March 25, 1985

Who needs water for a bath?

56 Washington Street has been haunted since the late 1800s, with the first reported death in the home occurring on July 1, 1888.

The death was ruled a suicide, an act committed by Harlan Ellis, aged 33. It is said that he drank an extensive amount of brandy and slipped beneath the water of his bath.

Without any sort of rhyme or reason, later residents of 56 Washington Street died in that same bathtub.

The first to follow Harlan was his grandson, who passed away at the age of 11 in the tub. A new owner died in 1923. Three more followed in rapid succession between the years 1934 and 1944.

All drowned in the tub, and each death was ruled a suicide.

Then, for almost fifteen years, nothing at all happened.

On August 3rd, 1969, Mike Anderson drowned in his bathtub, and his wife, Emily, learned after the fact about the deaths attributed to the cast iron tub.

Furious, she stripped the plumbing out of the bathroom and after several years, she abandoned the house.

While the building is still technically owned by the Cross National Bank, no one resides within it, and the town of Cross does not press the Bank for the taxes.

Although the house is empty and hazardous to explore, urban spelunkers break into 56 Washington Street to see if the stories of it being haunted are true.

Other deaths have occurred among these explorers, of course. Accidental fallings, overdoses and the like, with those who have examined the property claim to have been chased out by the malignant spirit of a middle-aged man slurring his words.

The most recent death was discovered on March 25, 1985, when Malcolm Delk was found in the cast iron bathtub, his lungs, and stomach filled with bath water.

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March 24, 1914

Beware the friendly face.

Mrs. Helen S. Abraham was a widow, a woman who had lost her husband and son in a train accident in 1893.

Following the burials, she took to visiting the Cross station each day at 5:15 PM, for it, was at that time that her family had been due to arrive.

She would smile and greet all those who stepped onto the platform, but her biggest smiles were for those young men who bore a resemblance to her son, and for those men who reminded her of her husband. Over the years, it was rumored that some of those older men had made it to her bed.

Few in Cross thought any less of her, for no one felt they were in a position to judge. Cross is a town of secrets, and few pried into the private lives of others.

On March 20th, 1914, Helen passed away in Cross Hospital following a brief illness.

By March 24th, she was buried and her will, which left her property to the town. It was then that the good people of Cross learned that she owned several buildings in addition to her house, and among those was a barn near the marina.

At 5:15 PM, March 24th, several members of Cross townhall went to the barn and opened it, where they discovered a collection of 21 coffins. Each bore a bronze plate with a date engraved upon it. The dates ranged from 1893 to 1914, and each coffin was occupied with the body of a young man.

Where the victims had come from, or who they were, the men did not know.

But each bore a striking resemblance to her son.

Later examination of the bodies showed that each young man had died from a single knife thrust through the heart, and on the breast of each young man a word had been carved.

Mother.

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March 22, 1899

Ellie Woods loved cats.

At the tender age of five, she was introduced to her first kitten at a neighbor’s house. While she begged and pleaded with her father for a cat of her own, her father would have none of it.

After several weeks, Ellie managed to gain permission from her mother to feed a stray cat. She did this by placing a saucer with milk in the kitchen.

Each day, Ellie would feed the cat.

Soon, the cat was accompanied by a second feline, so Ellie put a dish out for that cat as well.

By the end of February, she had eleven cats coming on a daily basis.

Her mother referred to this as Ellie’s Kitten Parties, and all the mothers in the neighborhood remarked what a wonderfully sweet child she was. Soon, Ellie’s mother and the other women were beseeching Ellie’s father to allow her a cat.

Still, the man refused.

Ellie, he insisted, would not be responsible enough.

On March 22, 1899, as Ellie’s mother and father sat in the parlor, entertaining guests, an ungodly scream tore through the house.

The adults raced toward the sound, which had issued from the kitchen, and there they found Ellie Woods.

Tears of frustration fell from her eyes and saucers were knocked askew, the milk spilled across the floorboards. In her small hands, she held the lifeless body of a large, orange tom cat. Blood splattered her mouth and stained her teeth.

Mr. Woods shook his head, gently removed the cat from her hands and set it on the floor. Then, with surprising tenderness, he picked his daughter up and whispered, “I know. They don’t taste nearly as good as they look.”

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March 21, 1906

The whispering seduction of the sea is often fatal.

In 1906, Hermann Remarque claimed to hear singing whenever he took his sons, Erich and Irwin, out with him went he fished off the coast of Massachusetts.

Hermann’s wife had died of fever in 1905, and neighbors stated that Hermann never quite seemed to recover from her loss. The boys were often kept out of school to accompany their father when he left from the Cross marina for his daily fishing trips. He wanted to teach them a trade and to have their help in earning a wage.

On March 13th, 1906, Hermann and his sons left the marina, and the small fishing smack didn’t return until March 21st.

The boys were alone on the smack, their father missing.

When the boys were questioned as to the location of their father, they both replied that he had gone overboard.

At first, the police feared it was a horrific accident.

Finally, after some lengthy questioning, they learned that it was intentional.

