The Ghost in the Cathedral

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1988 (APPROXIMATE)

Years ago I was a cantor for the early morning mass at St. James Cathedral. My place was in the front of the church, in the sanctuary, and I worked with Howard Hoyt, the organist, who at that time was always in the organ loft in the back of the church. One 8AM mass I noticed that a tall, formally dressed older man was in the organ loft, standing next to the organ. He had on a brown suit, with a lovely matching vest, a gold chain stretched across it, which I assumed was for a watch, and a white shirt. I remember wondering who he was and where he got those clothes. The next time I looked, he was gone. After the service, I asked the Howard who had been in the loft with him, but he said there was no one up there with him. He asked me to describe the man I saw, and then told me that oh yes, that’s Dr. Palmer. He died on the organ bench on Palm Sunday in 1927. The organist said he was aware of Dr. Palmers presence and had seen him too, when he practiced in the Cathedral late at night when it was locked. There’s never any threatening feeling. Apparently Dr. Palmer just checks in to make sure the standard of music at St. James has maintained his high standard.

Submitted by N.K. Holcomb