No satisfactory answer was ever given for the madness which struck Norwich Street on the night of November 25, 1920.
Norwich Street, which was home to nine families in small, well-built houses, was one of the newer neighborhoods of Cross. The homes were less than 30 years old, and the residents there were mild and peaceable. Between the nine families, there were 47 men, women, and children of varying ages.
On the night of November 25, a young man walking home to his room on Main Street overheard raucous laughter from each house that he passed.
By 4 AM, on the 26th, when the milk was to be delivered to the De Groots, the first house on Norwich, the bodies were discovered.
All 47 people were hung by the neck in the graceful elm trees that lined the street. Each person was dressed in their Sunday best, and later it was discovered that the length of every rope was cut exactly to 72 inches.
Fearing some sort of contagion, members of the local chapter of the Red Cross were called out with protective gear to help with the removal and disposal of the bodies.
As the police went through the homes, searching for any sort of clue that would explain what had occurred, they found a single letter at the home of Jeremy and Helen Whiting.
The note was written on the couple’s stationery, but those who knew the Whitings did not recognize the penmanship. Each letter and word was beautifully formed, and the contents were brief and to the point.
“I’ve taken them in their Sunday finest, for there is nothing quite so funny as death.”
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