Report of a Ghost that Solves a Murder
The Chicago Tribune reported this story as the strangest ghost story ever told . . .
This story was published in the Tribune in August of 1942.
Nurses making home visits to an elderly female patient newly released from hospital in Denver, Colorado called the police in a panic.
They felt their patient, a Mrs. Peters’ home was haunted. Concerns about strange lights seen at the top of the house were reported along with reports that they had heard eerie sounds coming from this same area.
What the police found when they arrived was not a ghost but a man.
This man, Theodore E. Coneys had hidden in the home for 9 months. He had first moved in to his old friend’s home, undetected in September of 1941. He observed Mr. Peters, 73 leave the home to visit his wife in hospital.
He discovered the door was left unlocked and entered. He wandered around the house looking for valuables. He then managed to squeeze his way into an 8X15″ opening in the garret floor.
He left the space where he hid after four days in search of food. On one of these trips to find food, Mr. Peters caught him robbing the icebox.
Coneys proceeded to bludgeon Mr. Peters to death.
He was able to remain safely hidden even while the police where in the home investigating this murder. He stayed in the home after Mrs. Peters was brought home from the hospital.
He managed to remain hidden despite the fact a continuous string of day and night nurses visited the home in order to care for Mrs. Peters.
The police at first did not discover Coneys’ hiding place because the trap door was so small they felt no one could fit through it. When they found Coneys he was shaking from hunger, his hair was long and his clothes were in rags.
He confessed to the police he had killed Mr. Peters.
Coneys was a former businessman who began an advertising firm in Denver in 1910. He had visited the Peters home as a frequent guest. His business collapsed in 1917.
He then bummed around the country for many years. Eventually, he returned to Denver. Instead of contacting his old friend for help he sneaked into his home in 1941 and decided to stay for the winter.
The space he hid in was right under the peak of the roof. It was only four feet wide. In the months that followed he equipped this space with a radio, electric hot plate and food all stolen from the Peters.
Coneys weighted only 75 pounds when the police discovered him. He was tried and convicted of Mr. Peters murder and spent the rest of his life in prison.