Monday, September 20, 2010

The Imp of Clark Alley

January of 1880 saw the appearance of one of the most bizarre phantoms I know of in West Clark Alley in York, on the block between Beaver and George Streets.

Sometimes he comes in the form of a man and puts on the airs of a horse-thief; then, again, he struts along in the shape of a huge demijohn on two legs, and not infrequently like a rolling beer barrel, tapped at both ends. The horse-thief shape is never interfered with but the other two forms are chased up and down the alley, but, like the will-o-the-wisp, are never captured.

A few days later, a search party comprised of what were apparently Victorian ghost hunters sought the apparition, which had this time appeared as a young boy selling newspapers. It promptly vanished in a puff of smoke, or perhaps in a puff of logic like God confronted by the existence of the Babelfish, but left behind a scrap of paper covered in unintelligible characters.

Sometime later the pooka of York appeared to a woman on King Street in the shape of a tall woman dressed in black (the appearance of such black and white female spirits is certainly a favored appearance for ghosts).

Another haunting on South Court Alley was also attributed to the mutable spirit. In this case, however, the haunt was purely auditory. And possibly none too mysterious, either, as a stable was plagued by the sound of some demonic entity throwing hay around! Oh, the horror!

I haven't ever heard of a phantom appearing as a dancing bottle of liquor or as a beer barrel!

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