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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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PLAYFUL SPIRIT

"POLTER GEIST" IS A GERMAN TERM THAT MEANS SPIRIT THAT HECKLES
(PLAYFUL). BUT THEY WON'T HARM YOU. WHEN YOU BEGIN TALKING
ABOUT THEM, PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU LIKE YOU ARE CRAZY.
THIS INCIDENT ALSO TOOK PLACE IN WINCHESTER, TENNESSEE. THE
CATHOLIC SCHOOL THERE WAS CALLED WINCHESTER ACADEMY. IT WAS
IN A CIVIL WAR BUILDING, WHICH HAD BEEN THE HEADQUARTERS OF
ROSENCRAN DURING THE CIVIL WAR. FOR MANY YEARS THE SISTERS
HAD LIVED IN THE BUILDING, BUT AROUND 1962 THE OLD BUILDING HAD
BEEN CONDEMNED AND THEY MADE THEIR RESIDENCE IN A SMALL HOUSE
A FEW BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE SCHOOL. THIS HOUSE HAD BELONGED
TO A VETERINARIAN WHO WAS AN ALCOHOLIC. MANY OF HIS INSTRU-
MENTS WERE STILL IN THE HOUSE WHEN THE PARISH BOUGHT IT. THE
PASTOR CLEARED AWAY THE THINGS. THE WIFE HAD TAKEN VERY GOOD
CARE OF THE YARD. THE SISTERS HADN'T DONE AS WELL AS SHE.
WHEN THE PARISH BOUGHT THE HOUSE THEY HAD TO DO SOME REMAKING
SO AS TO MAKE A CONVENT FOR THE SISTERS. THEY HAD PUT THE
CHAPEL RIGHT NEXT TO ONE OF THE BEDROOMS.
ONE NIGHT AROUND 11:30 OR 12:00, THE SISTERS HEARD A SQUEAKING
SOUND, LIKE A DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING. BUT THEY COULD SEE
NO DOOR MOVING; THEN THEY HEARD HEAVY FOOTSTEPS AND WALKING
AROUND. THE SISTERS WERE IN THE SAME ROOM. THEY HEARD "HA,
HA, HA"--SOUNDING LIKE IT WAS IN THE CHAPEL, THE ROOM RIGHT
NEXT TO THEM. THEY WENT AND LOOKED ALL AROUND THE HOUSE,
THINKING SOME ONE WAS IN THE HOUSE. BUT THEY COULD FIND NO
ONE. THEY WENT BACK TO THEIR ROOM AND THEY COULD HEAR THE
SOUNDS AGAIN. SO THE TWO SISTERS DECIDED TO SAY THE ROSARY
OUT LOUD AND THE NOISE STOPPED WITHIN A SHORT TIME.

James Callow Keyword(s): EXORCISM ; POLTERGEIST

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 08-00-1968

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WHAT IS A POLTERGEIST?

A POLTERGEIST IS A GHOST WHO WATCHES OVER A PERSON, SIMILAR
TO A GUARDIAN ANGEL. HE IS A VERY HAPPY AND FRIENDLY GHOST ACCORDING
TO AUSTRIAN LEGEND.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): GHOST ; Haunt ; POLTERGEIST ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 01-00-1968

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