Did Peddler’s Murder in 1820s Spark Supernatural Events?

DATELINE:  New Book on Historical Murder

 millmurderkindlecover

Murder at Mill Circle is a shocking tale of a haunted neighborhood.

Crime, passion, murder, and literary celebrities like Henry David Thoreau, provide a backdrop to the deaths and cursed lives of residents in a small New England neighborhood during early 19th century and the mineral spring at the epicenter of trouble. 

This is a book that could not be written twenty years ago, nor even ten years ago. The proliferation of family histories online from sites like Ancestry.com and Find-a-Grave have allowed researchers the luxury of looking at sources across the country instantly.

Instead of traveling to murky library dungeons, all the work can be painstakingly completed in the comfort of one’s home office.

Granted, there is difficulty in solving a 200-year old murder when the name of the victim is unknown, the date of the killing is not established, and the witnesses are all dead. Fortunately, the murder occurred across the street from our charming home. Our former, dead neighbors left their names on census forms and deeds. We found them easily enough.

If there is anything shocking in old records, it is discovering who died when. The juxtaposition of names is often revealing. So, too, is learning who hightailed it out of town around the time of the murder in the 1820s.

You may find it interesting to learn that Mill Circle was kind of a Peyton Place, not far from New Hampshire’s border—and had a bit of Harper Valley thrown in.

Peddlers were the 19th century social media. When one of them gave you a bad review, the gossip could do in your hotel, tavern, or mineral spring instantly. The peddlers were not unionized, but they did socialize at every wayside inn they found along New England roads.

We admit we were surprised at what we found as we moved toward offering a theory on who-done-it. We have put together the history of Mill Circle’s residents, houses, mineral spring, and social network. It provided us with a likely theory of who was murdered, why, and by whom.

Now available on amazon.com in paperback and in e-book format for smart readers.

 

Biography and history.

Another in a series of books about Mill Circle at Winchendon Springs by Dr. William Russo, resident.

A Grand Barn Opens Its Doors for a Day!

DATELINE: Mill Circle’s Treat

 Great Barn

For the first time in many years, the Great Barn of Mill Circle was opened to the public.

And, crowds came out for a “barn sale,” of many items collected over the past four decades by the previous two owners.

old homestead  Barn Sale!inside

Of all the curios, we were able to purchase a replica signage of the Old Homestead Tavern that graced Mill Circle from 1820 to 1827 when the stage depot and inn that catered to peddlers went into folklore as a haunted house. The original draw was a mineral spring called immodestly, “The Virtuous Spring.”

The house is long gone, but its companion barn still stands, impressive. Many visitors were extremely curious about its age and history. We were able to tell a few that we had written the barn’s history a few years ago. The book is available to those interested on Amazon under the modest title The Great Barn of Mill Circle.

A new book is forthcoming that details the barn’s role in the infamous murder of a peddler on the Fourth of July in 1826. It is called, not surprisingly, Murder at Mill Circle.

Those who came on this lovely June day were able to buy antiques, bric-a-brac and assorted junk, as suited their tastes, but they were not able to do a full tour of the barn. Its back section was shut. Its tack room closed to viewers who could not see inside. The stairs up to the loft and stable-boy’s apartment was blocked. A view directly up to the cupola was closed to audiences.

And yet, the visitors were awestruck by the architecture and solid construction that has weathered two centuries as the focal point of Mill Circle.

We think a murder victim was hidden in the cellar in 1826—and though his bones have escaped detection, we think the early graveyard of the neighborhood is in the rear. We’d need ground-penetrating radar to be sure if it is a cemetery of a few long-forgotten residents—and one murdered peddler.

And we want to share our extraordinary experience today with you.

Titanic Anniversary & Ominous Day

DATELINE:  Ghosts on Mill Circle

Richard Frazar White and his father, Percival, aboard the Titanic.

 

Each year on this date, we visit the grave of Richard Frazar White who died on the Titanic. His father was with him, but his body was never recovered. It is the 106th year since the ship sank into the cold Atlantic.

