I've been an admirer of Charles Fort's work since I was a kid; reading his many books full of newspaper stories he collected throughout his life that he called Anomalous Phenomena was like candy to me, and still is to this day. When going through the archives for material for Vintage Edmonton, I get a special thrill when I run across stories like the one that happened in Daysland, Alberta in February 1935.
Daysland, 140 kilometers southeast of Edmonton with a population of roughly 400 in 1935
Starting in the first week of February in 1935, the 3 room farmhouse of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Lansing, their 2 children, and their hired hand Frank Kennedy were besieged by an "evil spirit" that was making their lives a living hell. The Journal took notice of the story and reported first, though other Alberta newspapers in Calgary and Lethbridge and out of province newspapers in Vancouver, Windsor, Saskatoon and others quickly picked up the story and reported the proceedings as the days went on.
February 11, 1935:
The Journal's Editorial Page took notice, which wouldn't the last time:
February 12, 1935:
Father M.J. Schnitzler of the nearby St. Peter's Catholic Church was asked to help (or was asked by) the Lansings to give any assistance that he or the church could provide, and quickly took them at their word:
February 13, 1935:
Papers across the country started to pick up the story:
By the 14th, Daysland and the surrounding district were agog about the "evil spirit", and speculation ran wild about what was actually happening at the Lansing farmhouse. Reporters were dispatched to town to find out themselves, and were less than convinced that an 'evil spirit" was responsible:
February 14, 1935:
Then came a few cryptic lines from The Journal Editorial page:
February 15, 1935:
Interestingly, the "evil spirit" seemed to vanish as fast as suddenly as they appeared:
Another week passed with no more incidents, but the RCMP paid the Lansings a visit. What was said during the visit was unknown:
February 22, 1935:
Finally, a break in the case that gave up even more question than answers:
February 27, 1935:
Of course, the Journal Editorial page got the last word:
February 28, 1935:
So, what exactly went on here? The idea of a prank being played on the Lansings seems more than credible, but by who? The unnamed person mentioned in newspaper accounts that lived in the district who told the Lansings to "get out"? The Lansing's 11 year old daughter Eukaria, whose children's typewriter was the origin of at least 1 of the 3 letters to the Lansings that appeared? The hired hand Frank Kennedy? The Lansings themselves? Or any or all of the above?
All I know is that I'm going on a roadtrip to Daysland in the near future, so stay tuned.
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