Newspaper Articles

Singing Cowsills: Haunted by Ghosts
November 9, 1968
The Times
San Mateo, California

The Cowsills are haunted by ghosts and good luck.

The Cowsills, a family of seven singers and musicians who are making a variety of music they call “conglomerate rock” famous across the nation star in “A Family Thing,” musical special to be color-cast on the NBC Television Network Saturday, Nov. 23 (8:30-9 p.m.; preempting “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”).

The good luck started haunting them late last year with the release of their first million-selling record, “The Rain, the park and Other Things.” Since then they have hit it big with albums entitled “The Cowsills,” “We Can Fly” and the recent “Captain Sad and His Ship of Fools” and best-selling singles of “We Can Fly,” “Indian Lake,” and “Poor Baby.” And the first single featuring a solo by 12-year-old Johnny Cowsill and October edition entitles “the Path of Love,” also appears headed for the top of the charts.

On television, the Cowsills have been featured in their own one-hour segment of NBC-TV’s “Today” show, have appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and other variety programs. They now are doing the first special of their own. In addition, they have completed successful tours of England, Italy and the United States.

The good luck started just in time. Bud Cowsill father-founder of the group, and had backed his faith in his family by borrowing $100,000 to get them moving up to professionals status. Encountering only modest success, even Bud was ready to throw in the towel.

The Cowsills were down to their last penny when they etched their first big hit in 1967. They were about to lose the 27-room neo-Gothic “Munster mansion” they owned in Newport, Rhode Island.

The ghostly portion of the haunting started in this same Rhode Island home, which formerly was owned by a seafaring Captain McCormack.

“We don’t really believe in ghosts,” explained Barbara Cowsill wife, mother and singer with the group. “But we had a lot of weird things happening without explanation; pipes banging, doors slamming, locked shutters flying open, pans rattling, the whole bit.”

“Then a Ouija board told us we were haunted. So, as time went by, everything that happened around the house for no apparent reason we blamed on the ghost of Captain McCormack.”

Now the Cowsills moved to where the action is, live in a Mediterranean style mansion in the sea-side los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica. Strange things still are happening, Barbara reports, and the family is more than a little convinced that Captain McCormack came West with them.

“Does the ghost sing?” Barbara was asked.

“No . . . I don’t think so,” she replied, uncertainly.

“Did the ghost have anything to do with your success?”

“No,” she laughed. “All my kids got talent.”

An almost eerie coincidence caps this haunting tale; The Cowsills special of Nov 23 preempts “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” – the story of a house haunted by the ghost of the seafaring Captain Gregg!

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