Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Missing Will

Do ghosts return to resolve unfinished business?

In 1921 a farmer, James L. Chaffin Sr. from Mocksville, North Carolina died after a fall. He left behind a wife and 4 sons.

The will that James left he had written in 1905, 16-years before. It stipulated that his 3rd son Marshall should inherit the farm.

But Marshall died the following year and since the will had not left any provisions for the rest of the Chaffin family this meant Marshall’s widow inherited the farm.

Marshall Addison Chaffin
April 2, 1922
In 1925, James’ 2nd son, James Pinkney Chaffin-- James Jr. surprised the family by filing a lawsuit. He challenged the validity of the will.

Even more shocking was his announcement that he did this as a result of several conversations he had with his father’s ghost.

He stated that in a series of dreams his father’s spirit had visited him. He both saw him and heard him speak.

James Lewis Chaffin
September 7, 1921
During one of these visits James Sr. had appeared wearing his old overcoat. He told his son that his most recent will could be found if he looked in the old coat’s pocket.

This overcoat had been passed on to John Chaffin so James traveled to his brother’s home and the two men discovered a new lining sewn together in one pocket. James Jr. ripped it open and found a note that read:

“Read the 27th chapter of Genesis in my Daddy’s old Bible.”

James Jr. then tracked down his grandfather’s Bible in the top drawer of a dresser in his mother’s house. He found the will tucked next to the 27th chapter of Genesis.

It was a more recent will having been written 14 years after the first in 1919 --a  couple of years before James Sr. had died. This will equally divided the estate between his children--as long as they provided for their mother.

At the trail experts determined that this will was indeed written in James Sr.’s handwriting. Ten of James Sr.'s friends also stated it was his handwriting.

Marshall’s widow and son at first prepared to contest James Jr.’s claim but recognizing the handwriting of her deceased father-in-law in the end she even agreed the will was genuine.

James Jr. stated his father’s ghost had predicted this would happen.

James Pinkney Chaffin
June 11, 1949
A settlement was reached and the farm was returned to the Chaffin family.


Tom Ruffles said...

The Chaffin Will Case was discussed at length by my colleague Robert Charman in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research last year:

Virginia Lamkin said...

I will definitely check this out.