Monday, August 16, 2004


The Old Man
Originally uploaded by Ghost Host.
One of the most fearsome spectres associated with The Sweeney Family Horror is the phantom known as The Old Man. This malevolent manifestation is noted by several of the Sweeney's diaries, the most detailed of which comes from Colleen Sweeney's October 28th entry:

"...but the past few days have been even worse. The children are terrified. I have begged James to let us leave this place but he steadfastly refuses. Last night I saw the old man. Or at least I saw something. I believe it is the same creature who torments the children. He was a ghastly vapor. It seems to me he was wearing a funeral suit. I saw him (it?) in the hall. Hiding in the shadows. I wanted to scream, but no sound would utter forth from my mouth. It was like a horrile nightmare. But I am sure I was not asleep. I swear he was laughing at me. Not that one could actually hear him laughing. It was as if he was projecting the laughter into my mind. I shut my eyes hoping that when I opened them again he would be gone...and he was. Why is this happening to us? I pray James will allow us to leave. I have begun to genuinely fear for our safety. I have told the children that there are no such things as ghosts and goblins and creatures of the night. I didn't know I was lying..."

The entry is disturbing not only for what it details but also for what it leaves out. Why would James Sweeney continue to subject his family to the psychological torment associated with a paranormal event of this magnitude?

I cannot yet say. However,
here are some facts that are without dispute:

Sweeney kept a locked cabinet somewhere within the family home. Kate Sweeney's diary called this item "Daddy's Cabinet of Curiosities."

Sweeney was known to frequent stores that did trade in, for lack of a better term, occult items.

James Sweeney returned from a business trip in New Orleans with a spirit board (a.k.a. ouija board) as a gift for his children.

The New Orlean's establishment, "The Raven's Claw," a purveyor of "dark merchandise" has a listing in its register for a "J. Sweeney" on October 10th, 1925.

Popular legend blames Kate's dabbling with this spirit board for summoning the forces that put the event we call The Sweeney Family Horror into play.

Of course, it is the particular details of the overall event that we are here to investigate. I fear that there is much more to the story than the legends surrounding it immediately reveal.

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