Things still go bump in the night

LUCAN - by the time Robert Norton had reached the barn, the mare was running in circles, nostrils pulsating, eyes wide with fright as if she were being chased by a dog.

It wasn't the first night that the stately mare Norton was boarding for friends had been found racing out of control, but like all the other times there was nothing behind her, spurring her on.

"We only had her here a month and we had to get her out of here. She would go nuts at night," he said.

That wouldn't surprise some. Rumors are that the Roman Line is cursed and that horses traveling its length the night of Feb. 3-4 do so under the threat of death.

[...] It may be superstitious nonsense or it may be horse sense allowing them to recognize that this is the scene of the unrevenged Donnelly murders of 100 years ago.

Norton, 39, doesn't use words like ghost or spirit, but instead refers to the strange guest in his house that spooks horses, bangs cupboard doors and borrows things only as "something."

[...] But the row of no-trespassing and beware-of-the-dog signs in front of the Norton property testify that people, not ghosts, are his biggest problem.

"If we are not here, they'd just help themselves to the property. They take the barn boards off your barn, chunks of concrete out of the foundation - whatever they can get."

[...]Not all the visitors come in the daytime. Norton said he's had to contend with drunks arriving after midnight, pounding on his door, demanding to see where the Donnellys lived. [...]

Source: Helen Connell, "Things That Go Bump in the Night," London Free Press, February 2, 1880. Notes: J.J. Talman Regional Collection, University of Western Ontario Archives, Donnelly Family Papers, B4878, File 26.

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