1849: St. Mary’s Snowballs

On a dark night in 1849, two young men named Groves and Kirk were on their way home from night work at a barn in the township of St. Mary, Illinois, USA, when they found themselves being pelted by a barrage of snowballs... but this wasn't just some silly fun. The snowballs were packed so tightly that they did not break on impact, so "ice balls" might be a better description of what was being thrown; and the balls were thrown with enough force to cause bruising. Kirk, in particular, was "considerably bruised." Groves investigated the origin point of the assault with his lantern, but all he saw was a field covered in snow, with no tracks evident in it. The only sound the men could hear was that of the wind.

        Around dawn the next morning the men made a further investigation. The field was still just a snow covered area with no prints... but then they both saw snowballs rising up from the surface of the snow which then flew at the men "like bullets"! Groves and Kirk ran out into the field to about the area the snowballs were coming from, and started to attack the air around with pitchforks, but the snowballs continued to hit them until the sun fully rose. Kirk was badly hurt by the two assaults and died within the year, though it is not stated specifically that the snowball attack was what killed him.


        As I've mentioned before, most people now think of the word 'poltergeist' as if it means the same thing as 'ghost'... this is incorrect. While ghostly activity can be accompanied by poltergeist activity -- physical objects moving of their own volition in defiance of scientific laws -- poltergeist activity can also occur separate from evidence of a ghost, as this account shows. There is no given reason the men would be targeted, and no reason given for why it stopped; all we have now is the report, true or false, and what little it tells us.

        Of course it must be noted that currently, there is only one source for this account: Charles Montgomery Skinner's book Myths and Legends of Our Own Land, which was published in 1896, 47 years after the events would have happened. I can find no newspaper, magazine, or even other book accounts to back up the story, and am therefore marking it as "Unreliable" as evidence of the paranormal.

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