Local Events

‘My body is full of holes.’ 17 Coast ghost stories that will creep you out

As the days get shorter, the nights get cooler and October winds make gradually barren tree limbs rattle and scrape, it can mean only one thing: Halloween is here.

It’s a time for pumpkin carving, candy shopping, costume planning —and ghost-story telling.

There are plenty of well-known ghost stories along the Mississippi Coast, as well as some lesser-known tales. Chances are, you haven’t heard the ones below — one became known about two weeks ago, and others are family lore or familiar to only a few.

Sun Herald readers contacted us in 2014 to share some shivery tales. Many are mentioned in old Daily Herald stories, and in “Haunted Mississippi Gulf Coast” by Bud Steed.

Terror in Cahill Mansion

Some ghost stories are sweet tales of doomed lovers or shivery ones about a visitor who just cannot leave. Then there are the real doozies.

The Cahill Mansion was a real doozy.

People who grew up in Gulfport’s Bayou View neighborhood in the 1950s and ’60s inevitably have first- or secondhand stories of the house. It was built in 1915 by William Stewart, according to a Daily Herald article from 1970, on Kimball Drive overlooking Bayou Bernard in an area historically known as Handsboro. Photos of the large, white three-story house show a simple design with several windows facing a circular drive.

Dr. Kendall Gregory and his family moved into the house in 1957, and almost immediately, his wife, Ginny, had an eerie feeling.

“My first feeling upon moving here was simply one of not being alone,” a Sun Herald article from 1981 reports she once said. “I felt like I was being watched.” The supernatural activity could get so active, she sometimes wore earplugs to muffle the strange noises.

It wasn’t just noises, which included screams and grating sounds — although that would be unnerving enough. Past owners also were subjected to mysterious cold spots in the house, falling light fixtures, rooms that could not be painted, and general creepy feelings. Footsteps could be heard late at night, and a glowing figure of a small boy sometimes appeared.

On Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, the Gregorys found blood dripping down draperies and smeared on the house’s windows. A doctor later tested it and determined it was human blood.

One day, one of the Gregory children threw his jacket on the bed after school and it burst into flames.

Before long, in the late 1960s, the doctor and his wife left the house and considered bulldozing it and subdividing the property for single-family dwellings in the increasingly popular neighborhood. In the meantime, those who knew the house’s story went there for their own paranormal experiences — or sometimes to simply vandalize the place.

In late 1969, Dr. David N. Bubar of Tennessee, a Baptist minister who claimed psychic powers, conducted a seance at the house. Bubar said he spoke with the spirit of a girl named Flossie, who said she had been forced into prostitution and having an abortion, then was murdered.

“He shot me. I’m sick. I’m corroded. My body is full of holes,” Bubar said in a strange voice, as Flossie, during the seance.

More spirits supposedly met their human end when the house served as a military officers’ club during World War II. They told lurid stories of men from New Orleans and girls brought in from Louisiana.

Also during the seance, a Daily Herald reporter who was there witnessed the table they were using move according to instructed direction. Then it bumped, rocked and moved several feet across the floor, according to 1969 story.

“When Dr. Bubar began getting response from what he called spirits, those in the room were observant of everything going on,” the story said. “They watched for trickery. There appeared to be none, just answering taps or table movement.”

Oh, and Bubar predicted the house would burn down. Hmm.

Early on the afternoon of July 18, 1970, firefighters raced to 10 Kimball Drive, where the old Cahill Mansion was fully engulfed in flames. They battled the blaze, but the wood-frame house was mostly a loss. A Daily Herald story published the next day said flames erupted in the second story of the house, where another seance had been held the night before.

Bubar was informed of the fire, and he said he was “delighted that place has burned down as it will free those poor, unfortunate entities that have been trapped there.”

Five years later, Bubar was found guilty on four federal charges connected with a fire that destroyed a rubber-products plants in Connecticut. He had predicted a fire and explosion would flatten the plant, where he had once worked.

Isle of Caprice and a ghostly legend

The Isle of Caprice is an appropriate name for this mysterious stretch of land. As Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary states, a caprice is “a sudden, impulsive change in the way one thinks or acts; whim.”

Indeed, the island seemed to appear and then disappear on a whim. The Isle of Caprice is still MIA above water, but the island, once known as Dog Island, lies beneath the waves about 12 miles offshore, between East Ship and Horn islands. It was there in 1847, then vanished a decade later.

