Monday, October 7, 2013

Spirits Show The Story

A liberated Jewish man holds a Nazi soldier at gunpoint during WWII.
January 20, 1953 - Eisenhower's inauguration. 

December 5, 1933 - Alcohol prohibition ends.
In 1956, animals are being used as part of medical therapy.

The death of the Irish in 1832 at Duffy's cut would have remained shrouded in history if it weren't for two brothers. Twins, Immaculata history professor, William Watson and Reverend Frank Watson, were inspired by the sighting of ghosts and papers of their grandfathers. Papers that weren't supposed to be seen by anyone.

Ghosts play a significant part in this story. For decades, children had been finding buttons and such in the area and the site was rumoured to be haunted. In September of 2000, Bill Watson and a colleague - Tom Connor - participated in a bagpipe performance for Lancaster World War II veterans. After, still in the traditional kilt and tunic, Watson and Connor stopped at Bill's office at Immaculata. The men looked outside and saw three ghostly figures, which disappeared when the men went down for a closer look.

Two years later, Bill decides to tell his brother about what he saw and his brother had a revelation of his own. Frank showed Bill a 1889 newspaper article in which historian Julian Sachse told of an old man's insistence that he had seen, in September of 1832, the spectre of Irishmen dancing on their shared grave by the tracks.

In Detroit, in 1929, illegal alcohol is being poured out. 
Building the Manhattan Bridge in 1908.

The photographs are small but these are of a woman getting into a crinoline skirt.
President Richard Nixon tries to master the use of chopsticks while visiting China in 1972.

The Watson brothers led a team of amateur anthropologists into the woods to find the answers to what happened to 57 Irish immigrants. The team found some bodies to exhume and it was discovered that many of the men had suffered  traumatic blows around the time of death.

One theory is that local vigilantes, spurred by fear of the cholera, anti-Irish and anti-Catholic feelings, murdered the workers. However, as one commenter pointed out, according to the passenger list many of the men came from Donegal, which is primarily Protestant. Perhaps the killings were more motivated by fear of the deadly epidemic, ignorance how it was spread and anti-Irish sentiments.

Not all the bodies have been recovered. Over time the railway route changed and now the tracks are over where the mass grave would be. It is thought that if those bodies were found, anthropologists would discover a layer of cholera victims on the bottom and others who were murdered on top of them.

The infamous Jesse at about sixteen years old.
A 1927 photo of the real Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin.

In 1957, Sweden changed from driving on the left side of the road to driving on the right. At 5 pm on September 3, this was the result.
This space chimp is posing for the camera after a 1961 successful mission.

So who killed the Irish workers? The area did have a vigilante justice organization, the East Whiteland Horse Company, and the leaders owned property in the area. But we'll probably never really know who committed the crimes. 

I am not telling you this story because I want to say that what happened to the Irish was just as bad as what happened to other nationalities. It is all bad and this is only one story. There are many more out there, I am sure. If a person looks carefully enough through his or her family's background each one of us will find a period of time where we were either mistreated or mistreated others.

Not one nationality or religion can say that they were persecuted more than another was or that no one in their background has ever done the persecuting. It is long past the time where everyone has to make peace with the sins of the past and look to the future.

We can't change the past so let it go. Make the future better. Wouldn't life be so much better if we did that?

In 1966, Apollo I astronauts rehearse a water landing.
Walter Yeo's eyelids were damaged in WWI and he became of the first men to undergo plastic surgery. He had a skin transplant to replace them.

At the 363rd Station hospital in Papau, New Guinea during WWI, an advertisement reminds soldiers to take their anti-malaria drug.
In 1916, Charlie Chaplin was 27.

Once again, I want to thank the show on PBS, Secrets of the Dead, for letting me know of this story and to the crime library website for supplying further information.

I also want to thank my mom and her friend for the old pictures.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Operation Babylift. Vietnamese babies are transported to the U.S. in 1975.

In 1893, these Princeton students were involved in a snowball fight between the freshmen and the sophomores.
A soldier in WWII helps out a goat in 1944.

Ford Theatre where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. 

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  1. Love the review and the ghost story. You have very interesting blogs Karen I am never disappointed. Thanks for taking the time to enlighten and entertain.

    1. thank you for reading and your kind words Lee.