In a burst of streaking flame. That’s how the Ottawa Valley’s legendary talking poltergeist is said to have vanished 125 years ago.
The dramatic farewell was apparently witnessed on Nov. 18, 1889, by the children of farmers George and Susan Dagg, on their farm in Clarendon, 10 kilometres from Shawville, Que. A flight of youthful fancy, perhaps? Possibly. But harder to explain is the witness statement signed by George and 16 farmers and community leaders — from local politicians to clergymen — outlining the spirit’s three-month campaign of torment on the Dagg farm. Those manifestations attracted media coverage and wagonloads of curiosity seekers. Especially when the phantom started speaking.
“There are loads of ghosts around, but this is the only one that talked,” explains Venetia Crawford, an author and historian with the Pontiac Archives. “And lots of people heard it talk.”