Richard lived here at Mill Circle. His family owned our home and, in all likelihood, he spent some time here. The caretaker had an apartment in what is now the library. We have hung Richard’s portrait there and placed it near a model of the Titanic.

This year, unlike others, began ominously. A large crash against the picture window overlooking a patio caused some concern. We found a robin, dazed, breathing hard, that after half-an-hour staggered away. We could not see the second bird, dead, that had also crashed into the window.

This is not a commonplace event.

You see our house is haunted by the spirit of Richard White. Oh, yes, psychics have come here to tell us.

We went out to buy flowers for a gravesite visit, but never made it. The car’s systems went a little crazy: the wiper warning light went on, as did the steering wheel light, and the oil light, and the brake light. Perhaps we should not go to the cemetery this year. Was it a sign? A message?

Our Haitian health aide was alarmed enough to suggest we light a white candle and fill a clear glass with cold, cold water to be placed near the table where the birds came at the window.

Following instructions, we found that somehow after an hour the candle had been blown out: perhaps some never felt draft from some odd corner of the house.

Our Haitian friend mentioned that there was one Haitian on the Titanic who also died on this date so many years ago. He was an engineer, the only person of color among the passengers, Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche.

This information also rattled us a bit more.

So, we wait before removing the dead bird, starting the car again, or anticipating another bird crash into the window.

It’s just another day at our haunted house.

Dr. William Russo has written Tales of a Titanic Family about the background story to the two victims of the White family. It is available on amazon.com in paperback and ebook format.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#TylerPerry @TylerPerry & Whatever Else like @TylerPerryNews

Attention: All dedicated Tyler Perry fans!

madea sings like ma

Once in a blue moon, a great story comes out just made for the right star. We have found it: a science fiction murder mystery with just the right dose of laughs.

An exciting and new science-fiction murder-mystery has a great role for everybody’s favorite Madea, impresario and master of movies, Tyler Perry.

Featuring some interesting comic situations, the character of Ma Hattie, rhythm and blues singer, takes on time-traveling space aliens and assassination conspiracy buffs as she helps her niece, an FBI agent, crack the case.

Second Shadow War is a story made for Tyler Perry’s unique talents.

Long-time fan and author Ralph T. O’Neal III, co-founder of the Black Union Conservative Caucus and Booksnbars an educational program for federal inmates, has created a role made in heaven for Tyler Perry’s unique style as director and actor.

Now if only someone can get the idea to Tyler, we’d be cooking.

You can find a website on Facebook, and Instagram for the story @shadowwarseries.

Truman’s Coldest Blood: Infamous & Capote

DATELINE:  Capote’s Clutter Story

Oscar Capote (Hoffman)

With a dozen years passing since Bennett Miller’s brilliant movie called Capote, we chose to look at it again. There were two Truman movies that year: competing for attention.

We felt at the time that Infamous with Toby Jones as Capote writing his non-fictive novel was the better. Phillip Seymour Hoffman won the Oscar.

We wished that the two films had mixed casts. It seems each had good points. We remain impressed with Hoffman’s work as Capote. A big man, he managed to convey a sense of the elfin Truman.  Jones was already the right size, being tiny.

Clifton Collins, Jr., remains so impressive in his work as Perry Smith, the sensitive killer with whom Capote seems to have fallen in love. Casting Daniel Craig in the other movie seems an odd choice. He was all wrong.

As in each movie, there is nothing more cold-blooded than a writer and his greatest work of literature. Don’t ever get between them.

Hoffman’s fey Capote has a ruthless, cold, hypocritical soul. He lies repeatedly to the killers of the Clutter family to gain their trust. Perhaps the two brutal murderers did not deserve much more than a lying hypocrite to befriend them.

Capote and his friend Harper Lee (also so well done by Catherine Keener) spend hours in Kansas doing research. Without her, Capote might not have a book—and he was less than supportive of her work, To Kill a Mockingbird, that she wrote even as she gave Truman her assistance.

We preferred Jeff Daniels as the detective on the case, though Chris Cooper is soberly affecting.

