Skip to main content

The uncanny misfortunes of George Flower



George Flower, a farmer from Indiana who lived during the early 20th century, was a man whose name is little remembered today. He amassed no great fortune, nor did he rise to a position of power. But his little-known story and strange legacy should be remembered as a cautionary tale about what happens when a mere mortal decides to tempt fate.

Flower's troubles began in 1902 after he purchased a strip of land in Sand Ridge, near the city of Vincennes, in order to enlarge his farm. On this strip of land was the oldest cemetery in the area, containing more than three hundred graves. Flower pulled up the headstones, using them to build a foundation for his new home. The unused headstones he threw in the Embarras River. He then plowed up the land and planted melons and potatoes.

Shortly thereafter he noticed that that, while the crops he planted on the rest of the farm flourished, the crops he had planted on the grounds of the old graveyard withered and rotted. Some of the crops were ravaged by unseen pests and insects and, try as he might, Flower could not find a logical explanation for the phenomenon.

But that was just the beginning of George Flower's troubles.

In August of 1902 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Flower family home-- with its foundation built from the gravestones of Spencer County's earliest settlers-- was haunted. For several nights in a row the house had shaken violently until, finally, Flower grabbed his wife and children and abandoned the dwelling. Meanwhile, Flower found himself up to his neck in legal woes; descendants of those who were buried in the old cemetery threatened to sue the young farmer for desecrating the burial grounds.

With so much anger being directed at them by the locals, the Flowers couldn't help but wonder if their bad luck wasn't caused by supernatural forces, but by pranksters and neighbors hellbent at driving the family away. George returned to the farm every day, but never stayed too long; he claimed that an overwhelming sense of fear and dread overwhelmed him whenever he came back to visit.

On August 15, 1902, an event occurred that dispelled any notion of pranksters or practical jokers-- lightning struck the Flowers barn, and the ensuing fire quickly spread and obliterated every structure on the property. George and his family never returned and they lived out the remainder of their lives in quiet obscurity, but not without leaving behind as their legacy a real-life parable about why it's never a good idea to disturb the dead.

Popular posts from this blog

The Incest Capital of the World?

At the far eastern edge of Kentucky, nestled in Appalachia, resides Letcher County. In spite of its isolation and poverty (approximately 30% of the county's population lives below the poverty line), Letcher County has managed to grow at an impressive rate, from a population of just 9,172 in 1900 to a present-day population of nearly 25,000. However, even if Letcher County tripled or quadrupled its present population, there's still a pretty good chance that virtually all of the county's inhabitants would be related to each other-- thanks to one particularly fertile family whose astounding rate of reproduction can put even the friskiest rabbit to shame.

Around the year 1900, Letcher County was the home of a man by the name of Jason L. Webb, who made national headlines for having the one of the largest families in the world. According to newspaper reports of the era, Jason had 19 children, 175 grandchildren, and 100 great-grandchildren. Perhaps even more impressive was his b…

The Ticking Tombstone of Landenberg

If you look closely at a map of Pennsylvania, you'll see an anomalous semi-circular border at the extreme southeastern part of the state. This circle, known officially as the "Twelve Mile Circle", serves as the border between the Keystone State and Delaware. Much of the strange circle is surrounded by Chester County, one of the three original Pennsylvania counties created by William Penn in 1682. While there are many historical points of interest in Chester County, few are strange or as steeped in legend as the Ticking Tombstone.

Near the London Tract Meeting House in Landenberg is an old graveyard which contains a tombstone which is said to make eerie ticking noises, much like the ticking of a pocketwatch. Landenberg locals claim that the ticking is the result of two very famous surveyors who arrived in town during the 1760s- Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.  A young child supposedly swallowed a valuable pocketwatch owned by Mason and later died, and the boy's head…

Jenny Hanivers, Mermaids, Devil Fish, and Sea Monks

Three centuries before P.T. Barnum attracted flocks of crowds with his mummified Fiji Mermaid (which turned out to be a papier-mâché creation featuring a monkey's head and a fish's body), sailors around the world had already began manufacturing "mermaids".  Known as Jenny Hanivers, these creations were often sold to tourists and provided sailors with an additional source of income.  These mummified creatures were produced by drying, carving, and then varnishing the carcasses of fish belonging to the order rajiformes- a group of flattened cartilaginous fish related to the shark which includes stingrays and skates.  These preserved carcasses can be made to resemble mermaids, dragons, angels, demons, and other mythical creatures.


Jenny Hanivers became popular in the mid-16th century, when sailors around the Antwerp docks began selling the novelties to tourists.  This practice was so common  in the Belgian city that it may have influenced the name; it is widely believed …