On March 5, 1925, the "Springfield Leader" carried a story discussing what has to be one of the most useful ghosts on record:
Rice Lake, Wis.--Psychic experts from all parts of the country are reported scurrying here to pass official once-over on the antics of the only bread-baking, floor-scrubbing ghost on record.I don't think I'm alone in saying that if Mrs. Pickman is still providing free housekeeping services, she is welcome to come clean my kitchen and bake biscuits any old day.
The celestial cutup at Rice Lake is one of the most ambitious shades that ever shoved off from the other side in search of respite from heavenly duties and intermixed innocent merriment.
For some time now, the spectre dressed in latest phosphorescent garb has been coming at the stroke of 12 by the village clock to the four-room house of John Kubis and there cleaning up the odds and ends of undone work.
Bread baking seems this ghost's specialty. And you can take the word of Kubis for it, the spook slings an awfully wicked mop.
Mrs. Kubis might have enjoyed the nocturnal helpmate if the visits hadn't gotten on her nerves.
It was quite the thing, she says, to get up on a cold morning and find your floors all scrubbed spick and span by hands from another world.
And the way that ghost could bake biscuits was nothing short of a poem--so nice and brown and just the right texture. They simply melted in your mouth.
But the Kubis family, consisting of the husband, wife, and two daughters, have quit their haunted bungalow with its free, gratis, for nothing spectral retainer.
The ghost started getting clubby. Not satisfied with a mountain of dishes purposefully left over from the day before, it commenced to roam the house, rap on floors and then came up stairs and got in bed with the Kubis daughters, Helen, 13, and Armilla, 11.
The youngsters, when the apparition "disappeared," said they had wanted to scream, but could not.
And Mrs. Kubis on the next night when she went to replenish the fire in the kitchen stove, says she distinctly heard footsteps following close on her heels.
Turning, she saw the portly form of a woman and even distinguished the color of her hair, eyes and the pattern of her dress.
She described the ghost to neighbors, who in turn said it was a dead image of Mrs. Axel Pickman, who had formerly lived in the Kubis home before her death last summer.
The Kubis family are new to this region, having come from Everett, Wash. None of them ever saw the former Mrs. Pickman. But when they were shown photographs of her they became convinced that a real ghost walked their halls and so they quit the place.
Mrs. Kubis hastens to say that they didn't leave because they were afraid, but because the house was cold.
It stands idle today, a little wind-swept affair with boards creaking under the gusts, and is avoided by even the most stolid.
Those who knew the former Mrs. Pickman now recall that she promised to "come back" after her death.
"Maybe spirits do return if they want to make some want known," says Mrs. Kubis. "Maybe Mrs. Pickman was worried about something that she wanted to have straightened out. I am sorry I forgot to speak to her when she was mopping up the kitchen."
Mrs. Kubis, however, wanted to do one kind thing at least for the ghost. When she moved away she left the clock going "so that Mrs. Pickman could see what time it was."
When Mrs. Kubis came to get her clock she found it still fully wound and the hands pointing exactly to 12. The kitchen was freshly scrubbed and there were tear stains on the table. No flour had been left behind. The ghost hadn't been able to do any baking.
All Rice Lake will swear to this. The psychic experts have a job on their hands.