Twice Told Tales from 1963

 Cabot & Price

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s mid-nineteenth century short stories were collected by him into a book, with more than a dozen philosophical mysteries. It was titled Twice Told Tales. He was not into the psychological terror as his fellow writer, Edgar Allen Poe.

There is an almost pre-science fiction quality to his literary themes, and yet when they were adapted for the big screen in 1963, the star and narrator of the film would be Vincent Price, already a big name in bad literary adaptations.

Price found steady work doing high-end schlock for more than a few decades. He brought dignity and style to what might normally pass for low-budget pot-boilers. Twice Told Tales zeroes in on three stories (two are famous in their own rights:  “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “Rappuccini’s Daughter”). The third story in the trilogy-anthology is House of SevenGables, which was a novel, his usualmetier.

Two center on scientists who play God, trying to control human nature and life over death. In the first, Dr. Heidegger’s tale is altered seriously. It becomes a small cast melodrama, now set in a dark and stormy night. Sebastian Cabot and Price are aging in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth.

 In “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” he is a reclusive scientist who has filled his daughter with poison from a plant to make her separate from the normal business of social life. These are changed enough to be slick color TV specials of the era: about forty minutes each.

House of Seven Gablesis another known title, but hardly within the themes of the first two. Here, a house holds a mysterious presence of evil, rather than the people which include an heir played by Price again.  Richard Denning and Beverly Garland join him in this ghostly tale of hidden treasure.

They are not horrific much, slow-moving, and quite literary, hardly up to contemporary standards of horror and special effects. That may be their charm. If you want something that is neither the original Hawthorne story, nor a modern flashy horror, this is your movie.

Dalmatian Jasper Stones

DATELINE: More Mysteries of History

 Signs of psychic protection?

A summer of mysterious signs at my historic home has finished with a flourish of new augurs. Over the course of the month of September, there had been such bizarre occurrences as a black butterfly hovering and settling on my white garden love-seat.

I had a visit on three consecutive days by a gold finch who showed up at the same time, same place, then never came by again.

And of course, I found white quartz stone next to my driveway where I had never seen it on a lawn that is mowed regularly. All three events have mystical connotations, interpreted differently by many cultures.

Suffice it to say: when your home was once the property of victims of the Titanic, and paranormal is the norm, you can expect more.

Today, that event arrived: home from having morning bloodwork at the lab, there in the grass next to the driveway in the same spot where the white quartz rock had rested, there were several oval white, black speckled stones.

They were not there previously. We would have seen them. Nothing more is there, and if something turns up, we will know what is afoot.

According to Internet lore, they are Dalmatian Jaspers, a rare stone that promotes calmness, stops insomnia, and helps with meditation. They are considered psychic protection.

Now they rest in my library with other stange marvels of psychic power, What will they bring? Will spirits respond? We can only wait and anticipate.

Pictured are the Dalmatian stones. One of the Titanic victims used to collect rocks around the yard: we cannot help but think these were the kind he enjoyed finding.

 

 

 

 

Black Butterfly in the Yard!

DATELINE:  Noir Papillion?

Our summer of paranormal messages continues its barrage of weekly activities.

The latest visitor to our little corner of spooky alley is a black butterfly.  It might have piqued our interest in normal times, but over the past few weeks, it has become a culmination of strange events.

According to some experts in mythology, Irish and Celtic legends say that black butterflies are also the souls of deceased people who are unable or unwilling to move on to the afterlife; they may return to the place they once lived or somewhere they were fond of visiting when they were alive.”

If you have followed our adventures, you may recall that three days in a row, we had a visit from a gold finch. We had never seen one around here previously, in person, but to have it show up for an afternoon tea break for three separate visits was fascinating. The totem mythology of gold finches is their spiritual impact, sending positive vibrations.

After a tropical storm not a few days earlier, we discovered a white quartz rock, flat and unusual, next to the car that also seems to have positive predictive qualities if you follow the buzz on the Internet.

