"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is sponsored by the League of Vampire Kittens.

What the hell is the Jamestown Box?

Watch out for those ghost cars!

Watch out for those ghost bombers!

Watch out for those ghost phone calls!

Watch out for those Norwegian golf courses!

I know you've been longing to ask me to provide a list of people who had their heads stolen from their graves, so here you go.

A big game hunter is cursed.

Three wealthy New Yorkers are cursed.

If you go swimming in the River Nene, be aware that you may have company.

A bachelor woman's guide to throwing a party, 1896.

Paying tribute to philanthropic cats.

The famed "Corsican Fairy."

A saint's wandering bones.

The legend of the Witches of Bakewell.

Venus the Gypsy.

Complaining about Lincoln's funeral.

Unearthing a mysterious ancient tragedy.

Shorter version:  Britain is weird.

The time when Paris was like something from Edgar Allan Poe.

Hard times in medieval Jewish Norwich.

Not the Richard Burton who was an actor.  Not the Richard Burton who was an explorer.  The Richard Burton who was Henry VI's cook.

Bulgaria's ancient Valley of the Kings.

Rediscovering ancient Amazon cities.

More pushing back human history.

A horrific 19th century murder of a family.

Why 1759 was the "wonderful year."

The splendid hats of San Quentin.

Traveling through the electronic fog.

The life of Marguerite, 14th century queen of England.

Some "drunk and riotous" Victorian women.

The "Tigress of Forli," who surely deserved that nickname.

Are most ghosts men who died violently?

The sad tale of a drunken rhino.

An ancient Roman birthday party invitation.

Have we found the Goldilocks planet?

If E.T. phones your home, don't answer.

Henry VIII's black trumpeter asks for a raise.

Blessing cars and eating oysters:  The joys of St. James Day.

Popular sympathy for a cold-blooded murderer.

The secret American military cemetery.

And, finally, I'm sharing this in the hope that "Drunk as a frog-throwing parson" becomes the next big internet phrase:

And that wraps up our week. I'll be back on Monday, with the story of one woman's amazing battle to get her hands on $7,000 worth of life insurance. In the meantime, here's an all-time favorite of mine:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, we can all agree this is a heartbreaking little story. It comes from "Bell's Life in London" for February 27, 1825:

On Tuesday, an elderly lady made her appearance in the office, and, with countenance of the greatest solemnity, advanced towards the presiding Magistrate, Sergeant Sellon. After a pause of a few minutes, she proceeded as follows: "Please your Worship, may I speak?”—Sergeant Sellon: “Certainly, Madam.”— Then, Sir, you must know, that some months ago, I took lodgings in the neighbourhood of Burton-crescent, being a single lady—(here she heaved a deep sigh) I begged of Mrs. Cooper, a particular friend of mine, to let me have a kitten. This kitten, please your Worship, I reared from its infancy as if were my own child, it partook of every thing the same as myself; and in due time grew to be a fine cat. Unfortunately for me, you’ll excuse me, your Worship, a tom-cat. The lodgers having discovered the sex of the cat, considered it a reflection on a maiden lady to keep such one—and the consequence was, that both in the house and the street, every body pointed to me, and said, 'How is the tom-cat?' in fact, your Worship, I was literally worried.”—Sergeant Sellon : “Upon my word, Madam, I am nearly in the same state.”— The lady resumed : Well, Sir, they were not satisfied with this conduct, but they took an opportunity of 'spiriting’ away my cat, and murdering it—aye murdering it in the most inhuman manner. Was not that shocking, Sir?” —Sergeant Sellon : “ Most shocking, indeed! but what do you wish me to do; is it bring it to life again ?” —Lady: “Oh, by no means; but since its murder, the lodgers complain that the house is haunted by its ghost, and that they cannot sleep a wink from the noise which it makes caterwauling. I certainly frequently hear a scraping at my bed room door at night, and a mewing, and I believed the dear cat loved me so, that could he come see me he would; but for my peace on earth, until I leave my present lodgings I wish he would stay away.”—Sergeant Sellon: “This is, certainly Madam, a subject of great importance, so important, that I not feel myself competent to give any advice, or give any decision. I will, however, take a week to consider, during which time I beg that you will keep yourself tranquil, and not think on the tom cat, and by that time I may probably, by some spell, be enabled to bury his ghost in the Red Sea.” The old lady returned thanks to the worthy Sergeant for his promised magical efforts, and retired from the office, still sighing, "Oh! my poor cat!”

I wish I could report that the lady acquired better neighbors and a new pet to love, and that the ghost cat ensured his murderers met a hideous end, but I found no sequel to this story.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Murder of Caroline Luard: a Classic Edwardian Puzzle

Caroline Mary Hartley was born into a wealthy English family in 1850. In 1875 she married a professional soldier named Charles Edward Luard. After a lengthy career, Charles Luard retired in 1887 with the rank of Major-General in the Royal Engineers, and he and his wife settled into the pleasantly situated home of Ightham Knoll, in Kent. During his retirement, Luard served as a Kent County Councilor, a Justice of the Peace, and a Governor of a local school, while both the Luards also kept active with the usual genteel social activities.

During their life together, there were only two known dark spots: The death of the younger of their two sons in 1903, and a curious military scandal in 1879. After British troops were defeated by the Zulu in the Battle of Isandhlwana, blame for the debacle was given mostly to a Colonel Anthony Durnford. Durnford died during the battle, and thus was conveniently unable to defend himself.

However, many in the army believed Durnford was being posthumously slandered, and that the real responsibility for the defeat rested on the heads of more senior officers, most notably Baron Chemsford. Charles Luard, with, perhaps, more loyalty than tact, was actively involved in the campaign to save Durnford's good name. His charges against certain of his fellow officers were considered so inflammatory that Luard was court-martialed and censured. However, unpleasant as the whole episode may have been, Luard was apparently able to overcome the controversy and carry on with his career.

All in all, the Luards seemed wildly unsuited to have figured in one of Britain's classic murder mysteries.

Mrs. Luard earned her unenviable place in history on August 24, 1908. At about 2:30 that afternoon, she and her husband set out for a walk, accompanied by their dog. The Major-General planned to get his clubs from his Golf Club, while Mrs. Luard simply wanted a little stroll. She planned to return home soon, as she was expecting a friend named Mary Stewart to join her for tea.

