May 17 – Middletown 366


Who Killed Mrs. Murphy?

Middletown, Conn., May 17.–“It is rumored that the defense in the case of Clarence Murphy, charged with murder of his mother, expects to show at the hearing Wednesday, that another man left the house at midnight. They claim he may have murdered Mrs. Murphy while attempting an assault. The person they suspect is an old man who has always been considered harmless.”– From the Boston Post, May 18, 1896.


Apparition at St. Sebastian Church

St. Sebastian ChurchOn this date an occurrence at Saint Sebastian’s Church attracted a “crowd of several thousand” spectators.[1] The Blessed Virgin Mary was said to have appeared outside as a “white shadowy figure standing forth prominently in the middle arch of the belfry at Saint Sebastian’s Catholic Church.”  The report in The Hartford Courant continued,

Some of the spectators said it was a shadow caused by a reflection of the street light but the greater part of the crowd was apparently content to believe it was an apparition and not a mere shadow. Cars lined Washington Street for a considerable distance and even after midnight there were new arrivals of persons curious to see the figure. Women came and saw and returned home to bring their children back to view the figure and the crowd seemed unwilling to depart.

The following day, The Hartford Courant reported that the Connecticut Power Company turned off two street lights in front of the church causing both the apparition and the crowd of several thousand people to depart.[3]

[1] “New of Apparition at St. Sebastian’s Stirs Middletown,” Hartford Courant, May 17, 1935, 1

[3] “Apparition’ Disappears In Middletown When Lights Are Turned Off, “Hartford Courant, May 18, 1935.

Story contributed by Jennifer Schloat.



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