Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Five Investigators and the Mystery of the Cowled Figure

The following appears to be either a fabulous urban legend, or the synopsis of a Three Investigators story. But I’ve included it for two reasons: it was reported as news in May 1929; and I have fond memories of The Three Investigators.
Two years ago a distinguished a distinguished Dublin citizen purchased a house and fishing rights in a desolate part of County Wicklow. When he went to reside there during the summer months weird occurrences began by night. Bells rang without apparent cause, doors supposed to be locked were heard slamming, and ghostly figures flitted through the rooms and corridors. The wife of the owner of the house awoke one morning to find three lighted candles arranged around her bed. A few mornings later six lighted candles, similarly arranged, were found round a maid’s bed. This was more than the occupants of the house could stand, and they promptly returned to Dublin.
Last Christmas the son of the owner of the house set out with four friends, resolved to pierce the mystery. Nothing happened till one of the party left the house to recover something he had left behind in the motor car outside. Then from a dark window overhead he saw an old-fashioned blunderbus pointing at him, and as he crouched for shelter he observed a cowled figure leave the house and go towards the out-offices. He got the impression that the stranger did not open the door on leaving the dwelling.
While the young man and his companions were discussing this puzzling manifestation there came loud reports as of gunshots discharging, doors banging, and furniture falling. Then the cowled man appeared before them, a terrifying apparition described as having a luminous face, malevolent expression, and ghastly gaps in his teeth, two of which were exceptionally large.
The startled investigators saw the cowled man go upstairs. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery they endeavoured to follow, but were driven back by bottles and other missiles which clattered downstairs with an awful din. Eventually they procured lights, and worked their way to the top of the house, where through a trap door giving access to an attic they saw the apparition of the cowled man hanging head downwards. The investigators thereupon decided it was time to go home.
One suggested explanation is that the strange figure is what is known in Germany as a poltergeist - an evil spirit full of malicious tricks. There are many more stories of the strange doings of this queer manifestation, but this one is especially worth recording. One of the youthful investigators made as soon as he got home a sketch of a cowled figure with the intention of showing it to his father. His companions agreed that it was an excellent likeness, and he put it in his pocket. When, however, the youth later took the sketch from his pocket the drawing had disappeared, and the paper was blank. Other people intent on solving the mystery have since visited the house, but the ghost did not turn up for examination.
Source:
  • The Derry Journal, 3 May 1929

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