STRANGE GH: Nightmare disappearance solved by SL man’s dream

Jan 24, 2012

On the evening of October 30, 1923, Realtor Harry Proctor arrived at the home of Rose Fullager at 831 Pennoyer St. to collect on a bill. Proctor, who owned and operated Proctor Farm and Home Co. in Grand Haven, had sold Fullager the lot on which she had built her home.

Eyewitnesses claimed Proctor had been “under the influence of liquor” — and, when he stopped at the Fullager home, felt ill and was “afraid to drive home.”

Rose’s 14-year-old daughter, Edna Fullager, volunteered to drive Proctor home. After some persuasion, her mother permitted it.

With Edna Fullager at the wheel, the pair departed about 7:40 p.m. in Proctor’s Oakland Coupe automobile. The plan was Harry Proctor’s wife, Ethel, would then drive Edna back to her house.

The mystery began when Harry and Edna failed to arrive at the Proctor home. The pair had vanished. Soon, suspicion fell upon Harry.

Rumors surfaced the Farm and Home Co. was in financial trouble, and the Proctors quarreled often and their 11-year marriage was rear ruin. Investigators soon issued a statement that the claims were unfounded. The Proctors enjoyed a happy and comfortable life with their two young sons.

Regardless, on Nov. 2, Ottawa County Judge Charles Dickenson was compelled to issue a warrant for the arrest of Harry Proctor via a complaint by Rose Fullager, who believed her daughter had been kidnapped. There were eyewitness reports to support the theory. Grand Haven Sheriff Delbert Fortney followed up on many of the claims.

The disappearance of Proctor and Fullager made national headlines and their photos were published, bringing more leads.

A foundry worker claimed he had seen both Proctor and Fullager in South Haven. A former employee of the Interurban railway said he had seen Proctor alone in Grand Rapids purchasing a ticket to Milwaukee aboard a Crosby passenger ship. A report surfaced Proctor had been seen in Chicago and an Ohio woman was certain she had given the pair a ride in her car.

Many believed the Proctor vehicle had never left Grand Haven — and, based on tips, authorities had dragged the bottom of the Grand River at the end of Washington Street twice, but found nothing.

Enter members of the Holland and Muskegon chapters of the Ku Klux Klan, 50 men in all, who arrived in the city to scout the river banks in search of Proctor’s vehicle. Likely, it was an effort to improve their public image after setting crosses ablaze atop Dewey Hill in previous months.

While the Klan would issue a statement their efforts brought resolve to the case, it appears a man named George Snyder led authorities to the precise location of Proctor’s vehicle five weeks after it vanished.

According to reports, Snyder, a Spring Lake contractor, had a recurring dream in which Proctor and the girl had met their deaths when the vehicle crashed into the Grand River. In the vision, Snyder saw the “car plunge from the pier” at the end of Park Street in Spring Lake, three blocks from the Proctor home.

His story, which he told to neighbors, was brought to the attention of authorities early on the morning of Dec. 9. Snyder even drew a map of the precise location based on the dream.

Within 30 minutes, the U.S. Coast Guard dragged lines out from the Park Street dock in and the vehicle was found in 30 feet of water. The bodies of Harry Proctor and Edna Fullager were recovered at the location.

Authorities surmised Edna, driver of the car, had pulled down the wrong street — and, instead of shifting the vehicle in reverse, had placed the car in second, sending it off the dock.

“There are rumors of dreams that revealed the location of the car,” the Grand Haven Tribune said in an editorial published Dec. 10, 1923. “The mystery of the disappearance is solved, but there is a deeper mystery which will never be solved.”

However, in an article detailing the recovery of the vehicle at the scene, the Tribune stated that Capt. William Preston and the Coast Guard were “working under the direction of George Snyder.”

Thus, one person’s nightmare may be another’s dream.

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