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IN LAKEWOOD, INHABITED BY STAUNCH CATHOLIC-IRISH-AMERICANS
ANY LEGEND CONCERNING THE DEVIL OR HELL WAS BELIEVED AND
KEPT ALIVE BY WORD OF MOUTH. THE OLD ANGLE, LOCATED IN
THE PARISH OF ST. PATRICK'S ON GROVE, PICKED UP THE
LAKEWOOD LEGENDS AND TRANSMITTED THEM THROUGHOUT THE
PARISH. THE {ST.} PATRICK'S WAS COMPRISED MOSTLY OF
IMMIGRANTS WHILE LAKEWOOD WAS SECOND AND THIRD GENERATION
IRISH. THERE WAS ALWAYS A BIT OF RIVALRY BETWEEN THE TWO
SECTORS TO SEE WHO COULD COME UP WITH THE BEST LEGENDS.
MOST OF THE TIME ST. PAT'S WAS IN THE LEAD, BECAUSE EVERY
DAY THERE WERE NEW PEOPLE FROM IRELAND MOVING INTO THE
NEIGHBORHOOD AND THEY BROUGHT WITH THEM MORE TALES FROM
THE OLD COUNTRY.
THIS TIME, THOUGH, THE LAKEWOOD CROWD HAD ST. PAT'S BEAT.
THERE WAS A FAMILY THAT LIVED ON GIEL AVENUE JUST OFF
CLIFTON BLVD. THE FAMILY CONSISTED OF A FATHER, MOTHER
AND FOUR CHILDREN. THE FATHER WORKED ON THE RAILROAD
AS DID MANY IRISH-AMERICANS. HIS WIFE TOOK CARE OF THE
HOUSE AND CHILDREN. THERE WAS ONE DIFFERENCE. THE MOTHER
WAS INCREDIBLY CRUEL AND OFTEN PUNISHED THE CHILDREN FOR
NO APPARENT REASON. THE NEIGHBORS TALKED QUITE A BIT ABOUT
HER BEING POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL. ONE NEIGHBOR WAS A
RELATIVE OF MY FATHER AND TOLD THE STORY OFTEN ABOUT THE
NIGHT THEIR SUSPICIONS WERE CONFIRMED. THE MOTHER HAD DIED
SOME ILLNESS NOT ESPECIALLY UNUSUAL IN THOSE DAYS OF
LITTLE MONEY OR MEDICAL HELP. THE WAKE AND BURIAL OVER,
EVERYONE HAD RETURNED TO THEIR HOMES. THE FATHER SAT STILL
IN HIS KITCHEN. A HOUSE AWAY, MY RELATIVE SAT WITH HIS
PARENTS. HIS FATHER LOOKED UP AND GLANCED OUT THE WINDOW
TO THE KITCHEN WINDOW NEXT DOOR. HIS GAZE WAS ARRESTED
BY A STRANGE LIGHT THAT SEEMED TO ILLUMINATE THE KITCHEN.
THINKING FIRST OF FIRE, HE AND HIS SON DASHED ACROSS THE
YARD AND UP THE BACK STEPS OF THE HOUSE. BY THE TIME THEY
REACHED THE INSIDE OF THE KITCHEN THE LIGHT WAS GONE AND THE
FATHER SAT WHERE THEY HAD LEFT HIM, NOW IN A STATE OF SHOCK.
HE POINTED DUMBLY TO THE WOODEN TABLE. THERE, BURNED INTO
THE SURFACE WAS THE UNMISTAKEABLE PRINT OF A WOMAN'S HAND.
HE SPOKE ONLY HIS WIFE'S NAME OVER AND OVER. SHE WAS, IT
SEEMS, WITH THAT SPIRIT WHO HAD POSSESSED HER. SHE HAD
APPEARED, HELD UP HER HAND, PLACED IT ON THE TABLE AND
DISAPPEARED.
THE TABLE IS SUPPOSEDLY LOCKED IN THE BASEMENT OF ST.
JOHN'S CATHEDRAL IN CLEVELAND. IF EVER ANYONE TRIES TO ASK
QUESTIONS OF THE BISHOP OR OTHER CLERGY THERE, ONE IS
MERELY ANSWERED WITH A VAGUE REFERENCE TO IRISHMEN BEING
THE BEST STORYTELLERS IN THE WORLD.

Where learned: OHIO ; LAKEWOOD ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 00001913-1968

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