Printed below are two stories of haunted homes as they appeared in the Mansfield Daily Shield in 1905 and 1907. The first is of a landlady, Mrs. Mary White, who was so distressed by spirits that she feared to enter her house alone. The second story concerns the Soule family. The family was plagued by tragedy during the time of this story. Shortly before moving into the home mentioned below, they were rescued from a house fire at No. 18 High School Ct. In 1909 John Soule’s 19-year-old daughter died of tuberculosis and, in 1920, Mr. and Mrs. John Soule lost their 25-year-old son, Sherman, to illness.
A Landlady of a Boarding House Annoyed by Ghosts
The Mansfield Daily Shield, November 7, 1905, p. 3
Residents of the north end are in a fever of excitement over an alleged haunted house, it being claimed that the house at 258-260 North Main street, next to Schwien’s saloon, is infested with visitors from the supernatural world. Traps and poison have proved of no avail, as the silent-footed visitors continue to stroll through the domicile.
According to Mrs. Mary White, who has recently moved into the house, and who by the way, announces her intention of soon moving out, the spirits hold high carnival almost any night of the week. Their regular lodge meeting night seems to be on Wednesday. Mrs. White has been keeping boarders in the house, which is a large rambling one, and she says that various occasions she has heard strange noises. Wednesday night she says the men boarders had all left and she and another woman were sleeping together in the house. Just as the chimes of the distant clocks were striking the silent hour of midnight, she heard a noise in the kitchen. Going down stairs she found the door which had been locked and bolted, standing wide open, with the bolt turned back. She shut the door and returned to bed in fright. This thing has been repeated several times, always when the men boarders were away.
On another occasion, a Wednesday night by the way, Mrs. White was awakened in the dead of night by a strange dread of something portending. She then heard on the panel of the cellar door, on the inside, seven distinct raps. This was followed by silence.
But the piece-de-resistance of this troubled soul occurred about two weeks ago, when a lady walked down the stairs. Mrs. White who, with another woman, was in the house at the time, awakened about midnight and distinctly heard the swish of silken skirts as if some richly-dressed lady was walking across the floor on the landing of the second story. Afraid to investigate, she followed the sound and heard the silent on go down the stairs. The last they heard of the wraith was a choking sound which might be a sigh of deep distress or a labored attempt at breathing.
Although the talk of ghost has been known to residents in the vicinity for some time, the first official notice came recently when, at the hour of midnight, Officer Beam found a woman on the street, shivering with cold and her eyes distended with terror. It was Mrs. White. She told the officer that all her men boarders had gone and her woman friend also had gone and she was afraid to sleep alone in the house. She had gone onto the street to see if she could find some friend and, while she was out, the lamp had become extinguished and she was afraid to go back into the dark house.
The officer found someone to stay in the house with Mrs. White, but there were no nocturnal visitors. Mrs. White says she will move without delay.
The House which Mrs. White has been living for the past three weeks, conducting a boarding place, is just such a one as ghosts are ascribed in folklore to inhabit. It stands in from the street, a great rambling mansion of fifteen rooms, built of gray brick, dark, gloom, uncanny. As a motive for the ghosts in which Mrs. White firmly believes, it is claimed that there have been enacted in the house three tragedies. Twenty-eight years ago a man living in the house fell from the porch and was killed. His wife then hanged herself from the stair banister. A few years ago, it is said that a man was burned to death by gas in the front parlor of the house.
Whether there be ghosts or no, at any rate it would surely make a first rate lodge initiation to require the candidates to spend a night in the place.
Noises in House
Occupants of an East Sixth Street Home Fear a Spirit is Abroad
Claim They Hear Footsteps and a Swinging Lamp Moves
The Mansfield Daily Shield, August 29, 1907, p. 6
Strange sounds and mysterious happenings have so disturbed the family of John W. Soule residing on East Sixth Street, that they are living in fear.
The house is said to be haunted. The Soule family has resided in the big green house for only a few months, and the family living there prior to their moving in claim that the “spirits” gave them no rest.
On the second night of the residence of the Soule family in the house, Vernon Soule, the son, was aroused by hearing footsteps in the hallway down stairs. Thinking it was his sister he ran down the steps but failed to find any one. Since then the steps are heard regularly every night.
The family who moved out before the Soule’s occupied the house, claim that the sound of walking was heard by them and that they, on several occasions, saw a woman dressed in white, pacing back and forth in the hallway during the late night hours.
They became so terrified that they moved as soon as possible.
Besides the sound of walking, the Soule’s claim that every night between the hours of ten and eleven o’clock, the lamp hanging in the hall way starts to swing back and forth and keeps the motion for some time.
Then there are strange noises, continuing through the night. The members of the family are terrified and several of their relatives are afraid to come near the house.
Reports of the strange happenings have been kept closely guarded by the Soule family for some time, but recently became known and have become a topic in the neighborhood.
A Job for Brave Men
They Have a Chance to Find Ghost
The Mansfield Daily Shield, August 30, 1907, p. 2
The “supposed to be haunted house” on East Sixth street is being shunned by all who have occasion to pass that way after the shades of night have fallen.
Ninety out of every hundred Mansfield citizens do not believe in ghosts. They are firm in their statements that spirits are only the products of imaginations and nervousness. However, when they walk by the house with the haunted term applied to it, they experience sort of a queer feeling and would not be at all surprised if something unearthly would happen.
A story circulated to the effect that a girl who was murdered paces back and forth in the hallway every night.
She is supposed to be resting uneasily in her grave and has a secret to impart which would clear up the mystery in connection with her untimely end.
It has been suggested that several of the brave ones spend the night in the haunted hallway and endeavor to see if there is any truth to the strange tales. A party of iron nerved young men would be most acceptable and the question of spirits could be solved once and for all.
While the majority put little credit in such stories still the strange goings in which have aroused and terrorized two families are worth looking into.