The couple walked together for about half an hour before parting ways. The Major-General went off towards the Golf Course, while, he presumed, his wife made her way home. He was seen by a number of people during his solo journey. After he had gathered up his clubs, the local vicar, a Reverend Cotton, met him on the road at 4:20 and drove him back to Ightham Knoll.

Upon entering his home, Luard was surprised to find Mrs. Stewart still waiting the arrival of his wife, and he went out in search of Caroline. At about fifteen minutes past five, he found her.

Mrs. Luard was lying dead on the verandah of the empty summer house owned by neighbors. It was in a heavily wooded area about a mile from the Luard home. Someone had shot her in the head at very close range. The three rings she had been wearing were gone. One set of footprints led away from the body.

It was believed that Mrs. Luard had been killed at about 3:15, when several different witnesses heard the sound of three gunshots coming from the direction of the summer house. At that time, Major-General Luard was over a half-mile away, towards the golf course clubhouse. Bloodhounds were immediately brought on to the murder scene, but the trail they picked up went cold when they reached the main road. A clergyman driving near the murder scene around the time Mrs. Luard died told police he had seen a man with a "low type of face" emerging from the woods, but this alleged man was never found, and this possible clue went nowhere.

At the inquest, it was revealed that Mrs. Luard had been struck on the back of the head, knocking her violently to the ground. Someone then used at .320 revolver to shoot her behind the right ear and into her left cheek. The killer then removed her gloves, wrenched the rings off her hand, and fled into oblivion. The rings were never traced. It was noted that her husband did not own any guns which could have been the murder weapon. The coroner's jury returned the only possible verdict, that of "Murder by person or persons unknown."

Unfortunately, that was all anyone could say for sure about Caroline Luard's death, and the century since her death has not produced any further reliable information. The Luards appear to have been happily married, and there was no indication that this quiet, inoffensive woman had any enemies. The investigations of some crimes are hampered by a multiplicity of competing leads to follow. Others are hopelessly stymied by not having any leads at all. The Luard case is an outstanding example of the latter.

With such a lack of clues to go by, it was inevitable that rumor-mongering and baseless speculation would arise to fill that gap. Although the Major-General had no known motive, no sign of ever possessing anything that could have been the murder weapon, and as near to a cast-iron alibi as you'll find outside the pages of detective fiction, gossip quickly spread that he had shot his wife in cold blood and then stolen the rings to fool police into thinking she had been the victim of a robbery. Villagers muttered that this affluent, upper-class man was getting away with wife-murder because his influential friends were engaging in a cover-up. It was also rumored that Luard had been having an affair with a local woman. The widower began receiving vicious anonymous letters calling him a murderer, and threatening vengeance. Luard was so rattled by these faceless, nameless taunts that he put Ightham Knoll up for sale and made plans to leave the area. In the meantime, he went to stay at the home of a friend, Colonel Charles Edward Warde.

Luard's surviving son, Charles, was serving in the army in South Africa. He was, of course, immediately informed of his mother's death. He left for England as soon as possible, landing in Southampton on September 18.

He arrived to be confronted not just by one tragedy, but two. On the morning before Charles Luard arrived home, his father rose from bed, dressed, wrote letters addressed to his son, to Charles Warde, and to his brother-in-law Tom Hartley. He then walked to the nearby railway line. As the 9:09 train from Maidstone West to Tonbridge came up the tracks, he threw himself under it. The inquest on Luard's death had a verdict that was different, but just as starkly simple as his wife's: "Suicide while temporarily insane."

Luard had left in his room a note saying, "I am sick of the scandalous and lying reports, and I cannot face my son."  His letter to Warde read:  "I am sorry to have returned your kindness and hospitality and long friendship in this way, but I am satisfied it is best to join her in the second life at once, as I can be of no further use to anyone in future in this world, of which I am tired, and in which I don't wish to live any longer.  I thought my strength was sufficient to bear up against the horrible imputations and terrible letters which I have received since that awful crime was committed which robbed me of all my happiness.  And it is so lonely.  And the goodness, kindness, and sympathy of so many friends kept me going but somehow now the last day or two something seems to have snapped.  The strength has left me, and I care for nothing except to join her again.  So good-bye, dear friend, to both of us."

At the inquest, the coroner made a point of accusing the poison-pen writers (who were never identified) of being morally culpable in the Major-General's demise.

Eight months after Mrs. Luard's death, a workhouse inmate named David Woodruff was arrested and charged with her murder. It was widely suspected that his arrest was a "frame-up" devised by the Chief Constable (who was the brother of Luard's friend Charles Warde,) to conveniently "solve" the murder--a suspicion that only deepened when it was immediately established that Woodruff was in prison on the day Mrs. Luard died. The embarrassed police had no choice but to free their one and only suspect.

The investigation into the Luard murder was essentially over almost as soon as it had begun, but the conspiracy theories continue vigorously to this day. The idea that Mrs. Luard was killed by a highway robber or other wandering villain is the simplest solution, and perhaps for that reason it has gotten virtually no support at all. There is a general conviction that this was a carefully pre-planned murder, committed by someone she knew.

But who could this person have been? And what motive could he or she have had?

One popular theory gives a scenario that would do Agatha Christie proud. It involves a petty professional crook named John Alexander Dickman, who was executed in 1910 for the robbery/murder of a man named John Nisbet. At the time, however, many--including some of the jurors at his trial!--had doubts about Dickman's guilt, as his conviction was based on weak circumstantial evidence. However, then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill refused all requests to commute the death sentence. A judge named Sir Sidney Orme Rowan-Hamilton, who wrote a book about the case four years later, reportedly believed Dickman was the murderer of Caroline Luard. Clarence Henry Norman, who had served as court shorthand writer during Dickman's trial and subsequently led the efforts to have his sentence overturned, claimed that Sir Sidney told him that Mrs. Luard had--without her husband's knowledge--sent Dickman money after seeing an ad he had placed in the "Times" pleading for financial help. Dickman then altered her check so it showed a larger amount. When Mrs. Luard discovered this forgery, she secretly arranged a meeting with Dickman in order to confront him with his fraud. He chose to shut her up about his thievery by murdering her. According to Norman's account, friends of the Luards--who included the judge at Dickman's trial and Winston Churchill--all colluded to indirectly punish Dickman for the Luard murder by railroading him for the killing of Nisbet.

