Saturday, November 22, 2008

Andalusia College Exploding Spook

Image from Theocracy of the Pale

Dr. William Chapman ran a school for boys in the early 1800's in a building that was the forerunner to Andulasia College in Bensalem, Bucks County. He did a good job relating to his students, but not so well with his missus.

She and a lover - some tales say it was a Spanish vagabond, others say a student - had an affair, and in 1831 decided that three was a crowd. So they poisoned the doc with arsenic.

They might have gotten away with it, too, except they poured the evidence into the dirt outside and the ducks got into it. They starting dying, which led into an investigation. It's a sign of the times that a person could suddenly croak without question, but when fowl play was suspected...

At any rate, the guy was hung, although Mrs. Bowman finangled her way out of the mess. The building eventually became a boarding house, and that's where the ghost story begins.

A lawyer named Horace W. Eshback was sleeping when a glow woke him up. To his dismay, he saw a head and torso - no legs - with a white mantle wrapped around it floating by his bed. In a bit of a panic, he said "What do you want?" to the spook.

Wrong question. It's response was to punch him in the mouth and then explode! It's ghostly remains dissipated through the ceiling. Must have been quite a wallop. The glow gradually diminished, and Eshback woke up with a fat lip.

Was it the shade of one of the Chapman's? The hung Romeo? Or perhaps a spirit of one of the nameless souls that called the school/boarding house home? Tough to tell, although if you're in the area and spot a legless spook, don't give it any lip, unless you want yours fattened.

The wooden structure is long gone now, as is its pugnacious phantom, replaced by St. Charles Borromeo Church. Read all about the eerie encounter in the December 4, 1886 NY Times.

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