Welcome to my new website featuring free history stories! Every month I will post a true story from
my files—covering topics such as historical true crime, politically incorrect history, amusing glimpses
into the past, ghost tales, etc. A few will be samples from my published books, but most will be BRAND
NEW and PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED ANYWHERE! Some are sections omitted from my books due to
space considerations; some were unprinted because they made publishers nervous; some were written
expressly for this website.
If you like the stories, links on this site will show you how to find my published works.
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* All illustrations, unless otherwise noted, by Kyle McQueen.
* Webmaster: Darren McQueen.
All material herein copyright 2012-2015 by Keven McQueen.
* Author photo: Denise Smith.
STORY FOR JUNE 2015: The Grateful Dead Sing
When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, it was cutting-edge technology just as the MP3 is in our time. It wasn’t long before people thought of unusual—even borderline macabre—reasons to record their voices. One such was Rev. Thomas Allen Horne of Larchmont, New York. Before he died in February 1890 at age seventy-seven, he recorded his own funeral sermon so mourners could hear the voice of the gone away as well as peer at his remains.
The funeral was held in Rev. Horne’s dining room and parlor. As it began, the assembly heard a female voice singing a hymn:
A few more years shall roll,
A few more seasons come,
And we shall be with those we love,
In the land beyond the sun.
The mourners were seriously creeped out when they recognized the voice as that of Mrs. Horne, who had died eight months before her husband. They regained their equilibrium when they realized the voice issued from a phonograph. (By the way, this incident occurred so early in the history of recorded sound that the machine played wax-coated cylinders rather than records.)
Rev. Horne’s nephew Charles replaced the cylinder with a second one, and the mourners heard the voice of the preacher himself. “It sounded so weird,” wrote a reporter, “that two ladies fainted and had to be carried out.” Rather than praise himself, Rev. Horne listed his own personal flaws and asked the assembly to pray for him. The nephew put on a third roll. Rev. Horne listed the virtues of his late wife and broke down weeping at one point.
The grand finale came when the nephew placed two phonograph players side by side on the table—one containing a cylinder of Rev. Horne singing, the other with a recording of Mrs. Horne singing. When they were played simultaneously, listeners heard the dead couple reunited in an unearthly duet.