In the end, Capote did not want to discuss much with the killers until they gave him his ending and confessed how they did their murders. He also could not publish his book until they were executed. So, he simply stopped helping them find lawyers—and truly wanted them dead.

The flamboyant joke that Truman ultimately became likely came from his work on that book and his self-disgust. He never finished another book during the 20 years he lived after the execution of Perry Smith.

We still prefer the other Capote movie, Infamous, as a total movie experience, we must again give kudos to Capote as a film with impact and lasting emotional pain.

The Second Shadow War!

DATELINE:  Sci-fi, murder mystery, and romantic fantasy combined!

 

2ndShadowWarkindlecover RECOMMENDED! A True Sequel to Rider Haggard’s She!

Now available on Amazon in both paper and e-book

Author Ralph T. O’Neal III is co-founder of BooksnBars for federal prisoners and knows something about the political and shadow government operating in the United States!

 Following the characters and situations raised by the first Shadow War about the conflict between MJ-12 and the Vatican, the Second Shadow War takes on the motives and conspirators behind the Kennedy assassination. It’s a concoction of alchemy, merging three genres into something totally unusual.

Ralph T. O’Neal III has done it again, throwing the JFK’s assassination into the mix of MJ-12 conspiracies.

An evolving series, the characters repeat their roles and become enhanced with familiarity. Central character is a mysterious teenage boy who is half-human and half-space alien, the work of black ops in the federal government.

According to reviewer Mal Tempo: “If Agatha Christie and Arthur C. Clarke collaborated with H. Rider Haggard, this book would be the result.”

It is not a graphic novel, but something like it –but special, using Foto-Footnotes or illos to annotate the text.

A stunning story and a shocking conclusion! Conspiracy buffs and feminists will come alive reading this tale about She Who Must Be Obeyed, never gone from Earth and back for more.

 

New Book of Movie & TV Reviews

 “A compendium of enormous balderdash and overwrought and underthought insights!”

Mal Tempo, Long Time Ago book consultant

                                                    kindleredcarpet

If you enjoy Ossurworld’s movie and television reviews, with their unique and odd insights into what’s really happening in your favorite movies, then you are in luck! 

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews collects the best of the blog reports in one place for easy access and reading.

The books is available for smarter readers, both in e-book and print formats, from Amazon.

If you want the perfect time-killer, Red Carpet Tickets is your ticket to ride. 

Ossurworld’s blogs on movies (& TV streams) select only films that you can and should devote time to watching. Bad films are rarely considered for examination. Bloated budgets, ridiculous acting, and skimpy budgets, will not hurt a film’s chances if something intelligent is presented. Ossurworld will let you know.

You can find Ossurworld’s new book online by simply clicking on this blue highlight!

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews.  (This blog is a self-serving, commercial, and otherwise blatant attempt to win your appreciation of our mini-labors of Hercules.)

Movie Gold or Fool’s Gold?

DATELINE:  Free e-Book

kindlemoviegold

How often is there a free lunch in America?

This weekend may feed your movie-fan soul with a variety of film commentaries from the blogs of Ossurworld.  The latest book is called Movie Gold or Fool’s Gold? We suspect you may find both present in the digital pages.

Yes, the collected reviews are now together like the Musketeers: all in one convenient place for your perusal.  And, for the next few days, the cost is NOTHING!

Ossurworld likes Hollywood history, and this time he has put together recent reviews of classic movies he re-watched in 2017.

Amazon has a special feature for those who like something for nothing and believe you may actually receive more than you might bargain for.

If you want to know how to pick up Movie Gold or Fool’s Gold, just follow this highlight to the book-page to download. The offer is limited to a few short days–and dusk falls earlier as your Trick or Treat experience comes down the pike.

 

 

 

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Old Doc Brady’s Homeopathic Remedies

 DATELINE:  Bad Book Advice?

 tom in lost horizon Lost Horizon-bound: Dear Tom

Medical experts are lambasting GOAT Tom Brady, also known around here as Old Doc Brady, for dispensing false medical information in his new best-selling book.

As a result, Tom took to defending his half-baked ghost-written book at the post-game presser. He knows what he knows—and he tells what he believes. Usually on the offense, Tom took up a defensive position.

