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1878, July 11: Faces Appear in Santa Ana Window

On Tuesday morning, July 11, 1878, a face appeared in the window glass of Dr. Elmendorf's dentist office in Santa Ana, California, USA. Crowds soon flocked to see the image of the face, which was clearly in the front window of the offices; moreover, a second face gradually appeared in the neighboring window pane over the course of the day. By six in the evening, both faces were clearly visible from across the road.

        Strangely, Dr. Elmendorf was not disturbed by the appearance of the faces stating, with no further explanation,  that he had seen such faces before.

Variations (and Misspellings)

        The 1878 newspaper article the above is taken from is clearly written by a skeptical reporter who, from context, appears to have not seen the faces. The author refers to the phenomena as 'spirit faces,' and describes those who crowded to see them as 'incredulous' and rushing to get a glimpse before the faces 'faded back to the spirit world.' I mention this all because the reporter then also states of the first face: "There it was as distinct as if painted on the window pane, and refused to take its departure, notwithstanding the gaze of the people" ... which at once suggests a simple explanation -- the faces were painted -- but once that does not explain how a second face could gradually appear over the course of a day with crowds watching the windows.

        That said, I do not know if any additional articles were ever written about this matter. It seems likely that the article above is from a more general press release, so other papers of the time may have further (though small) details; so I will keep digging on this incident to see if anything more can be found out, especially about how Dr. Elmendorf has 'seen such faces before.'

        One more note: in writing about this incident in a 1955 issue of FATE Magazine, author Henry Winfred Splitter mistakenly reported Dr. Elmendorf's names as 'Elffiendorf'. I'm guessing he found a copy of a similar newspaper article to the one I found, but that his was on film and difficult to read. In any case, Elmendorf's name can be misspelled in current mentions, and FATE is the place it started.