GHost in the bell
December 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm #11276GarryParticipant
While searching for more figure bells, I came across a brass one for sale that the seller had put together a story for it.
😀 Cute story, I’ll let you decide on it’s accuracy. Because we aren’t allowed to post a link to a bell actually for sale on a different site, I have cut and pasted the story here for you. Makes for an interesting read if nothing else! 😉
I’ve been investigating for more than 45 years and have worked with numerous police departments and agencies across the United States and abroad. With my children grown, we moved to a smaller home. Due to space limitations, I began selling off some of my extensive collection from my years of investigating. Friends suggested that Ebay would provide a venue for these items. I have an entire storage facility that houses my collection. You can check my feedback since I’ve only sold articles in this category. I must add that I am not an antique expert and am describing the item as I see it and from the information I was told. When I began to sell on ebay, it was with the hope that I might be able to offer someone interested in the paranormal, the opportunity to purchase an item that has been related to paranormal activity or a site that has had a great deal of paranormal activity. I hope whoever wins my items, appreciates them for the background associated with the item, not for how much they can re-sell the item for in a jewelry, or other market.
In 1937, Harriet McMahon was searching through an old trunk in the attic of her ancestral home in Salem, Massachusetts. The old trunk contained memorabilia of her ancestors that once lived in the house. She came across the beautiful brass bell you see up for auction and knew instantly that she wanted to have the old bell cleaned and put it on display in the house. She was certain that it belonged out in view so everyone could enjoy it and not locked away in an old trunk. After making several calls, she found a professional restorer that told her they would clean the age off the bell and bring it back to its original lustre. The brass “S” shaped link that held the clapper was broken and he put a new one on and the clapper, itself, was missing so he replaced that. He commented that it seemed like someone had cut the brass link that once held the clapper and removed the clapper which was rather odd, he thought. He called Harriet two days later and told her the bell was ready to be picked up.
Harriet was thrilled with the condition of the bell and thought the restorer did a wonderful job. It was no longer a solid black and looked almost like new. The details of the bell were now visible and she could see the criss-cross lace on the bodice of the dress, the bow at the center of the skirt, The collar that stood up, slightly, framing her shoulders, the features on the women’s face and her hair pulled up with what looks like a tiara in her hair. The bell was just beautiful. The woman has a slip on underneath that makes the skirt stand out on its own and the bodice is very tightly form fitting, showing her petite shape. She has a long neck and a stern face. The bell stands just over 5 1/8 inches high. The dome of the bell is the skirt of the dress. The opening is oval with the width of the dress, from side to side, being 2 5/8 inches and the opening from front to back is 1 3/4 inches. To say that the bell is beautiful, is an understatement.
Within days of displaying this wonderful old item, Harriet began to hear clanging in the middle of the night. She thought nothing of it, other than the fact that she was annoyed because her sleep was disturbed. She assumed the bell had become a play toy for her cat. She learned within days, that the cat wasn’t the culprit. Something unseen was ringing the bell.
We happened to be visiting Harriet right after she realized that her cat was on the bed one evening when the bell was ringing. She’d experienced other paranormal activity in the old family house, but this was quite loud and the clanging sounded like someone was shaking the bell rather urgently. Harriet asked me to have a look and see if I could figure out what was amiss in the house.
I felt that the bell belonged in the dining room, for some reason. I knew that the informal dining room Harriet was using when she wasn’t entertaining, had at one time been the servant’s dining room. It was a small room next to the original kitchen. The original fireplace was there and a small table. When I walked into the room with the bell, I could instantly sense the presence of a servant that remained overseeing what went on in that room, much like she did when she was alive years before. She was in charge of either cooking the food that was eaten in there, or serving it, or both. She seemed to be waiting there as if she was overseeing what was taking place in that room while she waited to be needed in another. When the servant in gray moved out of the room through the wall, I waited for a moment to see if she would return. When she didn’t, I rang the bell. She seemed to return to the room as if I’d beckoned her with the ringing of the bell. I tried this several times during my visit to Harriet. Everytime the bell was rung, the servant came through within a couple minutes.
This made me wonder if the former master or mistress of the house was linked to it as well. Someone was ringing the bell and I didn’t feel the servant would be ringing, but rather would be answering the ring. I also believed that the urgency of the ringing bell would have indicated someone ringing for help, or to draw attention to themselves for whatever reason. On our fourth night at Harriet’s, as I descended the steps from our room to get a drink of water in the middle of the night, I saw the chairs in the dining room move, as if someone was pulling them out to sit down. Two of the chairs slid out slowly and were left slightly away from the table. Then I was startled by the loud sound of the ringing that broke the silence in the middle of the night. I looked in back of me and saw a dark gray figure of a man, standing in the living room next to the bell. The man looked tall, about six feet high. His form diminished about the knees and there was nothing there. His hand was on the bell and the bell was ringing. My hostess woke from her sleep and came downstairs to see what all the racket was. As she reached the bottom step, the gray figure disappeared. I told her what I had just seen and asked if one of her ancestors was named James Marshall. That’s the name I got from the gray man. She was shocked and asked what made me come up with that name. I explained.
It seems that James Marshall was Harriet’s ancestor. He was in the Revolutionary War and is one of the people that died in the home. He had lost one of his legs in the war and never recovered form the injury. Infection set in and he died a short time after he arrived home. Maybe that’s why James was ringing so urgently – he was calling for help. Maybe that’s also why the servant was constantly listening for her master’s ring. I learned that James died in the winter and the ground was frozen solid so his body was stored in the cellar until winter was over and he could be buried. I’ve found that many times when this has happened, whether it was cellars used as morgues during war time or as in this case, a family member died in the winter, a large percentage of these homes where the bodies were once stored, seem to have a link to those people long after their death, at least for me there’s a strong connection.
The bell has had activity associated with it in the years we’ve had it. Harriet loved the bell but couldn’t get much sleep with it. She gave it to us before we left and asked if I could continue monitoring the bell and let her know what I sense. I’ve kept in contact with her through the years, until she died. The ringing has become less frequent than when we first got the bell and I think having it behind glass in a case has contained the sound. I can tell you that on the night that Harriet died, in 1990, this bell rang just after midnight. It continued ringing for about three minutes. I think that’s how long it took me to get out of bed and throw a robe on and get downstairs to the room the bell was in. When I searched to see what the clamor was, I found this bell overturned, laying on its side. The following morning, we got the call that Harriet had died just after midnight the night before.
The string you see wrapped around the arm in one of the pictures, is our tag for the catalogue number in our collection. Thanks for looking at this beautiful antique.
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