Brady recommends hydrating to prevent sunburn. Doctors are incensed, if not downright burnt to a crisp over this fallacious advice.

Dressed all in black, like an undertaker or hangman, at a recent press conference, Dr. Tom defended his cure-all advice. He came across like Johnny Cash bad-ass.

Most people fail to realize Tom’s new book is actually a satire. It’s like James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, the novel about a fantasy world called Shangri-La.

The lost Himalayan city called Shangri-La is a place where people stay young forever, owing to some secret rejuvenation in the water. Who knew Tom’s hidden paradise is just north of Foxborough in Brookline.

In his private Shangri-La, as far as we know, Tom could be getting Serum from goat gland injections like old Somerset Maugham used to do. What better way to stay young for an old GOAT than to have goat serum!

If you follow Tom’s highly expensive regimen, you would end up spending $500 for Botox in each area treated. You’d spend $300 for his specially tailored pajamas. And his food program cost another $300 to $400 per month. You can never be too rich or too thin.

This homeopathic doc is certainly not the grizzled, but lovable, sawbones from Stagecoach, the classic movie. Tom sees himself as young Dr. Kildare.

Those trying to stay young forever would have a better chance of finding eternal youth by going to the Himalayan mountains than to follow Tom Brady’s secret recipe.

Alfred Hitchcock & Agatha Christie: Never the Twain

DATELINE:  Giants in Separate Corners

   agatha       hitch

Recently the question came to us: Why did the two great forces of mystery and suspense never collaborate?

The answer may be surprising. They were both highly successful, popular and beloved: one in film and one in literature. They were both British, lived and died around the same time, and trod the same grounds of creativity.

A few claim Hitchcock was a misogynist: but his greatest collaborators were women (apart from his wife Alma). He enjoyed the works of Daphne DuMaurier (Rebecca, The Birds) and Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train).

Apart from that fact, both Hitch and Agatha loved to use the setting of trains for their greatest works! Hitchcock could have directed Witness for the Prosecution in 1957, his peak, and most think he did direct it:  but it went to Billy Wilder who used Hitch’s techniques to great effect. Hitchcock could have directed Ten Little Indians in 1945, but chose to avoid the Christie works altogether.

Hitchcock told Francois Truffaut that he disliked the genre of the ‘who done it.’  He found it antithetical to his idea of what made for cinematic story-telling. He likened the genre to a crossword puzzle, with revealing clues as the main point of the story. It was bread and butter for Christie, but Hitchcock hated the notion and revealing the killer at the end of the story.

You may think two of Hitch’s intriguing films, at the least, were of the who done it school:  Psycho actually revealed who the killer was, but not in the way you expected it to be in the final reel. Stage Fright was one of Hitch’s least favorite films and he filmed it because he was told it was a Christie story, but turned out to be one of his weakest entries.

In Shadow of a Doubt in 1943, Hitchcock had two minor characters discuss how to murder each other—and referred to Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective of Christie, in less than flattering terms.

It’s almost tragic that Hitchcock did not direct Witness for the Prosecution or Murder on the Orient Express to see how he might have handled the material. Both films are brilliant stories and wonderful films, but the echoes of Hitch are omnipresent.

So, we were left without any collaboration between the two greats of 20th century murder mystery. It’s not much of a mystery, but it is a tale of audience misfortune.

Melania Trump Suffers from Bookworms

DATELINE:  Beauty Meets the Beast

Melania

Immigrant-come-lately Melania Trump will find no sanctuary in one of the biggest sanctuary cities in the United States. They have put her on ICE.

Our beautiful and exotic First Lady has run headlong into a beastly book monster.

A librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has rejected any overture of kindness from the First Lady—and has not shown her American hospitality in the least.

In an age when most young people are not encouraged to read and won’t do much reading, except on Twitter where sentences are limited to 140 characters, a self-righteous librarian has decided to burn the books gifted to her library in Cambridgeport.

Mrs. Trump sent to the library about a dozen books written by Dr. Seuss as part of a gift she dispersed around the nation.