For three days, according to the boys, they could hear the sound of women singing. Their father heard it as well.

Always he sought out the source. On the 17th, he found it. A group of women half-submerged in the chilly Atlantic waters.

The women beckoned to him, and Hermann Remarque stood up and dove into the water, vanishing beneath the waves.

The women followed him down quickly, all but one of them.

She remained for a moment, smiling a sharp-toothed grin at the boys.

The woman spoke to them and told them to return in 14 years.

Cross detectives stated that it was madness that drove Hermann Remarque to leap into the Atlantic.

On March 17th, 1920, Erich and Irwin set sail from Cross in their smack.

The empty boat was recovered three weeks later.

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March 20, 1909

What happens when you love a book too much?

Some of those who work at the Cross Social Library know the answer to that, and while they are devoted to books themselves, they refuse to choose one book lest they end up like Robin Schall.

The fate of Robin Schall is a cautionary tale. One that brings booklovers to a halt, and makes sweat appear upon their brows.

From 1905 to 1909, Robin Schall worked as a volunteer at the Cross Social Library. She was dedicated and loyal, and happy to be among the books. While she read voraciously, she would always return to her tried and true favorite, The Scarlet Letter. At any given time, she could be found reading the book, sitting at a table in the library, and enjoying the solitude she found there.

In 1909, Robin became terribly ill, suffering from a wasting disease that reduced the once vibrant young woman to a trembling husk that could not move from her bed.

On March 3, 1909, she passed away.

Her books, including her precious copy of The Scarlet Letter, were donated to the library.

By March 10, all the books were put out on the shelves, with The Scarlet Letter displayed prominently alongside of a photograph of Robin.

The first recorded sighting of Robin was March 20, 1909, and she was seen standing in front of her book, desperately trying to pick it up.

She was unsuccessful in her attempt, although she was successful in creating a scream that was heard throughout the library.

Since that time, Robin has been seen on a regular basis. Each time it is the same. She seeks to pick up her book and to read it.

Recently, the librarians have taken to playing the audio version of The Scarlet Letter, and while this does offer some small comfort to the ghost, it is not enough.

Her anguished screams are still heard weekly.

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March 19, 1942

Why do the dead linger?

The citizens of Cross have no answer for this, although many wish they did. Perhaps then, they argue, the dead might be put to rest.

Hawkins’ Mill is located at the widest part of Murders’ Creek, and until 1943, the Mill was still used by descendants of the Hawkins family.

On March 17, 1942, Carl Hawkins went into Murders’ Creek to examine an issue with the wheel. His brother and cousin watched as he went into the cold water, swearing and declaring – adamantly – that the world hated him.

It seemed Carl was correct.

His hand became caught in the wheel, and for a moment the wheel was freed, jerking Carl around and pulling him beneath the frigid water.

But then the wheel stopped, and the man did not surface, although his feet kicked up and out of the water.

His brother and cousins leaped into Murders’ Creek to assist him, but it was no use.

By the time they freed him, Carl was dead.

March 19, 1942, a day after his internment in the family crypt, the ghost of Carl Hawkins returned to work.

He wasn’t happy to be dead.

From the moment the mill opened, until the moment it closed that day, Carl Hawkins screamed about the ineffectuality of his relatives.

It continued the next day, and the day after.

Following a week of profanity laden diatribes, the Hawkins family brought in a priest and hoped for an exorcism.

The action only angered Carl.

He tore up machinery in the night and hung living rats from the rafters.

Each day, it seemed, was worse than the one before.

Finally, after a full year of spectral abuse, the Hawkins family closed the mill on March 19, 1943.

Carl can still be heard screaming in outrage when the wind shifts.

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March 18, 2004

Vengeance and hunger.

Dot Mason learned how to operate an arc welder during the Second World War. From 1942 to 1945, she worked at a plant in Boston helping to manufacture parts for various ships.

When the war ended in August of 1945, Dot eventually returned home to Cross where she picked up part-time work at several local garages.

It was at the Olive Street Garage that she met her future husband, Adam Pogan.

The two were wed in 1946, and by 1947, she had given birth to a pair of sons. On May 14, 1948, Adam was taken arrested for drunk and disorderly after beating Dot severely. Less than a week later, Adam and the boys vanished. The bank foreclosed on the house, and Dot was forced to return to part-time work while living in a rooming house.

Dot never remarried.

She remained in Cross and was eventually buried in Cross Cemetery in 1997.

On March 18, 2004, her former property was sold again, and the new owners cleared away the brush and debris that had been there since Dot had lived in the home.

Beneath the debris, a door was discovered. It was a steel door set into concrete, and not only was it padlocked, but it was also welded shut.

Eventually, the door was removed, and the new owners descended into a small bomb shelter.

Inside, they found the mummified remains of Adam Pogan and the twin sons.

Autopsies revealed that the boys had died of blunt force trauma to the head, while Adam had starved to death.

The bones of the children were broken and gnawed upon.

A sealed envelope was found tacked above the far wall, and in it was a note.

He killed my sons because they cried when they were hungry.

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