December 6, 1902: Skeptic Frightened by clog-dancing Spirit

On this day in Duluth in 1902, a skeptic visiting an alleged haunted house in Duluth’s West End was frightened right out of the house. The spirit was thought to be that of former alderman A. M. Cox, who ran the pavilion at Lincoln Park. Cox stopped to help sewer workers working at 27th Avenue West when he was overcome by sewer gas. He survived and was expected to make a full recovery, but then slipped into a coma. He died December 2 at St. Luke’s Hospital.  On December 5, a woman known as Mrs. Lindberg, who lived in a house Cox once owned at 26th Avenue West and Tenth Street, reported being startled by “rappings on the floor.” Some guessed it was the ghost of Cox or of Joseph Wold, who had died of smallpox in the house when Cox owned it. She found nothing in the basement that could cause the noise, and it continued throughout the day, even during a visit by police. Mrs. Linberg’s brother stayed in the house overnight, asking the spirit questions. At one point he played some harmonica at the spirit’s request, and “the clog of an expert jig dancer could be plainly heard on the floor.” The house began receiving many a curious visitor, and a dog was placed in the basement to “keep the spirit company.” However, the newspaper reported, the dog fled and “was last seen going down Tenth Street as fast as his legs could carry him.” The next day a spiritualist was brought in to reason with the ghost, but it refused to leave. Next a very skeptical man and his friends arrived to prove the spirit a fake. The ghost answered his questions with raps even when it was questioned in “Scandinavian.”  The inquisitor asked the spirit to strike louder, and when that request was answered with a rapping so loud the dirt shook out of the floorboards, “his hat rose on his head, a break was made for the door and he fled.”