It popped up about 50 years later, just in time for the Roaring Twenties.

In 1926, the Isle of Caprice opened as a resort, offering “dancing, surf bathing, boating, fishing, games,” according to advertisements, with gambling and drinking as the real, unadvertised incentives. Booze wasn’t sold on the island, but guests were welcome to BYOB or buy it from private boats that just happened to be near the island.

Records indicate the Isle of Caprice had a high-kicking time until the one-two punch of erosion and the Great Depression did it in in the early 1930s. Eventually, the island went back under water. Geologists say this disappearing act can be attributed to erosion and shifting of underwater sands.

But why let details and facts get in the way of a good story? There’s a local legend that a storm was on its way from the Gulf headed straight to the Isle. Still, the party went on, with folks opting to stay on the island rather than head to the mainland.

The storm struck the island with fury. Two days later, rescuers left Biloxi to reach those who had stayed. But all they found when they got to where the island had been were bodies and debris floating in the water. The island had disappeared and there were no survivors.

According to the legend, if you go out to the area where the Isle of Caprice lies beneath the surface of the Gulf, you can hear rowdy laughter, abruptly replaced with terrified screams, then total silence.

Moving tale at 100 Men DBA Hall

The 100 Men DBA Hall in Bay St. Louis, built in 1922, served as a gathering place for The One Hundred Men Debating Benevolent Association.

When owners Jesse and Kerrie Loya bought it in 2005, they restored it and made it both a music hall and a private residence.

“I think the first time, I was sitting in the kitchen and was on the phone with my daughter,” Kerrie Loya said. “I heard a groaning, a deep ‘grr.’ I opened the door and walked into the Hall. I told my daughter, ‘Hey, stay on the phone with me.’ I heard more groaning, but I didn’t see anyone in the Hall, I went back in the kitchen.” She could hear the groaning again in a back room.

“I call the kitchen my command post. One day, I started noticing the kitchen table was moving. I don’t mean it moved 2 inches, like a table can. It was like 10 inches. It would move the width of the room, not the depth. I thought, ‘That’s really weird.’” Husband Jesse noticed it, too, but told her she must have moved it while cleaning, but she said she’s not a furniture mover when it comes to regular cleaning.

“A few days later, the table moved like 2 1/2 feet, a really dramatic move. Then Jesse Loya said, ‘You’re right, it really is moving,’” she said.

One day, Kerrie Loya found a copy of a book, “Tales of Love and Dying” by Sherry Kauppi, in the mailbox. It had been inscribed, “To Jesse and Kerri, a wonderful old gentlemanly spirit wanted me to give this to you. He was connected with the Hall.”

“I contacted her. She’s like a channeler,” Kerrie Loya said. “I asked her, what is the deal with my kitchen table? She laughed and said, ‘Oh, it’s Samuel. He thinks it’s funny that you get upset with him. Just say firmly, ‘Samuel, stop moving my table!’ So I did, and sure enough, it stopped. That was in April 2013 and it hasn’t happened since,” Kerrie said.

Two girls and hospital pranks

In 1963, Biloxi celebrated the opening of Howard Memorial Hospital at 1550 Lafayette St. on Back Bay.

In its day, the hospital served many patients, but several staff members knew of two little girls who never seemed to be released. In an October 1986 Sun Herald article, a staff writer wrote, “Mention them to anyone who worked for any length of time at the old Biloxi Regional Medical Center on Back Bay, and they immediately know what you’re talking about.”

Night nurses were most likely to have had stories. One thing was for sure: You didn’t want to be the one to see these little girls, who appeared to be 5 to 7 years old and about 3 feet tall. According to lore, anyone who saw them soon joined them in the great beyond.

Some said the girls were hospital patients who died there. Others said they were killed at a park/playground next to the hospital. Their attire seems to have correlated to the place where they supposedly died; some said they wore nightgowns and others said they wore little party dresses popular with girls of the period.

These weren’t forlorn spirits; people said they could hear them laughing. Like living children, they could be a bit mischievous — thermostats and elevator buttons were popular targets.

Patients occasionally complained about the girls making too much rumpus in their room, and it wasn’t unusual for nurses to hear elevator doors opening and closing for no apparent reason.

One nurse said a co-worker asked to step into a room with her. She noticed the temperature was “at least 15 degrees cooler than the other room where we had been standing,” she said. Both rooms were regulated by the same thermometer.