So, should I be surprised when a few days ago a black butterfly sat on my car’s windshield before I could adjust my eyes and grab the camera.  A few friends told me it was bad luck and not to drive the car for a while.

A Haitian friend who knows his voodoo told that the black butterfly is feared as a portent of death to come.

This morning the black butterfly returned, and he sat on my white garden chair. He stayed long enough for me take a video.

Investigating its meaning, I discovered the old Celtic legend about a spirit returning to its old home for a visit.

None of this would matter much except for the long history of my home, once the residence of two victims of the Titanic in 1912.  Now, one of them has taken up regular stays in my library where paranormal experts and psychics have been in ecstasy over the ghostly presence. We have had more than a few seances!

Now, a series of physical and totem experiences has made the theory more concrete for me. Gold finches, white crystals, and black butterflies. It is a summer to remember.

Dr. William Russo is author of several Titanic books: Tales of a Titanic Family, Chess-mate from Titanic, Spooky Geology & Titanic. All are available in print or ebook format on Amazon.com.

 

Hurricanes of the Apocalypse

DATELINE: Raindrops on Your Head! 

 1938

This series on unpleasant natural phenomena now adds big wind and rain to the mix of devastation. Apocalypse Earth is offering no relief from the Weather Channel.

If you want to see the most disappointing of the Apocalypse Earth specials, welcome to hurricane city. It’s nowheresville done up big.

As one of the longer entries in the series, we thought we might receive slightly more indepth scenes of rushing water than News at 11. Don’t count on it.

Human folly is the theme of this episode:  experts told that the New Orleans levee system can withstand a category 3 hurricane seemed to think that it would hold up against a Category 5. Hunh? We learn the system of water dispersal in the city actually encourages storm surge right into the downtown area. What?

If you want a catalog of follies, here is the episode you have been waiting for:  since the 1990s Florida has had a boom of population from the Midwest, people who never experienced a bad hurricane and had no idea what might happen.

As per usual in a crisis, you have drunken young men having a party. Some stand out in the 150mph wind to test their mettle, and some die. Par for the course, as we have learned in a pandemic.

A meteorologist in a cinder block house never thought he’d lose his roof. The show is rife with bad decisions, and there are names of infamy like Katrina and Andrew.  We learn the obvious: Florida is the most likely hit by hurricane state.

Hurricanes are the most predictable of major disasters, but that doesn’t mean much when complacency and apathy are the hallmarks of an uneducated public.

One of the storm chasers is a callow youth when we realize he was interviewed in 2005. We do not see his viewpoint recently, and again this is a pastiche show of long-ago footage, including interviews.

One of the most interesting segments was on the great hurricane of 1938 that hit New England. Color newsreel helps to bring it to life, and there is also evidence shown of the hurricane of 1893 that devastated Far Rockaway, New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Free, Ghislaine’s Motto

DATELINE: NH Hideaway for Child Molester

 Home Sweet Home!

A new episode of Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein is now required! In the past two weeks, Trump fired the prosecutor responsible for the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s eponymous procurer for a couple of decades.

Apparently she believed the motto of New Hampshire: “Live Free or Die,” as the FBI arrested her in Bradford, NH, in the foothills of Mount Sunapee. There, she lived like Prince Andrew’s consort in exile.

She was not exactly living free:  in December she bought a beautiful one-million-dollar mansion with cash. Miss Maxwell has more loot than you could count. Her hideaway was in the heart of Trump country: most of the locals thought a reclusive movie star had moved into the neighborhood, as the buyer was anonymous.

No, she was simply on the run from federal authorities, and she lived like a star.

The manse, located in cell phone free zone, had a breathtaking window wall view of the mountain. You couldn’t be reached by modern inconveniences. This little house required servants and caretakers, and so you can assume that Ghislaine had her enablers. They were either locals or flown in to do the dirty work.

