Posts Tagged ‘corpse’

Barbara Ann (Hackman) Taylor, ‘Bobbie’ was initially an unknown American woman who was referred to as Tent Girl.

Wilbur Riddle was out in Georgetown, Kentucky, on 17th May 1968 searching for glass insulators at the side of U.S Route 25. He was there to work as a water well-driller and was handed a note to pass some time until his boss arrived, he spotted some telephone workers and they were discarding the glass insulators as part of an upgrade program. He knew they would be useful for a friend so went to collect them.

He was on his way back from his collecting when something caught his eye as he headed back up the dirt track. The smell alone gave away there was nothing good to be found, he nudged a wrapped up green canvas and the body rolled down the slope. It exposed the body of a decomposing woman wrapped up in a heavy green tarpaulin. The material was the type of thing used in the manufacturing of tents, hence the identification.

Riddle immediately drove two miles down the road to alert the Scott County Sheriff, Bob Vance. Vance and his team then came to see and looked into the matter further, her eyes had already rotted away and her flesh was mottled, the poor woman was too decomposed to get a full fingerprint and they had to take one and rehydrate it with chemicals to attempt to gain anything at all.

They were unable to fully establish a cause of death, the best theory to date is that Bobbie was somehow knocked unconscious and rolled up and confined, eventually dying of asphyxiation. There was a section of white towelling and the green canvas sent over to the FBI laboratories in Washington for further analysis but at that point there was not very much more they felt they could do.

A lead came up about her in June, 1968 when her description matched enough features to show up missing Pasadena girl, Debbie Krane, who was last seen getting into the car of her 17 year-old boyfriend, Carl Colby. The 15 year old had gone missing March 3rd, 1968 and with the period of her death being loose enough they decided to ask her parents to come to see if they were able to identify her.

Debbie Krane’s dental records loosely matched that of the girl and at that point the police must have felt they were on track to finding her identity, then an anonymous call came in that said she was alive and well in Bradford, Pennsylvania. A long drive out to Bradford found Krane was alive and well, living with her boyfriend and that she had absconded from her home but was not deceased. They were then stumped once more.

There was another lead for the identification, a somewhat similar case that was linked up, this time from Northampton, Pennsylvania. Candace Clothier was found 13th April, 1968 and had last been seen 9th March, 1968 until her body was found. Two fishermen discovered the young lady decomposed and floating in the creek, she was found in a black cloth bag. Similarities in the case led to a question about them being linked, there is no more on her case, her case has been closed as it was felt that due to no leads and the chances of her murderer already being dead there was nothing more they could do.

‘Tent Girl’ was then a feature in American magazine, Master Detective, in the hopes that it might bring even more to the case and perhaps lead to her identification. She was eventually buried in an unmarked grave, No 90. She was buried in Georgetown Cemetery with a donated headstone and along with the police sketch of her, based on reconstructions from her body, there was also an inscription.

TENT GIRL

FOUND MAY 17 1968

ON U.S HIGHWAY 25,N.

DIED AB OUT APRIL 26 – MAY 3, 1968

AGE ABOUT 16-19 YEARS

HEIGHT 5 FEET 1 INCH

WEIGHT 110 TO 115LBS.

REDDISH BROWN HAIR

UNIDENTIFIED

She was identified in 1998, it was a result of the efforts of Todd Matthews. He was the son-in-law of Wilbur Riddle and having found out about the story he invested in a PC and got a website up and running. He had combed through lists of missing people online. He has since founded The Doe Network, an online database to identify missing people and unidentified descendants.

He got an e-mail from her sister, Rosemary Westbrook, about a young woman who had gone missing from nearby Lexington. It transpires that the family were told by her husband, George Earl Taylor, that she had run off with another man. It seems that this never rested well with Rosemary and she extended her contact to Todd Matthews, Matthews and the family were convinced enough that it led to the exhumation of her body and DNA testing. Cells from Rosemary’s teeth were compared to that of the unidentified woman and they matched up, she was finally identified. Her body was re-interred at the cemetery with her full headstone placed under the original. There is no mention of her marital name on the headstone.

The prime suspect in her murder is Barbara’s husband, George Earl Taylor, and he died of cancer in 1987. This is mentioned on Wikipedia but I have to admit I found no other source about this, given this I am not going to surmise he was involved, there is no evidence she ran away with another man but then again there is no evidence to say she did not.

What we do know is that she was finally identified and given a proper burial based on who she was, her sister was able to learn her fate and mourn properly and Todd Matthews has founded something wonderful to help as many as he can who might be sadly facing that sort of tragedy.

Barbara Ann Hackmann Taylor.jpg
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The phrase for the area was coined by Joseph A Citro, an author, in 1992 when a radio broadcast discussed the area in Southwestern Virginia in which people had gone missing. A number of people went missing between 1920-1950 and has similar characteristics to the ‘Bridgewater Triangle’ in nearby state Massachusetts.

