76. A Gaggle Of Ghosts: Part Six
"There can be no doubt of the phenomena. I have seen them, myself" so said the Rev. A.L. Gardiner in 1921 as London was hit by a mysterious mini-plague pertaining to the exploding of coal from grates. Ordinary, enough, but it was not so simple to explain. Such pieces were then said to dance along the floor, especially in the home of a Mr J.S. Frost who reported in the January, at his residence of 8 Ferristone Road, Hornsey, that other items too, such as ornaments, flat irons and coal buckets, took on a life of their own.
These peculiar happenings were discussed at a local meeting on the 8th May whilst sceptics argued that it was the three children of Mr Frost who must surely have toyed with the items. And yet the youngsters, namely Gordon, Bertie and Muriel, were quite terrified by the events to the extent that on April 1st Muriel died of shock, the story being covered by the Daily Mail.
Mr Frost's son Gordon was taken to Lewisham after a nervous breakdown the family having been plagued by several incidents. The police were called to investigate after coal buckets began to explode, with showers of coals raining from nowhere in the house, as if they'd passed through walls to appear in several rooms. Additionally, despite violent falls to the ground, ornaments remained unbroken and a pot on a tripod was said to have swung aggressively whilst no person or wind caused it to shift.
A Dr. Herbert Lemerle of Hornsey spoke of a clock that mysteriously vanished into thin air and even stranger was the fact that similar cases occurred around Europe, particularly France, Belgium and Switzerland, the only connection being that in all cases British coal was used. In 1921 a woman was killed in her Guildford home when coal exploded from the grate.
Author Charles Fort wrote, "In this period there was much disaffection among British coal miners. There was a suspicion that miners were mixing dynamite into coal", although such rumours were proved wrong when checks were introduced. However, during the time it was easier to blame the miners than a poltergeist!
Photo by seanrees on flickr