20 April 1884
Brooklyn Eagle

FLUSHING HAS A GHOST _____________ Attention Drawn to a Mysterious Figure in White-- It Comes From the Quaker Meeting House and Fills the Beholders with Terror. _____________

The quiet town of Flushing, Long Island is in a feverish state of excitement over the alleged appearance of a ghost right in the heart of the town. It was first seen about a week ago coming out of the old Quaker meeting house, on Broadway just east of Main street. It dresses in white and generally has an old style sword hanging at its side. Unlike the Blissville banshee, this spook moves along quietly and interferes with nobody. A reporter for a Flushing newspaper was the first to see it, and he at once ran to police headquarters and informed Chief HANSE that "the devil just came out of the Quaker meeting house." It was about 1 o'clock in the morning, and the chief, who knows or pretends to know something about ghosts, was surprised that any kind of respectable ghost should be out at that unusual hour. He called the reserve and hastened with the reporter to the meeting house. As they approached the meeting house the chief was astounded at the site that met his gaze. It was a moonlit night, and he could plainly see the strange form disappear in the meeting house. They approached the house cautiously but found the doors and windows fastened. At this time the party had increased to ten, and one of them looked through the keyhole of the front door. He only looked for a second and then ran at breakneck speed through the vacant lot adjoining the house. The others of course ran after him; they were not afraid. They only wanted to know why he ran so fast. They caught up to him at the monument at Broadway and demanded an explanation. He was out of breath and it was noticed that he was turning deadly pale. One of the party had a small flask of water in his pocket, and it soon revived the rapidly sinking man. When he came to, he said: "My God, let us go home; what I saw through that keyhole I never want to go out again after dark." "Well, come tell us what you saw, nervously demanded the chief of police. "What I saw!" exclaimed the man. "Well I saw three big men dressed in white, and with swords hanging at their side. When I looked in first they were very close together, and one of them seemed to be explaining something to the other two. Then they commenced to dance and I ran away. Let us go home." The men held a hurried consultation, and the Chief and the reserve had to escort each man home, after which they returned to the Town Hall. The Chief kept the matter very quiet, and the next night placed a watch on the house. The officers stayed armed there all night, but could see nothing of the mysterious visitor. The watch was continued for the next few nights, but, with the same results On Friday night another young man of the village who had not heard of the ghost was passing the meeting house and saw the apparition, and his description tallies with that given by the reporter and others who claim to have seen it. It was the talk of the town yesterday, and many people went to the old Quaker meeting house to see if they could find any traces of the spook. Chief of Police Charles HANSE said yesterday: "I don't believe in ghosts; but 'tis strange that so many people should see the same thing and about the same hour of the night. I intend to lay for it myself and if there is anything there, you can just bet that I'll have it inside of a week." Mr. James EWBANK lives in the rear of the meeting house. He is 88 years of age and is one of the leading members of the Society of Friends, who worship in the meeting house. He faculties are not very bright, but his youngest son, about 60 years of age, who was with him, gave his version of the ghost story. He said: "I think its all nonsense. When I was a boy, about fifty years ago, I remember very well that there was a real ghost in the meeting house. You see where the meeting house now stands was a burial ground during the Revolutionary War and there were over 400 Hessians buried there. Fifty years ago they might be making some trouble, but I should think it's so long ago that there would not be enough of them left to make any trouble now." Mr. H. S. BARTOW, a wealthy contractor, of Flushing, also resides on Washington street, directly in the rear of the church. He hasn't heard or seen anything of the ghost or spook, but about forty years ago it was generally understood that the old meeting house was haunted. The appearance of the strange thing was the general topic of conversation in the stores and on the streets of Flushing yesterday, and arrangements have been perfected to keep a close watch on the meeting house until the mystery is solved.

Transcribers Note: Old Quaker Meeting House Built in 1694 by John Bowne and other early Quakers, the Old Quaker Meeting House is, by all known accounts, the oldest house of worship in New York State and the second oldest Quaker meeting house in the nation. Visitors to the Meeting House have included George Washington, John Woolman and William Penn. The Meeting House is recognized as a rare example of ecclesiastical architecture and as a monument to an important event in the struggle for religious freedom in America, the Flushing Remonstrance, a document which is perhaps the earliest demand for religious freedom in America. A National Historic Landmark and an Individual New York City Landmark, the Old Quaker Meeting House is also listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The Graveyard at Flushing Meeting House 137-16 Northern Boulevard Flushing, New York 11354 Back to GHOSTS Main Back to CEMETERY INDEX Back to BROOKLYN Page Main