Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spiritualism Extraordinary, or The Ghost Of Asa Smith

Well, this evening we were in the back parlor with quite a number beside, when a modest, quiet gentleman called for a sitting.  Foster [the spiritualist] was loath to leave his friends, but we insisted; he passed through to the front room and told the new-comer to write the names of deceased friends or relatives on the slips of paper, carefully fold them and place them on the table.  Returning to us, he left the stranger to his literary efforts.  Conversation was very merry for a few minutes, Foster in the gayest spirits, when suddenly he turned pale and dropped his cigar, saying: "That man has called up the spirit of a drowned man, who has come directly in here to us, and is hovering around [Charles] Pope..."

To witness this last phenomena we all closed in around the table, when Foster took up the papers hitherto untouched, that were folded on the table.  As the third touched his forehead a ghastly pallor overspread the extremely florid face of the medium.  "Why, Pope," he says, "though this gentleman has called this spirit here he comes as much to you as to him, his name is Asa.  He's a slim gentleman with high prominent nose, he was drowned in Biddiford pool."

"Good God," I ejeculated, "Mr. Pope, it's Asa Smith, Mark's brother."  Then finding the assembled shades were friends of the whole party, we made a family affair of it and sat down.

The whole interview was entirely satisfactory, and some very strange things were done and said.
-St. Louis Republican, February 14, 1875

We're coming up on the sixth anniversary of this website and, in all that time, I believe that this is the first supernatural ghost story that I've been able to pass along.  The whole article was about the writer and Pope's skeptical visit to Foster, the medium, and how they came away convinced that he was not a fraud.  The stuff about Asa Smith was just kind of random and probably the most interesting reference I've ever seen to one of the most significant figures in St. Louis baseball history.  In all honesty, I can't really say that I ever expected to hear a ghost story about Asa Smith.   

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