In Seattle, It’s known as “Lytton Cottage.” The Lytton family built the cottage in 1888. Originally, it had been sited on one hundred and fifty acres of land (as a small farm with incredible views of Lake Washington). The family had made a success of the farm until Thanksgiving Day 1899.
Sometime during that night, they were all murdered by a transient named Jacob Bird. Bird used a double edge ax taken from the family’s wood shed to kill and dismember Shari, Thomas, their two children Jenny and Tom Jr. and Shari’s father Henry Morgan. He also killed their dog Butch and all the families’ livestock.
He stacked the family’s bloody bodies, like wood, in one of the bedrooms in the house. Then he took a bath, put on some of Thomas clothes, and made himself breakfast. At some point, he fell asleep. He was still asleep when he was captured by the sheriff’s patrol. On the wall of the bedroom where the bodies were found, Bird had written in his victim’s blood, “No home for children.”
This is Audio Stories with J.B. Simien and this is a story about the paranormal nature of a particular dwelling. It’s titled “Lytton Cottage, No Home for Children.” If you are hearing this story on YouTube, please subscribe to this channel and click the like symbol. If you are hearing the story in the Audio Stories Podcast, please review it and like it in iTunes or in whatever podcast directory that you use. With your help, I’m hopeful that more people discover these stories.
Before his death by hanging on November 12, 1900, Jacob Bird bragged that he had killed more than one hundred people throughout North America. He used his last words to place a curse on everyone involved in sending him to his death and stopping God’s work. Strangely, within three years of his execution, the five men most associated with the case all died by strangulation.
Peter Duggen, the neighbor who discovered Bird sleeping, choked in his sleep. Deputy Sherriff Frank Hodge, the man who arrested Bird, choked in his sleep. Edward Josh, the Prosecuting Attorney, choked in his sleep. James Horrigan, the Presiding Judge, choked in his sleep. George Sherman, Bird’s Defense Attorney (whom Bird blamed for an ineffectual defense), choked in his sleep. It’s a wondered Bird didn’t place a curse God for allowing him to be caught.
By 1901, an electric railway had been extended into the neighborhood from the City of Seattle. Over the next twenty years, the area changed from rural farm land to suburban neighborhood. Finally, it was annexed by the City of Seattle. The land became valuable as lots for housing. Except for the cottage and the lot upon which it set, the remainder of the farm was sold by the owner. He kept the cottage to rent out but it soon fell into disrepair.
In those days, no tenant would live there for more than a few weeks at a time. The place went through long periods with no occupants. There are newspaper accounts from 1906 through 1918 of several vagrants found dead in the cottage by the county sheriff’s patrol. Their deaths were attributed to disease or accidents. The locals claimed it was the Lytton cottage ghosts.
In September 1920, Maude Adams purchased the cottage at a county tax auction. She was a war widow with two small children. County records show that the cottage was remodeled to include adding electrical power and indoor plumbing. The family lived a quiet life. However, the cottage retained a reputation for unusual happenings with the neighbors.
This is one of the neighborhood stories (there are more). A young girl was visiting Cordelia Adams the daughter of Maude Adams. They were playing in Cordelia’s room when they heard Maude call to them from the kitchen for help. As the girls were moving to the kitchen, Maude came out of her bedroom into the hallway and stopped them. With her index finger pressed to her lips, Maude motioned for the girls to be quiet. Maude said in a whisper to the girls, I heard her call you too. It wasn’t me. There were other stories of house guest awaking to find the ghost of deceased relatives standing beside their beds or worst kneeling on top of their chest.
Mrs. Adams passed away, in the cottage, in January 1963 of natural causes. Her children turned the house into a rental after they were unable to sell it and didn’t choose to live there. The cottage was first rented to a family in the fall of 1963. The family moved out of the cottage before the end of the year. No explanation was given. That began a long troubled period of short term rental tenants until 1983. Then it was purchased by the Gannon family (primarily for the views of Lake Washington).
The Gannon’s (Thomas and Emma) had a boy and a girl under age ten. One night a few days after they moved into the cottage in July 1983, the children disappeared. They were in their rooms at bedtime. Their mother checked on them around eleven-thirty that night. Both children were asleep. When she went into wake them at seven the next morning, they were gone. In the son’s bedroom was a message written on the wall “No home for children.”