Unfortunately, as colorful as this scenario may be, there appears to be not one scintilla of evidence to support any of it, other than Norman's hearsay. Other armchair detectives have made brave attempts to formulate scenarios where Charles Luard--using a hidden bicycle or other devious means--might, just might, have been able to swiftly and secretly change his route long enough to shoot Caroline during her walk home. (To be fair, it is true that Charles' albi only holds up if the sounds witnesses heard at 3:15 were indeed those of the gunshots that killed Caroline--something which was never absolutely proven. In the British countryside, the sound of gunshots made by hunters was commonplace.) Out of sheer desperation, a few people have even wondered if Charles Luard's court-martial might have had something to do with his wife's murder many years later. Could Mrs. Luard have been murdered by a secret lover? Or killed by her husband because she had a secret lover?

So many theories, so few facts. It is as if Caroline Luard was murdered by a phantom.

"Western Gazette," August 27, 1909

Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is proud to be sponsored by Wang the Pirate Cat.

(More on this story can be found here.)

How the hell did Zachary Taylor die?

How the hell did this Swiss watch wind up in an ancient Chinese tomb?

Who the hell murdered Dottie and Bob Tidwell?

What the hell are these ancient gold spirals?

Where the hell is W.B. Yeats?

Watch out for those killer parties!

Watch out for those haunted mines!

Watch out for those Vile Vortices!

Toledo is really booming!

How Charles Dickens is rewriting 19th century literary history.

That time Wyatt Earp may have fixed a fight.

How cats became grimalkins.

The princess who was "fair, good, accomplished, and unhappy."

The life and times of an 18th century rogue.

Communist Party party tips!

Oh, well, aside from that...

More about Alexander Pope's Great Dane.

High strangeness in 17th century York.

A wonderful look at 18th century entertainment.

Hortense Mancini, well-traveled in life and death.

Premonitions of disaster, 1915.

18th century domestic violence ends in murder.

The Great Indonesian Chicken Church.

Sarah Belzoni, intrepid traveler.

Growing up medieval.

When Coney Island used babies as a sideshow.

The possessions of an eighteenth-century sailor.

The strange case of the Philadelphia Miracle.

The even stranger case of the Lenni-Lenapes.

The history of the pet parrot.

Well, that was fast:  A roundup of Pluto conspiracy theories.

Three things I never expected to find in the same link:  Julia Child, the CIA, and sharks.

That time the Virgin Mary appeared in Limerick.

The perils of 18th century bathing.

The original Supertramps.

The oldest known dental work.

The oldest known pictograph?

An Aboriginal cricket team tours England, 1868.

How Nikola Tesla talked to aliens.

Holding corpses for ransom.

Getting punch drunk.

One of the worst mother-daughter teams in history.

Yes, I had to include a 17th century game called "Fart in the Face."  Because I just have a nose for that kind of thing.  [There ya go, Sarah Murden!  :) ]

The Japanese got a bit weird about certain bodily functions, too.

The Case of the Murderous Metaphysician.

The rise and fall of a famed courtesan.

The mystery of the Murder Marsh.

The weirdly prophetic novels of Morgan Robertson.

Murder by nuclear reactor?

Why some sports deserve to die.

Some first-person accounts of the Siege of Lucknow.

Oh, by the way, there's a guy in Omaha who has a warp drive in his garage.

And, finally, in case you missed it, here's a link to, well, um, me.

And so ends yet another Link Dump.  See you all on Monday, when I'll be looking at a classic Edwardian murder mystery.  In the meantime, here's some words of wisdom from Tonio K.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Guest Post!

A twofer for this Wednesday:  My guest post at The Witch, The Weird, and The Wonderful about a deal with the Devil that--surprise!--probably didn't work out too well for either side.

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Well, this is just plain weird. From the "Caledonian Mercury," December 4, 1794:
In February last, a detachment of mounted infantry, commanded by Captain John Beard, penetrated fifteen miles into the Cumberland mountain.

On Cove Creek, Ensign McDonald and another man, in advance of the party as spies, discovered a creature about three steps from them; it had only two legs, and stood almost upright, covered with scales of a black, brown, and a light yellow colour in spots like rings, a white tuft or crown on the top of its head, about four feet high, a head as big as a two pound stone, and large eyes of a fiery red.

It stood about three minutes in a daring posture (orders being given not to fire a gun except at the Indians.) Mr. McDonald advanced, and struck at it with his sword, when it jumped at least eight feet, and lit on the same spot of ground, sending forth a red kind of matter out of its mouth, resembling blood, and then retreated into a laurel thicket, turning round often as if it intended to fight.

The tracks of it resembled that of a goose, but larger.

The Indians report that a creature inhabits that part of the mountain of the above description, which, by its breath, will kill a man, if he does not instantly immerse himself in water.

So, what to make of this alleged cross between Bigfoot and Spring-heeled Jack?

Damned if I know.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Great Stork Derby

Canadian attorney and entrepreneur Charles Vance Millar did not appear to be a controversial sort of man. After his death, his best friend G. Clayton Anderson described him as "a great joker," with "a great sense of humor, but it was always kindly. He was a warm, generous-hearted man...a great giver." Millar had two main beliefs: his insistence that "every man had his price," and his reverence for the concept of motherhood. Anderson quoted Millar as saying, "The proper function of a woman is to raise a family."

No one knew how serious Millar was about these beliefs until after he died in 1926.

Millar was an extremely wealthy man, and, as those with money and property generally do, he left a will. It was, however, a very unusual will, one that was contested in the courts for a dozen years to come, generated many columns of newspaper commentary, and kept the ladies of Canada very busy indeed.

Millar introduced his last testament by stating, "This will is necessarily uncommon and capricious because I have no dependents or near relations and no duty rests upon me to leave any property at my death and what I do leave is proof of my folly in gathering and retaining more than I required in my lifetime." He followed these words with some singular bequests: Shares in the Ontario Jockey Club went to two acquaintances who were fervently anti-gambling. Every prohibitionist Protestant minister and Orange Lodge in Toronto got shares in the O'Keefe Brewery Company--a Catholic-owned business. Every minister in three neighboring towns got shares in the Kenilworth Jockey Club. His home in Jamaica went to three friends who all detested each other. Millar enjoyed the thought of encouraging them to become roommates. And so on. The will was his way of trying to demonstrate that, given sufficient temptation, anyone could be bought. It must be said that the fact that nearly all his legatees pocketed their pride and their principles enough to keep their bequests seemed to prove the old devil right.

