Strange happenings a puzzle to area family

     Well before the Revolutionary period, many persons believed in witches, warlocks and other phenomena, much of it unexplained.
     This area was no different and has had its share of weird happenings.
     Among these is a series of incidents occurring more than 100 years ago at the Richard Lynch farm at Section 36, Town of Cady, near the St. Croix-Dunn County line.
     The Lynchs had lived in their house four months when, during December of 1872 and most of 1873, items started to disappear or fly around the residence at great speed.

Articles missed

     At first Mrs. Lynch missed articles of clothing, later found in various places, often in corners of different rooms. Once some cloth was found, cut exactly for Mrs. Lynch to make a dress for her daughter, Mary, 10.
     One day Mrs. Lynch was preparing stew and left the kitchen for a few minutes. When she came back the pot had disappeared. It was found upstairs in the middle of a bed on a clean cover. The pot was still bubbling but the fire-charred kettle had not soiled the sheet.
      Later, flour disappeared and was found in a pan in the milkhouse.

Suspected prankster

     At first, the family thought the occurrences to be pranks of seven-year-old George.
     However, the story notes, George was tied to a chair as punishment, but the trouble continued.

Items fly around

     On Aug. 23, 1873, Frank Duffee, a neighbor, was at the Lynch home when cookware and other items began to fly around. As Lynch and Duffee watched, things kept bouncing around and into a corner. The two men and the rest of the Lynchs left. After a while the loud noises stopped.
     Word of the incident spread and several men, including a newspaper reporter from Menomonie, came to the farm the next day. They stayed overnight and nothing happened. The incidents only happened in daylight.
     The next day while Lynch was doing chores and the guests were outside, the house became alive with activity.

Reporter gives views

     Rock Flint, the newsman, stood in the doorway and later wrote of seeing an egg fly and then smash. He reported that George was at the table eating. Mary was doing dishes and Mrs. Lynch as busy and did not throw any of the objects.
     Later, on Oct. 5, two other visitors reported they had seated themselves at the table when suddenly a potato masher fell to the floor. One man picked it up, reportedly saying he'd like to see that happen again. The masher then reportedly sailed across the room, smashing into a mirror.
     The witness, a Mr. Knight wrote, "Mrs. Lynch, after grinding coffee, put the mill on the shelf and left. The drawer came out of the mill and followed her."
     Knight noted 40 other unexplained things that happened while he was present.

Minister tries hand

     In another account, a Rev. John Barber made an attempt to exorcise the "spirit." He placed a prayer book in a handkerchief and challenged the "spirit" to take it. An axe which had been one of the earlier flying objects and had been placed in a hollow log, came whirling into the room and was implanted at the feet of the minister.
     Things seemed to be worst in October of 1873 when a table reportedly started to move, jumped to the ceiling and fell back hard enough to split one of the boards.
     One of the happenings occurred when one of the Lynch daughters had her hair sheared mysteriously. Scissors were found, but not the clipped hair.
     Stories of this poltergeist's activities drew so much attention the Religion-Philosophical Journal looked into the case, but no explanation was ever found.

Extracted from the Eau Claire Leader Telegram
Special Publication, Our Story 'The Chippewa Valley and Beyond', published 1976
Used with permission.

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