reflections into the Armstrong’s living room. On dark days, there was nothing.


Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 23, 1903.

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