Millar ended this lengthy raspberry to the world with the will's most troublemaking clause: He left the rest of his considerable estate to whichever Toronto woman gave birth to the most children in the ten years following his death. The courts later ruled that each set of children had to have the same father, and they all had to be legitimate.

Millar's relatives did not appreciate the humor of it all. They made long and determined efforts to contest the will, arguing that it "encouraged immorality," and was "against public policy," but the dead man had been an excellent lawyer, and had made his curious document legally invincible. The courts had no choice but to unanimously rule that the will was valid. And so the "Stork Derby," as the press quickly dubbed the contest, was on.

This public festival of fecundity became a national sensation. For the next decade, Canadian newspapers published feature stories on the contenders and kept scorecards, while onlookers placed bets on the outcome. The bizarre will of a previously-unknown man became a much-needed bright spot to a nation that was greatly suffering from the Great Depression. In the words of Barbara Mikkelson's "The Great Stork Derby": "A bequest that had been little more than a curiosity during the halcyon days of the 1920s became the only beacon of hope for a brighter future to a few lucky families…In those dark, grim days, even those families not part of the baby race themselves cheered on those who were. For those few years, there was a way out; there was a fairy godmother to believe in."

The winners crossed the finish line on May 30, 1938, when a judge distributed Millar's estate--which had, by that point, grown to over $750,000--to Annie Smith, Kathleen Nagle, Lucy Timleck, and Isabel Maclean, who had each delivered nine children over the past decade. Several runners-up with more dubious claims got $12,500 each. Happily, the four winning families--all of them extremely poor--made wise use of their windfall: Thanks to Millar, the 36 "Stork Derby" children were all given comfortable homes, a good education, and a solid head start in life. They all grew up fondly thinking of Millar as practically their grandfather.

At the end of the contest, Mrs. Timleck told a reporter, "I think birth control is a wonderful thing."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekend Link Dump

This week's Link Dump is sponsored by the League of Bookworm Cats.

What the hell is this crystal?

What the hell happened on this Texas train?

How the hell did these 17 bodies wind up in a Norwich well?

How the hell did Amy Robsart die?

Why the hell are all these birds in Idaho dying?

Why the hell are all these birds in Florida disappearing?

Watch out for those ghost cars!

Watch out for those hairy hands!

Watch out for those Out Proctors!

Bolivia is really booming!

New Jersey's Great Cow Chase.

How to eat like a Georgian.

William Fly, who learned too late that he really wasn't cut out for piracy.

The first broomstick-riding witch.

Jane Austen, schoolgirl.

The ghostly nun who turned to stone.

The hazards of Georgian era clothing.

A horrific plague in 18th century Marseilles.

Those Siberian craters just keep getting weirder.

A delightful tale of blood-drinking orgies and Teddy Roosevelt.

Some remarkable--and mysterious--Ethiopian churches.

A handy guide to 19th century French swindles.

The Great Sheep Panic.

A strange Celtic boneyard.

I'll see your Stonehenge and raise you one Marden Henge.

Are the aliens already among us?

A pioneering female film director.

A notorious 14th century witchcraft trial.

Charlotte Corday:  Heroic martyr or base assassin?

Reconstructing Bach.

When things get weird for the weird.

The train dogs of Chemung County.

Was Eva Peron lobotomized?

This should be interesting:  A new blog devoted to the diary of a Georgian lady who lived into the Victorian era.

If you're too freaking stupid to take a selfie without killing yourself, here's the link for you.

A very strange tale of a 13th century "evil spirit."

The story behind the first Gothic novel.

A Napoleonic scoundrel.

A Crazy Cat Lady after my own heart.

The good news?  You get paid to be on a remote, ghost-infested island for six months.  The bad news?  You have to learn Welsh.

Cecily Neville, a quietly important figure in 15th century English history.

Tennis in the early 20th century Gulf.

ladder full of cats.

And, finally, a dancing seagull.

It's a wrap!  See you on Monday, when we'll be taking another look at Weird Wills.  In the meantime, here's the world's oldest harpsichord:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

via NYPL Digital Gallery

A portrait of marital bliss from the "Hartford Herald," March 13, 1901:

Huntington, W. Va. March 7.--Berry Crowder, a well-to-do citizen of Hams branch in Boone county, is suffering greatly to-day from the effects of a whipping administered to him yesterday by his invalid wife, who he supposed was in the last stages of galloping consumption. Mrs. Crowder has been ill for some months with a lung infection. Her condition at times has been extremely critical. When her husband took a big load of produce to Charleston Saturday he took on the usual number of "high balls" while in the city, and while in a happy mood imagined that it would be a good plan to secure a coffin for his wife, whose death he expected at any time, and take it home, where it would be handy if his diagnosis of the case proved to be correct. His friends endeavored to induce him to abandon the idea, but a $40 coffin was stored in Crowder's wagon before he started home. When he reached there and the wife heard of his action, there was such a change in her condition that the entire neighborhood was attracted to the scene. The mild consumptive was suddenly transformed. Grasping a billet of wood, she felled her man with one blow and with an ax demolished the coffin. Crowder got more attention from her and the club she carried, and is said to be in a serious condition, while the woman is yet on the war path for a female who she claims the husband has been paying too much attention to and praying for her death.

So, gang, here's the moral of this story: It's usually not a good idea to get hammered and present your nearest and dearest with their own coffin.

You see the lessons you learn from reading this blog?

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Case For David Paulides

Wonderwest World in the 1960s, when it was known as Butlin's Ayr

Anyone who has a serious interest in Forteana and/or missing persons cases is probably familiar with the "Missing 411" series written by David Paulides. His books are a compilation of disappearances--largely in national parks--with particularly strange elements to them. The victim vanishes suddenly and very inexplicably. Usually, no trace of them is ever found again. Sometimes, however, the victim is later found dead--often either in areas that had already been carefully searched, or in an inaccessible spot far away from where the person was last seen. The bodies are often found nude, or at least missing their shoes and socks. The cause of death is either "exposure," or impossible to determine. In the rare cases when the person is found alive, they are unable to clearly say what had happened to them. Paulides' books are possibly the most unsettling things I have ever read.

