“The Specter Spook” was the nickname the citizens of the peaceful city of Goshen, Indiana gave an annoying ghost that appeared on the streets in September 1909. Hundreds had seen it. The specter generally stayed in the part of the city lying near South Ninth and South Tenth Streets.
According to stories told, the ghost assumed various forms. When it was first seen it was often described as a tall woman dressed in white. Residents said the spirit seemed subdued and quiet. One woman saw it standing near her clothesline early in the evening shortly after dusk.
A week later, the specter appeared dressed in black with a white fascinator upon its head and began to walk the streets of Goshen. Those who saw it said it moved with incredible speed and had the ability to disappear when they tried to chase it. Soon it became to be known as the “woman in black” and many citizens would darken their homes and watch for the mysterious specter. They were not disappointed. The ghost would appear and, slipping from house to house, would peek into the windows, and look around the rooms.
Frank Gowker met up with the spirit in the street. It turned sharply on him and stated it was not peering in his window. He lost two cows and a horse after that brief encounter. Mrs. George Simmons and Mrs. Newton both said they saw the ghost near their homes. They described it as a short woman, heavy set, of dark complexion, with neat-fitting clothes. It had a prominent nose, with sharp, black eyes.
Dart Emmerick saw the ghost standing on a sidewalk and it disappeared as he approached, leaping behind a fence. He searched, but could not find where it went. A young lad, Grover Downing, stepped out of the grocery store and ran into the ghost. He held on to it in fright and said that in an instant it was 20 feet away in the middle of the road. Then the ghost slowly vanished. Other citizens looking for the spirit described it as a woman—yet tall and broad enough to be a man.
One moonlit night the young men and boys organized a ghost hunt. They surrounded the district and closed into a common center—a pair of them searching through every alley and street. Two of them saw the ghost. Both men fired point blank at it. Other ghost hunters alerted by the gun shots and shouts joined the pursuit in vain. The ghost led the crowd on a chase of five blocks, making no sound, and then suddenly disappeared.
Some said the ghost was the spirit of a man who had recently passed away, regretting to die. Older citizens recalled that 25 years prior (about 1884) the ghost of an unknown man who had been ran over by a train wandered about that same neighborhood in search of his head.
Goshen, Indiana is located southeast of South Bend, Indiana. The haunting seems to be centered between South Ninth and Tenth Streets near the old railroad tracks and the old Lincoln Highway.
Debe Branning firstname.lastname@example.org