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The Yankee Express

Helen Dow Peck’s amazing will

Dec 18, 2020 02:47PM ● By Thomas D’Agostino

he Ouija Board was marketed to a great success in 1891. Four investors saw it as not necessarily a doorway into the unknown as much as a doorway into the American people’s wallets. By the turn of the twentieth century, countless boards were in use in American homes.

    People from all walks of life used the board to connect with the deceased or to just add to their merriment in times of strife. World Wars I and II, and the Great Depression saw millions turning to the Ouija Board in hopes of contacting lost ones or gaining insight of the future.

    One woman, Helen Dow Peck of Danbury, Connecticut, not only communicated with the spirit of her board, she went so far as to make sure the formless friend was well taken care of.

     Upon Mrs. Peck’s death in 1955 at the age of 83, she left a will with a most curious request. Upon her death, widow Peck’s two servants were to receive one thousand dollars each for their services and a man named John Gale Forbes was to receive one hundred and seventy eight thousand, the rest of her estate; a very strange situation considering Mr. Forbes did not exist, at least in the flesh.

    Mrs. Peck related that the name had appeared to her and her husband Frank during a 1919 Ouija Board session. For the next thirty four years, Peck would search in vain for the physical being of John Gale Forbes without success. Forbes, according to Mrs. Peck, did appear to her once during a session. Mrs. Peck had told her friends that Forbes “had resolved out of space” about 1940 while she was using the Ouija board, one that she had owned since 1919.  He had also provided her with advice, she said.

    Peck was truly convinced that Forbes not only existed but was living in a mental institution somewhere. Although she never located his whereabouts, in her will Peck, requested that if Forbes or his heirs could not be found, an estate was to be established with her funds as a memorial fund for the study of telepathy among the insane.

   Nine nieces and nephews contested the will claiming their aunt lacked testamentary capacity and the will was void because of its uncertainty. The City National Bank of Danbury disagreed stating that Forbes may have been a real person. Working on this assumption, a private investigator was hired but no sign of a John Gale Forbes was ever found.

    After three years of strange testimony and a lot of searching for Mr. Forbes or any relatives, the state supreme court decided to reject the will and in 1958, widow Peck’s heirs received the remainder of her estate.

   What would a spirit have done with the money anyway? Perhaps store it in the cloud?