FOUNDING FATHER'S DARK SECRET
not the same room, anymore. We painted it purple, and I got
a new bed and a couple posters. And Buffy says I play my radio
loud enough to wake the dead, but if Hedwig's awake, she's
not bothering me. Something bad has happened in almost every
room there's ever been. Someone gets hurt or has a bad breakup
or sat through an episode of Firefly, or something like that.
You can't just tear down a whole cool house because somebody
had a bad time in one room, can you?"
Peterson's Funeral Home and the First Lutheran
Church have donated their services in order to put Hedwig
to rest. The funeral will take place next Wednesday at one
pm. Lyle and Daisy Pershing of Pershing Daisies have donated
flowers to the church for the event, and an anonymous donor
has paid for a burial plot in Shady Hills cemetary.
What Do You Think?
Newly discovered evidence, in the form of a
diary and a dead body at Scobie Manor, suggest that Hiram
Scobie may have been a murderer. Do you believe the evidence?
If so, what should be done about it?
Amy Greyson, 19, student: Ugh. You mean the
guy the hospital and the library and all that other stuff
is named after killed someone? I say we take his name off
everything. It's too creepy to leave up.
Peter Jackson, 37, writer: We can't panic until
we know for sure that this evidence is for real. Then we'll
need to consider what's next very carefully. After all, he
built this town up from nothing. Do we really want to ignore
all his contributions because of one thing he did? Still,
it'd make a great movie script.
Elmer Gentry, 78, retired: I don't believe
one word of all this horse hockey about Hiram Scobie. He served
his country, he raised this town from nothing, and he endowed
the hospital. Nobody who did all that could have killed someone.
He'll be vindicated yet.
Cynthia Liu, 27, real estate agent: We'll need
to consider very carefully what we do about this. There's
no telling how this scandal will affect housing prices.
Karen Walters, 46, waitress: I feel sorry for
Hedwig. I have a daughter just about her age, and every time
I look at her lately, I think about everything that poor girl
never got to do, and all she went through. It's time we all
said we were sorry to her. That's why I'm going to her funeral.
Jalil Singh, 20, student: I know little of
this question, having only been in Whispering Pines a short
while, but murder is a terrible thing. If Hiram Scobie murdered
someone, the truth should be known and spoken of. We must
not let his victim be forgotten. Perhaps we should name a
school after her.
New Scobie Evidence Found
by Claire Olney
were shocked this week when evidence was discovered that Hiram
Scobie, possibly the most revered of Whispering Pines' founders,
may well have murdered a young girl in 1888.
victim, Hedwig Swenson, age 21 at the time of her disappearance,
has long been a figure of controversy among unsolved murder
buffs for her connection to the death of Philip Scobie, Hiram
Scobie's son, in the waning days of 1887. It has never been
satisfactorily determined whether or not the baby was murdered,
but Hedwig stood trial in the death. She was acquitted, but
many felt this was a miscarriage of justice. When she disappeared
shortly after her release from jail, general opinion held
that she'd returned to her native Sweden. Despite years of
research, however, nobody had found any evidence of what became
of her. At last, the grisly truth appears to have been uncovered.
Newcomers to Whispering Pines who recently
moved into the long-abandoned Scobie Manor discovered the
"We just moved in, and were still picking
rooms and stuff," said Buffy Summers, 22. "My sister,
Dawn, wanted the attic for a bedroom. When we went up there
to do a little repair work so she could move in, we found
a lot more than we bargained for. My friend, Xander, decided
this one wall had some water damage and the boards needed
to be replaced. When he took out the old wood, well, there
was Hedwig. And the diary."
The diary referred to is Hiram Scobie's account
of the months leading up to the eventual torture and murder
of Hedwig Swenson. Gerald Hamilton, curator of the Scobie
Museum, feels certain the diary is authentic.
"The handwriting matches that of several
authenticated examples we have of Scobie's handwriting, the
ink and paper appear to be appropriate to the time it was
supposedly written, and it's filled with accurate details
of life in Whispering Pines in the late 1880's. Of course,
we're bringing in experts to confirm my opinion, but I think
we're looking at a new and very disturbing fact about Hiram
Scobie. As much as it pains me to believe it, it seems that
Scobie went temporarily insane after his son's death. This
diary is a tragic window into the dark side of a man's soul."
In one passage, near the
end, Scobie, overcome with guilt and grief penned this entry:
"She is dead, at long last, by my hand,
and at my will. And yet nothing will return my son to me.
In some long-confused part of my mind I seemed to feel sure
if Hedwig died, Philip would live again. A life for a life
seemed so rational; so proper. And yet, it is not to be. May
Heaven have mercy on her soul, if so foul a creature may be
said to have one, and on mine as well."
Others, however, are not as quick to accept
Cal Gunderson, local expert on the Philip Scobie
murder case, and author of The Hero and the Nursemaid, the
best-known book in the subject, is not convinced.
"Hedwig was the only one who could have
killed Philip Scobie. She was his nursemaid. She had plenty
of opportunity to commit murder. As for the idea that Hiram
Scobie would have killed anyone in cold blood, that's absolutely
ridiculous. I think this is going to go down in the history
of hoaxes with the Hitler diaries."
Coroner Susan Whipple is unwilling to give
any opinion on the diary, but says if this is a hoax, it's
a phenomenally good one.
"The body delivered to me is that of a
Caucasian woman, approximately twenty years of age, who has
been dead for over a hundred years. The remains show indications
of prolonged malnourishment and violent treatment. If this
isn't Hedwig, it's someone else who died every bit as horrible
a death as the diary indicates, and around the same time.
How would hoaxers come up with this level of evidence? And
Gunderson has a theory about that, too.
"These people aren't from around here.
They don't understand how important Hiram Scobie is to our
community. Obviously, they think it's a big laugh to stir
up trouble. I don't know where they found this body, or how
they managed to confuse Dr. Whipple as to its identity, but
this is simply not true."
Still, Gerald Hamilton is convinced.
"We'll add the diary to our exhibit as
soon as it's properly authenticated. Hiram Scobie literally
got away with murder for almost a hundred and twenty years.
It's time to set the record straight. We owe it to Hedwig
Swenson. We owe it to history."
As for Dawn Summers, the newest inhabitant
of the attic room, when asked about living where a girl only
a few years older than herself had been horribly tortured
and eventually murdered, she showed a remarkably philosophic