Melania would read them to her young son, Barron, several years ago and thought they would be a wonderful gift to any well-stocked library.

She didn’t consider they already had some editions, and she didn’t consider maybe she should’ve sent them to an underprivileged library of some wayward public school without much resource.

Nor did Mrs. Trump suspect that among liberal activists, Dr. Seuss is now considered even more suspect of being a secret racist–and hiding it in plain sight of the Grinch.

This gave a liberal librarian the opportunity to say nay– and throw kerosene on the books and bric-a-brac at the First Lady.

Not since Joseph Goebbels took over the libraries of Nazi Germany have we seen such anti-intellectual attitude. And this, from a librarian who prefers to read children books about same sex pecadillos and union organizers.

Mrs. Obama often read the Dr. Seuss books to young students during her visits to school children when she was First Lady. Somehow between Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Trump, the books in question became racist. At least in the mind of one liberal librarian.

So, banning books now has moved directly into the most liberal bastion in America:  Cambridge, Mass., where we once lived as a child—and hated Dr. Seuss as a sidelight.

Little did we know that indoctrination was part of our education.

Mrs. Trump now has been infected by bookworms.

 

 

Humor from Heaven: Brady’s New Book

DATELINE:  Up Close to Botox

botox forever

Just when you think there’s nothing funny to say about the New England Patriots with the new season beginning, like manna from heaven, Tom Brady gives us his new book.

Filled with bon mots but no bonbons, the book drops like the gentle rain from heaven. It’s nearly 300 Nietzchean pages long with lots of pictures. This is enough to sustain a good satirist for a year.

For those who thought Tom Brady was illiterate, how wrong you are. He admits to being a good solid B student in school. However, he had no interest in academics. His major in college was General Studies, who he thought was a Confederate Civil War hero.

How is this different from any other student?

Tom admits he never had time to read while he was in school because he had another passion: sports. Now that he’s a professional athlete he still has no time to read books, but he has time to hire somebody to write one. Hence, this book.

We do learn that there are athletes in the locker room who know how to read. Tom tells us that one of his teammates told him that ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ only in the dictionary. We looked it up. It’s true.

We also learn how Tom’s Godfather is the inimitable Willie McGinnest, no Al Pacino for sure. Tom doesn’t say Willie put any horse heads in anyone’s bed, but the Godfather did give Tom an introduction to his trainer. So, now we know where to place the blame.

This is only the beginning. As soon as the book is available on our Kindle reader we will be ordering a copy. It’s worth it’s weight in gold dust.

Classic Tale of Hockey Returns After a Long Hiatus

DATELINE:  Sordid Sports Fiction

kindlerinkrats

After twenty years and a long time out of print, the best novel on the sport of hockey has returned for readers, new and old. Rink Rats is a shocker still. It’s now an e-book and will be available in paperback soon.

Based on life during one college season during the 1990s, Mike Tortorella’s story continues to be controversial and revealing.  Mobie Monaco, the erstwhile captain of a rag-tag bunch that follows his lead into depths of depravity, narrates his life-story.

With hockey players enjoying a long-established reputation as the wild men of sports, you can certainly expect an adult tale of moral turpitude. Tortorella’s tale is a spiritual journey above all else, whether it is a quest for a championship, or a test of one’s moral character.

The story is built around the effort to commit every deadly sin they can encounter and break every Commandment that is set in stone. All the time there is an interesting parallel to Melville’s voyages. Far more metaphoric, the characters are like rats leaving a sinking ship, but are more familiar as the young players who hang around hockey rinks and become enamored of the lifestyle. This is NOT a young-adult novel.

The original story keeps its freshness and provides insights into the daily life, practice, and play on and off ice that can only come from someone who was there.

You may think the novel will only appeal to a certain fan of a political stripe, but self-knowledge is indeed a dangerous avenue to pursue. We aren’t sure how much of the tale is completely true—and how much of it is so unbelievable as to be utterly true.

