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Ghosts of Hyde Park by Clifton Hall, December 1, 1979 PDF  | Print |

In case you hadn’t thought about it recently, please be reminded that our neighborhood had quite an illustrious past. Hyde Park counts as among its early residents mayors, legislators, industrialists, builders and . . . murderers. After all, what neighborhood of old houses approaching one hundred years of history wouldn’t have some pretty colorful characters to boast. So colorful in fact that some of the past residents, who are no longer counted among the living, still maintain their earthly residence in Hyde Park homes—providing you believe the stories told by their current landlords.

For instance, there’s the house on Charlotte street where the ghostly footsteps of the builder’s family nurse maid can still be heard clomping up and down the back staircase-even though that staircase is no longer in existence, removed years ago when the kitchen was remodeled. This home also features a poltergeist that plays little tricks on overnight guests. It turns electric lights on and off when visitors go into upstairs bedrooms, and it switches hot water for cold in eh guest bathroom.

Then there’s the large home on Janssen Place where loud crashing noises have been heard late at night. Thorough investigations have produced no broken objects and no explanations of the disturbances. And very regularly, on a certain day of each week, the residents would be mysteriously locked out of their house from the inside. No reason has ever been found.

Another Janssen Place home boasts a third floor “presence” that rushes by doorways—just slow enough to be noticed, but not be identified.

Finally, there’s the house on Holmes Street where the rather grisly murder of a young servant girl is purported to have occurred in its third floor ballroom some seventy pears ago. Today, the current owners often hear strange cries in the house at night, and frequently discover pink feathers as mementos left behind by their ghostly visitor.

From this brief collection of tales, it’s evident that Hyde Park has its share of spectral stories to tell.