Does Fondren have ghosts? Some say yes. As far as we know, the only entities haunting Hamon late at night are SMU students. Let’s get on with the second installment of Collecting the macabre.

Ghost towns and ruins

Bywaters Special Collections focus on the art of the Southwest, including numerous depictions of ghost towns and other abandoned places.

The Maniac Barber

The Maniac Barber by American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. From the Sulphur Springs Collection of Pre-Nickelodeon Films, G. William Jones Film & Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library.

“In this enjoyable trick film, after a customer is seated in the chair, the barber seemingly decapitates him with the razor. After shaving the man’s head at a sink, the barber replaces it, whereupon the gentleman rises, puts on his hat and cheerfully departs as the barber grins at the camera. (Worland, R. (1995). “The Sulphur Springs, Texas Early Films Discovery.” Journal of Film Preservation, vol 51. p. 55.)

Two Years Among the Spirits in the Godless Town of Liberal

Two Years Among the Spirits in the Godless Town of Liberal: The Experience of the Famous Medium, Dr. J. B. Bouton, Liberal, Mo.
Two Years Among the Spirits in the Godless Town of Liberal: The Experience of the Famous Medium, Dr. J. B. Bouton, Liberal, Mo. From the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

“Lo, the freezing horror! The floor of the tenement opens, and the gray hair floats up; and the forehead, the eyes, the lips, the shoulders, the arms, the feet, the entire body of the dead Samuel wrapped in the sepulchral robe, appears to the astonished group, who stagger back and hold fast, catch their breath, and shiver with terror.—Oh, that was an awful seance!” With an endorsement like that, how can you not read the rest of this publication on spiritualism? Written by Dr. J.B. Bouton, a medium who practiced in Liberal, Missouri in the 1880s.

Sara Outhier, Digital Media Librarian, Hamon Arts Library | southier@smu.edu


Featured image: Calavera Tapatia by Jose Guadalupe Posada. From Mexican broadsides illustrated by Jose Guadalupe Posada. DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

More: Central University Libraries Digital Collections.

Ghost towns and ruins:

Left Behind by Jerry Bywaters. From Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library.

Picuris Pueblo Ruins by DeForrest Judd. From DeForrest Judd art work and papers, 1936-1990, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library.

Fort Davis by DeForrest Judd. From DeForrest Judd art work and papers, 1936-1990, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library.

Untitled by DeForrest Judd. From DeForrest Judd art work and papers, 1936-1990, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library.

Crested Butte by DeForrest Judd. From DeForrest Judd art work and papers, 1936-1990, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library.