These rough-and-tumble players are not figure skaters guilty of icing, but you will experience their notorious escapades. In the final analysis, as Tortorella’s book states, “The great shroud of the ice age rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.”  The human condition is indeed timeless as seen in one breathtaking season at a New England college.

 

So You Want to Ban Gone with the Wind?

DATELINE: Goose-stepping Left Wingers

polar opposites

Scarlett and Mammy as diametric moral opposites.

We have now reached the point of philistine fatuity from the politically correct police squad. There has been a question raised in the New York Times about the racism and Confederate flags used in the classic epic American movie, Gone With the Wind.

Yes, political hacks now wonder if your home video ought to be burned, banned, and otherwise refuted. Please tell the hoi polloi how any suggestion of banning the book or movie version of GWTW puts distance between the Nazi regime of Hitler where banned books were burned and American literature.

Suggestions have mounted that the pre-Intermission waving of the Confederate flag over the wounded and dead Johnny Rebs at the train station is some kind of celebration. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You might also say that the flag commentary is as much to show the waste of human life over a misguided cause.

Those who see slavery in the movie and book as being endorsed are the kind of functional illiterates now graduating from a poor and pathetic American education system. In point of fact, Mammy is the spiritual center of the tale, a counterpoint to the rapacious and greedy Scarlett who destroys everyone in her path.

So much for putting privileged white people on a pedestal.

When Scarlett slugs Prissy the maid for her ineptitude, you cannot say that it shows the cruelty of slavery. It shows what happens to people under stress and how one spoiled bitch acts.

Gone with the Wind is historical soap opera, grandeur and grandiose combined, indeed showing how a generation of Southerners were living with delusions of grandeur. How can that be an endorsement of a lifestyle?

The marvelous Hattie McDaniel played domestics throughout her career—and shocked audiences by winning an Oscar for playing a slave in 1939. It is historic in many ways, flying in the face of discrimination and prejudice. She was a committed actress, not a slave and not a servant. If she suffered racism, it is all the more important her work be seen.

Those who do not learn from history probably went to bad public schools, or worse, went to private schools where they didn’t have to learn anything they didn’t want. Having taught at private and public colleges, we know of what we speak.

You may as well try to ban the American songbook because Stephen Foster glorified the lazy, hazy days of the Confederacy. You might as well ban the Band for singing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

Where does the madness end?

 

 

Required Reading of Darryl Stephens

DATELINE:  Actor Transcending

 Darryl Actor & Author Darryl Stephens

As stars go, Darryl Stephens has been on low-profile phase for a decade. With cult movies and a cult TV show, he has become a face, an attitude, and a symbol of the modern gay actor.

Now, after years of hearing fans of his 2006 show, Noah’s Arc, ask him for advice about how to live in America in the 21st century as a gay man, he has actually come up with the book to tell us:  Required Reading: How to Get Your Life for Good.

Stephens is educated, intelligent, and writes well. It is to his credit that he has been deeply moved by dedicated fans to his black sitcom, once trivialized, then discovered by those in deep need of optimism and standardization of lifestyle.

Never an A-list star, Darryl has nonetheless selected his roles judiciously enough to be recalled by the producers of Boy Culture: The TV Series, about to start filming with the original star ten years later.

The first half of his book gingerly feeds us details of growing up as a middle-class kid with a growing awareness that he is a stunningly beautiful black young man. From the angst of learning his gay soul, he shares his insights and wisdom like a male Dear Abby.

Darryl has taken on the difficult responsibility to subsequent generations of gay men with worries that seem new, but are old-hat if they can find a role model to explain. Because of this, he does not really delve into the film work and world of acting in Hollywood until the second half of the book.

He omits much about Boy Culture, except to express his pride back in 2015 when the book first appeared.

Darryl Stephens was a pretty face and attractive body, always a passport in Hollywood, but the onset of middle years is a true test of character acting. Once the toast of gay beauty, he deals frankly with the difficult life of an actor in eclipse, losing youth and money too.

We want Darryl to be happy and to succeed, unlike so many critics who bashed him along the way. We have joined in the backing of the new series with his reprise of the key character in Boy Culture.

We know the world is ready to recognize Darryl Stephens.