As far as I know, Paulides has not covered the following disappearance, but it fits in the same eerie pattern.

September 17, 1988 was set to be one of the happiest days in the brief life of Stephen McKerron. The five-year-old from Hamilton, Scotland was on a week's holiday in Ayr at the home of his aunt and uncle, Lyn and Ian Sneddon. He was eagerly anticipating his visit to Ayr's Wonderwest World holiday park, a seaside amusement center featuring rides, games, entertainment, and all the other features guaranteed to thrill the heart of any lively little child.

For some three hours, Stephen had the time of his life at the crowded, merry park. And then, suddenly, the unthinkable happened. While the boy was playing on an escalator, the Sneddons--each thinking that the other was watching him--briefly lost sight of Stephen. Although he was only out of their view for a matter of seconds, it was time enough for him to vanish completely. The increasingly frantic Sneddons quickly searched the park, but found no trace of the child. They then went to the park's security team, who in their turn called police.

The hunt for Stephen McKerron was the largest missing-child search in Scotland's history. A six-mile radius around the park was searched by hundreds of officers and volunteers. His description was widely circulated. Divers searched local rivers and water tanks. A special helicopter was brought in that had "heat-seeking" equipment that could detect a body. It all did no good. Stephen appeared to have vanished into dust.

The publicity brought in several alleged "sightings" of the boy. One person claimed to have seen a "distressed" looking Stephen in a Wonderwest World cafe several hours after he went missing. He was in the company of a middle-aged man. Another park visitor said he saw a boy matching Stephen's description climbing Wonderwest World's seven-foot-high fence. A number of motorists believed they had seen Stephen walking alone along the Ayr-Turnberry road about a half-hour after the Sneddons last saw him. Whether those reports were credible or not, they were of little help in finding the child. After a few days had passed, the police admitted that they were "desperate" for leads. The assumption was that Stephen had been kidnapped--he was a happy child with no motive to run away--but that didn't square with the eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen him wandering alone. In any case, where was he?

Stephen's loved ones were left tormented by horrible suspense until over two weeks after he vanished, when their worst fears were realized. On the afternoon of October 2, a woman was walking her dog in open country near her home at Beoch, over six miles from the holiday park. She was stunned to come across the dead body of a little boy. He was lying in a fenced ditch about half-a-mile away from two farmhouses. When police arrived on the scene, they quickly confirmed that Stephen McKerron had finally been found. He was lying just outside of the search area. It was ruled that the child had died of exposure. There was no sign that anyone had harmed him in any way.

Authorities believed that Stephen had walked to the site alone--six miles over some of the most difficult and unappealing countryside in Scotland, full of marshes, hills, gullies, and thick woods. A local described it as "hellish territory." It would have been hard for a strong adult to walk so far through such an area. For a five-year-old, it seemed virtually impossible.

The police came in for a good deal of criticism for not making their search area a wider one.  A department spokesman retorted with "How far do you go?" Law enforcement pointed out that their search area had been based on previous experience, as well as professional estimates on how far the boy could possibly have traveled on foot. What happened to Stephen was, quite simply, beyond anything anyone could have imagined.

The puzzle of Stephen's disappearance and death was, of course, far from solved. His distraught family insisted that he would not, could not, have walked to this remote site on his own. They believed that someone must have abducted the child and then left him in that ditch to die. His father also highlighted the odd fact that when Stephen's body was found, his socks had been removed and were in his pocket. Mr. McKerron pointed out that his son did not know how to tie his shoes. Not only would it have made little sense for Stephen to take off his shoes, remove his socks, and then put his shoes back on, he could not have done it at all. (Of course, it makes no sense that anyone else would do it, either.) The question at the heart of the tragedy--namely, why Stephen would voluntarily leave the park at all--was also impossible to answer.

An official inquiry was held in March 1989 before the local sheriff, Neil Gow. After considering the various theories involving foul play--that someone had kidnapped Stephen and left him in this remote spot to fare for himself, or killed him and then dumped his body in the ditch--Gow ruled that the boy had simply died a strange, but completely natural death. Stephen's "enterprise and stamina" had been "seriously under-estimated by all concerned." The sheriff concluded that, for whatever unknowable reason, the boy had wandered away from the park and continued to hike until he collapsed and died. As far as the authorities were concerned, the case was closed.

"Case closed," however, does not necessarily mean, "Mystery solved."

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekend Link Dump

Strange Company hopes your week has gone swimmingly.

It certainly has for the cats.

Watch out for the Grinning Gorilla of Canada!

Watch out for the Phantom of Route 40!

Watch out for those Bread Curses!

The mystery of the man who could fly.

The well-traveled skull of a Lincoln assassination conspirator.

The mystery of Napoleon's horse.

Ghosts made to order, while you wait.

Germany's first female doctor.

Coming to the aid of Indian industrial workers.

Seeking the origins of the Whipping Boy.

Where the Georgians washed their clothes.

What we don't know about Pompeii.

Rebelling against the Infinite.

When you want to dig a hole, it's usually better to use a shovel than a nuclear weapon.

This year in UFO's.

China is using animals to predict earthquakes.

A website for anyone who wants to be really, really bored.

The ranch that's popular with UFOs.

David Garrick and the East End.

Georgian melodrama:  The sad tale of the cruel miser and his eloping daughter.

The Case of the Deadly Dentist.

A nice article about my favorite book, Poe's "Eureka."

Some fun 19th century dog names.

The history of ghost photography.

Fry'd cream. anyone?

Nanny of the Windward Maroons.

The man who killed Queen Victoria's rats.

When pigs fly!

Lawnmowers for Ladies!

Creating rival universes.

A beautiful mechanical caterpillar.

The strange burial of an ancient bobcat.

The cave village of Sicily.

And, finally, goat vs. horse:

Well, there you have it. See you all on Monday, when I'll be looking at the strange disappearance and death of a Scottish boy. In the highly unlikely event that you just can't live without me until then, I can be found on Twitter and Facebook.  In the meantime, here's some Neil Young:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

"The Reading of the Will," David Wilkie, 1820

As I have probably mentioned before on this blog, I have a great fondness for Weird Wills. When people take the trouble to exit this world with style and originality, they earn my eternal esteem and appreciation. If they throw in a bit of posthumous revenge, my happiness blossoms like a rose.

