According to traditional parapsychology, a poltergeist is not considered to be a haunting. This may seem like a controversial statement; however, it stands to reason because a ghost is not involved. Nevertheless, sometimes that line is blurred with what may start out as a poltergeist ends as a haunting. This was the case in late 19th century Quebec, Canada, near the town of Shawville, when the Dagg farm experienced a string of bizarre occurrences that changed it from an innocent farmhouse to a house of horror.
On a warm morning in 1889, Mrs. Dagg, awoke to start her normal routine. As the lady of the house entered the living room, her sense of smell and sight were assaulted by animal feces smeared across the floor. At first, a young boy named Dean was blamed for this unsightly mess because he worked with the hogs. Dean had a tendency to enter the house without removing his shoes and was warned if he did it again, he would be fired. When Dean was questioned, he of course adamantly denied that he was at fault. But Mr. Dagg would have none of it. Dean was fired and sent away without pay.
As the days passed, other bizarre and frightening activity began to assert itself in the house. It wasn’t uncommon for hails of large stones to come raining down on the roof and some would come crashing through the windows. The nighttime hours offered no respite from the rage of the entity that relentlessly stalked the family. Loud bangs on the walls in the late hours would awaken the entire house.
A gentleman farmer, George Dagg, and his farmhands, did everything within their power to ascertain the identities of their attackers. Unfortunately, they came up short each and every time. No cabal of destructive culprits could be found. Finally, Mrs Dagg, a firm believer in Spiritualism, came up with an unconventional idea. She believed they were under attack by a nasty spirit that meant them harm. To her, a spiritual problem had to be combated by spiritual means.
Desperate for answers, Mrs. Dagg sent a letter to noted Canadian psychical researcher Percy Woodcock appealing for his help. When he received the letter, Woodcock was intrigued and believed what he read. If this was true, he would do everything he could to help.
When he arrived at the Dagg farm, Woodcock, set up a laboratory and began investigating the outlandish phenomena that affected the Dagg home. Woodcock came to the conclusion that the family was not under attack by a human spirit or a demon. Rather, the mischief was caused by a poltergeist. He further determined that Dinah, an eleven-year-old adopted daughter, was the subconscious medium behind the outbreak of activity. Percy Woodcock would soon discover there was more to this case than he originally thought.
Young Dinah was brought before Woodcock to see if she possessed any mediumistic abilities. The girl proved his theory correct; however, he also learned the girl had come into contact with a truly unpleasant spirit that took up residence in an old shed.
Woodcock had Dinah show him this old shed, where he quickly received the fright of his life. When he entered the shed, Woodcock became intensely aware that he was not alone as some unseen entity was watching his every move. He also felt what could only be described as a feeling of undeniable dread. Woodcock, called out to the spirit and was greeted by the sound of a deep, gravelly laugh. Woodcock demanded the spirit show itself and reveal his name. The spirit growled out, “I am the devil. If you do not leave this place now, I will break your neck.” Percy Woodcock wasted no time and fled from the old shed as fast as his legs would carry him.
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As the months passed following Percy Woodcock’s visit, the activity on the Dagg farm progressed to a violent level. Small fires broke out around the house, thunderous bangs on the wall sounded regardless of the time of day, and jugs of water were dumped over the family member’s heads. Through it all, there was no respite from the entities that terrorized the members of the family.
One day, a brave witness challenged the entity and demanded it reveal itself and speak its name. The entity blasted back with a loud voice, “I am the spirit of an eighty-year-old man who died on the property. I do not approve of the Dagg family.” When asked what his name was a second time, he whispered his answer into the ear of George Dagg. The entity then sternly warned the farmer that if he revealed his name to others, he would be swiftly punished with a horrible, violent death. No one ever learned the ghost’s name.
Dinah and the other Dagg children began to report the sighting of a strange entity. An entity that terrified them completely. The first time they saw the entity, it appeared as a demonic man with a cow’s head and cloven feet. Other times, he would appear as a giant black dog with red eyes that glowed with the fires of hell. Regardless of whatever form the entity took, it stalked the land and chased the terrified children.
Then something odd happened, the nightmarish entity made a curious change. The entity was now appearing as a tall, beautiful man attired in a white robe that showed brilliantly. His long flowing hair was covered by a shiny golden crown that was studded with shining stars. This change in appearance served to cause further confusion and had everyone questioning the nature of the entity. Was he a demon from the pits of hell? Or was he a messenger sent by almighty god?
One day the children ran to their parents and stated they saw the entity in its angelic form. He told them he was departing and would trouble the Daggs no more. The children went on to say that they watched as he rose up into the blue sky and sang hymns to God in a voice that could only be described as otherworldly. The six months of terror the Daggs experienced had finally come to an end.
When reflecting on this bizarre haunting, two theories to explain it come to mind. Skeptics claim the whole affair was the work of mischievous youth out to cause a stir. The other theory was that Dinah, as the poltergeist focus, created the entity with her own mind and directed it’s reign of terror. Whatever the case may be, the haunting of the Dagg farm will go down in history as the most bizarre hauntings of all time.
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