The Atlantic Monthly Case of 1868

The year was 1868, and Mr. H.A. Willis was a firm opponent of spiritualism; a skeptic of strong convictions. It was his accounts of Mary Carrick and the phenomena that surrounded her that made this case somewhat well known. Ms. Carrick, an Irish immigrant in Boston, Massachusets became distressed over various bells in the house ringing when she was present.


Subsequently, raps and knocks started occurring in the house, following Ms. Carrick from room to room. Such was her state that she would be described in modern times as having a nervous breakdown. Terrified of being sent away, Ms. Carrick would be present while chairs turned, crockery broke, and tables were lifted and moved. Mr. Willis remained unable to account for any of these events.


While the occurrences stopped on their own, Mr. Willis, interestingly enough, believed that the disturbances were electrical in origin (Side Note: Modern parapsychology has numerous studies associating electromagnetic fields with both psychic and haunting phenomena). He even went so far as to electrically insulate Ms. Carrick’s bed. by using glass underneath the bedposts. The knocks after that time ceased. Coincidence?



Submitted by: Brian Laythe



Gauld, A., & Cornell, A.D. (1979). Poltergeists. London, England: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

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