The Great Amherst Mystery
On September 4, 1878, Esther Cox woke up screaming in her bedroom in Amherst, Nova Scotia. The 19-year-old shared a room with her sister Jennie, and when she calmed down she complained that she’d felt a mouse under her mattress. The two girls lived in the house of their elder sister and her husband, Daniel Teed.
Daniel’s brother John Teed was also living there.The sisters searched, but the room appeared to be suspiciously rodent free. Then, the same thing happened the next night. Again they searched, and again they found nothing. Then, on September 6, Esther awoke in pain, her entire body swelling and turning bright red. A series of loud bangs echoed through the room, after which Esther returned to normal and fell asleep.The same thing happened again a few days later, but this time other family members heard the commotion and rushed into the room.
Esther’s bedding had been torn from her bed by an unseen force and thrown around the room. John Teed was among the first there, and he tried to help put the bedding back on, but ended up in a battle of wills with whatever invisible force wanted to keep the beds unmade.
The poltergeist also attacked John with a pillow. After everyone heard a few more sudden explosions, everything went back to normal.The family called their physician, Dr. Carritte. The doctor stayed in the room when Esther went to bed. When the young woman’s pillow began sliding around under her head, Carritte tried to hold onto it, but his invisible opponent was stronger.
During the pillow-tugging contest, Carritte heard scratching and saw a message slowly appear in the wall, carved by an invisible instrument: “Esther Cox, you are mine to kill!”In the following weeks, the poltergeist began setting small fires. He threatened to burn the house down unless Esther left, so she went to stay at a local inn with a friend of the family.
The poltergeist followed, and Esther was seriously injured when a pocket knife flew from the hand of the innkeeper’s son straight into Esther’s back. When the boy tried to pull it out, it was again yanked from his hand and plunged into the same opening. The wound became infected, and Esther barely survived the following weeks.
When she was well again, Esther met a man named Walter Hubbell, and he had the worst idea in history. He took Esther to New Brunswick and put on a show, charging people to come and witness the spooky phenomena. The poltergeist never made a peep in front of the audience. The world’s most boring theater piece was chased out of town, and the two were forced to abandon the project.Esther then got a job as a domestic helper for a local court clerk,
Arthur Davison. Esther had only been there a few months when their barn burned down. The young woman was blamed for starting the blaze, but she insisted that it was actually her poltergeist stalker. The judge wasn’t impressed, and Esther was convicted of arson.The poltergeist became gradually less active, and went away as mysteriously as it had turned up. Esther married twice, and died in 1912.
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