Mary Eliza (Keith Johnson)

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Several years ago researching information on a local girl named Mary Eliza Brownell, who died of tuberculosis on March 22, 1841, in Scituate, R.I., one month prior to her 17th birthday. During this research, my friend Peggy’s assistance proved invaluable. As we continued gathering information on this young girl, we learned that she was apparently quite beautiful, and very much loved by the members of the community in which she lived”, and that the entire town went into mourning for her when she died.

One overcast afternoon, while we were visiting her grave, my friend Peggy surprised me by suddenly bursting into tears, saying, “Ohhh”, she was so young!”
Peggy then further surprised me by suggesting that we should attempt to contact Mary Eliza’s spirit. Being aware of the potential dangers of attempting spirit communication, I naturally objected. “But Mary Eliza is probably so very lonely after all these years.” said Peggy.
“She’d probably be happy to know that there are people who still care about her!”
A few evenings later, without my knowledge and against my advice, Peggy, assisted by her school friend Debbie, made the attempt to contact the spirit of Mary Eliza Brownell. Inside the parlor of Peggy’s apartment, they placed two candles in front of a small, framed likeness of Mary Eliza, and began calling out her name. When they asked her to give them a sign of her presence, however, an eerie thing happened. As Peggy later explained it to me: “The eyes of the portrait just suddenly started to glow, I mean, REALLY glow! Debbie and I both saw it happen!”
Next, they both distinctly heard footsteps just outside one of the parlor windows, accompanied by what sounded like heavy breathing, or growling, but when the two terrified young ladies glanced outside, there was no sign of anyone out there! They then quickly snuffed out the candles and ended their ceremony.

A short time later, when Peggy was walking Debbie out to her car, they did indeed notice there were some footprints underneath the parlor window”, some of which were still forming, right below them as they watched! After the two of them rushed back inside the apartment, Peggy quickly re-lit the candles, and prayerfully asked whatever spirit was manifesting itself to please depart in peace. Fortunately, they experienced no further incidents that night.

The following day, when Peggy related the incident to me, she concluded by saying, “Whatever spirit we succeeded in summoning last night, it definitely wasn’t Mary Eliza!”

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