NOTES

  1. Wilkins claims to have gathered his version of the story from "various contemporary newspapers in the U.S.A.", but no other researcher has ever found a single paper from the time and place that mentions the occurrence. Given other research I've done involving this particular book by Wilkins (see also the 'Green Children of Woolpit' link below), I will state that - in my opinion - he's simply willing to lie to make his stories sound as if he researched them, when he didn't. If anyone would like to prove otherwise, I'd be delighted to have someone send me a photocopy of at least two articles about the Lang mystery dated from the year 1880... if you can find any.
  2. If this was a case of faulty memorization, then it's more likely that Edwards copied Wilkins. Edwards, besides writing the occasional article for FATE Magazine, was also a popular radio personality that did a weekly spot on some odd story or another; many of his books were compiled by simply taking the most popular of his radio show topics. If he used Wilkins' account as his reference, he likely would not have been reading from the book over the radio, instead working more from memory. He may have then just used his radio transcript as a starting point for the re-write.
            On the other hand, it's possible both authors were looking at the FATE article and just screwed up; this is apparently what Nandor Fodor did in his book, Mind Over Space. Though he correctly states the story is from FATE for July 1953, and he had undoubtedly read it, he still managed to change Sarah's name to Emma in his re-telling. Notably, Fodor, like Edwards and Wilkins, left out the section of story in which Sarah relates using Spiritualism to contact her parents.
  3. Many of my sources state that Stuart Palmer claimed in a letter to Curtis Fuller (editor of FATE Magazine) that he had originally published the story in a magazine called "Ghost" sometime in 1936 or 1937. This letter was apparently sent at the time that Palmer submitted his story to FATE... and this previous publication has not yet been tracked down by anyone I know of, so it may not exist. If you have a copy, please let me know!
  4. For those of you interested in tracking down Mulholland's possible involvement, a few extra notes: according to Joe Nickell in Secrets of the Supernatural -- Mulholland published stories in the newspapers of the time using the pseudonym "Orange Blossom," and the main newspaper he was published in was the Philadelphia Public Ledger. These details likely originate in Jay Robert Nash's book Among The Missing, which I don't have yet; I'll verify this later.
  5. Here's a list of those that acknowledged the probable falsehood of the story, most of whom either referenced the Fortean Times article or the FATE article about the expose. None add anything new to those findings:

1979 - Paul Begg, Into Thin Air
1981 - Reader's Digest, Into The Unknown
1982 - Reader's Digest, Mysteries of the Unexplained
1990 - Time-Life Books, Time and Space (Mysteries of the Unknown Series)
1993 - Jerome Clark, Unexplained!
1995 - Rodney Davies, Supernatural Disappearances (NOTE: Davies references Begg's Into Thin Air and Reader Digest's Mysteries of the Unexplained rather than directly to either the Fortean Times article or the FATE article, but the result is the same.)

Ironically, Jay Robert Nash in Among the Missing claimed that the wandering salesman Mulhatten (who he mistakenly renames McHatten) created the David Lang story based on Bierce's stories. Nash's claim shows he was clearly aware of the Fortean Times article that disproves the David Lang story but unaware of the later FATE retraction. Oy.