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.”