Piecing together ancient and fragile clues

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By The Staff

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

A younger friend of mine bought a house nearby that was built in the 1880s.

The structure had many shortcomings, like the ceiling over the main room that had quite an alarming sag. The new owner threw himself into major remodeling work as soon as he took possession of the place, partly just to prop the old place up.   

Digging into the attic, my friend unearthed layers of newspapers from the turn of the last century. When I stopped by the house, my generous contribution to all the hard work being done to reinforce rafters and crossbeams was to sit in a corner and read the old papers.  

Newsprint doesn’t age well. Some of the newspapers dug out of the attic had fallen apart into a few pieces, while others had crumbled into hundreds of individual bits. One arresting story I could read fully on some big fragments of paper was about several murders at a farmhouse.

It was clear from the story the authorities didn’t have a full theory about what had happened at the farmhouse – and perhaps they never understood it.

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