The Jar at Brinkley College


The story of the jar at Brinkley College.

Back in the late 1800s there was a school that went by the name of Brinkley Female College, which was located in Memphis, Tennessee. The school no longer stands today but there is still talk of what has become Memphis’ most famous ghost story.

The day was February 21, 1871, and it was a day that Clara Robertson would never forget. Clara was a 13-year-old girl that attended the school and on this particular night, she was in her room practicing her dreaded scales on the piano. Feeling as though someone was walking towards her, Clara looked up and was shocked to see a little girl coming towards her. The little girl wore a moldy pink dress and her skin looked as though it was disintegrating. Clara became extremely scared and ran out of the room screaming. She told others of her story but few believed her, thinking that she had either fallen asleep and dreamt it or that Clara had a very vivid imagination. There was talk that the school grounds were haunted but it was believed to be so by Mr. Brinkley, who obviously did not match the description of a little girl.

Clara was so mortified that she did not return to school for another week. Once her father had assured her that the children had forgotten by that point, he managed to persuade her to return to school. One week after Clara’s return to school, the little girl appeared to her again, wearing the same moldy pink dress. This time, the little girl spoke to Clara and instructed her to go to a nearby stump and to dig under it. The little girl told Clara that buried under the stump, she would find a jar. Clara went back home and told her father of this. Not wanting to involve the girl more than necessary, her father told her that he would have some men dig it up. And he did just that. The team of men, along with Clara’s father, did in fact discover a jar after they did some digging but Clara’s dad didn’t want her to open it right away.

The little girl returned to Clara shortly after her father dug up the jar. She instructed Clara that because Clara had not dug up the jar herself as the little girl had asked, that she would have to wait 60 days before the jar was ever opened. Clara in turn told the group of men and they too agreed that they would not open the jar until sixty days had passed.

During that time, word had spread around town about Clara, the little girl in the pink dress, and the mysterious jar. Many of the townspeople at that time came forward talking about Lizzie Davis, a little girl who had died 10 years earlier, when Clara was only 3 years old. Lizzie Davis had been buried in her favorite pink dress. It was determined to be impossible that Clara could know what Lizzie looked like in such great detail when she had never even met the little girl.

As interest grew, Clara’s father, J.R. Robertson decided that he would settle the town’s curiosity and make some money in the meanwhile by opening the jar publicly for all to see what was inside, and to charge $1 per person while doing so. He set the place of the ‘grand opening’ to be at the Greenlaw Opera House and hid the jar in a secret place so no one could find the contents before it was publicly opened.

Unfortunately, before this event could take place, J.R. Robertson was at home one evening when he heard noises outside. Going outside to see what was causing the noise, J.R. was attacked and beaten very badly. After he had been gone for some time, a few of his servants became concerned about him and went to go see what had happened. When they found him barely conscious and lying in a pool of his own blood, he told them that some men had attacked him and forced him to tell them where the jar was hidden. After stealing the jar and its curious contents, the men left.

Neither the jar nor the men who had beaten J.R. Robertson so badly were ever found. Clara also never had another encounter with Lizzie Davis, although she did try to contact her many years later during a sťance. During this sťance, Clara asked Lizzie what was in the jar and Lizzie told her two thousand dollars, a diamond necklace along with some other jewelry and some valuable papers.

The Jar at Brinkley College

The Jar at Brinkley College

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