Maxwell’s father was Robert Maxwell, the notorious tabloid dirt collector. Some claim he worked for Putin, providing photos and grist on political leaders who ended up in the blackmail pile.

Ghislaine procured for Jeffrey Epstein, not for money or love, but because it was a hobby she enjoyed. She ‘d choose and groom those 14-year-old girls for Epstein. She likely whistled while she worked. The British socialite could have fled the US and hidden in one of Prince Andrew’s castles in Scotland (they’re old buddies, or old something). Instead, like most arrogant people, she flaunted her money and lived the high life.

She had a helicopter pilot license and could have fled, but chose to challenge the FBI.

Now her residence of six months in Bradford will be on the market before you can say “child molester.” They better watch her closely in her cell, lest she be dispatched before being deposed.

TB12 Knocks Coronavirus Off the Scorecard

DATELINE: Deflated at Last

Tom Brady is taking his football and heading south.

You can blame the Patriots for not wanting to invest in a man who claims he has found the Fountain of Youth. We recall from history that another gentleman of the old school went to Florida on his quest: Ponce de Leon also thought the elixir of eternal and immortal life awaited him in the bays of Florida.

Bill Belichick now will show he is the genius by winning another Super Bowl without Brady. Heaven help him if his team tanks.

As for Brady, he is trading Paul Revere for Jean LaFitte. He is a trader of the first order, heading for the world of Disney and smart dolphins like Flipper.

If you wonder if he will be motivated, you never followed Deflategate, which sent him reeling into a new stratosphere.

Some never believed Belichick would let it go this far, but that parallel universe: In Bill We Trust, now is on confederate tender.

The all-seeing eye of money is looking back at the Patriot Place and finding that TB12 is a franchise that will sell more jerseys with a new logo.

As for Brady in New England, it was NEVER his home, and if you think he won for Boston, you are deluded. He happened to win while in the Greater Boston area. He would have been just as elated to win in Tampa Bay over the past 20 years.

He never spoke a bad word about Aaron Hernandez, and we figure he will give Belichick the same courtesy.

Now, the curiosity factor will follow him, eyes moving across the gridiron looking for a train wreck.

Thomas Crown: An Affair Not to Remember?

DATELINE: What Should Have Been?

 Stand-in graveyard?

In 1968, one of the ultra-cool movies that was meant to be an antidote to the growing counter-culture of long-hair and hippies, was Norman Jewison’s stylish caper film. Sexy cool, with dune buggy rides on Crane’s beach in Ipswich and rooftop brunch on a patio in the South End of Boston, this was your ultimate sophistication.

The Thomas Crown Affairwas meant to be a vehicle showing off a Brahmin Bostonian outsmarting a beautiful insurance agent at his hobby of “crime.”

It has all the looks of a film back in the late 1960s when Alfred Hitchcock wanted to drag Grace Kelly out of retirement with the promise of another Cary Grant co-star vehicle. It’sTo Catch a Thief in reverse. However, nothing panned out. The film settles for second-best.

Hitchcock also had Tippi Hedren under contract—and so they could not even bring her on as the beautiful insurance agent. Yet, Faye Dunaway is clearly wearing the designer outfits and living the life of a millionaire investigator meant for Grace or Tippi. She tangles with a guy in a Brooks Brothers suit who pretends to be a millionaire executive, but looks like a motorcyclist in posh dress.

No doubt that Steve McQueen looks dashing, but we never believed for a second that he could play polo or chess. Not only that, the film looks like it was supposed to play out in London, but they had to settle for Boston. McQueen reportedly could not master a Boston accent and gave up half-way through the film.

It’s the ultimate double-cross thriller that Hitch loved to do, but Jewison throws in modern elements like split-screen moments (all pointless) and Noel Harrison (not Rex) sings “Windmills of Your Mind.” It seems even Dusty Springfield turned them down.

