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The Giddings Poltergeist - it happened in Bayview

October 4, 2016



1874. The Giddings boarding house in Bayview, Wisconsin. Mrs Giddings and her hired girl, Mary Spiegler (sometimes reported as “Spiegel”), were baking in the kitchen of the large two story house when they witnessed a cellar door rise and fall. Next, an egg and a currant pie flew across the room. Alarmed, Mrs Giddings summoned her neighbors. Upon their arrival, pots, pans,utensils, food and logs were seen to fly across the room. A late arriving neighbor named Mrs Meade witnessed an airborne stick,slop pail and flower pot in the Giddings yard. More neighbors arrived and the press was summoned. It soon became evident that the events only occurred when Mary - the slight, highly nervous 14 year old “Polish hired girl” - was present. The story broke and curious people from all over the city descended upon the Giddings house. Mary, described as “a pitiable creature” - complained of severe headaches and was heard to loudly groan as pots and pans flew over her head. In spite of the unusual and noisy activity, the Giddings house was a haven for her. At home, she was the victim of physical abuse from her father and her Polish only speaking mother thought she was a witch. After another violent and well attended episode of poltergeist activity at the boarding house, Mrs. Giddings snapped. She let Mary go. That night, after a brutal beating by her father, Mary tried to kill herself. Dr Gray, a witness to the poltergeist activity at the Giddings home and “desiring to give Mary a home secure from further brutality” offered to take her in. Mary accepted. At the Gray home, physicians and scientists wishing to examine her began to arrive. Dr. Gray noticed that her nights were filled with waking terrors and frequent hallucinations, but could not explain the disturbing phenomena that he had previously witnessed. After many sleepless nights, Mary was finally able to sleep with the aid of a narcotic. Later, A self described Magnetic Physician/Clairvoyant from Chicago named Mrs. A J Johnson examined Mary and declared her to be possessed by demons. But far worse than any possession by a supernatural entity or encounter with a "magnetic physician", Mary’s Father was now camped out on Dr Gray’s doorstep demanding that she be returned home. It is reported that she remained in the care of Dr Gray. -fla