(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)
December 16, 1896
"The Woman in Black"
The "woman in black" craze has struck this town at last.
This mysterious personage has infested all of our neighbor towns, and has served the purpose of keeping girls off the streets at night, and furnished material for many a hushed and awe-stricken conversation.
The woman it seems, is here.
She has met divers and sundry persons on back streets and has committed a variety of pranks.
She wears a black veil, and has the faculty of vanishing very mysteriously after having lifted up a man's hat and felt his head, or pinched some meandering maiden on the arm.
Where she comes from, why she acts so, and who she is, nobody is able even to guess.
Maybe she is only a creature of the imagination and maybe she is a man in woman's attire who thinks he is having a barrel of fun.
Anyhow, according to the best authorities, this ubiquitous phantom is with us.