The climax of the movie takes place at Cambridge City Cemetery, a stand-in for ritzy and prestigious Mount Auburn Cemetery across the street, no doubt. We were a tad shocked to see filming near my mother’s recent burial site back then, not far from her grandmother.

Some films you may remember for all the wrong reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

Patriots Receive Their Come-Uppance!

DATELINE: The Empire Collapses 

 

Many Patriot haters have waited 20 years for the moment. The parallel in history may be the Fall of the Roman Empire: the barbarians are at the gate, and Belichick and Brady are fleeing the chaos.

The Mighty Patriots have struck out.
There is no joy in Mudville or Foxboro. The Pats have lost their bye week—and probably their souls.
If anyone is stunned by the Dolphins beating the Pats, you have not been paying attention. For weeks now Tom Brady has been playing like a man who will be at quarterback until he is 50—in the sandlot league.
Bill Belichick is like one of the Magnificent Ambersons: he is receiving his come-uppance.His vaunted defense looked like Swiss cheese and most of his players will leave in free agency. Even Brady is expected to go out with a bang elsewhere.
History runs in cycles, and the Patriots have been top dog for a couple of decades, but now they are heading back to the rubbish pile years of the 1970s. They may spend the next two decades as outliers in the AFC.
We expect that Josh McDaniels and Julian Edelman will jump ship. Already the Florida authorities are emboldened to file new felony charges against owner Robert Kraft for human trafficking, however preposterous that seems.
Now they will feel Miami is on a roll.
On the eve of an ice storm in New England, the New England Pats may be entering a new Ice Age. The berg has hit their flank—and the unsinkable franchise has sprung a leak.
About 20 members of the team are ready for free agency—and don’t let the door hit your rear on the way out.
Don’t cry for the Patriots, Argentina. Tom will be playing there next season.

Cousy Loses Mettle over Medal

DATELINE: Tarnished Hero with Feats of Clay

 Chump or Champ with Cousy?

On a night when when usually are talking about Ancient Aliens, we find ourselves facing a true abduction crisis and missing time. It seems that Boston Celtics legend, Bob Cousy, has been taken prisoner to the White House, turned back the clock to the years before the Civil Rights movement, and now he has become the voice of white racist America in the Oval Office.

Yes, Bob Cousy who reconciled whatever differences he had with fellow NBA legend Bill Russell has rekindled the fires.

He received a pat on the back from the President he most admires apparently in his lifetime. What happened to the Celtic legend?

Well, his Jesuit roots of Holy Cross conservatism emerged. Perhaps you can write him off as the aging hero outliving his standards of integrity. Growing old does not always mean you die of Alzheimer’s. Sometimes you simply become the epitome of everything you lived through and fought against.

Time makes us all doddering fools and blithering idiots. You can outlive your usefulness and your own personal values. It’s called betrayal by younger idealists, but it is far more powerful than that.

Cousy once teamed with Tommy Heinsohn on the parquet floor of the Boston Garden, and they were both brilliant and talented men beyond the game that made them famous. One season in retirement years they were even teamed up as fellow commentators for a season of Celtics games on TV. It was extraordinary to behold.

When they grew furious with each other, now and then, they simply called each other, “Thomas,” and “Robert.”

We wonder if Tom has started calling his friend of lifelong years, “Robert.” We know that William Russell may be doing so, if he is even speaking to his one-time nemesis in the locker room. Time wounds all heels and we have an Achilles heel ripped  apart by the President Medal of Freedom. 

Perhaps Couz showed his mettle by doing and saying whatever needed to receive his Medal. 

He stood next to a man who wants to give himself the Congressional Medal of Honor. Heaven help our old heroes from their blithering end of days.

Tom Brady’s Cloudy Future?

DATELINE:  Tom’s Time Runs Out

bad bad bundchen Mrs. Tom Brady.

Reading Tom Brady’s tea leaves is pretty difficult, because he doesn’t drink tea!

Nevertheless, fans have requested that we look into the future of Tom Brady, as we have written several books on him and his general flakiness (See Tom Brady Swinging on a Deflategate, Amazon, paper and ebook).