They could be helpful, too. When a baby needed to be rushed to intensive care, one nurse said, on more than one occasion the elevator doors would swing open on their own to let in the infant patient.

Harp music signals sad tale

As any fan of traditional bluegrass or mountain songs can tell you, there’s a high price to pay for infidelity.

A solitary harpist associated with an area of Pass Christian would second that.

Storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham tells the tale in her book “Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts,” and it was related in a 1981 story in the Sun Herald.

In the 1850s, a Senor Vinesto and his young wife, Julia,fled Uruguay during a revolution in that South American country, leaving behind most of their possessions, including Julia’s harp. They took a boat to New Orleans. Back then, trips were not quick, including those by sea. As day stretched into the next boring day, it seems Julia developed an attraction for the boat’s Captain Hawes. The feeling was mutual.

Senor Vinesto noticed his wife’s melancholy and decided it was due to a combination of no social life and the loss of her harp. When the boat docked at a port one day, he bought Julia another harp. She took it onto the deck and would play the instrument for hours.

Hawes soon learned Senor Vinesto had something else attractive, a trunk filled with gold coins. The combination of a beautiful young woman and ready treasure was too strong, and one day, somehow, Senor Vinesto fell overboard and disappeared. By accident, of course.

Julia wasn’t fooled. She tried to get Hawes to confess his sins to a priest. Answering to God didn’t concern Hawes half as much as what Julia might say to others. He steered east and anchored off Pass Christian instead of continuing to New Orleans.

Pass residents were startled one night to see a glare just off shore. Rowboats were taken out to rescue passengers from the apparent ship fire. Before they could reach the burning ship, though, a mighty explosion destroyed it. Villagers came back telling of hearing a harp playing beautiful old love songs.

Amazingly, the captain and four of his crew showed up on shore the next morning, saying they had narrowly escaped the fire. Hawes settled into life in the Pass, bought a waterfront house and made many friends. Life was good until one of the crew, dying from yellow fever, spilled the whole story.

Hawes ran to an old tree along the shore and began to dig furiously. Two locals were watching from a hiding place nearby when they heard rusty oarlocks and — was that harp music?

Four skeletons in a rowboat reached the shore, accompanied by an ethereal young woman playing a harp. Hawes, astonished, fell forward and struck his head on a chest he had just unearthed. There were a few gold coins in his hand — but the chest was empty.

The old story goes that on certain days when the wind is just right, the harp can still be heard playing its hauntingly beautiful songs.

Packing-plant waif on beach

Does a mysterious little boy from another time still visit beachgoers in Pass Christian? Hard to say, but this story made the rounds in the 1950s and 1960s.

People would be enjoying a relaxing visit to the beach when a little boy would appear, watching them. Folks would greet him, and the polite little guy would start a conversation with them. Those who saw him noticed his clothes looked old-fashioned, ill fitting and a little scruffy and dirty. Perhaps it was this observation that led folks to kindly, gently ask him about his family, where he lived, etc.

Imagine the sympathy when the child would say he no longer had a family or a home.

“Well, honey, where do you stay?” a concerned grownup would ask.

He would reply that he stayed down at the packing plant.

Those familiar with the area would have been shocked, because the Pass Packing Company, where seafood was processed and packed for local use and shipment, had been closed for some time. In fact, the plant, near the current Pass Christian Yacht Club’s building, no longer existed.

The most information the boy would give was that he worked at the packing plant. Then, perhaps weary of the probing questions, the boy would stand up.

“Where are you going?” the adult would ask, but the boy then would disappear before the person’s eyes.

The mysterious child usually chose to appear to women or elderly men, perhaps feeling most safe with them.

Did the boy die in an accident at the plant, from an illness or foul play? No one knew.

Ocean Springs has mystery runner

Not all ghosts appear in antebellum or swashbuckler garb; sometimes they almost blend in with everybody else.

Such is the case of Ocean Springs’ East Beach runner.

The runner, a young woman, wears regular running gear and a baseball cap and suddenly appears along East Beach.

Apparently endorphins — the so-called “happy hormone” — released by running aren’t just for the living. This young woman is known to smile brightly at folks and speak and nod as she runs by. Don’t try to keep up with her, though. Before you know it, she will disappear, leaving you bewildered in her ghostly dust.

