8 November 1885
Brooklyn Daily Eagle


A number of gentlemen who reside in South Brooklyn were having a friendly chat upon various topics a few days ago at Masonic Hall, when the conversation turned upon the subject of supernatural appearances. Several of the party told of strange experiences they had during their lives, and Mr. Benjamin R. HICKS, of Fifth avenue, related an adventure which was so strange that it made a deep impression upon the minds of his listeners, and was not laughed at as other stories had been. The story he related came to the ears of an Eagle reporter last evening and he sought out Mr. HICKS. He was found busily engaged waited upon customers at his place of business. "Do I believe in ghosts?" echoed Mr. HICKS. as he offered the scribe a seat. "If ever anyone saw a ghost I did- or, if it wasn't a ghost I'd like some learned scientist to explain the phenomenon." When asked if he would tell the reporter, he said, "Well, I don't mind telling you what I honestly believe I saw, although I don't want you to put me in any ridiculous light before the public. Several years ago I was engaged in the milk business and delivered milk at my customers houses. I had on my list a man by the name of John DAY, who lived in Amity street, near Hicks, and between Hicks and Henry. The family, which consisted of DAY and his wife, lived on the top floor of the house, and were people in the ordinary walks of life. My first visit to those apartments was made one Thursday morning, just as day was breaking. The halls were dimly lighted by a gas jet burning in the upper story, and, in order to see my way up the lower flights of stairs, not being used to them, I placed a large stone against the street door to hold it open, so that I might have the benefit of what little daylight there was at that early hour. I started up the stairs, with my milk can in one hand and an empty cover- such as we carry milk in-in the other hand was about half way up the second flight when I saw a very old, feeble lady coming down, holding the banister for support. No thought of a ghost entered my mind at the time. I supposed someone in the house was up at an unusually early hour, or that possibly someone was sick. I pressed against the wall, to let her pass me, and she did so. I saw that she was about 80 years old and very wrinkled. I also noticed that she wore a black dress, a black cap faced with white and a black shawl. She made no noise as she went by me, and my curiosity being aroused at seeing such an old lady at that hour going out of the house, I turned to watch her, but, to my astonishment, she had mysteriously disappeared. There was not a door anywhere on the flight of stairs where she passed me. I went up to Mrs. DAY'S door, poured the milk into the pail she had left in the hall to receive it and left the house. I had no thought at the time of having seen a ghost, or whatever you may call it. The following week I went to Mrs. DAY'S to collect my bill, and casually asked her who the old lady was whom I had passed on the stairs. Her face turned as white as a sheet and she dropped the dish she held in her hand. "Did you meet her?" she gasped, "Did you see her- the ghost?" I told her just what I had seen and she assured me that life in the house was simply unbearable on account of that same old lady. She said an old woman, the exact counterpart of the one I had described, had owned the house years ago and had been murdered by her son in law, who secured a large sum of money that she had secreted in the house. He burned her body in the cellar and it had lain there for years until the bones were finally discovered by some men digging in the cellar. As the family were all dead nothing could be done toward bringing the murderer to justice. Ever since the discovery of the bones the house had been haunted by the woman's ghost. Doors were slammed and opened, locks were unlocked, windows were rattled and unearthly groans heard. She said that she had moved into the house only five days before, but, although she had paid a month rent in advance, she would lose that and move at once rather than pass another such night of terror as the five nights spent there had been. And move she did, for when I went there the next day I found a card tacked on the door giving her new address and learned then for the first time that no one had lived in the lower part of the house for months on account of the ghost. Alone in a haunted house, at 3 o'clock in the morning, I confess I was frightened and started out without delay. Going down the rickety stairs my toe struck a small block of wood which went rolling down the steps, making an awful din, and as I finished the last flight, five steps at a jump, my hair raised. I never went into the house again and am not anxious to, I assure you." Back to GHOSTS Main Back to CEMETERY INDEX Back to BROOKLYN Page Main