It appears first that he has signed a large new contract extension with a raise that makes him the sixth highest paid player among NFL quarterbacks. Not bad for a GOAT.

Once again this year Brady gives the Kraft team more money to spend on other players or massages.

The big news is that he has put his house in Brookline, Massachusetts, up for sale for under $40 million buckeroos.  Well, it is up and down.  It appeared to be for sale, then it wasn’t. There’s no hurry as he intends to play for at least one more year in New England.

Patriot fans, who have come to think Brady may be a mere mortal  after all, believe he may play just one more year and move to New York where he has bought a high-priced condo for his wife and children.

Like former teammate Gronk, Brady has loyalty to New England only as far as he can play as the team is concerned.

Gisele, one time model and actress, his wife, a billionaire in her own right, has other interests in the big city of the Big Apple .

These two are a Met gala power-couple with international ties who belong only to the money they have: no teams, no countries, no political groups .

Tom and his wife Gisele can do anything they want, and they will.

In the meantime, Tom has admitted that one of his great frustrations is that his second son doesn’t want to be an athlete like dear old dad. This young man is independent and wants to follow his own star, which may not be his father’s star.

All in all, the tea leaves say Tom, star of Tom v. Time, is headed for big changes in his ticking biological clock.

Ossurworld has written several books on Brady, including Tom Brady Swinging on a Deflategate. Available on amazon.com in print version or e-book for smartreaders.

 

 

 

Druids Take on Ancient Aliens

DATELINE: Stone Chambers!

stone chamber

The seventh episode of Season 14 of Ancient Aliens  puts attention on the strange stone chambers that permeate New England and upstate New York. These rock formations were first noted by settlers in the 1600s but may go back thousands more years.

Nearly all these structures are noted for their roofs of flat stone, weighty and impossibly piled atop smaller braces of stone.

Our ancient alien theorists are not content to leave these structures to chance. In their opinion, Druids and Celtic priests came to these places because of magnetic anomalies.

Alignments with the sun mean these locales were not exactly root cellars.

No doubt about it, the stone formations and Balance Rock and their ilk have resemblances to Stonehenge.

There are also human sacrifice tables with drainage, which seems a bit much for aliens, but likely in logic when it comes to humans trying to appease or attract these Shiny People.

Yup, according to Ancient Aliens, those red-haired and blue-eyed Irish or Celtics may be descendants of a space tribe that colonized England and Ireland but sent emissaries to New England’s Mystery Hill.

The episode is more in the line of David Childress who tours some of the sites—and much evidence of Whitney Strieber is linked to the forces from other dimensions that emerge from ancient stone chambers. Communion may not be a story of mere space aliens.

This leads to time travel, portal and vortex issues. Frozen time and space in New England is a common theme, as the series cites Rip Van Winkle—yet the same could be said of Portrait of Jennie too.

They seem to tie ghosts to extra-terrestrials, but we suspect that spirits are indeed beyond the terrestrial world we live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titanic Leap from Shelf

 DATELINE: Shocked in the Library!

leap from Titanic   Side by Side on Shelf: DVD titled Last Mysteries of the Titanic, next to photo or Richard White in Titanic’s Reading Room.

Oh, poltergeist generally are puckish spirits who have a tendency to throw items or create havoc with a brazen sense of humor.

We have posted a video on YouTube that shows a DVD named Last Mysteries of the Titanic, sitting next to a photo of Richard White in the First Class Reading Room of the Titanic, that took on a life of its own—and jumped from the shelf leaving me speechless.

Maybe the headline for YouTube should be “Ghost Throws Book at Writer.” My spirit guardian Richard and I would receive more hits, searches, and bingo moments.

In my Titanic Memorial Library, where my roommate spirit Richard spends some time, several psychics have noted that he always has a playful sense of fun.