“The settler” more closely fits the traditional period ghost, as he has been described as wearing “pioneer clothes.” His favorite time is right at sunset, and he’s in no hurry during his stroll. Unlike the runner, he’s more of a loner, preferring to stroll by himself. Get too close, and he will disappear.

One witness tried to engage him, only to see him disappear, Steed’s story says. The person turned around and saw the solitary settler continuing his walk a little farther down the beach.

Dapper man at Bay depot

The Bay St. Louis Train Depot is an attractive Mission-style structure built in 1928, according to the city’s website. The depot thrived through the Depression and into World War II.

It was used during the filming of “This Property Is Condemned,” starring Robert Redford and Natalie Wood. Today, it is the home of the Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau, the city’s Visitors Center and the Alice Moseley Museum. Trains still pass by the sand-colored building with terra cotta trim.

One visitor is loath to leave.

This young man, dashing in a white linen suit, walks leisurely along the walkway by the tracks and whistles an upbeat tune, hands behind his back, occasionally checking his pocket watch, as if anticipating a certain train’s arrival. After a few minutes, he reaches the end of the walk, tips his hat and vanishes.

Is this fellow’s pocket watch accurate? Hard to say, because those who have seen him say he can appear at any time, night or day.

Mysterious dog

Here’s a 92-year-old spooky story that might be unfamiliar, and it comes from the Sun Herald’s own archives.

A roaming dog isn’t an unusual sight, but a certain white dog that appeared in northeast Gulfport in September 1922 got a lot (the story says dozens) of people’s attention. The canine didn’t appear earthly. Even more disturbing, it didn’t bark, whine or pant — it groaned a very undoglike groan.

The ghostly dog seemed to favor hanging around the home of V.D. Coleman, near the Gum Carbo School. Whenever a human tried to capture it, the animal suddenly disappeared. Could other dogs run it down or chase it away? Residents tried that, but those dogs, instead of giving chase, cowered in fear.

Then Coleman and another man, Wallace Rever, followed the dog one night. They wound up at an oak tree just north of Handsboro Road. Rever prepared to shoot the dog, but suddenly it made a horrifying groan, and Coleman stopped him.

The dog became something of a local sensation, and theories about his mission abounded. Some recalled the story that the outlaw James Copeland and his gang had buried treasure near that area in the 1880s. Or maybe he had some connection to an old fisherman who had died near that tree a half-century earlier.

Whatever the dog’s origins, a Daily Herald article at the time, as mentioned in a Sun Herald article from 1981, said the witnesses were very serious in their statements.

“There is no doubt that they have seen something ... but what it is remains to be determined,” the newspaper account states.

It added that the dog continued to make occasional appearances.

By the way, research indicates there was a Gum Carbo Co. in Gulfport around 1900; here, gum-carbo was produced from cotton seed oil as a substitute for India rubber and a substitute for chicle, which was used in making chewing gum. Perhaps the Gum Carbo School was for children whose families were employed by the company.

Bone chills at Deer Island

Deer Island, just off Biloxi’s beach to the southeast, is a peaceful home to great blue herons and has been designated a Mississippi Coastal Preserve. The occasional angler, boater or nature lover shows up, but for the most part, this small island’s population is of the fauna variety. For the most part.

A.G. Ragusin wrote a news column, “Back With Father Time,” in the 1920s and related the following tale there, according to a 1981 story in the Daily Herald.

Some time in the 19th century, as the story goes, two fishermen decided to enjoy their evening meal on Deer Island. Their campfire began crackling and coffee started brewing, and the two began anticipating their dinner. Then a growth of nearby palmettos started rustling loudly. The men weren’t worried; likely it was some wild hogs that lived on the island.

The palmettos’ furious rustling continued with no hogs emerging. Curious, the men got up and went to investigate. In hindsight, they likely wished they had not, because when they separated the fanned fronds, they faced a terrifying sight: A headless human skeleton stood there, fully supporting itself. The men hightailed it out of the palmettos with the skeleton in close pursuit. They hopped into their boat and pulled away just in time, returning in daytime to get their gear. There was no sign of their macabre pursuer.

Many years before these fellows got the fright of their lives, according to legend, a pirate captain had sailed into Biloxi Bay and chosen Deer Island as the site to bury a substantial treasure.

“Who wants to stay here and guard this treasure?” he asked the crew. A volunteer came forward, unaware of his fate: The pirate captain chopped the man’s head off, leaving the body as a permanent watchman.

