; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Louisville's 1901 Fatal Curse & Prophecies

The following article tells of a fatal curse placed on a Kentucky doctor - St. Louis Republic - October 11,1901:

"Within nine days that fine mare will die, the colt you value will die, your last hunting dog will disappear, and then you will die."

This was the prophecy made by an unknown mysterious woman to Doctor Alfred Lemberger, and it came true to the letter, for Doctor Lemberger fell over dead from heart failure on the evening of the ninth day.

The other conditions of the prophecy had already been fulfilled.

Now every detective on the Louisville force and every newspaper reporter is looking for the strange woman who made that prediction. Physicians say that she probably caused the man's death by the psychic effect upon him. But the question remains, Who is the woman? for only Doctor Lemberger knew and he never told her name. That section of the city was never so excited before. Miss Kate Schuster, who was to have married the doctor the latter part of this month does not know nor does her sister Mrs. Schweitzer, who kept house for the bachelor. His brother and intimate friends can tell simply what Doctor Lemberger told them that a woman had predicted his death.

It started several weeks ago when Doctor Lemberger was called to attend a child suffering from diphtheria. The physician and family differed as to the diagnosis. He reported it as diphtheria, placarded the house, and enforced the sanitary measures that the law provides. The family objected bitterly. The baby died. One of the family visited the physician's office on Goss avenue to "wish him ill."

According to the story of the dead man's intimate friends, Doctor Lemberger was a member of a little club that met each week at the home of some member for a social card game. Almost all of the well-known men in that section of town belonged. It was at a club meeting that the doctor first told the story of the strange prophecy. The man who heard him tell the story first repeated it.

"Boys," he began, "you can play cards on my coffin in a couple of weeks if the prophecy of a woman made today comes true." Then he went on to tell his friends about the table what he called a good joke on himself. He told them the story, but held back the name of the woman, professing not to know it. In the intervals of the game, amid the jokes and laughter of his comrades the doctor told how the woman had entered his office and said first that she wanted to let him know that he need not hunt for that dog; that he was gone; because he would never come back. It had gotten into the street and a boy had carried it to the country. Then the woman said:

"Be careful, for in nine days that fine mare will die, your colt, that you value, will die, and finally you will die on the ninth day--if you are not careful."

"But that mare is not mine. She belongs to my brother," said the doctor.

"That makes no difference," replied the woman. "Anything that is in your stable during the next nine days must die. You have enemies and they may kill you. The greatest danger to your life will be in the nine days after the mare dies. Don't go out alone at night. You can believe this because I predicted the death of President McKinley, but said nothing about it because I feared I might get into trouble."

The members of the club heard the doctor's story, and straightaway it became the standing jest. But one day the physician did not answer the questioner so readily. The fine mare was dead. Colic seized the mare one morning, and before Doctor Miller, the veterinary surgeon who was quickly summoned, could arrive she had died.

In a couple of days, however, the physician had apparently forgotten all about the incident. He was only reminded of it by the disappearance of his good hunting dog and the death of two of her pups the same day.

But one of the strange woman's prophesies remained now to be fulfilled. Lemberger had ceased to scoff about the fortunetellers, soothsayers, and the like.

One day he went fishing, but told the people at the house exactly what must be done in case he did not come back. When the doctor went out at night he took a man with him. The time for the club meeting rolled around. The doctor went. He seemed in finer spirits than he had been for a week. He was even joking and laughing about the prophecy of the strange woman. They were playing "auction pitch."

"I bid one," said the man on Doctor Lemberger's left. The physician skinned his cards. The others were doing the same thing and paid little attention to him.

"I bid two," said Doctor Lemberger at last--then he fell forward on the table dead. The last prophecy of the strange woman had been fulfilled. It was the evening of the ninth day.

Dr. Lemberger died suddenly on October 9th of a massive heart attack. He was only 34 years old.

Then there is this bizarre postscript printed in the Atlanta Constitution on January 8, 1902:

Louisville, Ky., January 7.--Three Louisville young men have within the past six weeks come to violent deaths which were foretold them. The singular fatality which overhung them, the fact that their fates were predicted and that they died within so short a space of time has caused considerable comment.

The first of the three to die was Stuart Young. A few months ago there was not a gayer young man about town than he. Attractive, with a host of friends and holding the lucrative post of city treasurer, he seemed in an enviable position. But Young's pace had grown until finally he had to take the city's money to meet expenses. Then he began to gamble to catch even and ruin was complete.

It has recently been the fad in Louisville for young people to visit one of a member of those fortune telling here. During the summer Young was at a number of fortune tellers who held forth parties. The fortune teller gazed at Young's hand and then shook her head ominously.

"Your line of life is broken now," she said.

On November 27 he shot himself through the head in a freight yard within a block of his hotel just after an afternoon paper had announced his shortage.

The second to meet his doom was Austin Kent. He came of a leading wealthy family of Louisville. A few weeks ago he went to St. Louis. One evening he made one of a part at which palmistry served to pass away the time. The young lady who was reading Kent's hand said laughingly:

"Why, Austin, you should be dead now. Your life line stops at thirty and you're thirty-one."

"Well, I guess I've got a new one by now," laughed Kent.

Ten days later, while on an automobile party he sprang to escape what seemed a certain collision between the vehicle and a freight engine, and was ground to death beneath the wheels of the engine.

Will H. Goddard was the last to fill out the trio of destinies. He was a young man, well liked socially in Louisville for his attractive personality and gay spirits. Like Young he went on a fortune telling party. The seeress told him he would meet a violent death in less than twelve months. On Thursday last he was on a hunting expedition and pulled his gun toward him by the barrel, believing it empty. It was discharged and the contents passed through his heart.

But slightly removed from these cases by time, and of a similar nature, was that of Dr. Alfred Lemberger. Last August he incurred the enmity of a fortune teller of the east end who cursed him and his, and predicted that in nine days he would be dead. On the evening of the ninth day Dr. Lemberger died while sitting at a table playing cards with friends.

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