Friday, November 11, 2011

The Red Devil-Bat of Chester

From the New Castle News (August 24, 1928):
A strange creature termed a "devil" caused a sensation in the rooming house of Mrs. Mary Strichter here early on Thursday [August 23].

Awakened by the "devil" flying into the room where she was asleep, Mrs. Andrew Turk, a daughter, screamed, arousing her husband who found the strange creature hiding behind a curtain. Seizing a chair he knocked it down and aided by several roomers bundled the creature into a rug and hurled it through a window, according to her story.

Mrs. Turk described the "devil" as being about three feet broad with a bright scarlet body and two protruding horns. It made a continuous buzzing sound, she said.

Neighbors when they learned of the incident nodded their heads knowingly and re-asserted that the house was "haunted". The occupant of the home prior to the advent of the Strichter family was a lone old lady who kept a number of rooms locked and barred. Rumors were current following the episode that one of these rooms had been unlocked.
Maybe someone saw a bat and majorly freaked out?

This may have occurred at 719 Mill Street, according to the obituary of Mrs. Stichter (minus the R), which I found in the Chester Times for July 6, 1937. That is the address where it says she lived with her husband, Horace, and it also lists a daughter, but gives her name as Mrs. Anthony Turek, not Andrew Turk. This all sounds close enough for me.

This location, it seems, isn't very far from where a Chester man was pursued by the Jersey Devil -- "with wings like a bat and a long tail the end of which looked like the point of an arrow" -- which rose from the fog and gave chase along Engle Street, disappearing near the elevated railroad tracks, on the night of January 21, 1909.

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