Although I have come across a number of bizarre wills in my time, I have yet to find any quite like the one written by Dr. Everett Wagner, and I have serious doubts that anything will ever top it.

This description of the good doctor's highly unusual bequests comes from the "Louisville Courier-Journal," May 4, 1888:

A well-known attorney of this city has received from the executor the will of Dr. Everett Wagner, a resident of Metcalfe county, Ky., lately deceased. It is a curiosity, and as it will shortly be put on record, the instrument is given in full. It runs as follows:

By the Grace of God, Amen, I, Everett Wagner, being of sound mind and disposing memory, and realizing the uncertainties of life, do make this my last will and testament hereby revoking any former or other will I may have made. I have lived a secluded life, and for that reason, I suppose I have not accumulated as muoh of this world's goods as might have been, but my beloved relatives, knowing that I am about to die and believing me, as they have heretofore called me, a miser, suppose my wealth very large.

Although, up to this time they have shunned me almost entirely, they can not now do too much for me, and nearly every one of them has visited me in these, my last hours, and given me a gentle hint that they would like to have a small trinket of some kind by which to remember their beloved relative.

On account of their former treatment and their gentle hints, I now take this method of satisfying their desires and by this, my last will and testament, I will and bequeath to them as follows:

First, I give to my beloved brother, Napoleon Bonaparte Wagner, my left hand and arm.

Second, I give to my beloved brother, George W. Wagner, my right hand and arm.

Third, I give to my beloved brother, Patrick Henry Wagner, my right leg and foot.

Fourth, I give to my beloved brother, Charles Gardner Wagner, my left leg and foot.

Fifth, I give to my nephew, C H. Hatfield, my nose.

Sixth, I give to my niece, Hettie Hatfield, my left ear, and to my niece, Clara Hatfield, my left ear.

Seventh, I give to my cousin, Henry Edmonton, my teeth.

Eighth, I give to my cousin, John Edmonton, my gums.

Ninth, I hope I have not forgotten any of those dear relatives, who have wished for trinkets, but, if I have, I will provide for them in this way: When I am dissected for the gifts I have mentioned, there will be enough left of me to give a trinket to any of those relatives wishing one, and they can secure the same from the person dissecting me, he being here instructed to give tbe choice parts to those who ask, first come first served.

Tenth, It grieves me to have to part with myself in this manner, but then, what is a gift without a sacrifice? I am dying with consumption and the end will soon be here. I will at once remove myself to Nashville, where I will die in the hospital. I desire that P. A. M. Strater, of Metcalfe County, Ky, upon my death, qualify as my executor, with bond, and that he faithfully carry out the trust here imposed upon him: that he proceed with haste to Nashville and there employ a skillful surgeon, who will do the work well; that the surgeon proceed to dissect me and sever the parts bequeathed carefully: that he preserve the parts nicely with chemicals and place them in glass jars which shall be provided by the executor, and that the executor then ship the jars with the parts so preserved to the various devisees, all of whom are personally known to him.

For this service, I allow the sum of one thousand dollars, to be equally divided by the surgeon and executor, after payment for chemicals, jars and shipment. After dissection, I desire that any part of me which may remain be buried in the potter's field at Nashville.

Eleventh, the executor will then pay my burial expenses and the whole of the residue of my estate I direct shall be applied to public charities as directed by the Metcalfe Circuit Judge.

Dated at my residence on the Burkesville road, Metcalfe county, Kentucky, March 1, 1888. EVERETT WAGNER.

March 3, 1888: Codicil--I give to my beloved sister-in-law, Mrs. C. G. Wagner, my liver. EVERETT WAGNER.

In a letter from the executor, he states that Wagner died shortly after the execution of the will and before he could get to Nashville. Before the will was found, his remains were buried and the executor is in great distress about what to do. He asks the attorney for advice on the question as to whether or not, at this late day, it would be proper for him to exhume the remains, carry them to Nashville. and there dissect, preserve and ship them as directed by the will. The letter says that the eccentric physician's heirs are talking of breaking the will but, as he was perfectly sane up to the time of his death. it appears that they will hardly be able to do so. The estate to be given to various charities amounts to about $12,000.

It is unknown how the problem was resolved. My guess is that the relatives graciously waived their bequests, and sleeping physicians were allowed to lie.

Small matter. I'm betting that no one named in Wagner's will ever forgot him.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Horror in Room 1046

In Kansas City, Missouri, on the afternoon of January 2, 1935, a man walked into the Hotel President  and asked for a room several floors up. He carried no luggage. He signed the register as "Roland T. Owen," of Los Angeles, and paid for one day's stay. He was described as a tall, "husky" young man with a cauliflower ear and a large scar on the side of his head. He was given room 1046.

On the way to his room, Owen told the bellboy, Randolph Propst, that he had originally thought to check into the Muehlebach Hotel, but was put off by the high price of $5 a night. When they reached 1046, Owen took a comb, brush, and toothpaste out of his coat pocket and placed them in the bathroom. Then, the pair went back out in the hall, where the bellboy locked the door. He gave Owen the key, after which the new guest left the hotel and the bellboy returned to his usual duties.

Later that day, a maid went to clean 1046. Owen was inside the room. He allowed her in, telling her to leave the door unlocked, as he was shortly expecting a friend. She noticed that the shades were tightly drawn, with only one small lamp to provide illumination. She later told police that Owen seemed nervous, even afraid. While she cleaned up, Owen put on his coat and left, reminding the maid not to lock the door.

Around 4 p.m., the maid returned to 1046 with fresh towels. The door was still unlocked, and the room still eerily dim. Owen was lying on the bed, fully dressed. She saw a note on the desk that read, "Don, I will be back in fifteen minutes. Wait."

The next we know of Owen's movements came at about 10:30 the next morning, when the maid came to clean his room. She unlocked the door with a passkey (something she could only do if the door had been locked from the outside.) When she entered, she was a bit unnerved to see Owen sitting silently in a chair, staring into the darkness. This awkward moment was broken by the ringing of the phone. Owen answered it. After listening for a moment, he said, "No, Don, I don't want to eat. I am not hungry. I just had breakfast." After he hung up, for some reason he began interrogating the maid about the President Hotel and her duties there. He repeated his complaint about the high rates of the Muehlebach.

The maid finished tidying the room, took the used towels, and left, no doubt happy to leave this strange guest.

