I have been a little under the weather the last couple weeks
with a bad cold, allergies, and a sinus infection. This is an updated
version of a blog post from November 2013. I hope you enjoy it.
See the house at left? It is #8 Walnut Street on Beacon Hill in Boston. It was built in 1811 and has now been converted to condominiums but there was a time when it was a private home—a private home that belonged to a very distinguished man. This is a story most fiction writers could not conceive!
I have been doing research on a few curious stories with the intention of coming up with a new story for my Beacon Hill Chronicles series. I'll talk more about that in another blog but this is such a fascinating find that I'm quite mesmerized. In my Beacon Hill books there is an ex-cop named Joe Quinn who writes a blog called Beantown's Dark Side about strange tales from his experience as a Boston cop. Ever since I found out about this story Joe has been bugging me—as only a character can bug you—to let him write about this. First of all this house is just around the corner from GrammyLou's gorgeous but haunted townhouse on Mount Vernon Street. But if you think the stories associated with GrammyLou's are creepy, #8 Walnut Street may have her's beat.
|Newspaper illustration of the Parkman murder|
|Parkman's remains recovered, one thigh was stuffed inside the chest cavity|
|Harvard Medical College|
The family, in extreme distress, offered a $3000 reward for information leading to discovery of his whereabouts. This was quite alluring to many people, including a man named Ephraim Littlefield, who worked as a janitor at Harvard and earned extra money by procuring cadavers for those interested in having a cadaver procured. Over the Thanksgiving break, while the buildings at Harvard were virtually empty, Littlefield set to work and, after considerable effort, discovered the remains of a man's pelvis and thigh in the bottom of a privy near Dr. Webster's laboratory.
|This is the first case in American history in which dental records were part of the evidence.|
|Harvard Musical Society as it appears today.|
Webster spent the evening of the murder here with friends.
Naturally, it is always a challenge to know how to write about a story as sensational as this one was, but Joe Quinn keeps telling me he thinks we should give it a go. Discussions are ongoing.
The Crazy Old Lady's Secret, which tells this story,
is now available in digital or paperback from Amazon.
Thanks for reading.