February 24, 1935



It was the one word most citizens of Cross would have used to describe Annabelle Perkins.

She lived alone in the Perkins estate and being an only child, the family home was left to her. She had a modest income from an account established by her father, and she supplemented this by teaching piano to students of varying ages and skill levels.

Annabelle was an accomplished pianist, but she was also an anxious person who disliked any sort of attention.

The only time that Annabelle seemed to come out of her shell was during Halloween. She decorated her home as much as possible, and in the early 1920s, she began to place blank grave-markers in her yard. At the end of each season, she would take them in, afraid that the stones would be stolen from her.

By 1929, however, Annabelle began to leave them out year ‘round. When visitors remarked about the stones, Annabelle would smile shyly, apologize, and admit to being, ‘a tad obsessed with the macabre.’

On February 24th, 1935, Patrolman Robert Kline passed by her home at 5 in the evening and found her outside. At this point in her life, Annabelle was 72 years old and in failing health. Her mind had begun to slip, and she was standing in her front yard with a shovel in hand and wearing nothing more than her nightclothes.

The woman was filthy with dirt, the ground still soft from un-seasonally warm weather and a hard rain. When he exited his cruiser, Robert noticed that the woman had dug several feet into her yard in front of one of her headstones, and it was then that he saw the rough pine casket in the earth.

18 bodies were unearthed over the following days, and they have yet to be identified.

As Annabelle told the police, “I was never interested in their names, just how easily their necks snapped.”

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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