Jannis (Jan) Bryant Bartell, American author, was born in New York City in 1921 and died in New Rochelle, New York in 1973. Best known as the author of Spindrift: Spray From a Psychic Sea, she was also a poet, lecturer and off Broadway actress.She appeared in such plays as Bell, Book and Candle and Night Must Fall. Her poetry was published in several magazines.
Spindrift relates the experiences of Bartell and her husband Fred G. Bartell (d.1990) while living in apartments in the buildings at 14-16 W.10th Street in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. According to the book, the apartments were haunted and Jan, at first a skeptic, underwent a series of unpleasant experiences that led her to modify her views on the paranormal. The book further chronicles Jan Bartell's psychic development and the toll this took on an already unstable personality.
Jan and her husband were complex individuals. Fred, a WWII combat veteran, suffered from PTSD which made him at times a difficult companion. Nonetheless, Fred had a successful career as a manager of several fashionable restaurants in New York City. Jan, according to those who knew her in the building, was a very spoiled and neurotic person who also probably suffered from clinical depression. Since there was little that could be done for this problem in the 1950's and 60's, this became a major factor in her life and certainly colored her writing. It is also believed that she attempted suicide on more than one occasion while living in the apartments.
Jan possessed strong psychic abilities but unfortunately approached the paranormal with fear. She certainly made attempts to educate herself on paranormal issues and understand what was taking place but this brought no resolution to her fears. Jan went so far as to have Hans Holzer, a self anointed psychic expert and ghost hunter, attempt to communicate with the spirit and encourage it to leave. This proved to be a failure and added to Bartell's distress.
In 1973, troubled with the social and economic changes affecting their neighborhood, Bartell and her husband left their beloved Greenwich Village and moved to suburban New Rochelle where they bought a home. There Jan Bartell apparently committed suicide on June 18, 1973 prior to the publication of her book.
However, according the post script published in Spindrift, Jan died of a heart attack, not suicide. However, according to the New Rochelle police she did die of suicide.