12th November 1945 – 74 year old Middie Rivers disappeared. He was with four hunters and got ahead of them but he never showed up again or met with the other four. It was a local area that he was familiar with so it felt as though there was little to suggest he had got lost.

1st December 1946 – 18 year old Paula Weldon disappeared, she went out for a hike. She was seen by a couple and they say she was 100 yards ahead, she went around the corner and they too walked that way but when they got around the corner they found no sign of Paula. She never showed up, nor any trace, despite a $5000 reward and the FBI’s involvement.

1st December 1949 – James Tedford a veteran went missing three years to the day later. He had been visiting relatives and was returning home on the bus to Bennington Soldier’s Home when he went missing. He was according to witnesses, on the last stop before his destination. His belongings were still in the luggage rack, the open bus timetable was on the seat and he was nowhere to be found.

12th October 1950 – 8 year old Paul Jepson was with his mother in a truck. She left her son in the truck to go feed the pigs, she was gone for about an hour. When she got back he was gone, search parties were formed and with Paul in a bright red jacket he should have been easy to spot.

28th October 1950 – 53 year old Frieda Langer and her cousin Herbert Elsner left the family campsite to hike. She slipped and fell into a stream and said she would go back to change her clothes if he could wait there. When she did not return he went back to the camp and was told that she had not been back there, and for the next two weeks search parties extensively combed the area. 12th May 1951 her body showed up in a spot that had been searched very well at the time, there was no chance for it to have been there at the time. Unfortunately due to the time lapse a cause of death could not be determined.

A quick analysis of these and I would conclude that given today’s forensics there might well have been clues, also there have probably been other missing people cases locally over the years but they had been singled out as a phenomena suddenly making them extra-ordinary as a collective.

Paul Jepson may not have vanished, he may well have been kidnapped, for instance if he had been taken away and the abductor was gone by the time the alert was raised that would mean he was another victim of child abduction and not so much a paranormal/mystery event.

Frieda Langer’s mystery might also have a more mundane and grizzly explanation. Abducted and killed away from the scene with the speculation high and searches constantly going on, there is a chance that the killer waited and kept the body concealed until the hype died down enough to dump it back there.

However given the the disappearances seem to have stopped after a spate that went up until the 1950’s, one may have to wonder why.

From the 1920’s onwards, stories has been told from North America (and Canada) of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch which is a giant 6-10 foot tall humanoid with shaggy hair, and a repulsive smell.

A miner claimed to have been abdusted by one another man said his group were attacked by an ape-man. The stories were dismissed as hoaxes.

Hoaxes about this seem to come up fairly regularly. In 1958 paw-prints were found at Bluff Creek but were made by wooden feet. A famous film from 1967, by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin showed what looked like a hairy female humanoid that rushed off into the woods. Was it a genuine cryptid, unknown animal or a hoax?

Raymond Patterson (1918-2002) was a big-foot hunter and his friend, Bob Heironimus, claimed it was a hoax as he was the man in the suit. Patterson and Gimli refused to retract the claim as valid footage and the debate goes on.

In 1973 in Illinois a couple parked up were scared out of their wits and described the creature they saw much like that of a Sasquatch. With slime-dripping from it’s body and a foul stench.

In 2008 a Youtube video surfaced that claimed to show a dead Bigfoot, it was found in Georgia. TV networks clustered around the freezer containing the corpse but it turned out to be another hoax, with a hollow head and rubber feet.

The search continues.

The Ridges is located in Athens, Odio and was also know as the Athens Mental Health Center. It was there for the criminally insane and opened it’s doors 9th January 1874. It was brought by the State and Federal Government from the Coates family; it was over 1000 acres of farmland.

The main structure was built to resemble a home which was unusual when most of the asylums were effectively a house of abuse and torture with their given conditions. It was built on the familiar plans of the Kirkbride design. According to Wikipedia one of the leading causes of male insanity in 1876 was masturbation! Concerned yet? During the first three years of the hospital being open fifty six men and one women were diagnosed with this problem.

The Ridges was one that did not use bleeding, freezing and head kicks to try and shock their illness away, the more violent patients were kept away from others and until the 1900’s did not suffer too much from overcrowding. The decline of treatment however went alongside the overcrowding and without this came the fall back into the old ways.

The Ridges reverted back to a place that used shock therapy, lobotomy and physical abuse to control its patients. By 1993 the Ridges had becoming a place to shut it’s doors for good and all the patients left, well apart from one of them.

Margaret Schilling went missing 1st December 1978 and 12th January 1979 her body was found in the abandoned top floor ward N 20. The ward had been closed down for some time and despite a check of the hospital they had not thought to go into that area.

The official cause of death was heart failure, she was found by a maintenance man who found her cold, lifeless and unclothed several weeks later. Apparently you can still see a stain in the shape of a human figure, on the spot she died. It is also said that she is seen peering from the room and that voices have been heard, lights are seen and shadows, and more eerily the noise of squeaking gurneys.

A note on the body mark, I found some information whilst surfing to say that there was indeed some thought placed into the strange body shaped mark that is most definitely present. So they decided to try and work out what the mark was by determining if there were any traces of old fat deposits, owing to the lack of anything else on the site.