The library is a commemoration to him, as he lived here once long ago, and then he died on Titanic, celebrating his college graduation on a maiden voyage of a luxury ship.

Earlier my security camera had mysteriously fallen down from its perch in the library where it had been completely secured with duct tape. It provides a late-night glimpse into the space where orbs, noises, and things that go bump tend to congregate. No one really wants to be there after dark.

However, around 8pm, still with dusk at hand, the camera had fallen onto a cushion on a chair. It could be re-secured before total blackness fell. Yet, later in the early morning hours, the camera fell again. I was not going in there at that hour.

Having an early morning cup of coffee to bolster the latest visit around 6:30am, we headed over there to restore the camera and face it directly at the floor-to-ceiling shelving of books and videotapes.

Once there, we accomplished our mission and stated aloud to the spirits present that we would check on the other memorabilia and souvenirs to see if they had fallen too.

Walking to the books, we were ginger in our steps, keeping an eye out for oddities. Upon looking at the books, we were startled when one of the DVDs came off the shelf just as we asked, “Has anything else fallen?”

You can see the incident caught on camera here.  It is posted on YouTube.

The movie in question on the shelf was a documentary on Titanic, of course. What else would jump off the shelf like a passenger trying to disembark a sinking ship?

As you can see from the footage captured, your host was clearly startled. It must have amused Richard and the other resident ghosts of the library.

It’s just another day at home when your housemates are spirits from another era.

Red, White & Boo Sox

DATELINE: Trump Hits for the Cycle!

King John Henry & King Trump Kings: John Henry & Trump!

Donald Trump did not disinvite this team from his chicken-wing fast-food White House. That’s likely because the Red Sox self-determined that players of color (who actually were the heart and soul of the World Series) chose to avoid the ceremony.

Unlike other times, Trump did not blanch white at the idea that players of color showed him disrespect. He seemed pleased.

So, who did show up? The team insists that these winners are not losers in the race divide of America. Yet, we begin to wonder if the team we see on the field this season will amount to a hill of white fava beans.

Sean Spicer, Sox fan and former White House official, was stopped at the door for being a media member. So much for the goldfish memory of Trump’s team.

You cannot have half the Red Sox team in discord against the other half—well, you can, but these are not repeat winners. This year they appropriately stink up Fenway Park.

These are the whiter than white Red Sox from the town where black players have repeatedly complained about racist taunts from the fans.

The billionaire ownership has dismissed these failings in the fans. Indeed, one owner, named Tom Werner, was the man who hired Bill Cosby and defended him against all the charges made by women whose legal redress sent the Coz to jail. The other supercilious owner is King John Henry VIII whose elitism may rival Trump. You’ll never catch John Henry in a massage parlor like his fellow billionaire owner, Robert Kraft.

Trump did not breathe the name of Alex Cora, the Puerto Rican manager, who has lambasted the racism of Trump. You’d not find any White House credit given to the man whom Boston media and fans lauded as the reason for the World Series victory in 2018.

Red Sox white nationalist supporters claim that baseball is apolitical. The question is what exactly is an apolitical sport? As we recall, the origins of baseball were that it was a game for “white gentlemen.”

Black leagues were separate and kept unequal for 100 years. The Red Sox, we remind you, were the last major league team to integrate. Pumpsie Green was their first black player—and he sat on the bench for years.

Welcome to the White House, you white suck-up Sox.

 

 

 

Decorating a Titanic Memorial Library

DATELINE: Happenstance Happening!

numbers

Two Newspaper headlines, one Puzzling Puzzle

When you do not expect surprises in the memorial library of the Ghosts of Mill Circle exhibit, you will most likely find them. We have been putting together a memorial to Richard Frazar White, who loved libraries, and spent his last day in the First Class Library on Titanic before it sank from a destiny with an iceberg.

As part of our decoration plan for the library’s ambiance, we are collating together all the various items or collectibles we hold from our research on several books: Tales of a Titanic Family and Ghosts of Mill Circle.

