“Cuzzin Ralph, Meet Reverend Crouch”

Nov 9, 2019 | 0 comments

I’m pretty sure my Cuzzin Ralph knows more about that scoundrel Reverend Josiah Crouch than anyone else in the current world.  Or in the last one, either.  Crouch, as you might remember was the husband of sweet Sarah Crouch back in 1892.  He was the minister for the church across the street and they lived in this house which, at that time, served as the parsonage.

When Sarah drowned under mysterious circumstances, Josiah left town in a hurry and showed up later practicing law in California.  All of that was known and documented well before the turn of the last century.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Crouch settled in to become the ghost of this house.  She’s not the least bit scary — just a little mischievous and unpredictable.

Ghost Stories by Candlelight, 11-8-2014

Over the years that I have known Mrs. C, I’ve told her story many times and in many forms — in talks at Vespers, in performance with the Shoalwater Storytellers, and in a starring role in my 2014 book, Ghost Stories of the Long Beach Peninsula.  It was when I was working on that book for History Press that I introduced the Crouches to Cuzzin Ralph and asked him if he would put his considerable research skills to work.

Ralph got right on it and provided a lot of corroboration for what we already knew, as well as some tantalizing new information.  But, there wasn’t quite enough to add to whai I already knew so I left the story as it was… for the time being.

But now, six years later, opportunities to gather information have increased exponentially as our traditional depositories for  information are digitizing their files and making them available online.  Birth records, marriage records, military records, newspaper accounts — you name it and it may well be a source for another puzzle piece in the story of our ghost.

And… Ralph is on it!  When I wrote him last week that I’m working on the sequel to Ghost Stories, I hardly had time to pose my questions before he began filling my computer screen with new information!  Great stuff!  The sequel to the Crouch story should almost write itself.  Although… I keep wondering if Mrs. Crouch will weigh in somehow.  I am ever alert for her take on the “what happened next” part of her story.

Meanwhile… my own part in this ghost story is more than clear.  I’ll not be away from my writing duties for the foreseeable future.

 

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