That afternoon, she again went to 1046 with clean towels. Outside the door, she heard two men talking. She knocked, and explained why she was there. An unfamiliar voice responded gruffly that they didn't need any towels. The maid shrugged to herself and left.

Later that day, a Jean Owen (no relation to Roland) registered at the President, and was given room 1048. She did not have a peaceful night. She was continually bothered by the loud sounds of at least male and female voices arguing violently in the adjoining room. Mrs. Owen later heard a scuffle and a "gasping sound" which at the time she assumed was snoring. She debated calling the desk clerk, but unfortunately decided against it.

Charles Blocher, the graveyard shift elevator operator at the hotel, also noticed unusual activity that night. There was what he assumed was a particularly noisy party in room 1055. Some time after midnight, he took a woman to the 10th floor. She was looking for room 1026. He had seen her around the President numerous times--she was, as he put it discreetly, "a woman who frequents the hotel with different men in different rooms."

A few minutes later, he was signaled to return to the 10th floor. The woman was concerned because the man who had arranged to meet her there was nowhere to be found. Being unable to help her, Blocher went back downstairs. About half an hour later, the woman summoned him again to take her down to the lobby. About an hour later, she returned to the elevator with a man. Blocher took them to the 9th floor. Around 4 a.m. the woman left the hotel, followed about fifteen minutes later by the man. This couple was never identified, and it is unknown what, if anything, they had to do with Owen and room 1046.

At about 11 p.m. that same night, a city worker named Robert Lane was driving on a downtown street when he saw a man running down the sidewalk. He was puzzled to see that on this winter night, the stranger was wearing only pants and an undershirt.

The man waved Lane down, thinking he was a taxi driver. When he saw his mistake, he apologized and asked if Lane could take him someplace where he could get a cab. Lane agreed, commenting, "You look as if you've been in it bad." The man nodded and growled "I'll kill that [expletive discreetly deleted in newspaper reports] tomorrow." Lane noticed his passenger had a wound on his arm.

When they reached their destination, the man thanked Lane, then exited the car and hailed a cab. Lane drove off, having no idea that he had just played a minor role in one of his city's weirdest murder mysteries.

Around 7 a.m. the next morning, the President's telephone operator noticed that the phone in room 1046 was off the hook. After three hours had passed without anyone placing the phone in its cradle, she sent Randolph Propst to tell whoever was there to hang up. The bellboy found the door locked, with a "Don't disturb" sign out. When he knocked, after a moment he heard a voice tell him to come in. When he tried the door, he found it was still locked. He knocked again, only to have the voice tell him to turn on the lights. After a couple more minutes of fruitless knocking, Propst finally yelled, "Put the phone back on the hook!" and left, shaking his head at what he assumed was their crazy drunken guest.

An hour and a half later, the operator saw the phone was still unhooked. She sent another bellboy, Harold Pike, up to deal with the problem. Pike found 1046 still locked. He used a passkey to open the door--showing that it had again been locked from the outside. In the dimness, he was able to make out that Owen was lying on the bed naked. The telephone stand had been knocked down, and the phone was on the ground. The bellboy put the stand upright and replaced the phone.

Like Propst, he assumed their guest was merely drunk. He left without bothering to check Owen's condition more closely.

Shortly before 11 a.m., another telephone operator noticed that the phone in 1046 was again off the hook. Once again, Propst was sent up to the room. He found the "Don't disturb" sign still on the door. After his knocks got no response, he opened the door with his passkey and walked inside.

The bellboy found something far worse than mere intoxication. Owen, still naked, was crouched on the floor, holding his bloody head in his hands. When Propst turned on the light, he saw more blood on the walls and in the bathroom. The frightened bellboy rushed out and told the assistant manager, who summoned police.

The officers found that about six or seven hours earlier, someone had done dreadful things to Roland Owen. He had been tied up and repeatedly stabbed. His skull was fractured from several savage blows. His neck was bruised, suggesting he had been strangled. Blood was everywhere. This small hotel room had been turned into a torture chamber. When questioned about what had happened, the semiconscious Owen only muttered, "I fell against the bathtub." A search of the room found more strangeness. There was not a single stitch of clothing anywhere in 1046. The room's standard soap, shampoo, and towels were also gone. All they found was a label from a necktie, an unsmoked cigarette, four bloody fingerprints on a lampshade, and a hairpin. There was also no sign of the cords which must have been used to bind Owen and the weapon that stabbed him. A hotel employee reported that several hours before Owen was found, he had seen a man and a woman leave the President hurriedly. There was no doubt that, in the words of one of the detectives, "someone else is mixed up in this."

While Owen was being rushed to the hospital, he fell into a coma. He died later that night.

Meanwhile, investigators were quickly realizing that this was no ordinary murder. Los Angeles police found no record of any Roland T. Owen, which led to the assumption that the victim had checked in using a pseudonym. An anonymous woman phoned police the night of Owen's death, saying that she thought the dead man lived in Clinton, Missouri.

"Owen's" body was taken to a funeral home, where it was publicly displayed in the hope that someone could recognize him. Among the visitors was Robert Lane, who identified him as the peculiar man he had seen on the night of January 3. Several bartenders testified seeing a man matching "Owen's" description in the company of two women. Police also discovered that the night before "Owen" registered at the President Hotel, a man matching his description had briefly stayed at the Muehlebach, giving his name as "Eugene K. Scott" of Los Angeles. Unsurprisingly, no trace of anyone by that name could be found, either. Earlier, Owen/Scott had stayed at yet another Kansas City hotel, the St. Regis, in the company of a man who was never identified.

They were having no more luck with tracing the "Don" "Owen" had talked to during his stay at the President. Was he the man who was there with the prostitute? Was he the strange voice who had told the maid not to bother bringing in fresh towels? Was "Don" the man "Owen" had told Lane he wanted to kill? Was "Don" the man who had been at the St. Regis with him? All excellent questions, which were fated never to be answered.

Nine days after "Owen" died, a wrestling promoter named Tony Bernardi identified the dead man as someone who had visited him several weeks earlier to sign up for wrestling matches. Bernardi said the man gave his name as "Cecil Werner."

