Gnome Lake Cavern From Spirit Land

White Pine News (1887)
Gnome Lake Cavern From Spirit Land by John T. Baker
2933713White Pine News — Gnome Lake Cavern From Spirit Land1887John T. Baker

GNOME LAKE CAVERN From Spirit Land. "J.T.B.'s" Conservation with the Soldier-Ghost of the Cave-Love, Jealousy, Tyranny and Suicide as told by the Soldier-Spook.

"As a sequel to the former communication in the Eureka Sentinel, John T. Baker, writing from Ruby Valley, Elko county under date of July I", tells the following extraordinary story. Whether John T. has gone daft or has imbibed too freely of Tom Short's " "Cruiskeen," we are unable to say, but one or the other ails him: Editor Sentinel: As intimated in my former letter, I now proceed to give you the result of my second visit to this somewhat notorious and very remarkable cave. I wish to state at the outset that my observation of, and conversation with this mysterious being, call him ghost, spirit or mortal as you please, have changed my belief in things spiritual or supernatural, which belief I consider as firm as the Rock of Gibraltar. As far back as I can remember, I have always treated with ridicule and derision any suggestion of things supernatural, but I find first by a somewhat frightful, and later, more pleasant experience, that I was wrong in my dogmatic ideas, and that spirits do exist. In my second interview the soldier told me that although he had all the appearance of a material being, that in fact it was only in form and appearance; that there was no tenable substance composing his form as it appeared. This I demonstrated to be true to my entire satisfaction by placing my hand on his arm, as I supposed, but my hand met no resisting substance, any more than passing your hand through a sunbeam, passing through an orifice into a darkened room. He went on to say that he had the power of speech, which is something very rare among the spirits: that some communicate to people on earth by means of raps, some by writing, and in various ways; that he had the power to speak, but did not know how long it would continue; that he had seen Tom Short, Gay Dawley and Nucky Smith in the cave together, and therefore did not make his appearance, but that I was the first man he ever saw alone. He stated further that he enlisted in the regular army in 186 1, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and supposed that he would be sent south, but was not; that he remained at Fort Leavenworth for a year or more, and was sent to Fort Briger, in Wyoming Territory; from there to Salt Lake, and then to Fort Ruby, or rather to help build Fort Ruby. After the fort was completed the soldiers had but little to do, and he frequently got leave of absence for a day or so at a time, and he spent the time thus obtained in visiting among the settlers in the valley, and finally got deeply, irrevocably and passionately in love with the beautiful daughter of a rancher in the vicinity. He was looked upon with favor by the lady's parents and with loving fondness by the lady herself, and his happiness was for a time complete, and he hoped and wished with a longing anxiety when his five years term of service would expire, when he would claim the object of his affections, the hope and joy of his life. But cruel fate decreed that this anticipated happiness was not in store for him. Said he: "Our Post Commander, Colonel Moore, leaming of the state of affairs, and being an aspirant for the lady's affections himself, and jealous of attentions in that direction, absolutely refused me further leave of absence for a sufficient length of time to enable me to see or speak to her, who was all on earth. I could not understand the reason for my long absence from her side without any work of explanation, and to can the climax, and to further an invidious design, it was reported to this poor confiding girl that I had been missing some two or three months, and that I must have been either killed by the Indians or deserted. The girl on hearing this was frantic with grief, to such an extent that her parents sold out the ranch and went east. This was all related to me by a scout, who visited our post sometime after the family had left. They left no clue as to where they went. On learnng this I was wild, maddened, crazed. I cared not whether I lived or died; the world was then but the dark outline of an unfinished picture. I came to this cave with some of my comrades for the express purpose of ending my existence, though I wished to conceal it from my companions, and have them think it was an accident. I drank some liquor to brace me up, but I feigned to be too much intoxicated to carry out my object. I made the plunge, knowing that I would not come back alive, neither would I if I could. John Mayhew will verify my statement in regard to Col. Moore's tyranny, and Nucky Smith was along with us the day this spirit took its flight. Since I have been in the spirit land I have learned of my lost love. In time she got over her grief and married a trapper, and low lives in the wilds of Colorado. I am doomed to stay in this solitary and lonely cavern for ages yet to come, as a punishment for the self-destruction of my body and human life, but at some time in the future I shall be released from this restraint, and wander with the happy spirits wher I choose". Here the spirit vanished. To those who doubt this narrative I will say that they must also doubt the Bible. See Job IV,-15." White Pine News July 16, 1887

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