Favorite S.F. Ghost Story About Mammy
Negress Held Mysterious Power Over
Mary Ellen Pleasant had an uncanny
way of chancing upon gossipers and professed to the skeletons in the closets
of every high-
Turned Down $50,000
The history of Mammy Pleasant and her hold on Thomas and Teresa Bell will perhaps always be shrouded in secrecy. For although she had been offered $50,000 tell what she knew after the death of Mr. Bell and her grim rift with Teresa Bell over a property settlement in 1899, loyalty was one of Mammys virtues.
People said she was a blackmailer,
a procuress, a thief, a horsewhipper of children
She had hypnotic powers over women
and brewed love philters which she sold to wealthy damsels. Among the latter
was Sarah Althea Hill. She helped Sarah Althea bury Senator Sharons coat
and waistcoat in a cemetery one dark night
In League With Butler?
It was common legend that Mammy was in league with Blind Bill, the Bell butler. When Thomas Bell died from a fall over the banisters of his own house and his son Fred was the victim of a mysterious assault in the house, tongues clacked unrestrainedly.
Before he died, Tom S. Burns, who was Teresa Bells old notary public, swore he knew Mammy had killed Thomas Bell by giving him drugged port wine and pushing him over the banister. Little wonder when mammy died in 1904 at the age of 89, and Teresa Bell sold the House of Mystery, which subsequently became a select boarding house, that folks labeled the place haunted.
Today the Green Eye Hospital stands on the site and the last evidence of the Bell mansion has vanished before the hosts of progress.
The San Francisco News
October 14, 1935