Death by duel at manor

Tullis-Toledano Manor once stood proudly among Live oaks on U.S. 90 in Biloxi, its thick brick walls keeping occupants cool in the heat of summer. Christoval Sebastian Toledano, a sugar and cotton broker from New Orleans, had the house built in 1856 for his bride, Matilde Pradat.

But in 2005, Hurricane Katrina tossed a casino barge at it. It was one of many sad losses for Biloxi’s resident, but one eternal resident perhaps felt it most keenly. This spirit is that of a young man who died in a senseless duel on the manor’s grounds.

There are variations on the story. This is the one in “Haunted Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

About 1876, the Toledano family were hosts to a handsome, wealthy young man from New Orleans. He caught the determined eye of a beautiful but spoiled local young woman who campaigned relentlessly for his attention. The astute young man was polite but firm: not interested.

The spurned woman went to a local would-be suitor and told her version of the story. This young man, gullible and known as a hothead, swallowed the tale and took off to the manor to confront the New Orleans fellow, who tried to calmly explain the truth. Things escalated, and the local young man challenged the visitor to a duel; he couldn’t be talked out of it.

The two met up at the back of the house with swords. The New Orleanian gave the local another chance to call things off, but nothing doing. The duel began, and the skilled young man from New Orleans drew blood at the first attempt. The young woman egged the local on to kill his opponent, but he was no match. He and failed to run the visitor through with his sword. The visitor had no choice but to parry in self-defense. As the local man lay dying, the fickle woman ran to the victor and professed her love. Drawing his last few breaths, the local young man asked the New Orleans man for forgiveness and received it.

Through the decades, people have said they can see the man walking the grounds sadly, a large bloodstain on his shirt.

Pirate House held secrets

Lafitte’s Pirate House in Waveland is gone now, a victim of Hurricane Camille in 1969. Also known as Lobrano House, it was built in 1802 by a “gentleman pirate” (a New Orleans businessman), and was a hideaway for the famous — infamous — pirate Jean Lafitte as well as a sort of headquarters for others in his “profession” along the Coast.

A secret tunnel ran from the house’s subcellar to the open waters, the story goes, and it was through this passage the marauders would bring ashore their pirated booty.

It was a beautiful house — hand-carved interior doors crafted of solid mahogany with beautiful brass double locks, iron grille banisters along the front gallery and gracing the steps, three dormer windows influenced by planter’s cottages of Louisiana, according to a Daily Herald story from 1976.

Behind that beautiful façade, however, legend says hidden spaces held tortured people prisoner. Screams and moans from the souls of those long-ago captives continued to echo through the house well into the 20th century. One storied spirit appeared to be that of a woman.

Brick House ghost

The Old Brick House on Back Bay in Biloxi sits on property once owned by Jean Baptiste Carquotte, who received a land grant from the Spanish government in 1784, and is one of the oldest homes remaining in Biloxi. Although Katrina severely damaged the historic home, it has been carefully restored. It might still be the home of a fellow who just can’t leave.

Local lore says the figure of a man, dressed in the late-19th-century clothes of a gentleman, can be seen smoking a pipe on the front porch, gazing out toward Back Bay, enjoying the view. Then he knocks the pipe clear and walks back inside — through the unopened front door.

The Old Brick House ghost occasionally has been seen in the yard, snf seems to appear just about any time he pleases.

Doomed love leads to a singing river

The Pascagoula River is known as The Singing River. According to legend, this is how it got the name.

The river is named for the Pascagoula tribe of Native Americans who lived along its banks. They were peaceful, known as the “bread eaters.” The tribe’s chief was a handsome young man named Altama. Not far away lived the much more-aggressive Biloxi tribe. Altama fell in love with the Biloxi chief’s beautiful daughter, Anola.

Their attraction was so strong, Anola ran away from her own tribe to be with Altama. That wasn’t the best idea: She already was betrothed to Otanga, a Biloxi chieftain.

The Biloxi tribe declared war on the peaceable Pascagoula, who knew they were no match. Facing the unhappy choice of handing over the couple — which would lead to Altama’s death — or the likelihood of enslavement or worse, the entire Pascagoula tribe marched into the waters of the river, singing their death chant and holding hands. They sang and marched until the last voices of the men, women and children disappeared.

Today, the story goes, you still can hear the Pascagoulas’ mournful singing, usually in the late summer to early fall. Those who have heard it describe it as sounding like bees swarming, but with more of a musical quality, its sound growing until it reaches a crescendo, then dying away as quickly as it came.