While all of this established that "Roland Owen" was a very peculiar man, none of it was the slightest help in discovering his real identity, let alone the name of his killer. The woman's hairpin found in his room, plus the angry male and female voices Jean Owen had heard led to talk that the murder stemmed from a "love triangle," but that theory remained mere speculation. Police were becoming resigned to writing off his death as one of the unsolved mysteries, and by the beginning of March, preparations were made to bury the John Doe in an unmarked grave.

However, before "Owen" could be brought to the city's Potter's Field, the head of the funeral home in charge of the body received an anonymous phone call. The man asked that the burial be delayed until money could be sent to cover the costs of a decent internment. The caller claimed that "Roland T. Owen" was the dead man's real name, and that Owen had been engaged to the caller's sister. The funeral director said that the mysterious benefactor told him that Owen "just got into a jam." He added that the police "are on the wrong track."

Shortly afterward, the cash arrived via special delivery mail--again anonymously--and "Owen" was finally buried in Memorial Park Cemetery. No one attended the funeral other than a handful of detectives. More money was sent with equal mysteriousness to a local florist to pay for a bouquet of roses for the grave. It was accompanied by a card to be placed with the flowers. It read, "Love forever--Louise."

The Owen case drifted into obscurity until late 1936, when a woman named Eleanor Ogletree learned of an account of the murder given in the magazine "American Weekly." She thought the description given of "Owen" matched that of her missing brother Artemus. The Ogletrees had not seen him since he left his home in Birmingham, Alabama in April 1934 to "see the country." The last his mother Ruby had heard from him were three brief, typewritten letters. The first of these notes arrived in the spring of 1935--several months after "Owen" died. Mrs. Ogletree later said she was suspicious of these letters from the start, as her son did not know how to type. The last letter said he was "sailing for Europe." Several months after the last letter, she received a phone call from a man calling himself "Jordan. "Jordan" said that Artemus had saved his life in Egypt, and that her son had married a wealthy Cairo woman. When Mrs. Ogletree was shown a photo of "Owen," she immediately recognized the dead man as her missing son. He was only 17 when he died.

The dead man had finally been identified. Justice for his brutal death, however, remained hopelessly elusive. This is one of those irritating unsolved murders that is nothing but a bunch of questions left in a hopelessly tangled mess. Why was Artemus Ogletree using multiple false names? What was he doing in Kansas City? Who killed him and why? Who was "Louise?" Who was "Jordan?" Who sent the money to pay for Ogletree's funeral? Who really wrote those letters to Ruby Ogletree? What in God's name happened in room 1046?

It's almost certain we will never know. The investigation into Ogletree's death was briefly reopened in 1937, after detectives noted similarities between his murder and the slaying of a young man in New York, but this also went nowhere. The case has remained in cold obscurity ever since, except for one strange incident about ten years ago. This postscript to the story was related in 2012 by John Horner, a librarian in the Kansas City Public Library who has done extensive research into the Ogletree mystery. One day in 2003 or 2004, someone from out-of-state phoned the library to ask about the case. This caller--who did not give his or her name--said that they had recently gone through the belongings of someone who had recently died. Among these belongings was a box containing old newspaper clippings about the murder. This caller mentioned that this box also contained "something" which had been mentioned in the newspaper reports. Horner's caller would not say what this "something" was.

It seems only fitting that a case so mysterious throughout should have an equally baffling last act.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Newspaper Clipping(s) of the Independence Day

As you old-timers around this blog may remember, last year I did a roundup of some cautionary tales about the many hazards of Fourth of July celebrations.  For this year's holiday, I thought I'd take a look at the lighter side of its history.  Browsing through the old newspaper advertisements for local July 4th events, I can't help but feel our ancestors got a lot more fun out of the holiday than we usually do today.

That is, of course, when they weren't blowing themselves to smithereens with DIY fireworks.

Arizola [AZ] Oasis, June 24, 1904

I find it particularly endearing how communities all boasted how their celebration would be bigger and better than anyone else's.  "The Eagle is going to scream his loudest!  We will have the best ever!"  And, no, I do not have an explanation how the "Wondrously Rich Chinese Pageant" fits in with the American Independence Day, but I'm sure it was a grand show regardless.

"Coconino Sun," July 1 1899

Who could resist a hose contest?

"Mohave County Miner," July 3, 1897

Greased poles and greased pigs.  Not to mention the Beautiful Queen De Cacti!

"New Anaconda Standard," June 30, 1891

I have a sneaking suspicion that "A Famous Orator of National Note Booked for the Occasion" means, "Our original speaker bailed out at the last minute, and we're still scrambling to find a replacement."

"St. Paul Globe," July 5, 1880

"Six Experienced Tubbists!"

"Hayti [MO] Herald," June 21, 1917

The oldest married couple!  50 yards Fat Men's Race!  Running Board Jump!  The Hayti Hussar Band in person!  Rain or shine!

"Hood River Glacier," June 28, 1917
A wartime celebration, with half the proceeds going to the Red Cross, and half to the mess hall of the boys of the Twelfth Company, so they can be kept away from those beans.

"Iron County Record," June 18, 1915

I wonder which of those young ladies was the proud winner of the "Goddess of Liberty" contest?

"Mansfield Mirror," June 22, 1922

Come on!  Let's go!  Something doing every minute!

"Mansfield Mirror," June 23, 1921

It's you we're talking to!

"Mohave County Miner," June 3, 1911

It's hard to top the lure of this one:  Come to Kingston or stay dead!

"Oroville Gazette," June 20, 1919

Nearly a century ago, they already felt the need to advertise a "real old fashioned" celebration.  A Wild West Show, a parade of soldiers and Boy Scouts, and continuous dancing.  Who could ask for more?

"St. Martinsville Weekly," June 12, 1915
Under the auspices of the Woodmen of the World!

"Wibaux Pioneer," June 19, 1909

I have no idea what a Bowery Dance is, but I want to attend one.  With a Cowboy of Montana.

"Yakima Herald," July 1, 1908

Out-of-towners cordially invited!

All right, I admit this one could get a bit too lively.

It's also interesting to see how long the history of the "Safe and Sane" campaign has been.


"Daily Missolian," July 4, 1914

"Cambridge Sentinel," June 25, 1910

"Kenna Record," June 27, 1913

"Seattle Times," July 4, 1914

So, there's our little look at Fourth of July in the days of old.  Enjoy the holiday, my fellow Americans.  Let's see if we can get a tug-of-war game and a Goddess of Liberty contest going.