Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thurber House

Our next stop in Columbus was the Thurber House. James Thurber ( 1894-1961 ) was one of America's most famous humorists. A native Buckeye, Thurber was born in Columbus and graduated from Ohio State University before moving to New York City in 1925, where he found fame writing for The New Yorker magazine. While a student at Ohio State, Thurber's family rented a house at 77 Jefferson Street, a house that later figured in some of his short stories, most notably "The Night Ghost Got In". He states he was taken a shower upstairs one evening when he heard some noises from the dining room below. His father and one of his brother and mother were upstairs, his grandfather in the guest room in the attic. So, who was downstairs? Wrapping a towel around him, he stepped out into the hall where his brother was also listening to the noise from below. The two boys silently crept to the head of the stairs. In the story, Thurber writes that what they heard was the footsteps of a man walking rapidly around the dining room table downstairs. There's something down there! Instantly the steps began again, circled the dining room table like a man running, and started up the stairs towards us. We saw nothing coming, we only heard the steps. The story goes on but I will not go into it here, you should check out the book it is very good. Today, the house at 77 Jefferson Street is both a memorial to Thurber and a literary center. Many famous writers, who numerous photos adorn the stairway and hall of the house, have lectured or read from their works at Thurber House. But the house remains haunted. The house looks small from the outside, one large window with beautiful scroll work etching beside a single door located on the little Victorian gingerbread porch. There is three floors to the house. The downstairs remains essentially as it was in Thurber's day. The notorious table still remains in the center of the dining room, but the room itself is now a gift shop. On the second floor is Thurber's small and sparsely furnished bedroom with his old Underwood typewriter.
Jason and Grant, the stars of TVs Ghost Hunters, have been to the house to conduct an investigation ( the segment titled "It's Time to Get Touched" ).  While they were there, there is a small mantel clock. At one point, the glass case swung open all by itself. There's a latch on it. That latched was closed, and no one ever touched it. The guys had the clock checked by an expert who verified that the latch was in working order and shouldn't have opened.
The land on which the house stands, actually the whole street, was once the site of the Ohio Lunatic Asylum. There was a hugh fire there in which several woman died. The ghostly events described by Thurber occurred exactly forty seven years to the day after that tragic fire. Over the years many guests have heard the same footsteps downstairs in the former dining room or racing up the stairs. A former resident of the house named Esther Reich, she lived there from 1936 until 1942. She reported often hearing footsteps running up the rear stairs. Perhaps even more unnerving, Esther awoke one night to see a figure of a man hunched over in the rocking chair, his elbow on his knee, in an instant, he vanished.
The ghost of the Thurber house remains a mystery one thing is for sure the place is haunted.
It is a very pretty old house, that has alot of history, but when we were there it was getting dark. While I went up on the porch to have a picture taken, I got the feeling that I was not alone. There was a very creepy feeling that I was being watched by someone. The house was closed and no one was around but us.
If you are in Columbus be sure to check out the Thurber House who knows who or what you might see or feel. Hug's :)

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