Monday, October 15, 2007

Haunted House of Flying Walnuts

What better time of the year to read stories about Haunted Houses than October? This book was offered in the early 70s through my grade school's book fair. What kid wouldn't want to read about ghosts?
The best section is titled "The Ghosts that Were Photographed," and includes a photo from Raynham Hall in England in the year 1936. As a kid I was mesmerized by this photo of what is supposedly a veiled figure descending the staircase. The thought of being in a spooky old mansion, looking up and seeing a ghost coming towards was super scary.
The coolest story was about the farm poltergeist in Hartville, Missouri. Little Betty Ruth and her grandmother were cracking walnuts when all of a sudden, walnuts were flying left and right! Poor grandma even got a few walnuts to the skull,which almost broke her glasses. The drawing portrays a whimsical walnut ballet. Guess it's better to leave kids with this image than that of a maniacal poltergeist reigning blows upon an innocent little old lady in a rocking chair.
This diagram maps the mischief of the Bottle Popping Poltergeist by documenting each bottle he moved and the trajectory each object took - oddly compelling, yet utterly useless. If only they had mapped the flying walnut incident.

14 comments:

jason said...

Hey, I have that book! How funny... I've never run across another copy aside from the one I've had since fourth grade...

I always like that photo of the veiled lady ghost, too.

madpuppy said...

I don't know how many times I signed that book out of the library when I was in elementary school!

I loved the ghost photos, and the cover always gave me the creeps.

Chris Jart said...

Yeah, there are only two photos in the book, but they totally give you the creeps.

And I'm glad to see that other people remember this book.

Kirk D. said...

There it is! I'd better take a screenshot so I can show my therapist.

Chris Jart said...

Kirk, you're scaring me.

Anonymous said...

I had this book too! The stairway in the picture looked just like the one I had to climb to get to my cub scout meetings down town. I always sprinted up the steps to get past the "ghost".

Chris Jart said...

I would have freaked out if I'd had to climb a staircase like this.

OutThere.... said...

Thats crazy I'm from hartville, missouri.

Anonymous said...

I live in Hartville, but I've never heard of that story before.

Anonymous said...

I got that book in the 2nd or 3rd grade. My mom wouldn't let me read Stephen King but was okay with this...which by the way was responsible fro many sleppless nights.

My favorite story was the Elke Sommer home's poltergeist that helped her family escape from a fire.

Anonymous said...

I still have my copy of this book from grade school scholastic book club! One of my faves to this day. It scared the crap out of me as a kid.

Anonymous said...

Not only do I have this book, the Poltergeist Story in Hartville is about my family. I grew up in Hartville and always loved when Grandma Daisy told me ghost stories about the farm.

Chris Jart said...

Okay, that's really cool, although I'd hate to have walnuts flying around. Those shells are hard! But it'd be great to hear the stories.

Anonymous said...

I had this book too! Haven't thought about it in 30 yrs.