January 9, 1924


During the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1919, Cross isolated itself from the rest of New England. This was done to stop the disease from laying waste to the town, and in this Cross was successful.

One resident saw the epidemic as an opportunity to sate masochistic tendencies.

Mrs. Lucille Racine was a quiet, polite woman who enjoyed the being a member of the ladies’ auxiliary and sitting with the sick and dying.

Little did her neighbors know how much she enjoyed sitting with the ill.

After the worst of the epidemic passed in 1920, Lucille was seen to have numerous transients working on the old barn on her property. She was, according to Lucille, offering the men viable employment opportunities, which they gladly accepted.

On January 7, 1924, Lucille died suddenly at the library, and it was left to the town to go to her home and see what could be done about the property and the two cats she owned.

On the morning of January 9, several men traveled to Lucille’s property and inspected the home. The structure was sound, but no sign of a will could be found. The men recalled the repairs to the barn and went to search it for paperwork.

When the men entered the barn, they were surprised to find a small antechamber equipped with a nurse’s uniform and a gasmask. A sliding panel was set in the chamber’s interior door, and before anyone stepped in, the panel was moved to reveal a glass pane, and the men saw what Lucille Racine had hidden from the world.

Ten beds were arranged in the room beyond the glass, and there were two men in each bed, set head to foot, and chained in place. Later examination would show all men were sick with influenza.

None of them survived.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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