There are several theories as to what causes the “singing.” Maybe it’s a huge school of fish making the sound, or an underwater grotto, or just Mother Nature.

Or maybe it really is the people of the Pascagoula, reminding us of a time long ago.

Great Southern ghost

J.S. Slade of Long Beach emailed the following family ghost story.

“An old uncle once told my cousin and me about the time he and his buddy, both about 16 years old, went out on the pier in front of the Great Southern Hotel in the late ’20s or early ’30s.

“The hotel was located between 25th Avenue and 26th Avenue in Gulfport at what is now U.S. 90. The water came up to the seawall, and there was a long pier that went off at a southeast angle toward the old Coast Guard station near to where the big anchor is now located.

“So, these two were out at the end of the pier where a big area had benches around it. They were sneaking a smoke late at night, having a good time, when they heard someone coming along with a walking cane, bumping every other step. Thinking that someone was coming to run them off, they crouched down under the benches on both sides of the walkway, ready to run for it.

“As they peeped around the corner, in the moonlight, they saw a man dressed like Prince Albert (the image on the tobacco can) coming with his walking cane. They drew back out of sight and in a few seconds, the walking sound stopped. They ventured another look, and the man was gone. They got up and crept down the pier, looking over the side to see where he went. Nobody. They ran the rest of the way.

“The next day or so, they mentioned to a porter who worked at the hotel that they had seen something strange on the pier. (They didn’t say) what they saw, but he responded by saying that he was out there with his girlfriend and they saw ‘that man.’ I always wondered if anyone else could add to that story.”

The haunted books

In 2014, a Coast man donated several old books to the Biloxi Public Library on Howard Avenue. Not much later, the man called and told librarian Jane Shambra they weren’t just any old books. They were haunted.

He said his wife had acquired them before they were married, and they’d been in the family since the ’60s.

“Everybody in the family saw some sort of apparition,” Shambra said. “They would be asleep, then wake up and see the figure of a woman with long, dark hair and what looked like a gauze-like dress. She would hover. When the person woke up, and the apparition startled them, it would disappear.”

Now alone, the man wanted to get rid of the books his wife had held onto.

“They’re from the mid- to late 1800s,” the librarian said. “They originally were housed at the Father Ryan House. It sounds like there was a room where they and a lot of other things were stored and sometime in the ’60s, the room was cleared out, and the wife bought the books.

“Whoever had them must have been well-educated. They’re on elocution, studying German, history, French grammar.”

There are different names written in the books. Some contain pressed leaves and four-leaf clovers. One holds a straight pin with a green ribbon.

Nobody at the library has yet seen a hovering woman.

Mysterious locket

Joy Brown and her husband, Robert Newton, once lived in a Queen Anne–style house on Howard Street in Biloxi. Built in about 1898, it was originally was owned by John Swetman and his wife.

“It seems they must have expected to have a lot of children because there were so many rooms,” Brown said. “But I understand they had no children.”

Nevertheless, Brown and her daughter would see two little girls in the house.

“They were on the upper floor. They seemed to be happy. They had long, blonde, curly hair, and wore 1900s dress — long-waisted dresses and bows in their hair. I thought they might be sisters because their dresses were very much alike,” she said.

“The thing about the house is, I never felt anything negative,” Brown said. “In fact, there was a person I swear helped me.”

Brown said she believes a mysterious man in work clothes who stood in the doorway of a high-ceilinged room she was painting helped her find some missing tools.

“I just knew it was John (Swetman),” she said.

But the most outstanding experience she had in the house involved a tiny gold locket.

“It was just Robert and me living at home,” she said. “I went into the den, and on the table in there, I saw some sort of jewelry. I knew it wasn’t mine. I wear only white gold or silver, but this was yellow gold. I looked at it. I knew it wasn’t a cheap piece of fashion jewelry. This was an old locket with some etching, that was worn. I opened it, but there was no picture inside. It was pretty, and the necklace part was small.

“My granddaughter was about to have her first birthday, so I thought I would give it to her.”

Brown did give it to her granddaughter, who wore it for her first-birthday photo.

“A while later, I wondered why I hadn’t seen it again, so I asked her mother why she didn’t wear it. My daughter said, ‘It’s absolutely disappeared. I have no idea where it is.’ She said it wasn’t misplaced. It hasn’t been seen since.”