We knew we had somewhere in storage a jigsaw puzzle of the New York Times front page that announced the sinking of the great super-liner. We first put it together in the early 1980s.

We had to rummage around boxes of never-unpacked belongings that we brought to this house where the Titanic victims once resided.

To our utter amazement, the puzzle we put together in 1980 turned up in a large bag. But it was not the one we sought. Forgotten long ago, we had bought and put together a second puzzle. The alternate puzzle was 1000 pieces of a dark night with a listing Titanic near an iceberg.

Not only were we surprised to find this item, but we had no recollection of ever putting it together. Yet, the box contained a puzzle that had been worked on—sometime in the past, likely the 1970s.

Deeper in the bag was the puzzle we sought: the New York Times headline page. It was not what we recalled at all: it had a wide black border and a smaller image than we remembered. We dusted it off and brought it to the library where it fit neatly on a shelf.

We looked at the box cover with its image—and a sidebar of “1500” which referred to the number of pieces and complexity of the puzzle.

When we turned around to look at the opposite wall, there we placed a front page of the Boston Globe of the Titanic disaster.

That headline read: “1500 Dead.”

It was a mirror or a parallel to the puzzle box that was on the opposite side of the room. We had never made the connection that 1500 pieces corresponded to 1500 lives: each a piece of disaster.

How eerie and uncanny it seemed to us. Others mentioned that it was all part of the mystery and mystique of our library, in a house once owned by two of the victims of Titanic’s catastrophe.

Death in April at Mill Circle

 DATELINE: Mr. Ralph Arrives at Stage Depot in Sky.

 

A weekend In mid-April in Boston can be overwhelming:  the calendar will fill up quickly with Boston’s Marathon weekend, Boston’s Patriots Day when the British evacuated Beantown. There is also the anniversary of Wilkes Booth shooting Abe Lincoln, and the commemoration of the sinking of the Titanic. Throw in Palm Sunday, and your datebook is overwhelmed.

Our burdens increased at Mill Circle on this 107th anniversary of Titanic’s meltdown, and the 154th year after Booth killed the President at Ford’s.

We noticed on the cold, rainy morning that Mr. Ralph, the giant shire horse who lives in our Great Barn, did not emerge with the other four stablemates.

The shire horse is bigger than a Clydesdale. Mr. Ralph clocked in at 2000 pounds and 32 years of age. Earlier this week, he had fallen down in the corral and took nearly half-an-hour to regain his footing. He kept resting his head back on the grass.

We know he was overworked even in retirement. Earlier that morning, he had been saddled and ridden for an hour.

Now on a day that we usually only make a short trip to Riverside Cemetery to visit Richard in his grave and his mother Edith in an unmarked area next to him, we had commotion next door.

We had never seen a super-large horse ambulance, brought in from some visiting town, vets, rescue workers, and assorted onlookers. A dozen cars and pickups clogged our small Mill Circle. It took a while for them to put straps on Mr. Ralph, put a stretcher under him, and have a truck drag his body out of the barn.

Yes, it was undignified for the glorious old beast. Yet, it was better than being stewed up for glue or gelatin. The other horses in the corral were agitated by the event.

As much of respect could be found when a gray tarp was put over his massive dead lump of mottled golden brown hide.

When we returned from our pilgrimage to Richard’s grave, they were taking each of the other four horses over to Mr. Ralph to show them their fallen comrade. The tarp was lifted, and each horse spent as much time as he wanted at the body. It was a strange ritual: one horse wanted nothing much to do with it.  A mini-horse mate spent considerable time looking and nodding.

Two others kept bending down to sniff him and raise their heads. It was a repeated action.

Later we learned that Mr. Ralph would be buried behind the Great Barn of Mill Circle, perhaps near the grave of the unknown murdered peddler of 1826 whose burial spot remains unknown. His ghost haunts the barn. Perhaps Ralph saw him during his tenure at Mill Circle.