Dark Secrets

Possession on the Island

This abandoned church was built by prolific Island architect William Critchlow Harris’ nephew, James Edward Harris, in the 1930’s. It closely resembles his uncle’s construction of St. Mary’s in Indian River. In the middle of the cemetery you’ll find a slightly crumbling stone memorial altar for Father Edward Walker. Fr. Walker presided over St. Alexis in Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island for 46...

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Murders Mysteries & Misadventures

Who Killed John Roach In A Crowded Room and Got Away With It?

In the spring of 1858, a 20-year old Delaware College student named John Edward Roach was preparing for the annual Junior Exhibition, an evening of gentlemanly debate and speeches. Little did the school know, things wouldn’t be so gentlemanly and the exact events would remain a mystery forever. Mockery of the event and its participants was almost an official part of the event and even...

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Bad Behavior

Where There’s A Will, There’s a Way: Henrietta Garrett’s 26,000 Heirs

In 1871, Walter Garrett was a 40-year eligible bachelor. Very eligible. His great-grandfather had built something of a snuff empire (snuff was a popular form of tobacco, powdered and then inhaled through the nose) and along with that, a large fortune. But Walter didn’t choose a high society bride. Instead, he married Henrietta Schaeffer, a 22-year old 8th grade dropout he spotted scrubbing the...

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How “Fantasia” Was Inspired By A Secret Lab In The Basement of an Opera House

Owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the 19th century opera house is the oldest venue in the U.S. still used for its original purpose. And though named “Academy” it has never actually housed a music school. It has hosted some of the most famous names in opera and music from Pavarotti to Maria Callas, Marian Anderson to Igor Stravinsky and more. But just before WWII it hosted something more...

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