Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock
Editor: Sarah Rendo
Cover: Rob Mitchell
In the 19th century, the Osage people lost millions and millions of acres of land across three treaties: the Treaty of 1808, the Treaty of 1818 and the Treaty of 1825. In these treaties, the bulk of the Osage Empire was sold to the U.S. government for less than six cents an acre. The Treaties of 1808, 1818 and 1825 still haunt the former Osage lands of Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas. Some spinetingler theorists argue that all the houses in former Osage lands are haunted because they were built on stolen land but nearly all spinetingler scholars agree that all the houses in former Osage Lands with street numbers that match the years of the treaties have a much greater chance of hauntings.
The Spinetingler Scholars Alliance has found overwhelming proof that numerical correlations can lead to general feelings of uneasiness or sensations around the face, liver and spine. In more extreme instances, they can lead to a full blown spectral outburst, when a human witnesses a short but demonstrable glimpse into a ghost’s eternal protest at shirking the mortal coil. Extensive studies have been made of spectral outbursts by spinetinglers scholars. It is such a common focus of spinetingler research that finding funding is becoming highly politicized and even taboo in some circles.
Nonetheless, one of the most famous spectral outbursts involved a house on 1808 Turtle Street. On today’s date just a few short decades ago, a woman named Dolorous Jones who lived at 1808 Turtle experienced something that could scarcely be believed without the eyewitness testimony of her own person and the thorough documentation by the Spinetingler Scholars Alliance.
In the middle of the night Jones awoke to the sound of a squirrel gnawing on her bathroom door. She rarely saw or heard squirrels in her bathroom, but she clearly heard the distinct sound of tiny rodent teeth scratching on a door. But when she got up to check the toilet closet, she found no squirrel. She shut the door to the poop pantry and went back to sleep. She slept for three hours and seventeen minutes before she heard the distinct sound of the tinkling keys of a piano.
The only problem was that she had no piano. Not even a small keyboard. Not one to miss a midnight piano party, she went downstairs to where the piano tinkles seemed to originate, but she found no piano. Too disturbed to sleep, Jones got up and made a gallon of oatmeal smush. It was Jones’s box turtle Donnie’s favorite meal and she sprinkled raisins and sugar delicately and was just about to raise the spoon to Donnie’s turtle face when a voice spoke to her from across the kitchen table.
The voice surrounded her with a great forest of noise.
The voice said, “Hush, hush, hush, hush. I will make you blush if you make that Donnie turtle eat that smush.”
The voice got louder, “Inferior oatmeal! Inferior oats!”
The table began to rattle like so many wooden chains and the room swirled like a cauldron sloshing with the broth of spirit, as if a giant sinkhole was preparing to swallow her house whole. Jones rushed out the front door without her hat or shoes and ran down the street to Mother Jones’s house. Terror pounding in her heart she told Mother Jones about the tiny ghost squirrel, the invisible piano and the oatmeal poltergeist.
Mother Jones pulled out a giant candle from the back pocket of her candle vest and said, “Child, you must follow me.”
They walked very slowly towards the daughter’s house. Dawn had not yet broke its orange yolk on the earth, and a thin layer of fog enveloped the house. At the top of the staircase hovered a towering figure silently billowing. It had one eye and teeth more numerous than any toothbrush could handle.
Mother Jones set the candle on the ground and locked her fingers with her daughter's fingers. Kneeling to the ground she spoke:
“We made a mistake
We made a big mistake
but please let us live in peace
and eat oatmeal.”
The hallowed form let out a deep exhale and slowly gathered its fog. Like a low hanging cloud it drifted down the street to 1818 Turtle Street. Mother Jones collected her candle and went home.