The site is now owned and used for OU, however the portion where the mark is has not been opened for use or to the public. It had not been chemically tested or explained, perhaps better left to myth rather than fact however they decided that this could be of forensic use to try.

The Body Farm in Tennessee has been a useful earmark in the continuous investigations about how the body deteriorates after death and the conditions under which these things change speed. Most bodies are found at the scene and have some evidence about their origin; this was a chance to try another study about remains and their effects.

Samples were collected from the light stain area, the dark area around it and the concrete in the room as a control test. They collected samples from soap, a small piece of skin from a volunteer and a cleaner called Franklin Blu-Lite which had been used on the stain.

So what did the tests show? The samples from the light area showed the human stain was produced by a degradation of a skin or fatty tissue and chemicals from the cleaner. So what they can establish is there was a body on the floor, so most likely Schilling’s retrieved corpse.

What it can’t seem to explain however is the shape it is in, if a mop or scrub has been used to clean up after the body was moved it’s been cleaned in a strange manner of following just the body shape itself, as a more general clean of the area would have left an irregular set of marks. So that’s the mystery I took from this one, less so than the rumoured haunting.

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I say final as this is how everyone else has identified it, but as per my previous comment unless he was caught, murdered or moved on there is little chance that the murders simply ceased if we place them all together as one serial killers work.

Mary Kelly was 25, the youngest of the victims and was also given the crowning trophy of all the murders that Jack committed for being utterly horrific.

Having worked in a mortuary and funeral home, I can safely say not a lot bothers you after a while. It’s a sad fact that we become desensitised to some of the horrors our fellow “man” commits. I believe she may well have been one of those cases that “you never forget” when you have a career in these fields.

Mary Kelly was often with two or three other prostitutes and was usually clean clothed. She does appear to have been well liked by the people in the area but was found on occasion to be tipsy. For 8 months she had been renting a room in Millers Court, and until two weeks before that had been living there with an unemployed fish porter, Joseph Barnet.

Lack of money from them meant more arguments when Mary Kelly turned to prostitution. This had led to a broken window by the door being covered up by newspaper, rag and an old coat. Joe Barnet left when Mary brought home a homeless prostitute to stay with them. Maria Harvey gave her occupation as “laundress” and told the police she stayed there Monday and Tuesday but took a room in New Court, Dorset Street however she spent Thursday afternoon with Mary in Mary’s room at Miller’s Court.

Around 7pm Joe visited, they were friendly enough despite the split and he had said he left her alive. He did say that another woman was there with her later on but it seems unlikely to have been Maria Harvey as he would have said her name, he did after all know who she was.

Whilst he was there with Mary they were visited by Lizzie Albrook, she left after a chat and according to Barnet he told her he was sorry that he had no money and could not help her out. He then went back to his own lodging house and played whist until around 12.30am.

Around 4am 9th November two neighbours reported they heard cries of murder but to them this was a regular occurrence. It was often a sign of a drunken brawl in the area or domestic violence. The local residents would not have liked to get involved and so nothing more happened.

10:45 the next morning Mary Kelly’s landlord, John McCarthy, sent his assistant, Thomas Bowyer, to get the rent from her. He banged loudly on the door twice, assumed that she was ignoring him and moved the curtain from the broken pane. He rang back to the shop and told him that he had seen a LOT of blood.

The two men hurried to Miller’s Court, McCarth looked in via the window and was met with a terrible sight. The wall behind the bed was splattered like a modern slash film, on the bedside table was bloody human flesh and what was on the bed was barely recognisable as human. Lovecraft would like have described the scene as “Unimaginable horror” and this seems apt enough. The virtually skinned corpse of Mary Kelly was burnt into McCarthy’s mind and most likely haunted his dreams thereon.

The police were brought in, Inspectors Walter Dew and Walter Beck were brought in, they said he was muttering and raving about the victim, Bowyer was very clearly in shock. Beck looked in and staggered back, he told his partner not to look but he did. Both of them recalled the barbaric sight very clearly even 50 years later. Dew was struck by her wide open eyes, fixed in terror and the mutilations to her face were so ghastly that poor Joseph Barnet could only identify her by her eyes and ears.

It strikes me that there is a lot recorded about this poor woman’s death and less so about her life. Dr Thomas Bond gives a succinct report, which gives it the harsh and cold reality it deserves.

“The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat, but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle & lying across the abdomen. the right arm was slightly abducted from the body & rested on the mattress, the elbow bent & the forearm supine with the fingers clenched.

The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk & the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes. The whole of the surface of the abdomen & thighs was removed & the abdominal Cavity emptied of its viscera.

The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds & the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone.

The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus & Kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the Rt foot, the Liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side & the spleen by the left side of the body.

The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table. The bed clothing at the right corner was saturated with blood, & on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about 2 feet square…The face was gashed in all directions the nose cheeks, eyebrows and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched & cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features.”