Columns and Editorials


Fourth Street

A Column by John Kelley

Ask most people where Boneyfiddle is and they’ll probably say Front, Second and Market streets. While that is indeed the heart of it, the Haunted Historian thinks in a somewhat bigger box. To me, Boneyfiddle
stretches from Washington St. to the Second Street bridge.
And so, I give you…

These stories have a distinction that many other ghost stories do not have. They were reported in the local papers.
Our first story is known as Mollie’s Window.

Mollie Sullivan (better known as Mollie Stuart), aged 38, lived on 4th St., four doors below Jefferson, and was a known prostitute.

In September of 1872, she grew very morbid,and would speak of impending death quite often. She took to sitting at a second floor window, staring out at 4th St.

Friends,who came to try to cheer her up received a eerily prophetic reply.

“We’re going to miss you, Mollie.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be back. Sitting right here.”

Mollie died on October 3rd. Exactly how is uncertain. Some thought she had a fight with one of her customers and was fatally assaulted; however, it happened, the aftermath was just as she had said…

On October 4th, a neighbor came running in crying “Mollie’s sitting at her window again!” She was ignored at the time, but they soon found out what she was screaming about.

A dark image of Mollie, similar to a photographic negative, had formed in
the glass of the window where she had spent her last days.

Many came to see it, and many tried to explain it. The act of an evil spirit? A devine warning about Mollie’s lifestyle? Some kind of weird freak of nature? The attempts at a natural explanation got weirder than the supernatural ones.

A skeptical reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer gave the report of him climbing a ladder to the second floor, examined the image several ways, then scrubbed both sides of the glass, with no effect. It look like the  image was there to stay…

That was until a certain Mr. Thomas figured out how to remove it. Annoyed by the
constant crowds, he easily removed the image with a well placed rock.

I’m not sure if Mollie’s image still stands today. On that part of 4th St., there are houses on one side, and a warehouse like building on the other. Care to go down there and look through the windows?
Mollie isn’t the only haunting figure of the area. So, our next tale is of the floating woman of Fourth St.

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s…huh?

On June 10th,1910, the Portsmouth Tribune reported that Mr. & Mrs. George Turvey, of 71 4th St., had seen a woman in black floating in the air outside their home on that Thursday night.

She reappeared the next night to the horror of Mrs. F. Williams and her daughter, Laura.

On Saturday night, a crowd gathered, but she didn’t appear until they had left.
When the three ladies,who had gathered in Mrs. Turvey’s backyard saw her over the house of Mrs. Gertrude Carter. Mrs. Williams and Laura FREAKED OUT!

Mrs. Turvey spent much time in prayer after this, thinking the apparition was an omen of disaster.   
And this wasn’t the first time…

In the spring of 1873, there were reports of a ghostly woman in black sweeping along 4th St. On April 26th, local papers carried a
report of two women who encountered her. They said she left a chilling cold in her wake.

If you live on Fourth Street and have had any paranormal experiences there, visit my
FaceBook page “Haunted Boneyfiddle” and tell me all about it.