A HAUNTED SCHOOL-HOUSE.
The Pale Boy with a Beautiful Face and Mild Blue Eyes -
A Singular Story From Newburyport.
January 11, 1873
From the Merrimack Valley Visitor
In Newburyport we have a school-house that the School Committee have been forced to advertise as closed to visitors, because curious crowds waited within and without, to see the mysterious form of a ghost boy, who has been trotting around there for more than a year, seen frequently by the teacher - who is not a Spiritualist - and by most of the whole fifty pupils, who are too young (primary scholars) to mystify and deceive the people.
The school-house is a one-story building , that would be the last place in town for a spirit from any happy abode to wish to renew its' childhood in. There is an entry to the building, where is a flight of stairs to the attic, and a window looking into the school-room. The teacher's desk brought her back to that window, where the pupils told her a strange boy was playing his tricks, sometimes putting his head up to the glass and other times looking in.
They described him, and when seen he has always been the same in dress and appearance. To verify statements, she changed her seat to face the window, and by and by the face appeared - Jack Frost upon the window-pane. Not doubting but it was really a boy, she took her "ruler," the emblem of her authority, and made for the entry, and there she found him standing quietly in the corner -- one of the prettiest faces she had ever seen, with a sweet smile on his beautiful lips, and needing a kiss more than a blow. His body, dressed in neat white clothes, bore the appearance of one just past his first decade of years. His hair was almost white - a little tow-head; his face was pale as death, and his eyes a sweet blue. His face was older than his years, and he had the appearance of wisdom beyond his age. She advanced to him, and then he dodged to the attic stairs. She followed - is now near enough to take bold of him - reached for him, but he is not there. He seemed to sink through the stairs, and where she would grasp his person her hand struck the floor. He was gone.
Now we have a veritable ghost - what is to be done ? The police thought they could capture him. They arrested a lad as the author of all this commotion - the town through; and he had his choice to confess or take his chance for the reform school. It was not only the old witchcraft, but the old test. " Throw her into the river," said thev of olden times, " and we shall find out whether or not she be a witch. If she is innocent, she will drown ; if she swims, we'll hang her." The boy partially confessed; but he was not punished, because his teacher and all the pupils and his parents knew that he was not the strange boy that looked in at the window; and the face continued to reappear when he was away.
Next a carpenter was sent to nail up the passage to the attic, but " if love laughs at locks" much more do ghosts. The little tow-head even made more noise than before. He turned the attic into a carpenter's shop, where he, too. sawed and pounded and .nailed; and, as if to demonstrate the futility of human force to shut him out, he put his head down through the ventilator and took a survey of the school. Some of the children have been frightened, and one day one of them fainted; but few of them are excited about it. The teacher has spoken to him, and he only laughed from his happy face. The children looked at him, whom not one of them ever saw before, and be returns their glances with love in his soft. mild eyes; but as yet he has not told us who he is, whence he came, or what his mission. This comes nearest to a real ghost - a daylight ghost - of anything we have had in this city for years.