A Kearney Ghost Story

Perhaps in anticipation of goblins and ghoulies and long-legged beasties, the Kearney Weekly Hub offered this “Kearney Ghost Story” October 3, 1890.


“There was a ghostly manifestation at the New Midway Hotel last Thursday night shortly after midnight, as related by one of the guests.


“One of the clerks had an experience that came near turning his beautiful black hair gray. Last Thursday morning workmen engaged in digging a trench for the steam heating apparatus for the hotel came across a human skeleton. It excited much speculation among those of the guests who knew of the find as to the fate of the individual whose bones have probably lain for years under the silent sod. There was nothing about the skeleton to indicate what manner of man he was in life.


“Thursday night I sat in my room til midnight reading. I had meant to rise early in the morning and join a hunting party. As I finished my book I remembered that I had forgotten to place a ‘call’ at the office and was about to touch the electric button and call a bell boy, when my eye caught the projecting end of an inch and a half of steam pipe just put in above the floor in one corner, which led to a corner of the office three floors below.


“It will make a splendid speaking tube, thought I, and will save the sleepy boy some hesitating steps. I knelt down and put my mouth to the tube.


“‘Ed-d-d-ie!’ was the whisper which sounded ghostly and mysterious in the quiet office.


“The boys looked at each other. Was it the electric light that made them look so pale?


“‘You there? Ed-d-d! Oh! Ed-d-d!’


“It was only when I failed to get any answer and with my ear to the tube, I could hear the bell boy and the night clerk moving about on the lower floor, that I realized the ludicrous element in my efforts.


“The night clerk was puzzled, and the bell boy startled at the first gentle whisper of his name, as it broke the quiet of the midnight stillness. When it was repeated the boys separated and searched in the various hallways leading into the office for the possessor of the voice.


“‘Oh! Ed-d-d! Ed-d-d-d!’ again the voice whispered in muffled, yet distinct utterance.


“To say the hearers in the office were scared only half expresses their feelings, while I rolled on the floor in laughter as I pictured their feelings. At last fearing to carry the joke too far and that they would alarm the whole house, I rapped on the pipe with a key and called again.


“Everything was explained to the boys when they heard the metallic sound of the raps, and they came to the open end of the pipe in the office and took my order, explaining that a joke’s a joke, but that the hour when the graveyards yawn is not a proper time for one. The night clerk’s hair is still a beautiful black, but it was a close shave for him.”

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

Education Digital Learning Resources

Find games, lists, and more to enhance your history education curriculum.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

History Nebraska Services

Digital Resources

Find all of our digital resources, files, videos, and more, all in one easy-to-search page!

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.