It appeared the children had been kidnapped. There was no evidence of a break in. The cottage doors were locked from the inside. The children’s house keys were in their rooms. The cottage windows were also secured. None of the children’s clothing was missing. They appeared too have departed while still in their pajamas without their shoes.
During an interview with Seattle Police Detectives (later that day) something very unusual occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Gannon, police detectives and other family members assembled, heard the children’s voices calling for help. Their calls were coming from the empty hallway that led to the family’s bedrooms. However, when they answered the children’s calls, it became apparent that the children couldn’t hear them.
The police searched the house again. No one could identify why they were hearing the children’s voices in an empty hallway. The house was checked for hidden electronic devices. None were found. The police used a wall penetrating radar. No hidden rooms were discovered. Mr. Gannon ripped open the walls, the ceiling and the floor of the hallway. They found nothing. There is video from 1983 made by a local TV station on YouTube. The children can be heard pleading for help. The adults appear frustrated and confused.
One of the Police Officers (standing watch over the property that day) had lived in the cottage twenty years earlier as a child. She told this strange story to the detectives. One afternoon, after school in November 1963, (a few months after her family had moved into the cottage) she and her brother Sam were watching cartoons on a TV in the living room. At some point during the TV program, the face of an expressionless circus clown filled the black and white TV screen. He looked like J. P Patches. They could still hear the cartoons continuing in the background but couldn’t see them because the clown’s face was blocking the program.
They changed the channel several times but the clown’s face continued to fill the screen. They turned off the TV. The image of the clown still filled the TV screen. The children called for their mother Pam. She turn on the TV. She also saw the clown. She changed the channel several times and then turned it off again. The clowns face was still there silently watching them. He was watching the children.
In those day TV sets were very heavy. Their mother asked them to help her turn the TV screen to face the wall. As they moved to do that, something changed on the TV screen. They could see the full body of the clown. He was no longer watching them. He was a participant in the incident occurring on the TV screen. The mother recognized the interior of her parent’s home across town. The clown, in full circus regalia, was walking through her parent’s home.
He opened the door of the master bathroom. Pam could see her mother Viola (the children’s grandmother) laying nude in the bathtub. She was unconscious and bleeding from her nose and scalp. The clown pointed to their grandmother and a cartoon bubble caption with these words appeared above his head. "Hurry, she just slipped, call an ambulance now!"
The family only had one car. It was with her father at work. So, Pam called for the ambulance and also called one of the grandmother’s neighbor’s to help. Pam and the children continued to watch the god’s eye view on the TV as the neighbor entered the house and helped Viola. Then the ambulance arrived and they took Viola to the hospital. The clown was in her parents’ house the entire time. It appeared no one could see him. Pam was watching the neighbor dial her from Viola’s house when the TV went blank. The clown was gone.
There were two final messages from the clown. First, get out this house. It is not safe for children. Second, you will know this is true when your President is killed. A few day after that, President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. In December, we moved out of the cottage. The police officer told the detectives with some risk to her career. That thing build my mother’s trust to save me and my brother. This house is haunted. The ghost are tricksters. We can’t help this family. They need the clown’s help.
Over the next twelve days, the Gannon’s listened as their children’s pleas for help became weaker and weaker. Since the first day, the children had been pleading for water and food. Now they were also constantly crying because they were dying of thirst and hunger. At the end of the twelfth day, they could no longer be heard. They were not saved.
The Gannon’s committed suicide in the cottage on the fourteenth day by gunshot. Their bodies were found together in the hallway. The official police report said it was a murder and a suicide. A book was written about the incident but the names and the location were changed because the bank that took over the property (upon the deaths of the Gannon’s) threaten to sue the publisher and author. The bank had a difficult time selling the cottage after what happen to the Gannon family.
Since 1984 the cottage has changed ownership several times. The main thing that attracts people is the view of Lake Washington. For short periods of time, the cottage is owner occupied. Then it quickly reverts back to its troubled rental history.
In 2013, Seattle Police were called to assist the then current tenants. They were in the living room watching a movie when the bodies of two emaciated and mummified children in pajamas suddenly appeared on the floor of the hallway (out of nowhere). Written on the wall in one of the bedrooms was this message, “No home for children.”
That completes our story. I’m J. B. Simien. I hope you have enjoyed it. Please recommend this podcast to your fans. Thank you and take care.